50 Shades of Hype

I got into a conversation with some of my girlfriends about when we were going to see the movie 50 Shades of Grey and whether any of us had read the book. One friend said she tried to read it, but couldn’t get into it and gave up. Because I’ve heard that the writing is atrocious, I haven’t read the book yet, either. We’re both simply using the movie as a reason to hang out with our friends.

I happened to see a link or a recommended post on Facebook to a blog post by Dave Barry in March of last year on what he learned about being a husband from reading 50 Shades of Grey. Dave Barry, for those who don’t know, has been a long-time humor columnist and blogger for the Miami Herald.

The difference between a man’s idea of a porno and a woman’s idea of a porno, Barry says, is that the men want to have “invested maybe ninety seconds of his time, can put the book down and go back to watching SportsCenter” while women don’t mind if “Many pages go by in this book without any of It getting done, although there is a great deal of thinking and talking about It.” That sounds about right to me!

Barry riffs on the plot, the characters, and the dialogue in a way that only Dave Barry can. In the end, the book teaches him the most important lesson. The book teaches men that women “are interested in sex! We’re just not interested in sex with you unless you’re a superhot billionaire.” (Duh!)

Okay, okay. It’s not true because there are far more women who want sex than there are billionaires in the world, and we’re not gonna just sit around waiting for them to get around to us. Screw that – or us. Oh, screw it – just screw! People like sex and want sex and 50 Shades of Grey is simply another book that lets people get all hot and bothered. We kind of like that kind of stuff.

Another suggested page was a collection of Twitter posts by the user @50ShedsofGrey, who describes the user as “erotica for the not-so-modern male”. I bust out laughing when I saw the user name, not only because of the play on words, but because it reminded me of the Monty Python sketch ‘Arthur ‘Two Sheds’ Jackson’.

The first example in the list highlights the brilliance of this user’s ability to riff on both the 50 Shades of Grey book and erotica in general:

At the touch of her lips, it grew long and swollen. I sighed as she squeezed and pulled expertly. It was the best balloon giraffe I’d seen.

Of course, if I were EL James, I would be laughing all the way to the bank. I mean – seriously – writer of a poorly written book and getting $4 million for a movie based on said book? That’s an example of capitalism in all its enviable, frustrating glory.


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