Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Fifty Shades of Tedious Fuckery 2 (Vol. 14)

You guys! We made it! It's the last installment of this rage inducing series! And OH BOY am I looking forward to the palate-cleansing sorbet of Sweet Valley High after this shit sandwich of misogyny, emotional abuse and mind-numbing fuckery. So without further ado, let's crack on with Volume 14!

(Catch up: Vol. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13) Phew!


Now that Kate is confronting Ana and Christian, EL James uses all the words from her bag of word-magnets and ham-fistedly jams them into Ana's reaction:

All the color drains from my face as my blood turns to ice and fear lances through my body.

WELCOME TO METAPHOR CITY. POPULATION: YOU. Kate demands to know what the hell is up with all this contract business and asks Ana what Christian has done to her. Ana tells her it's none of her business and it turns out that the email was in the pocket of a jacket Christian had left on the back of Ana's bedroom door. Ana's response to this is really something, coming from her.

What the hell is she going through my clothes for? It’s usually the other way round.

SHE WAS PROBABLY LOOKING FOR HER PLUM DRESS AND ALL HER OTHER STUFF, YOU THIEVING BITCH.

Christian asks Kate if she has told anyone about the contract, but she hasn't and Ana then reassures Kate that everything is good between them (I...give up) and the contract stuff is in the past.

“Ana has consented to be my wife, Katherine,” he says quietly.

Imagine a 27 year old talking like that. Because that's how old Christian Grey is, by the way. Twenty fucking seven. Actually no, it's his birthday so now he's twenty eight. MUCH BETTER.

Once Kate has been assured that Ana is happy with her terrible relationship, she's delighted for her and everything is fine and that whole chapter-ending cliffhanger is resolved within a page and a half, so it was just another load of pointless tension that went nowhere.

Christian's mother comes into the dining room to get them, because there's a crowd of people waiting to welcome their guest of honour and they all burst into applause when Christian comes into the living room. And everyone is there! All his friends! And by friends I mean employees! i.e. Mac from the boat, a random black guy that was briefly seen in Christian's office in the first book and hasn't made an appearance since then, Ros the assistant and even Dr. Flynn, turning up to his patient's social gatherings like a big weirdo. Oh AND Elena is there. Because she's a friend of the family and we need to manufacture some last minute drama, goddammit!

But first, Gretchen the sexy blonde waitress (who was also in the first book) turns up with a tray of champagne, just in time for Ana to remember that she hates her, "flushing and fluttering her eyelashes at Christian" like the big smelly whore she undoubtedly is. Everyone comes forward to wish Christian a happy birthday, including Elena, who hugs and kisses Christian and asks why he hasn't been returning her calls. He gives her the brush off and says he has an announcement to make to the room.

"This beautiful woman” - he glances down at me - “Miss Anastasia Rose Steele, has consented to be my wife, and I’d like you to be the first to know.”

Again with the consenting. Why can't he talk like a normal fucking person? It's an especially weird choice of words, considering that he couldn't give a tiny twirly fuck about Ana's consent in literally every other situation. Ana looks around the room, which is again filled with applause and notes how jealous all the other women are. Because obviously there's no point in getting engaged if everyone else isn't choked with envy.

Lily (Mia's bitchy friend who is in love with Christian and was kinda mean to Ana previously), who is standing beside Mia, looks crestfallen; Gretchen looks like she’s eaten something nasty and bitter. As I glance anxiously around at the assembled crowd, I catch sight of Elena. Her mouth is open. She’s stunned - horrified even, and I can’t help a small but intense feeling of satisfaction to see her dumbstruck.

YOU SEE THAT, OTHER WOMEN/COMPETITORS? ANA IS VICTORIOUS AND HAS CAUGHT THE GOLDEN SNITCH OF ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS. SHE WINS AT BEING A WOMAN BECAUSE OUR OBJECTIVE IN LIFE IS TO BAG A HUSBAND THAT EVERYONE ELSE WANTS TO FUCK. IT'S ALL OVER. EVERYONE GO HOME.


Mia then asks to see the ring and Christian says they're going to choose one together, while "glowering" at his sister for asking a perfectly legitimate question.

