The Thing Speaks for Whatever

50 Shades of Grey: You May Not Be Excused from the Table Until You’ve Finished Your Liver, Fava Beans, and that Nice Chianti

In Back Door Book Club B!tches 4: Back in the Saddle, Docta K, I read this entire post and all I got was this lousy T-shirt, Katie, Legally Inclined, Ridiculously Long Pocket Guides, Rooks, This verges on the ridiculous, Verbs are people too on June 13, 2012 at 12:28 am

Previously on Res Ipsa Etc., we learned that stopping a potential rape is apparently an affirmative defense to stalking, and were appalled.  This week, BDBCB4:BS got its first new member in the form of one Docta K – are you excited? We are!  (Despite the fact that our loquaciousness quotient went up exponentially . . . that’s, um, not a mathematical exaggeration.)  We are less excited to still be reading this book, and somehow still have yet to hit any of the reputedly epic sexytimes as we traverse chapters 5-7.  Weirdly enough, by the time you get to the end of this admittedly girthy post, you’ll understand why we think that’s a blessing, not a curse.  Strap in, folks, it’s gonna be a drinky ride!

Rooks: Docta K will be in momentarily, but she said we should just start.

Katie: Sounds good.

[In which Ana wakes up in a strange place, which is to say Christian’s hotel room, and over breakfast we discover that Christian is maybe a feeder and Ana is a closeted toothbrush fetishist.]

Katie: To start, I will say that I do not think I would feel tranquil and serene if I had no idea where I was.

Rooks: You mean one should not feel that comfy waking up in a totally unknown bed of a near stranger?  And she was fine with not knowing where she was, but now that she does know she’s freaking the fuck out?  Um, backwards much?

Katie: And now he just strolls in without her permission after taking her drunk self to his hotel, instead of her home?  After stalking her? BOUNDARIES, JACKASS.

Rooks: Well, he took off her pants while she was passed out – maybe he thinks they’re past it. Also, she “feels better than she deserves”? Is getting wasted a capital offense now?

Katie: His singlet is dark with sweat like his hair.

Rooks: What the fuck is a singlet?

Katie: According to Google, it’s either a wrestling outfit or a quantum state with zero spin-

Rooks: Oh man, I hope it’s the quantum state!

Katie: I’m going with the latter.

Rooks:  But really, why would he casually work out in a wrestling outfit for funsies?  Is that a thing dudes in other countries do?

Katie: Ah, apparently it’s a sleeveless shirt in British English.  Oh hey comma splice!  Christian Grey is gonna splice her comma soon, I bet. TEXTUAL FORESHADOWING.

Rooks:  :::snort:::  Um, OK, I have met me a delish smelling person in my day, truly, but I don’t know that saying he smells yummier than a margarita is at all fair, since she had to go and have 5 . . . and her last memory is of them coming up. Violently.

Katie: Plus champagne. Plus beer. And oh my fucking Christ, he didn’t take her home because he didn’t want to risk his leather upholstery, which is to say he cares more about his car than her boundaries and self-determination. Anyway, the best thing about leather is that it wipes clean.

Rooks: I mean, cows shit on leather everyday, when you think about it.

Katie: I bet she could vomit donkey piss and semen on his leather and it would be just fine.

Rooks:  I cannot handle that link and this book at once; it’s a DP mindfuck of epically bad proportions.  Also, unless the bar was down the street from his hotel, I really don’t know that the extra 15 minutes getting across the river or whatevs was gonna matter enough to justify his reasoning.

Katie: Is the link more or less problematic than the phrase, “you were comatose. necrophilia is not my thing”?

Rooks: He likes ‘em “sentient and receptive”!  Consenting?  Meh.

Katie: Okay, I am more sexually attracted to the Pepperidge Farms Geneva cookies I’m eating right now than I am to this man, and I bet those bitches would give me a yeast infection.

Rooks: Those cookies are not alive.  You’re such a filthy cookie necrophiliac.

Katie: When Cookie Monsters Go Bad.

He just read 50 Shades of Grey.

Rooks: I like how he’s wounded because she pointed out that he didn’t have to stalk her in the first damn place, that bitch.

Katie: I expect this fellow is a victim blamer.  “You didn’t eat, you got drunk, you put yourself at risk [ . . . ] I hate to think what could have happened.”  OH, I DON’T KNOW, SOME DUDE COULD HAVE STALKED HER AND THEN ABSCONDED WITH HER TO HIS HOTEL ROOM, WHERE HE REMOVED HER CLOTHES.  MAYBE THAT.

Docta K: HI!

Katie: HI!!

Rooks: Hello!


Katie: BOOK CLUB, HO. Uh oh. Rooks, do we both show as Katie in your chat?

Rooks: No, you show up as your given names, replete with different spellings.


Katie: MY NAME IS WHATEVER CHRISTIAN SAYS IT IS. I seriously feel like that’s where this is heading, because apparently if she were his, he’d have a right to get mad if she got drunk and stuff? Because that’s how it works?

Rooks: Truth.  Docta K, we’re just at the bit where he is basically making her apologize for the fact that he stalked her.

Docta K: Check. And speaking of checks, history check – he does not “sound like a medieval knight.” A medieval knight would be all, “hi, prithee, what’s up, how did you enjoy that raping, what ho, Magna Carta.”

