Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Let's Read Fifty Shades of Grey: Chapter 2!

[Apparently this is how I procrastinate Cosmocking now. Darnit. It is coming, I swear.]

We continue where we left off: with a heroine defined by awkward babbling and a hero defined by being Dracula.


My heart is pounding. The elevator arrives on the first floor, and I scramble out as soon as the doors slide open, stumbling once, but fortunately not sprawling on to the immaculate sandstone floor.[..] I close my eyes and take a deep, purifying breath, trying to recover what’s left of my equilibrium. No man has ever affected me the way Fridge LargeMeat has, and I cannot fathom why. Is it his looks? His civility? Wealth? Power? I don’t understand my irrational reaction.
I don't either, believe me.  Is this the first time she's met a man?  A young man?  A good-looking man?  A sort of polite man?  An unbearably egotistical man?

I guess the point here is that love is just something that comes over you, like a bad batch of hamburger catching up with you while you're on the freeway, rather than a connection that develops between two people who actually know and like each other.
An involuntary shiver runs down my spine. He may be arrogant, but then he has a right to be – he’s accomplished so much at such a young age. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly, but why should he?
*wanking gesture*
I check the speedometer. I’m driving more cautiously than I would on any other occasion. And I know it’s the memory of two penetrating gray eyes gazing at me, and a stern voice telling me to drive carefully.
Seriously, she just met this guy.  At least when this road-safety-hallucinations bit happened in Twilight they were actually dating.
“Mostly he was courteous, formal, slightly stuffy – like he’s old before his time. He doesn’t talk like a man of twenty-something. How old is he anyway?”
Hey, E.L. James?  When you were editing this so it wasn't a vampire story any more, I think you missed a spot.
“Why did you want to know if he was gay?" [...] 
 “Whenever he’s in the society pages, he never has a date.”
That's not actually how gay works.
Later that evening, I call Ray, my stepdad, Mom’s Husband Number Two, the man I consider my father, and the man whose name I bear.
So her father is Ray Steele?
I just haven’t met anyone who… well, whom I’m attracted to, even though part of me longs for those trembling knees, heart-in-my-mouth, butterflies-in-my-belly, sleepless nights.
Being in that kind of love sounds so uncomfortable. I'm not sure I want that.  I like love that feels like warm fuzzies and emotional security a lot better than love that feels like gastroenteritis.
Saturday at the store is a nightmare. We are besieged by do-it-yourselfers wanting to spruce up their homes. [...] I glance up… and find myself locked in the bold gray gaze of Roll FizzleBeef who’s standing at the counter, staring at me intently. Heart failure. “Miss Steele. What a pleasant surprise.” His gaze is unwavering and intense.
Gahhh!  She lives a hundred and fifty miles away from him!  And she never told him where she works!  This is not okay!
His voice is warm and husky like dark melted chocolate fudge caramel… or something.
*falls out of chair*
“There are a few items I need. To start with, I’d like some cable ties,” he murmurs, his gray eyes cool but amused. [...] “I’d like some masking tape.” [...] “I’ll take five yards of the natural filament rope please.”
This shopping list is coming off less sexytimes and more "if he adds in quicklime and a shovel, we're going to notify the sheriff's office."

...What kinky thing is he going to do with masking tape?  Very precise body painting?

And, to put on my serious kinkster hat for a moment, it's really icky and immature to try to scandalize customer service staff with your kinkiness. Yes, the clerk at Home Depot gets it, you're going to use rope for sexy sex things, and they're approximately as intrigued and delighted as the staff at Rite Aid were when you held your box of condoms aloft and screamed "THESE ARE FOR MY PENIS!"
I feel the color in my cheeks rising again. I must be the color of the communist manifesto.
Sort of sepia, in a lot of printings.  Red wasn't associated with communism until like 20 years after The Communist Manifesto was written.  Honestly, though, I just wanted you to see this line.
Paul has always been a buddy, and in this strange moment that I’m having with the rich, powerful, awesomely off-the-scale attractive control-freak SteakFace, it’s great to talk to someone who’s normal. Paul hugs me hard taking me by surprise. “Ana, hi, it’s so good to see you!” he gushes. “Hello Paul, how are you? You home for your brother’s birthday?” “Yep. You’re looking well, Ana, really well.” [...] 
When I glance up at Slab SquatThrust, he’s watching us like a hawk, his gray eyes hooded and speculative, his mouth a hard impassive line. He’s changed from the weirdly attentive customer to someone else – someone cold and distant.
Paul seems nice. I'm on Team Paul.  (And for all we know he's a perv too.  Astonishing fact: someone can be kinky and be a casual, friendly person.  You don't have to act like a brooding sex vampire 24/7 before you're allowed to try spanking.)