“When will you get married? Have you set a date?” She beams up at Christian.
He shakes his head, his exasperation palpable. “No idea, and no we haven’t. Ana and I need to discuss all that,” he says irritably.


I know I gave out about Mia being a pretentious headwrecker in the first book, but it seems like Christian is constantly mad at her for no fucking reason. These are the questions that LITERALLY EVERY engaged couple get asked when they make the announcement and he's acting like she's asked whether they've had anal sex yet. (They haven't, by the way.)

Ana and Christian end up chatting with Dr. Flynn and his wife Rhian. Dr. Flynn congratulates Christian on his engagement by saying “That was one googly you bowled there, Christian”, because he's English and sure we all know that Brits can only communicate through the medium of tea and royal babies and cricket references that they know full well Americans wouldn't understand. 

I had no idea Dr. Flynn would be here, or Elena. It’s a shock, and I rack my brains to see if I have anything to ask him, but a birthday party hardly seems the appropriate venue for a psychiatric consult.

Jesus Christ. YA THINK.

While chatting to Rhian, Ana realises that Christian and Dr Flynn are discussing Leila and she just can't help trying to listen in, "rather rudely tuning out Rhian". Well at least this time she knows she's being fucking rude. Anyway, they're talking quietly so she can't make out what they're saying but they stop when the group is joined by Ros and her girlfriend Gwen.

She’s one of the few women I’ve met who isn’t dazzled by him...well, the reason is obvious.

LESBIANS ARE IMPERVIOUS TO CHRISTIAN GREY. GOOD FOR YOU, LESBIANS.


Grace then announces that dinner is being served buffet-style in the kitchen, which seems unlikely for a giant mansion with servants doing the rounds with trays of champagne, but whatever, this book is almost over so let's just power through.

While everyone makes their way towards the food, Mia catches up with Ana and offers her a lemon martini.

I glance up at Christian, who releases me with a best-of-luck-I-find-her-impossible-to-deal-with-too look, and I sneak into the dining room with her.

I know, right? What a TOTAL BITCH. SO IMPOSSIBLE AND RUDE.

Mia says she needs some advice, and can't talk to her friend Lily, who is apparently very judgemental (Ana is the best of all the women, you see) and also very jealous of Ana because she fancies Christian and thought she had a shot with him.

This is something I will have to contend with for a long time - other women wanting my man.

Well, that's the price you pay for winning the Woman Hunger Games, Ana. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown, and all that.

Anyway, Mia's problem is that Ethan doesn't want to date her because his sister (Kate) is going out with Mia's brother (Elliot) and he thinks it's all a bit "incestuous", but Mia knows he likes her. Ana's advice is to give it some time, seeing as Mia has only just met him, which she at least realises is a bit rich coming from her and tells Mia to try talking to Kate, which she runs off to do.

However, as soon as Mia leaves, Elena appears and closes the door, cornering Ana alone in the dining room and suddenly shit gets real. And by real I mean so ridiculously over-dramatic that the Dynasty and Dallas writers would probably have found this conversation a bit much.

“I would offer you my heartfelt congratulations, but I think that would be inappropriate.” Her piercing cold blue eyes stare frostily into mine, filled with loathing.

Oooh, piercing! Cold! Frostily! WHAT A VILLAIN!



“I neither need nor want your congratulations, Elena. I’m surprised and disappointed to see you here.”
She arches an eyebrow. I think she’s impressed.


KA-POW! Such verbal sparring! This goes on for a while, and involves words like "worthy adversary" being carelessly bandied about, Elena asking Ana what she thinks she's doing "consenting to marry Christian" and Ana replying with "what I’m consenting to do with Christian is none of your concern". I don't think I've ever in my life heard anyone refer to getting engaged as "consenting to marry" their other half, and the characters in this book literally can't stop saying it. It's so weird.

In any case, Elena calls Ana a "mousy little gold-digger", at which point Ana throws her drink in Elena's face. It's actually kinda refreshing to hear Ana being described as something other than beautiful and amazing and witty and shrewd. Christian then enters the room, unwittingly knocking Elena off-balance with the door before she can lunge at Ana and pull her hair or whatever, and then proceeds to shout at Elena, when he sees what's going down. They have a big loud argument about their previous creepy relationship when Christian was younger and next thing you know, Grace appears and overhears what her friend got up to with her then-teenaged son. Grace slaps Elena and kicks her out of the house and Ana runs off to Christian's room upstairs while Grace and Christian have a mother-son chat.