Katie: You’d think Ms. British Lit might have a grasp of that.

Rooks: Naw, she only reads Thomas Hardy – you can major in that at WSU, remember?

Docta K: I think she actually majored in Tess of the d’Urbervilles.

Katie: Fuck. I forgot. Sorry.  Oh, she’s discovered what desire feels like, for the first time in her life – are we going to find out soon that she’s never touched her apparently glittery hooha?

Docta K: First time! She never has. Why would you, really?

Rooks: She’s never held hands with her vag either?!  Regardless, if she majored in Tess her thesis was apparently that life ruining rape = someone having their “wicked way with [you],” so wouldn’t that mean that José would’ve simply had his wicked way with her?

Docta K: Well, unless Christian Grey is around.

Katie: She feels protected because he stalked her. This is what’s wrong with the world.

Rooks: Oh. My. God.  Her subconscious is dancing in a hula skirt; this is how that bullshit with the dancing subconscious starts.

Docta K: I would just like to point out that this book does prove the Footloose theorem. Dancing –> Sexing, especially if it is your subconscious.

“What are you doing with your lives?!”  Such a good question, Rev. Moore.

Docta K: In fairness though, “they are exquisitely designed fancy European lingerie.”  Good use of adjectives. Fancy! They are fancy because of the fanciness!

Katie: All pale blue lace and finery!

Rooks: Thank god it’s not Kate’s apparently horrifying pink PJs – those are an affront to BFF free-rent-itude everywhere.

Katie: She just wants to feel his hands and his mouth on her! I hope reading this book ups my sexting skills. Odds?

Rooks: . . . Slim to Jesus God no.

Katie: Fuck.  Aww, she’s sad because Christian hasn’t made a pass at her, he’s just stalked her and basically kidnapped her.

Docta K: Kidnapping is fine if you buy your victim fancy clothes – it puts the high class, exquisitely designed European lingerie on its skin, or else it gets the hose again.

Katie: Docta K, I am glad you have joined us. Your contributions are stellar.

Docta K:  I feel so loved, and also a little buzzed-

Katie: Like Ana!

Docta K: -because I picked up a bottle of wine at the grocery store. FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER (not the first time ever).

Katie: OH MY GOD I HOPE YOU HAVE SOMEONE TO SAVE YOU FROM YOUR IRRESPONSIBLE SELF. (I am having a margarita to spite Ana.) Oooh, she has to restrain her hair because it won’t cooperate. FORESHADOWING.

Docta K: Inconsistency Note – I would like to disclose at this point that I have, in fact, read all the way to the end of this execrable book so I am using some knowledge FROM THE FUTURE here, but she is like, why did you order so much goddamn breakfast? And he is like, bitch, who knows what the fuck you want to eat, so she is like, “that’s very profligate of you,” but then he is like, “yes, it is” and he sounds guilty. This is interesting because CG’s attitude – as explained in mind numbing detail at many points – is that he can spend however the fuck many dollaz as he wants and she can SUCK A DICK because he is rich and he does what he wants. So why in god’s name, if he is going to shower her with presents from here onward (which he is), does he give a fuck about pancakes? That makes no sense.

Rooks: Now I feel like I am behind in class and should read ahead to be a good book clubber – damn your over-achieving hide, Docta K!

Katie: I currently give a fuck about pancakes. I would really like some pancakes.

Rooks: Bitch, your cookies are way jelly right now.

Katie: The cookies are good, but I already ate like five.

Docta K: Really, I always give a fuck about pancakes. Wine + pancakes would be awesome.

Katie: Then again, I’m not so rich that Ana can suck a dick, so . . .

Rooks: But she never has!

Docta K: Never.

Rooks: (I’m guessing.)

Katie: Has she seen one? Because if we have to hear her describing a dick for the first time, all hard iron and velvet softness or whatever the fuck, I’m going to need another drink.

Rooks: Seriously, what the fuck is Christian’s deal?  She can’t have wet hair now?  My hair can stay damp post washing for up to two days – I’m super bummed that this means he and I will never be one.

Docta K: He’s an asshat. I mean, fucking hell, he should have shaved her head while she was asleep – plan ahead CG! Solve problems before they become problems. You don’t get to be a captain of industry without that skill.

Rooks: Barbering?

Katie: Boundary violating?


Rooks: Oh good, because the demon barber of Pike’s Market doesn’t really have the same ring to it.  Also, if his eyes burn like that all the time, he should maybe see a specialist; eye herpes is totally real.

Katie: I kind of live in fear of that shit.

Docta K: These idiots do a lot of gasping.

Rooks: “I don’t do romance,” I just . . . buy what even we three cynical souls can admit is a rather romantic gift.  What the hell is up with this dude?

Docta K: CG is a powerful man! But is he more powerful than . . . his heart? Oh, probably.

Rooks: “I’m finding it impossible to stay away” . . . because you don’t have a protective order.

Katie: A protective order could never stop CG. Okay, for reals, why is it such a problem that her hair is wet?! SHE JUST TOOK A SHOWER. WTF, she’s not magic.

Docta K: She is magic; that is the premise of the book.

Rooks: A glittery hooha does not constitute magic, dammit.