I am not on Team "furiously jealous because a woman he met yesterday and has no relationship with is having a completely innocent conversation with another man."  You want a better simile for your blushing, Ana?  "I must be the color of this GIGANTIC RED FLAG."

The part that makes this genuinely upsetting, though, is that this is supposed to be super romantic. Jealousy is supposed to be a sign someone likes you, so being holy-shit-scary-jealous must be a sign he really likes you.  And this leads to places darker than I really want to go to on the same page as multiple diarrhea jokes.
“Would you like a bag?” I ask as I take his credit card. “Please, Anastasia.” His tongue caresses my name, and my heart once again is frantic.
I'm reading all of Smoke ManMuscle's lines in Bela Lugosi's voice.
“Oh – and Anastasia, I’m glad Miss Kavanagh couldn’t do the interview.” He smiles, then strides with renewed purpose out of the store, slinging the plastic bag over his shoulder, leaving me a quivering mass of raging female hormones.
Why is he glad?  I mean, okay, I'll take it as a given that Trunk SlamChest is so unearthly beautiful that women can barely stay vertical around him, but we haven't heard about any men falling into babbling trances at Ana's feet.  And she sure as hell hasn't charmed him with her wit or warmth.  The only things he's seen about her are that she's young, female, and awkward, and heck, for all he knows Kavanagh is awkward too.

There's "love at first sight," and then there's just "love for no particular reason."

67 comments:

  1. Excuse me, where may I purchase a Serious Kinkster Hat? I really, really want one.

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  2. Oh, dear God. And I'm having a student write a book review over this awful dreck.

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    Replies
    1. God, I'm really sorry to hear that. Unless your student deconstructs how it was written and comes up to the conclusion that EL James can't write her way out of a paper bag.

      Delete
    2. Doesn't that count as cruel and unusual punishment? What did your poor student DO to you?

      Delete
  3. Oh nasty... This love for no particular reason is definitely target selection. Creepy. Fucking. Shit.
    *Shudder*
    >:-(

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  4. Aaaaaaaah, that Left Behind connection is too perfect. I love the thought that the two worst book series of out time take place in the same fictional universe.

    A lot of modern romantic comedy-type books seem to obey a convention that the heroine is not only charmingly awkward, but exaggeratedly so, to a ridiculous degree. Like she can't finish a sentence, talk to a hot guy or tell a little white lie without tripping over herself 1,000 times. Confessions of a Shopaholic is the same way. (I listened to part of it as a book on CD, but some of the CDs wouldn't play so I couldn't finish it.) What's the appeal of this? It's not really relatable, since I as a reader am left wishing the protagonist would pull herself together a little bit.

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    Replies
    1. It's not so much to make a character relatable, it's just an easy flaw an author can tack on to a blatant Mary Sue. "No, Bella/Anastasia/Becky isn't a perfect, unrealistic character with no depth! She's CLUMSY! Which makes her complicated and interesting!"

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  5. *Spoiler alert*

    He's attracted to women who look like his "Crack Whore" (his words) birth-mother. Yup.

    ~Spearhafoc

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    Replies
    1. i what no dammit no

      what have i begun

      no

      Delete
    2. His other reasons for being attracted to Ana are:

      She fell over in his office, so she's a "natural submissive" (what.)

      He wants to punish her for asking if he's gay (double what.)

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    3. Punish her for asking if he's gay? What, like this guy?

      http://www.theonion.com/articles/why-do-all-these-homosexuals-keep-sucking-my-cock,10861/

      (The things I just added to my Google search history trying to dig up that article.)

      Delete
  6. It gets worse before it gets better. Well, that would of course be assuming it gets better.
    It doesn't.
    *Spoiler/hint/foreshadowing of impending doom* I despise the way these book treat kink as something that can be *fixed*. As if by confronting one's demons you will no longer Need to be kinky.
    WTF? Its not a mental disorder.