After a while, Christian comes looking for Ana and tells her that his and Elena's business relationship is over and then gives out to Ana for drinking without having eaten.

"You need to eat. It’s rule number one. I believe we’ve already had that discussion after our first night together.”
Oh yes. The Heathman.


Oh yes, the time when they didn't really know each other and he said he was going to take her back to her place when she was blind drunk and instead took her to his hotel room, took her pants off and watched her sleep all night like a terrifying fucking psycho. A magical night.

When the last of the guests have left, Christian brings Ana to the boathouse and she gets all giggly on the way there, thinking about the last time he brought her there. The time that he dragged her there over his shoulder while furious at her for resisting him groping at her crotch under the dinner table while his parents were there and she had to plead with him not to spank her. AGAIN. MAGICAL.

This time, however, the boathouse attic is filled with flowers and fairy lights and Christian gets down on one knee so he can re-propose, only this time it's all romantic and what have you and he's got a ring. "Jeez - it's big..." Ana says yes again and tells us that they're "meant to be" and I guess it's meant to be all wonderful and lovely, despite Christian being:


And just when you think it's over and you can throw this book into a fire, BOOM! POINTLESS EPILOGUE! RIGHT IN THE FACE!

A shadowy figure is hiding outside the Grey mansion, blowing smoke rings and drinking "cheap bourbon", so you KNOW he's bad news.

The helicopter had been a rash and bold move. One of the most exhilarating things he'd ever done in his life. But to no avail.

ERMAHGERD, SABOTAGE. The shady new narrator goes on about how Christian underestimated him, just like everyone else always does, but that his chance will come soon and it's all super ominous and mysterious, except it's clearly creepy Jack, Ana's former boss. Who seems to think that attempted murder is a reasonable reaction to him losing his job. When it was his own fault for trying to rape his employees.

END OF FUCKING BOOK.

So despite the fact that everything could have been wrapped up at the end of this one, there's an entire third book, because this is basically Twilight after all, so there has to be a wedding and a demon-baby or something. A demon-baby that Christian will probably be jealous of and end up insisting on a C-section delivery, because no one is allowed near Ana's vagina but Christian. NO ONE.

It took two years for me to calm down sufficiently before I could even entertain the notion of recapping this one (Fifty Shades Darker, as it's actually called), but I probably will do Fifty Shades Freed at some point. Just not right away.

For now, I'm out.


Thursday, November 06, 2014

Fifty Shades of Tedious Fuckery 2 (Vol. 13)

Ok! We are SO CLOSE to the end, I can FEEL IT. So let's do this thing and sally forth to Volume 13. This one's got its fair share of rage-inducing moments, so HOLD ON TO YOUR BUTTS.

(Catch up: Vol. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12)


José heads off home and as soon as the lift doors have closed, Christian notes how José "still wants into your panties, Ana", because the only thing certain in this life are death, taxes and everyone wanting to have sex with Ana Steele. Christian notes that Ana didn't tell José that they're engaged and Ana points out that she wants to tell her mother and Ray, her stepfather first. Christian says that he should ask Ray for his permission and Ana laughs it off, saying this isn't the eighteenth century and that they'll talk about it later. (Remember this bit and in particular the fact that Ana wants to tell Ray herself.)

She changes the subject by saying that she wants to give Christian his other birthday presents. The first one is a small wooden model helicopter with a solar powered rotor blade, which she had obviously gotten before the almost-crash, but Christian loves it.

“It’ll keep me company while we salvage Charlie Tango.”
“Is it salvageable?”
“I don’t know. I hope so. I’ll miss her, otherwise.”
Her? I am shocked at myself for the small pang of jealousy I feel for an inanimate object. 

My subconscious snorts with derisory laughter. I ignore her.

Me and her subconscious should get hammered together and bitch about Ana.