Docta K: Stupid old boring, brown-haired Ana has nevertheless managed to ensnare the perfect, amazing, feloniously rich Christian, therefore she must be magic, and maybe, just maybe, all of us bored ass housewives? Maybe we are magic too.

Katie: When does she start sparkling?

Docta K: OH. Ladies, can I tell a story? I teach at a studio a couple mornings a week and 50 Shades is a hot topic, because the clientele at said studio is mostly what seems to be the ideal target demographic – rich white ladies with kids who are peri-menopausal – so they are all on fire about this book, which is nutty. It’s gotten to the point where this one lady actually yelled at me because she asked me what I thought about it, and I was like, “I think the book is written like crap and I think the sex is boring and the kink is done incorrectly.” So she replies, “TRY BEING MARRIED FOR FORTY YEARS.”

And I was like, okay, well, you are paying dollaz to this studio, and if I want to be a captain of industry like CG, I will keep my mouth shut . . . but I wanted to say, “IT IS NOT MY FAULT YOUR SEX LIFE IS BORING; THE INTERNET IS THERE FOR A REASON.” Instead I said, “try to keep your left hip lifted a little more and engage your core,” and then I made her do like 23948209384 sit-ups.

Rooks: Wait, she yelled at you for that? Also, sit-ups are the best revenge.  Sadism done right!

Docta K: She totally did. I may have said, “just because there is some mildly kinky junior varsity sex in this book does not make it noteworthy.” Anyway…

Katie:  “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” That works on a lot of levels right now, but you know, I bet no one has ever said that to him before and never will again.

Rooks: Dude, if Ana doesn’t like the “Christian Grey Inquisition” or the “Kate Kavanagh Inquisition,” I’d be happy to introduce her to the Torquemada Inquisition.

It’s what you oughtn’t to do, but you do anyway!

Katie: Wait, “does he white-slave small children” – because that’s worse than black-slaving them?

Rooks:  Wait, what?  White-slavery?  Are we about to Mann Act up in this bitch?!

Docta K: Look out Ana! Where is your passport?!?!

Katie: He has a helicopter. Of course he has a helicopter. I hope he also has a motherfucking hovercraft. Because if I were that rich, I would have a motherfucking hovercraft up in that bitch.

Docta K: That’s what slaving will get you. Also, white-slave (or any color slave) is not a verb, is it?

Rooks:  I think we once had a fight over verbs and gerunds while playing Facts in Five, so are you actually asking me? As for the “white-slave” thing –  it might be really most offensive that it’s only bad if he white-slaves them “to a godforsaken part of the planet.”  Like if he sends ’em to the Bay Area or something, well, that’s just those heathens in San Francisco, no biggie.

Docta K: “Like Eve, you’re so quick to eat from the tree of knowledge.” Wrong. Wrong. Because of so many reasons, but for the moment, because the serpent is a subtil beast, which CG is not. MORE WIN. Shit. WINE, dammit. (Although more win would also be ideal.)

Katie: More win would help a lot at this point. Oh, now he’s sullen because she won’t eat the excessive amounts of food he’s ordered.  That’s a stupid fucking thing to be sullen about. Also, dumbass, you don’t get ill from going out with wet hair in the fucking summer.  Finally, “I leave the table, wondering for a moment if I should ask permission.” OH REALLY. By the end of this book I feel like she’ll be asking permission to ask permission to blink, or some shit.

Rooks: I wonder if one’s food counts as finished if one dumps the contents of one’s plate in the man’s lap, or if he’d then have her wondering if she should ask permission to get on her knees to lick it up, despite the fact that she’s not hungry.  You know, like he probably would for his precious upholstery.

Docta K: Ugh, I hate this book. I have such an issue with the food thing. Book Club, ok, BDBCB4:BS Question: Is Christian Grey basically a non-consensual feeder?

Katie: Anything is possible.

Rooks: Maybe?  I mean, he’s not trying to add more to her plate, but since he won’t take her home until she eats to his specifications, regardless of her hunger or lack thereof, it doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility at the mo’-

Katie: Oh. My. Fucking. God. Oh my god, ohmyfuckinggod. It gets weirder.

“I want to clean my teeth. I eye Christian’s toothbrush. It would be like having him in my mouth . . . I feel the bristles on the toothbrush. They are damp. He must have used it already. Grabbing it quickly, I squirt toothpaste on it and brush my teeth in double quick time. I feel so naughty. It’s such a thrill.”


Rooks: Illicit toothbrush use – all the cool kids are doing it.

Rule 34!

Katie: 40 lashes?

Docta K: At least.

Rooks: I once let an ex use my toothbrush, but it seemed really odd.  Then I got over it.

Docta K: I am not cool with it – it seems weird. I don’t know; I don’t have a good rationale.

Katie: I mean, I’m generally fine with it? But it’s not, like, naughty. It’s utilitarian.

Rooks: It wasn’t sexy teethbrushing.

Docta K: Dental hygiene is always sexy. You know what’s not sexy? The gum disease gingivitis.

Katie: Solid point.

[In which elevator kissing occurs, Kate briefly gets her own, way more fulfilled, morning after, and Christian takes Ana on a helicopter ride.]