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  7. It gets worse. It gets much, much worse. *winces*

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  8. I hate the jealousy as romantic thing. Sure, I get jealous sometimes. I don't see it as a sign I just love my partner sooo much. And if someone I wasn't even *dating* started acting jealous and threatening like that, I'd be riding the nopetopus out of there as fast as its eight legs would carry it.

    This idea that threatening jealousy from guys is a positive thing seriously frightens me. Also the whole 'she's never even felt attraction before him' is straight up ridiculous. As well as being highly problematic it's also bad writing. They don't have to write in crackling dialogue, chemistry or any reasons for the leads to like each other. Just shortcut by having him be jealous, and her having never felt warm for anyone else ever before--it must be special!

    Yeah, I read the whole thing.

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    Replies
    1. "I'd be riding the nopetopus out of there as fast as its eight legs would carry it." <- New favorite phrase of all time.

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    2. I second the "nopetopus" comment.
      A.

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    3. I'd say that not meeting anyone you find attractive until you graduate from university is probably rare, but not impossible. Late bloomers, sheltered adolescents, whatever. For me, the problem lies in suggesting that the reason you've never been attracted to anyone but one person is because either you or they are somehow superior - more moral, or more attractive, or your love is somehow just more sparkly and special than that of someone who lost their virginity at sixteen, likes to check out attractive people on the bus, and masturbates nightly, none of which is at all unusual or deviant.

      Delete
    4. Anon - Yeah, I believe "21 and never felt attraction." What I have trouble believing is "21 and never felt attraction, then suddenly head-over-heels for a near-stranger." And what disturbs me is "21 and never felt attraction, therefore unblemished and pure."

      Delete
    5. My boyfriend and I both felt our first attractions fairly late, and before then considered ourselves aro-ace.

      I think our first reactions was both confusion, and in my case, mild terror.

      And we had Ana-levels of sex knowledge around the age of, like, 10 or something. The only way to be this sexually unknowing in 2011 is to be raised by some kind of sect in the middle of nowhere.

      Delete
    6. Ana is also basically depicted as having Barbie doll genitalia until she falls over Fridge LargeMeat's (my favourite) threshold. Although there is a disturbing tampon scene coming up.

      Delete
    7. I felt the first attraction to a man when I was about 20. He had the most beautiful hair I had ever seen on a man. He even was an almost stranger, and I guess I talked less to him than Ana to her Mr. Grey.
      He also was not interested and, as I found out later, already in a relationship. That's reality. It sucks.

      Still, I prefer that to being Ana. I wouldn't want a relationship with Mr. Grey if he was the last man on earth.

      Delete
    8. Hey, I just wanted to say that I liked your "nopetopus" comment so much that I decided to make it into a gif. Thanks for the inspiration!
      http://thecakebot.tumblr.com/post/67960997111/nopetopus

      Delete
  9. The connection to Left Behind: hilarious. I can't believe I didn't see it before. Well, I suppose I can believe it - I did read Left Behind when I was younger, but I have willingly forgotten almost everything in them.

    Maybe having Rayford as a father is what made Ana so messed up!

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  10. There's only one positive thing I can say about the whole vile, misleading, ignorant, overhyped mess that is Shades of Grey: It has allowed at least one previously-straitlaced lady I know, who would never have read anything "seriously" kinky or considered it a part of her identity, to discover and celebrate her kinkiness, while taking the actual book(s) with the humour, derision and giant handfuls of salt they deserve ;)

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  11. For the last comment, I've never red the book but I assume it's not love he feels at this point, it's a predatory desire to take an innocent, awkward girlie, drag her into the world of made-up kink that has little to do with actual kink, break and traumatize her into submitting to him. I know what I'm writing. I've dealt with a man like this before. It was romantic and exciting at first; turned into a nightmare later. As hilarious as this bad writing is, 50 Shades just scares the crap out of me.

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  12. I just started giggling uncontrollably because Ana feels the need to specify that Grey has two eyes. How did this book get published?

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    Replies
    1. "In the land of bad writing, the two-eyed man is king!"

      Delete
  13. Hahaha XD This is just brilliant xD

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  14. Aw dude, I forgot about the Communist Manifesto line. Makes me wish Anna had some militant campus radical crustpunk friend who had a subplot to seize the means of production from Grey's capitalist oppressor pigdog clutches.

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    Replies
    1. The world needs this to be written.
      A.