The next present is the one she was putting together when she found the sexy photos hidden in Christian's room and is a box full of stuff he owns, such as his iPod, his silver tie, a butt plug and nipple clamps. Ana wants back into the playroom but Christian is anxious and asks if she's sure. She is, as long as there's no "whips and stuff", so it's off to the playroom they go, for more banging.

Christian pauses before going into the playroom, to make sure Ana is certain that she wants to get freaky with him and asks if there's anything she doesn't want to do, despite the fact that she literally just said what she didn't want to do at the end of the last chapter. No whips and stuff, pay attention, geebag.

Before going inside, Ana asks Christian not to take any photos of her once they're in there. He looks at her weirdly and agrees not to, so they enter the room and he tells Ana to strip off. He then holds up the butt plug that Ana had placed in the gift box and explains that it's too big to start with, so he's going to use his little finger instead.

I gasp, shocked. Fingers...there?

WHERE DID YOU THINK THE BUTT PLUG WAS GOING, ANA? THE CLUE IS KINDA IN THE NAME THERE.

Christian then swaps the nipple clamps Ana had chosen for some less severe ones, because she didn't have a fucking clue what she was doing while putting together this gift of things he already owns. Ana asks how he wants her to behave and Christian is like "eh, however you want to".

"Were you expecting my alter ego, Anastasia?" he asks, his tone vaguely mocking and bemused at once. I blink at him.
"Well, yes. I like him," I murmur.

No you fucking don't! That was the whole reason you left at the end of the first fucking travesty of a book. WEREN'T YOU THERE?

He then gets her to kneel on a table, facing him and cuffs her arms together behind her back.

This man is going to be my husband. Can one lust after one's husband like this? I don't remember reading about that anywhere.

No Ana, people usually get married because they hate each other.


Ana is then blindfolded and Christian puts a vibrator inside her, which, she is astonished to discover, vibrates. Who knew. It's in her vagina, by the way, which isn't totally clear when you're reading it, because it's all "there", "down there", "not here, but here" so it's anyone's guess where Christian's fingers are at any given time. Australia, possibly. Then there's more riding, followed by her usual "I love him so much, he's all mine, etc etc" bollocks.

So many sides of Christian - his sweet, gentle persona and his rugged, I-can-do-what-I-fucking-well-like-to-you-and-you'll-come-like-a-train Dominant side - his fifty shades, all of him.

As I've typed out that excerpt, there's a big red "this is grammatically incorrect or misspelled" line under most of it and I'm like, TELL ME ABOUT IT, COMPUTER. Someone needs to confiscate the fucking hyphen button on EL's laptop. Also, how does one come like a train? Like, by shouting "CHOO CHOOO!" at the moment of climax? Overcharging for a return trip to Cork? Who the fuck knows.

I'm aware we don't know each other well, and we have a mountain of issues to overcome, but I know for each other, we will - and we'll have a lifetime to do it.

She's marrying this guy. That she doesn't know well. But he's hot, so yay, I guess.

Apparently, after all the sex, they "talked and talked and talked", but instead of letting us in on any potential character development, when we rejoin them Ana is taking the piss out of Kate with an impersonation that Christian is finding hilarious, because meaningful dialogue is for chumps.

"To think it could have been her who came to interview me. Thank the Lord for the common cold," he murmurs and kisses my nose. 

Yeah, because Kate probably wouldn't take your domineering bullshit and would tell you to take your misogynistic, controlling attitude and shove it up your hole. Thank god for a naive sap like Ana who can be manipulated and kept in a constant state of fear around you. PHEW.

They eventually get up and Christian has some work to do, so Ana gets busy making lunch, seeing as Christian is bewildered by something as basic as slicing peppers.

Christian is in his study on the phone. Taylor is with him, looking serious but casual in jeans and a tight, black t-shirt.

TAYLOR!


Taylor comes into the kitchen, where Ana is, and she asks if his daughter is ok.

"Yes, thanks. My ex-wife thought she had appendicitis, but she was overreacting as usual." Taylor rolls his eyes, surprising me.

NO TAYLOR! What the hell, dude? You don't slag off your ex for being TOO concerned about your daughter's goddamn health! Why'd you have to do me like this, Taylor? WHY?