Docta K: Goddamn, I am blowing through this bottle of Lambrusco. Lambrusco! a sparkling red that’s crisp and delicious, the perfect summer wine!  This post is brought to you by the Emilia Romagna Lambrusco Vintner’s Association, and the number 13.

Rooks: I bet the Lambrusco’s happy about that? I was gonna go get a beer and a whiskey, but I don’t wanna miss anything.  Ok, now her inner goddess is doing a samba? When the girl herself is barely ambulatory? On a scale of one to ten, book clubbers, how likely is that?

Katie: Hey, I’m still surprised she knows what an erection is.

Rooks: It’s like Stone Henge! I mean, American Stone Henge!

Katie: But if I ever refer to my inner goddess, ever

Rooks: Shoot the goddess?

Katie: I was going to say please kill me, but that works too.

Docta K: Alright, in fairness, I also like making out in elevators.

Katie: Oh, me too.

Rooks: Thirded.

Docta K: Though I feel like that’s not particularly helpful because I like making out in pretty much all closed conveyances.

Katie: Gondola?

Docta K: Like it!

Rooks: I mean, elevators are hot.

Docta K: Hannibal Lecter escaped in an elevator, when he borrowed that dude’s face.  Just saying.

Rooks: Anthony Hopkins . . . also kinda hot!  Not sure why.

Docta K: I would like a 50 Shades of Grey/Silence of the Lambs compare/contrast-

Katie: Ooooh.

Docta K: -because! Clarice Starling! She’s a bad ass and owns her shit

Rooks: Brown hair, big eyes?

Docta K: Good bag, cheap shoes. Shoots to kill-

Rooks: Plays to thrill.  Ok, reverse that.

Katie: CHAPTER 6. Thank god. “I touch my lips, swollen from his kiss. It definitely happened. I am a changed woman.” Jesus. What the hell is going to happen when he finally fucks her?

Rooks: Oh hey, NDA! Non-Disclosure Agreement! My minimal knowledge of contracts is doing a polka!

Docta K: How has Ana never heard The Flower Duet before? Christ, it’s like a goddamn cliché. I can think of like, three commercials that use it, including one for British Air.

Rooks:  I was about to be all, “I haven’t heard it,” but then I looked at that.  I’ve heard it.

Katie: Apropos of being a changed person, I’m just going to leave this here.

Rooks: Dude, I endeavor to not be at all critical when it comes to peoples’ bits and what they consensually do with them, because Betty Dodson would hurt me and I love her, but I feel the need to point out that those seem like they would be replicating some rather swollen labial lips, non?

Katie: Oui.

Rooks: Ok, airlines and operas and feminization bondage gear – I’ve totally hit the “I’m getting a drink, dammit” trifecta.  I’m a page or two ahead, so it should be ok.  I part on the note that Christian’s iPod is rather all over the place; even I wouldn’t segue from opera to “Sex on Fire”.

Docta K: Um, those boys are pretty. Also, Ana doesn’t know who Tallis is? Philistine! Did you not sing in a chapel choir during your time in Oxford?! Oh, um, probably not. Nevermind.

Katie: I don’t know if you can get into Oxford if you major in Tess of the d’Ubervilles.

Rooks: Back! Bulleit and a beer, 4th Meal of champions.

Katie: Whatevsies, I think my second . . . um, third cocktail wins.

Docta K: I just had Bulleit for the first time the other night at the dive bar near my house! The guy said it, “has a bitter aftertaste, but not a bad one,” but I don’t know that I agree. I think it drinks very smoothly.

Rooks: I think it does as well.  Did you have the rye or the bourbon?  And credit where it’s due, I have to say that this bourbon is making me loads less stabby about this book.

Docta K: The bourbon – I am drinking my way through American bourbons, having conquered Highland, Islay, and Orkney single malts.


Docta K: Hey! What if Ana is HERESY and Christian is the GLORIOUS AND TRIUMPHANT CHURCH MILITANT? Then I would be real excited about this book.

Katie: I bet that’s going to be in the epilogue of Book 3.

Rooks: Wait, this is a morality play?!  It makes so much more sense!  All the subtext, ladies!

Docta K: Gasp! I didn’t major in T of the d’U, but I would venture that it MAY BE ONE.

Katie: Okay, he’s not alright with her having preferences about her own name?  Called it!

Rooks: This dude is un-fucking-real.  Since he prefers Mr. Grey so much, she should start calling that asswipe Christian constantly, and let’s see how he likes it.

Docta K: Interestingly enough, correcting you about your own name is a super English thing to do – they used to correct me all the time.

Rooks: Also, my stalker won’t kiss me! My life is awful!

Katie: I know I get real sad when my stalker won’t kiss me.

Rooks: Hey, did “rare precious moments in elevators” put anyone else in mind of these?

Katie: I wish they’d make kinky Precious Moments figurines; I’d totally buy them for my boyfriend. Instead I have to settle for baby jesus butt plugs.

Rooks: That would be sweet, right?  A baby Jesus butt plug next to a Precious Moments dungeon scene – who would not be all over that shit?  You’re a good girlfriend.

Katie: And yet I still have preferences about my name – how does that work?

Docta K: No, you don’t. Drink this English Breakfast tea, and it will solve that problem.

