Monday, May 11, 2015

Fifty Shades of Oy Vey


It’s Mother’s Day. 

Did you think I was kidding?
The kids are far away this year but have acknowledged the day to my satisfaction. Since, they claim, there was no groupon for a gilded sedan chair carried by six brawny  New York City fireman (am I right, ladies?) wearing only their water proof over-alls to carry me around the house all day, we made do with phone calls and lovely flowers.

That, however, does not fill a day.

Especially one where women all over America are being rushed through rigidly enforced “seatings” and eating rubbery chicken marsala in crowded restaurants.  Sigh…that actually sounds really good to me.

Of course there is laundry and the litter box is a bit ripe in the mid-May warmth but the rule is that mothers are forbidden to perform unpleasant chores such as cooking, dishes and, especially, scooping cat poop. Also, Seth is out doing “stuff” which I suspect is husband-speak for “Quit pouting and stop drunk dialing the kids.” So I am alone. 

With the TV.

That means but one thing: watch something Seth would never choose to see. 

That might mean a frothy rom-com or one of those shows that chronicles the early weeks of a litter of kittens. For those who aren’t seasoned veterans of the remote control, those shows do exist…and I meow them. But, today, there is no room for cuteness. There is only room for one thing--pull down the shades with me, America: we are watching “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

The movie, for those of you who have been hiding under a sedan chair or simply choose to live a life out of the gutter, is a clever idea: an actual love story cloaked in the extremity of black leather and chains. 

Exploring a menu of sexual dominance and submission was the vehicle which made this routine tale a boffo best seller, first in the form of a trilogy of books  -- which are little more than horrible writing punctuated by what, essentially, is porn -- and today’s movie.

It also made the writer, E. L. James, rich beyond measure. I have yet to stop asking myself why I didn’t think of this approach first. Ms. James says the idea came to her in a dream. 

I only dream that I’m running through the darkened halls of my high school wearing a panda costume not having studied for an important exam being given in a room I cannot find. These dreams, unfortunately, do not translate into successful fiction but, thanks to Fifty Shades, a sizable percentage  of women in America wish their husbands bough their underwear from Fruit of the Loom's new leather line.

Having recently come to “Demand” TV, Fifty Shades has been nagging at me for a while. I read the first book and half (okay, for God’s sake, three quarters) of the second but, after one too many “descriptive” passages, I realized there are only so many ways to “skin a cat.” *

I soon lost interest .

The real Fifty Shades.
In a nut shell, our leading man, Christian Grey, likes to boss his girls around. In a big way.

It also doesn't hurt that he is drop-dead handsome, dresses in the finest fabrics, lives in a zillion dollar apartment and owns the universe. Anastasia Steele, his victim/love interest is virginal, naïve and mumbles.

Starting to get the picture?

Bought in bulk by Mr. Grey...
Virtual unknowns were ultimately cast in the leads because no self-respecting actors would touch the parts. It will be interesting to see if Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson will ever work again…out of the porn industry, that is. Truth be told, they weren’t all that bad, but if I had been the director, I would have sent Mr. Dornan packing as soon as I noticed that his eyes often do not blink at the same time and that Miss Johnson has a facial portfolio of one and a half expressions.

Anastasia Steele, our heroine – who quickly goes from wearing dowdy skirts and peter pan collars to sleek dresses with no panty line, if you catch my meaning - -- is falling in love with the young multibillionaire who has little interest in personal ties (only cable ties). Emotionally stunted somehow in his youth, he is a mysterious mogul  who likes to give spankings. The catch is that Anastasia is crushing on this dashing nut job who has everything but a dental drill locked in his special “playroom.”

I prefer a game of Scrabble in my playroom.
Anastasia soon puts up with all varieties of lunacy (never once suggesting to Christian that he may want to chat with a therapist) including what I found much scarier than a riding crop and alligator clips: Christian’s penchant  (and, apparently, the  author’s vision of how seriously rich people recreate ): piloting horribly dangerous forms of air travel from helicopters -- where our hero pays zero attention to the controls -- as well as some sort of futuristic plane that doesn’t seem to have an engine.

All in all, there was lots of lip biting, meaningful eye contact and enough naughty bits to cause me to leap several feet in the air when Seth barged in, er, I mean arrived home.

Let’s face it--If  you’ve read the book, you know you are going to watch the movie when your husband is on jury duty. If you haven’t read it but want tips on etiquette when hanging  from the ceiling while wearing a blindfold and handcuffs, then I definitely recommend it.


As for me, if anyone ever uttered the words “This is called a flogger,” I would have immediately been clawing at the door but there’s nothing like a little sado-masochism to make your Mother’s Day more interesting. I hope you all enjoyed your day, too.

* Apologies to Buzzy for inappropriate use of a cat metaphor.


I do not accept your apology.



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