Anyway, he calls Ana "ma'am" at the end of their conversation.

I flush...will I ever get used to Taylor calling me ma'am? It makes me feel so old, at least thirty.

At least thirty.

AT. LEAST. THIRTY.


Ana checks her phone, and there's a text from Kate, saying she's looking forward to seeing her that evening and catching up properly. Ana replies "Same here" and thinks about how good it will be to talk to Kate. After sending a two-word text message to her friend that she hasn't seen properly in about a year (I swear that's what it feels like at this stage), Ana then proceeds to EMAIL CHRISTIAN WHO IS IN THE NEXT ROOM. GODFUCKINGDAMMIT. What's almost worse is that he actually replies and it's making me wish that the Doctor would materialise, tie the two of them together, fly to a black hole in outer space and kick the pair of them out the door of the TARDIS. Then come and get me for some sexy adventures in space and time and really, that's a whole other fanfic right there.

Ana goes to the study where Christian is working, to let him know that lunch is ready. He says he has one more call to make and then notices the dress she's wearing, which was in the wardrobe full of clothes that he had a personal shopper choose for her.

“That dress is very short,” he adds.
“You like it?” I give him a quick twirl. It’s one of Caroline Acton’s purchases. A soft turquoise sundress, probably more suitable for the beach, but it’s such a lovely day on so many levels. He frowns and my face falls.
“You look fantastic in it, Ana. I just don’t want anyone else to see you like that.”


GET. TO. FUCK. RED FLAG RED FLAG RED FLAG.

Moments later, Christian emerges from the study with the phone, with Ray on the line, because he went ahead and called him anyway to ask his permission to marry Ana, just like she explicitly asked him not to do earlier. Remember? "Let's talk about it later" clearly means "go ahead and do whatever you want when it comes to my life and family." DICK.

Ana is understandably pissed off with Christian, but takes the phone and talks to Ray, who's wondering what the hell is going on, considering it's been a matter of weeks since they got together. Ana explains that Christian, the man who ignores her wishes and doesn't want anyone to see her looking nice in a dress, is her "happily ever after" and Ray just says he hopes she knows what she's doing and agrees to give her away at the wedding. Christian takes the phone back and then comes into the kitchen after a few minutes, proudly declaring that he has Ray's "rather begrudging" blessing.

Ray could learn a thing or two from Mel Horowitz.

Despite Ana being quite rightly pissed off with Christian, he's delighted, because he got what he wanted, and remember kids, how Ana feels about it doesn't actually matter.

He’s acting like he’s just negotiated a major new merger or acquisition, which I suppose on one level, he has.

OH GOOD, NOW YOU'RE THINKING OF YOURSELF AS ONE OF HIS POSSESSIONS TOO. EXCELLENT. FEMINISM IS FOR LOSERS, ANYWAY. TIME FOR THAT "PROPERTY OF CHRISTIAN GREY" TATTOO.

While they're eating lunch, Christian asks Ana why she said not to take photos of her in the playroom, so she confesses that she found his pictures of former subs. It turns out that they're usually in a safe and Leila must have moved them. Yeah, I don't know why either, or why she'd go to the trouble of hiding them. Also, apparently they're Christan's "insurance policy" against exposure, despite the fact that trust between parties is equally as - if not more important than - getting off in BDSM relationships. It would be much less creepy if he just took the photos to wank over. Also, Leila could open the safe because Christian has the combination written down, the fucking genius.

“I wonder what else she knows and if she’s taken anything else out of there.”

OH HAI FREDDIE FORESHADOWING.

Ana then decides to call her mother and make a birthday cake for her new owner.

“A cake?”
I nod.
“A chocolate cake?”
“You want a chocolate cake?” His grin is infectious.


Like crabs.

Ana then rings her mother to tell her about the engagement, and her first response is to ask if Ana is knocked up. Because, duh.

“No, no, no, nothing like that.” Disappointment slices through my heart, and I’m saddened that she would think that of me.