Katie: “For some strange reason, she doesn’t trust him.” I wonder how many totally reasonable reasons are on that list. Also, apparently Kate isn’t actually a super slut extraordinaire. From the way Ana was going on earlier, you’d’ve thought she was.

Rooks: “Compliant Kate”?  Really, author lady?  Really?!  Fine, if you’re going to say a good deep dickin’ is functionally a lobotomy, why don’t you just go with this and have done:

You lie, in faith; for you are call’d plain Kate,
And bonny Kate, and sometimes Kate the curst;
But Kate, the prettiest Kate in Christendom,
Kate of Kate Hall, my super-dainty Kate,
For dainties are all cates: and therefore, Kate,
Take this of me, Kate of my consolation; —
Hearing thy mildness prais’d in every town,
Thy virtues spoke of, and thy beauty sounded,
(Yet not so deeply as to thee belongs,) —
Myself am mov’d to woo thee for my wife.

Katie: I think my new goal is to be known as Kate the curst at work.

Docta K: I’m pretty sure I already am, i’faith.

Rooks:  I feel like this makes me the Veronica to y’all’s Heather.

They needed a mallet.

Katie: “Tonight’s the night!” Betcha it isn’t. The only person getting laid this week is named Kate, which is as it should be.  Oh christ, her inner goddess, again – for someone who constantly describes herself as mousy and unattractive, she’s really into her inner goddess.

Docta K: “Even I know helicopters need space to take off and land.” Do they? Not a lot! That’s kind of the point of helicopters!

Katie: Don’t be silly. Also, I don’t care what CG says on the way up to their ride; I’d just like to state for the record that you can fit some pretty good kissing in in three floors worth of elevator.

Rooks: Depending on the speed, you can fit more than kissing in, ifyouknowwhatI’msayin’.

Katie: Oh, he likes strapping her into the safety harness. I think I might be getting an idea about where this book is headed.

Docta K: Oh hey dude who clearly knows how to pilot a helicopter, “how do you know you’re going the right way?” “Because the light of Christ is guiding me, Ana. It can guide you, too . . . ”

Rooks: Um, I llol’d.  Precious Moments!  Oh, hey, night flying is so “eerie”!

Katie: You know what would be awesome? If they’d flown the helicopter over Lake Erie and he’d said “Erie, isn’t it.”

Docta K: Ha! Even I would fair be called bonny Kate if someone said that to me.

Rooks:  I like how she tells us we’re in US airspace.

Docta K: You know, just in case.

Rooks: Um, lady, unless he has the worst Mapquest ever and misses Seattle, no one was particularly concerned on that front.

Docta K: “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You know that, don’t you?” Except: blow dry your hair-

Rooks: And eat-

Katie: And go by Anastasia.

Docta K: Wear these clothes.

Katie: Don’t be a drunk bitch.

Docta K: Do what I say. Accept some presents.

Rooks: Don’t talk to other dudes with too much familiarity.  Work for my company.  Sign this NDA.

Docta K: Go in my helicopter on a creepy (eerie!) date. Make out with me in an elevator.

Rooks: Or don’t make out with me in an elevator.

Docta K: Depends on the day. And the elevator.

Rooks:  And the inner goddess’ Zumba schedule.

Docta K: But the point is, Anastasia, it’s all about you.

Katie: All of it.

Docta K: You could not have more agency – it’s not possible. LISTEN TO ME WHEN I TALK TO YOU.

Rooks: You feel that? It’s the sweet feeling of freedom . . . oh, and I like this harness.

Katie: You have agency, so shut the fuck up-

Rooks: And call me Mr. Grey.

[In which Ana and Christian arrive at his (still poorly decorated) apartment, explore the color wheel and his playroom, and completely screw the pooch – but nothing else – when it comes to contracts.]

Docta K: I have a theory to advance.

Katie: I am most anxious to hear your theory, after I comment that I think it’s been officially confirmed that her sense of style is rather lacking, and I hope he helps her with that. I mean, if anything good is going to come of this.

Rooks: Like his taste level is so unproblematic.  They both need help.

Docta K: What do you mean? Black jeans are the epitome of stylin’. But anyway, it is impossible to write about truly consensual power exchange-y sex when your female protagonist is not a self-realized character.

Katie: I think that is a solid theory.

Docta K: I am still not sure about it, but I think it’s true.

Rooks: I think your theory is on the money.  Said heroine wouldn’t have to be perfectly together or a Mary Sue

Docta K: -She just has to have some goddamn sense of self. But here she is, wearing Kate’s clothes, doing whatever Christian says, incapable of owning her shit. [eds. note: Ana’s actually wearing her own clothes in this particular scene, but you get the idea.]

Rooks: Yeah, the power dynamic is so unequal from the outset in terms of self, even without considering situational context, that there’s no recovering the believability of unencumbered consent.

Docta K: Right – seriously, how can she possibly give consent to a ham sandwich, much less anything else?

I wanna sex you up.

Katie: Maybe we are doing our relationships wrong, and that’s why we’re unfulfilled.

Rooks: WoahMG, guys!  I just had an epiphany.

Docta K: Oh do tell!

Rooks: If Christian is Mr. Grey, and Michael Madsen in Reservoir Dogs is Mr. Blonde

Docta K: SHUT UP. I see where this is going.