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  15. I haven't read the book but I have read these amazing recaps / reviews, and I honestly can't wait for your take on the kink in these books. It's gonna make you so, so cross - even crosser than you already are - and I 'm really looking forward to seeing you take them down.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, those are excellent.

      Oh but Cliff, you're going to be so angry. You're going to need actual trigger warnings later in the book. :( Not even for the BDSM, but for the stalking and abusive relationship stuff.

      Delete
  16. I'm actually surprised anyone manages to make it through these books. I started reading another snarky recap a few months ago and I had to stop because it was just so gross and so creepy it wasn't funny any more. I felt sad and angry on behalf of the protagonist; as awful a character as she is, she doesn't deserve what happens to her. No one does.

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    1. Agreed. I tried to read this and couldn't get past chapter six. One of the worst things about the book is the way that they portray Ana's character and decision making abilities. She's a 21 year old woman who has lived away from home for at least four years, yet she has the maturity, common sense, and life experience of the average twelve year old. Therefore, (according to the logic of this book) Grey's treatment of her is perfectly justified because he is protecting her. You kind of get the feeling that the moral of the story is: "Abuse is okay as long as the victim deserves it." Excuse me, I have to go vomit now. And then I might start screaming and smashing things.

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  17. "...What kinky thing is he going to do with masking tape? Very precise body painting?"

    *snrk*

    Also, what the heck is he going to do with five yards of rope? That's fifteen feet. That's... enough to tie someone's hands together? Why would you not just buy a hundred feet and cut it?

    Also, I feel like Rich McMoneypants should be buying the super-extra-premium hemp rope, hand-twisted and conditioned by the kinky version of ancient Trappist monks.

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    1. "conditioned by the kinky version of ancient Trappist monks." Bwahahahahahahahaha!

      Delete
  18. As a Dracula fan, I am deeply offended that you compared him to Christian Grey. Dracula is much cooler.

    Great post otherwise, though :)

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  19. "That's not actually how gay works" made me die laughing. Wow. This is excellent stuff.

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  20. I love this SO VERY MUCH!! Brilliantly funny!

    Ferns

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  21. I love this it is hilarious! "You don't have to act like a brooding sex vampire 24/7 before you're allowed to try spanking.)" I really wish people would send me these memo's before I go out and spend hundreds of dollars on my costume!

    Respectfully,
    mysticlez

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  22. Anyone who likes this should really check out the parody, Fifty Shades of Neigh: http://www.amazon.com/Fifty-Shades-Neigh-parody-ebook/dp/B00B0XRLIU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1379704486

    It's hilarious. The protagonist actually suffers a bleeding head wound during her first encounter with Mr. Gray instead of just being a little clumsy.

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  23. I don't think you're going to like Paul for much longer, I'm afraid.

    "That's not actually how gay works" might be the best thing I've read ever.

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  24. "Being in that kind of love sounds so uncomfortable. I'm not sure I want that. I like love that feels like warm fuzzies and emotional security a lot better than love that feels like gastroenteritis."

    Can't. Stop. Laughing!

    I really hope you do the entire book, this is TOO awesome!!!

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  25. There is an article somewhere which I can't find now which points out all the ways that Ana is actually around 12 or 13 based on her internal monologue, life experience, etc. It's really disturbing :( It basically says take out the age which is stated and you have totally mainstream, normalised child pornography.

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    1. http://theulstermanreport.com/2012/08/16/50-shades-of-grey-pedophilia-hiding-in-plain-sight-letter-from-a-reader/

      This might be the article you describe.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, I dunno. Things like "she says 'holy cow' and wears pigtails and they use BABY OIL" seem like a stretch to me. I agree that it's innocence-fetishizing and that is really disturbing, but I don't think she's secretly a literal child.

      Delete
    3. Hmmm...good point in that it's a history repeating story. Grey was a teen who had sex with an adult who physically abused him. Steele is 21 in the story and is manipulated into lots of non-consensual sex/physical abuse. 21 may legally be an adult, but 21 can still be very young. I have a sister in her early 20s who is just ridiculously naive - like someone much younger. She's not all that innocent, in terms of knowledge, but has repeatedly been the target of very manipulative men who take advantage of the fact that she believes everyone is honest/has good intentions. She's also pretty emotionally needy - she ignores huge red flags, because these guys are also doing a lot of positive grooming and make her feel good. She's been lucky, nothing has happened and she's finally realizing that something really bad could happen.