THAT SHE WOULD THINK THAT OF ME. WOW. I think EL James might be Katie Hopkins in disguise. Christ. Imagine. Ana's mother then gets upset on the phone when she wishes that Ana's father was still alive to see her getting married and Ana's all "the familiar tale is retold...again" and "She’s wistful and maudlin again" because she's just AWFUL. It's totally understandable for her mother to wish Ana's dad was around for such a milestone and it wouldn't kill Ana to not be such a little bitch about it.

I shake my head thinking about my mythical father.

OHMYGAD WAS HE A UNICORN?

Anyway, after the phonecall, Ana gets busy making the birthday cake but has to run out to the shop for some chocolate to finish it off. On her way out, Christian asks if she's going to "put on some jeans or something", otherwise the whole world will be able to see her whore legs and this will devalue her as one of his investments. Ana rolls her eyes and leaves, although the line "I make it to the elevator before he catches up with me" is pretty unnerving. While she's out, Ana decides that the dress actually is a bit too short and immediately regrets making him angry.

But I feel strongly that I should wear what I like.

THE FACT THAT THIS IS EVEN AN ISSUE IS A PRETTY GOOD INDICATOR TO GET THE FUCK OUT OF THIS RELATIONSHIP.

When she gets back to the apartment, Ana apologises to Christian for wearing a dress that he bought for her.

“I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me.”

I believe it's called NOT BEING A FUCKING DOORMAT.

Christian apologises for being a cunt and tells her to wear what she likes (WOW THANKS) and they fuck in the study, because of course they do. All their problems are solved by banging. Or at least, ignored in favour of banging. Oh, and while she was at the ATM, Ana discovered that Christian has put $50,000 in her bank account without telling her and her only reaction is "And so it begins."

They eat the stupid fucking cake and then head to Christian's parents house for his birthday party. However, Kate is there before them and furious. She corners Ana and Christian alone in the dining room and waves a piece of paper at them, demanding to know what the fuck it is. Ana takes it from her and it's a printout of her email response to Christian, discussing the sex contract from the first book. No, I don't know why Christian printed out her email either. Who the fuck prints out emails?

EL James, probably.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting

I've talked before about how much I love Street Fighter II and beat 'em up games in general, and when I was a young wan playing my cousin's SNES, I'd always play as the girl character. Mortal Kombat? I'm Kitana or Mileena (Sonya just seemed kinda boring in comparison). Killer Instinct? I'm Orchid. Street Fighter? I'm obviously Chun Li.


She's a character I've wanted to dress up as for a long time, but it always just sort of seemed like it would be a bit too hard. I mean, the dress! The spiky bracelets! All that kicking! However, after taking a look on Adverts.ie, I found a short blue cheongsam being sold not too far from where I live, and by a weird stroke of luck, it turned out that I knew the seller, who very generously offered to give it to me, so I swapped with her for a bottle of wine. It needed a little bit of altering, but thankfully my mam is handy with a sewing machine, which was just as well as I can hardly sew a button without stabbing my finger with a needle.

The spiky bracelets needed to be huge and cartoony. I didn't want to use the small studded leather type ones that I wore back when I was a nineteen year old metaller in a homemade Slayer t-shirt, so I was going to have to make them. Which I did! Out of foam, duct tape and party hats, of all things.


I'm not going to lie, I was pretty excited with how they turned out.


The pigtail covers were white circles of fabric with a bit of elastic to keep them over my hair and I stuck some gold star stickers to the ribbons, which isn't strictly canon but I figured if anyone deserves some gold stars, it's Chun Li. Plus they matched the gold thread in the dress, so why the hell not.


I wanted orangey-red coloured tights for the old school Chun Li look and found a pair that were just the right colour. Unfortunately they were from American Apparel, a shop I dislike quite a bit because their ad campaigns look like they've been shot by a sex offender. However, there was 20% off on the day I went in, so that was some consolation. The runners were from New Look and reduced to €6, in fact they were the only pair left and just happened to be in my size. I have to say, this costume mostly came together through blind luck and duct tape.

Anyway! Off we went to Rocky Horror in the Sugar Club for their Halloween show, we had a blast, there was a lot of pretend fighting and I managed not to fall over, which is most unlike me. Speaking of pretend fighting, here I am squaring up to my friend Fi, aka Harley Quinn on the night.


If that was a real video game I'd totally play it.

 
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