Rooks: And you know what he does!  Oh, for our “hero” to be a cop upon that chair . . .

Katie: I’ve never seen Reservoir Dogs.

Docta K: Really? It’s pretty good! I think it makes Pulp Fiction look super derivative, though.

Rooks: Agree with all of that!  It’s probably my fave thing of Tarantino’s, unless you count the O-Ren Ishii storyline of Kill Bill Vol.1 as an individual thing.

Katie: Did Docta K just disappear because she’s disgusted about my taste in film?

Docta K: Phew! I closed the window by accident, because I am drinky, or because I safeworded out of this chat?

Rooks: I call bullshit, you totally consented to Hump Day Reads.

Docta K: It’s too much! Chrysanthemum!

Rooks: Heliotrope!

Docta K: Yay! I like that I, in fact, already knew your safeword. That is friendsies for you.

Rooks: Oh man, I really hope Katie’s safeword is a flower now, because wouldn’t that be a hell of a coincidink?  This is about to be a seriously juicy tangent, and I don’t care.

Katie: Everyone knows Rooks’ safeword, as she’s all slutty with that shit.

Docta K: It’s true, because she is a ho.

Rooks: Fuck all y’all, you dirty slut-shaming biznatches.  Katie, what’s yours, and it had better be a flower, despite your totally free will.

Katie: Hyacinth.

Docta K: REALLY?!!!!!!!! Just like Phèdre! Actually, those books are why mine is chrysanthemum.

Rooks: Mine was heliotrope before I read them, but talk about some hot and well written BDSM sexytimes! It’s like a book miracle!  Wait, Katie, are you lying to make me happy?

Docta K: (I believe her.)

Katie: (I might be lying.)

Docta K: (I believe everything.)

Katie: But! I think I want that to be it from henceforth; I really like hyacinths.

Rooks: So did this conversation make you change your safeword?

Katie: It may have. You just straight Christianed me.

Docta K: Bitch, you are like a Visigoth. You got Christianed. Although sadly you retain the Arian heresy and a strange attachment to the use of ‘filioque’.

Katie: Hahaha – oh look!  She’s not hungry for food?  What do you suppose she is hungry for? Knowledge?

Rooks: And we’re back!  Dude, the butterflies are totally infesting her stomach; she should build them a pavilion or call the Orkin man.

Docta K: Something is legit coming out of her center, à la Alien.

Katie: She is comparing herself to Tess in Alec d’Urberville’s house. This can’t go well.

Christian:”I could hold you to some impossibly high ideal like Angel Clare or debase you completely like Alec D’Uberville.”
Ana:”If there are only two choices, I’ll take the debasement.”

Um, hello? Rape? NON-CONSENSUAL DEBASEMENT? Does no one in this book remember that part of the novel?  There is like, nothing romantic about the plot of T of the d’U.

Docta K: I mean, I’ll take the petite filet with a cabernet reduction, so long as we’re choosing things.

Katie: That sounds delicious.  Also, I love that his lawyer insists on the NDA.

Rooks: Well, if he’s gonna be debasing people, it’s probably a really good idea.  I don’t blame you lawyer person!  Zealous representation and all that!

Katie: “Does this mean that you’re going to make love to me tonight, Christian?” Oh honey. No, we’re going to the playroom.

Rooks: But um, wait, did she just sign that NDA without reading it?  DID SHE?!

Katie: “You want me to play on your Xbox.” Naive, much?  No, honeybear, he’s going to play in yours, but only if you beg prettily I bet – Spanish Inquisition-style.

Rooks: Ok, this is maybe the first thing he’s said that I’m halfway fine with – “I don’t make love, I fuck . . . hard.” It’s both a semantic and philosophical choice everyone has to make for themselves, so I can respect being clear on that point (though I get the feeling that he’s not gonna be able hold to that resolution by the end of this trilogy).

Docta K: BDBCB4:BS Discussion Question: CG knows that Ana likes Thomas Hardy. Is it perhaps the case that 50 Shades is more a re-writing of Jude the Obscure – a frankly erotic story about a social climber whose social ambitions are never realized – than it is a reference to Tess of the d’Urbervilles?

Katie: Yeah, I don’t think 50 Shades goes that deep. You know, unlike Christian, according to him.

Rooks: Heh.  I agree with Katie that it may not be that deep, because also – if summaries of the trilogy entire are to be believed – she’s gonna Fix Him and stuff.

Docta K: Oh, gross. I hope not. I hope he remains the Unscale-able Edifice, the Imposing Erection of Social Norms.

Rooks: Which, if she does, would be the ultimate realization of social aspirations in the rubric of femininity as outlined and implied herein thus far.

Katie: I like that she knows what a riding crop is, but then resorts to “funny-looking feathery implements.”

Rooks: Way to kibosh one of the few deeply intellectual moments we’ve managed to have in our collective drunken tipsy haze.

Docta K: Dude, it’s an apothecary’s cabinet!

Katie: “Each drawer slim as if designed to contain specimens in a crusty old museum.” Crusty like her vajay.

Rooks: Specimens like his throbbing member.

Docta K: I know an herbal supplement for that. (That too.)  Regardless, the bed is “an ornately carved rococco four-poster with a flat top. It looks late nineteenth century.” Apparently her major at WSU includes antiques appraisal as well, as she’s never heard of proper wines or decent underwear, yet she can sight appraise antique furniture.

Katie: She apparently has hidden depths, you know, other than the depths hidden betwixt her slender legs.

Rooks: What the fu . . . wait a damn minute.  No.  If it’s motherfucking rococo, that is a late 18th century style.

Docta K: For realz – it’s late baroque, hence my favorite portmanteau, which I invented for the truly hideous fusion of baroque + rococo: BACOCO.  Also, rococo is all about curved lines in terms of furnishings, so there’s like zero chance that a rococo bed would have a flat top – that’s practically Eliza-fucking-bethan.

Does this movement make me look flat?


Rooks: I think BACOCO should be the new line of glittery edible panties from [enter celebutante/reality star here].  Ok, can I also say that the fact that she feels that his playroom has a “womblike” effect creeps me the hell out?  And I’m still trying to figure out how a woman with zero fashion sense knows what color oxblood is.

Katie: Another good question.

Rooks: And this, kiddles, is why authors need to be careful about writing in the first person.

Docta K: “But I am puzzled by the soft-boudoir Elizabethan-torture setup.”  Well then don’t conspire to blow up Parliament, Anastasia Fawkes. “Remember, remember the fifth of November . . . ”

Rooks: Dude, “I see no reason why [all of this book should ever not] be forgot.”

Katie: “Kind, caring Christian, who rescues me from inebriation” . . . by stalking you, you crazy bitch.

Rooks: Also, I really think some of this stuff she’s all freaked by might have been in that NDA, so she really has no damn excuse for being surprised by what that contract might have covered, since she opted not to read the damn thing, regardless of whether he’s now soon to be proffering an additional and more specific contract.

Docta K: Note from THE FUTURE – She reads it later and it was.

Katie: Wait, are there kinds of baguettes that aren’t French?

Docta K: Diamonds? I suppose those aren’t inherently French. Oooh, blood diamonds. This book is racist!

Rooks: Oxblood diamonds! This book has a racist color wheel!

Katie: “No. I haven’t signed anything yet, so I think I’ll hang on to my free will for a bit longer, if that’s okay with you.” But only if it’s ok with you!

Docta K: On the other hand, cheese plate!  Goddamn, I love cheese. If there were a man who knew his cheese and had 23948329048239842394829348 dollars and wanted to beat the ever loving crap out of me, I would be sold, but Christian Grey is not that guy.

Katie: I would fight you for him, provided he isn’t this douchenoz.

Docta K: Dude, cheese is LEGIT.

Katie: Far, far too legit to quit.

This jacket is actually made of Camembert.

Rooks: Wait. Wait. She’s asking him how she goes about wanting to please him. Not pleasing him itself – wanting to!  You have got to be fucking kidding me.  Also, y’all can have the Roquefort Billionaire.  I will peremptorily bow out of that catfight, because the contract may have covered or will cover force feeding me cheese, and then I’d vomit on his upholstery, and then I could never, ever please him.

Docta K: True! Yay for me and Katie! CHEESY SEXY FABULOUS TIMES.

Katie: I’m sorry, but I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t be asking a girl who’s never kissed someone, let alone considered a D/s relationship before, to sign a fucking contract right off the bat.

Rooks: It’s not taking advantage, they were totally equal parties at the table, so lack of knowledge is not a defense for breech if the knowledge could’ve been obtained!  Or something.  Holy shit, that almost sounds like I remember a lot more about contracts than I think I actually do.

Docta K: Oh Ana, it’s better to ask. “Only an agent endowed with an intellect can act with a judgment which is free, in so far as it apprehends the common note of goodness; from which it can judge this or the other thing to be good.” It’s like Thomas Aquinas and I both just stated the Docta K theorem of consent – Ana does not have an intellect, therefore she cannot consent. As I have said to my students, the answers are all in Thomas Aquinas, so if it ain’t in the Summa, it ain’t a problem.

Katie: This contract is awful. She’s not allowed to eat between meals? I WILL SNACK, MOTHERFUCKER. Also, she finds it unpleasant to shave, pluck her eyebrows, and fucking exfoliate – we know this from her apparently oh-so-arduous pre-date buffing from Kate – so now she’s going to sign a contract that requires those behaviors at all times? Also, “’I’m not sure about accepting money for clothes. It feels wrong.’ I shift uncomfortably, the word ‘ho’ rattling round my head.” I can’t even.

Rooks: I’m still stuck on “the monster who possesses whips and chains in the special room.”  It’s like just when I think I might, for once, be able to be on Ana’s side, she fucking does something stupid, like sign without reading, or thinks something stupid, like being a judgmental bitch who doesn’t know rococo or kink from a hole in the fucking ground. Also, Christian is totally a closet feeder.

Docta K: OH NO! ANA IS A BIG FAT STUPID BROWN HAIRED VIRGIN! No one saw that coming! I have to say, even if Capt of Industry Cheese La Fabulous-

Rooks: I think he prefers Robber Baron von Fondue, but go ahead.

Docta K: -were everything that is good, if he loved the rococo, there would be an issue.

Katie: A big issue, for sure. So, is he angry or excited that she’s a virgin?  I guess we’ll find out next week?

[In which our level of excitement for the upcoming chapters is directly proportional to our love of the Rococo movement and various idiosyncratic foods, and we discuss contracts in such a manner as to not bore you to death.]

Rooks: My God.  My sweet Jesus God.  I know I’ve kinda bemoaned the lack of sex thus far, since that’s the thrust of the book-

Katie: As it were.

Rooks: But, like cheese, I am pretty sure I don’t want it now, just from the smell.

Katie: I am with you, but replace cheese with cilantro.

Docta K: Having eaten the metaphorical cheese – or for me, egg noodles – I can tell you that you are right, it is horrible.

Rooks: I mean, the author has somehow managed to effectively establish precisely one thing (besides the fact that we hate these people), and that is the fact that Ana cannot know what she is getting into at all.  As such, any nod to consent, even contractually, is practically bollocks.  American bollocks.

Katie: Big, bulbous bollocks.  I really enjoyed typing that.  Anyway, no, not at all.

Rooks: Like, multiple partners? Not in his contract, but dollars to donuts says it wouldn’t be kosher with Ana the Virgin who Yearns Only For Him.

Docta K: Um, doesn’t it say he can’t loan her out? I think it does – or maybe that’s a subsequent contract . . . there are going to be a lot of them, FYI.

Katie: Regardless, it is not a very well written contract, in my professional legal opinion.  He should consolidate that shit. Hey, can he white-slave her, though? Contractually?  Was that covered?

Rooks: Well, it says she can’t enter into another sexual relationship, but multiple partner sex as directed by him is not explicitly covered, no, or at least not in this/these contracts thus far – it doesn’t say he can’t loan her out per se.  And Katie, I saw no mention of godforsaken places, so I for one don’t see any reason why not.

Docta K: Fair enough, it was later, then.  Also, agree – right now, there’s no clause about the exchange of her physical person for goods and/or services, but it will say that later.

Rooks: I’m glad no one can ever white-slave me; finally, a socio-political advantage to being black!  Oh. Wait.

Katie: You are so lucky; it’s a terrible burden to carry, the knowledge that I might be white-slaved.

Docta K: I have a poem that might help you.

Rooks: White man’s burden is lots of flimsy paperwork!

Katie: White woman’s burden is free clothes and having to eat!

Docta K: So now you clean this up and post it?  That is a good deal for me.

Katie: I’m used to good deals – it’s the whiteness.

Docta K: I just pass as white, but regardless, we are awesome and self-realized and thus capable of consent.

Katie: I consent to being awesome.


Rooks: As do I . . . and I really like this harness.

[Next week, we are almost positive that the main couple will have sex, and we are incredibly sad about that. We also think we may’ve found a website that actually counted the number of references to Ana’s “inner goddess” and incredibly active subconscious in the book entire.  In the interim, thanks to reader Mandy for our 50 Shades of the Internet randomness this week (below).  Until we bemoan shitty books together again . . . ]

Yeah, but it’s *still* not cool.

  1. You had me at “admittedly girthy post.”

  2. Did you mean Anthony Hopkins, or were you just adding a non sequitur about the soul singer dude?

    Also, I think I’d have trouble remembering a random flower’s name by the time I needed it. Maybe your kink involves less/different mindgames than mine?

    • I do like that dude’s voice, but maybe I meant Alexander Hamilton, and have decided to next do a pornographic retelling of The Federalist Papers? (No, I totally meant Anthony Hopkins – good catch, and edited accordingly!)

      I actually picked heliotrope due to liking the way it sounds as a collection of syllables – heliotrope just rolls off the tongue; I think it has good mouthfeel. I first heard the word as a color, and didn’t even know it was a flower as well until reading the Kushiel books. Oddly, I’m not particularly enamored of the color *or* the flower, I just (perhaps perversely) picked as a safeword a word I liked to say, but rarely got a chance to use. (Ha, even as I type this I’m realizing that I still don’t get to use it very much, actually. As an illustrative example though, my safeword was almost “graduated cylinder” instead, for the same reasons.) Regardless, once you’ve had the same safeword for over a decade, I feel like it’s not very hard to remember, no matter the circumstances. (Honestly, I can think of circumstances under which it was easier to remember than how to spell my own name.) We should see how Katie’s switch to hyacinth goes . . .

  3. […] Previously on Res Ipsa Etc., our BDBCB4:BS duo became a trio, and we discovered the myriad ways in which Silence of the Lambs is much awesomer than this book.  After a minor scheduling induced hiatus, we’re back this week, though admittedly we, um, fell prey to sharks.  Seriously, a lot of sharks.  A lot.  Unfortunately, learning about the wonders of marine life doesn’t actual kill you the way actual marine life would, so, though chummy enough, we were all alive to wax biological on Chapter 8 of Fifty Shades of Grey, in which Christian and Ana finally fucking do the deed.  Read on at your peril – there’s blood in the water. […]

  4. […] 50 Shades of Grey: You May Not Be Excused from the Table Until You've Finished Your Liver, Fava… […]

  5. […] Rooks: I’m pretty sure you already dropped that knowledge approximately three posts ago. […]

Whatever, yo.

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