      I don't think 50's a pedophilia conspiracy, but there are similarities and some of it's too close for comfort. Twilight is about a teen and a very old, literal predator man. 50shades is about a very naive, vulnerable (in that she doesn't feel autonomy/control over herself) young woman and an older, predatory man. It's creepy, it's unhealthy, it romanticizes predators/stalkers, it's sexualizing abuse and normalizing abusive relationships.

      Delete
  26. I just wanted to pop in and say to Miss Steele that "unwavering and intense" stares are not romantic. They are creepy, and I know this from experience. My father has that exact same thing going on.

    He may be handsome, smart, and charming, but his intense stares are creepy as fuck. To wit, his wandering eye and creepy vibes have cost him his marriage (he had several one-night stands), his child (me), and at least one job. He now works his way through a girlfriend every few months, and lives alone. That's what happens to a guy in the real world who expects people to simply bend to his will, and give him what he wants. They'll tolerate it for awhile, but unless they also get something out of it, they will eventually wise up and leave you.

    Man, I had no idea just how bad this book was! But on lighter note, your mocking is just spot-on and hilarious. I nearly cry with laughter every time. It's even a bit cathartic.

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  27. The names are KILLING ME. I'll forget you're doing it, and then another one pops up and I die a little.

    This is the only way I could possibly read this book. I tried to just read it and couldn't make myself, so thank you.

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    1. I forgot Cliff said he was using the goofy names in an earlier post and for a minute just went along with it. I mean, the author thought it was necessary to specify the man had two eyes, by then the idea that there's a character named Roll Fizzlebeef isn't too hard to accept. :P

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  28. "The part that makes this genuinely upsetting, though, is that this is supposed to be super romantic. ...this leads to places darker than I really want to go to on the same page as multiple diarrhea jokes.

    That feeling will likely become all too familiar as you keep reading. Seriously, EL James puts so many, many spot-on details of abusive relationships in these books, it's scary. If the author hadn't made it clear that she intends for these books to portray an intensely hot, romantic relationship - maybe a fantasy relationship, but an appealing fantasy - they would make for an impressively, chillingly accurate portrayal of abusive relationships, despite the bad writing.

    The most horrifying thought to me is that some of the details are so true-to-life that they make you wonder if the author has been there. This may be delusional/presumptuous on my part, but some of the later passages make me go "how could she get this so right if she hasn't experienced it? I mean, she could have worked off of textbooks about abuse, or narratives from abuse victims, but since she seems to be in denial about this being a story about abuse, she wouldn't have used those... so where else is she getting this from?"

    Sadly, it wouldn't be the first time an author writes a book about her experience being an abuse victim while still being in denial about the relationship being abusive and instead romanticizing the experience.

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    1. Yeah, I've read ahead to Chapter 5 by now, and... yeah.

      My hope (for her sake) is that she's operating not from experience but from a deep, deep misunderstanding of what BDSM is--basically, that she thinks it means "abuse, but with consent!" ...And also she isn't that good on what consent means.

      Delete
  29. I wasn't sure about the pedophilia-angle to begin with, but then I remembered that a judge recently lowered the sentence of a adult rapist from 15 years to 30 days because his 14-year-old victim was "older then her chronological age", and now I'm thinking it should at least go both ways. If (allegedly) mature female children don't deserve the same protection as immature children, because they're older than their chronological age, then immature female adults like Bella, sorry, Anastasia deserves extra protection on account of clearly being younger than their chronological age.

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    1. I'm not sure I get this logic. I think that judge was obviously terrible, and it should, yes, go both ways--the guy who raped the 14-year-old was raping a child, and Ana, pigtails and naivete notwithstanding, is an adult.

      Delete
    2. It's not exactly logical. I just find it frustrating that the reasoning of so many people always changes to whatever is worst for the victim. It's apparently very important how mature a victim is when greater maturity can be used to excuse a child rapist, but when another victim's lack of maturity makes her easier to take advantage of, the people who take advantage of her are not required to treat her according to anything but her chronological age.

      Personally, I agree that adults are adults, but I think there should be a moral (if not legal) obligation to treat vulnerable people with greater care. Ana sounds like she's on the verge of being mentally disabled in some way, and she's obviously not acquired the kind of life skills that are expected for her age, and it makes the whole thing much more creepy.

      Delete
    3. I would not like anyone making a judgement call on an adult about "well, you seem awfully juvenile and irresponsible, so it should be illegal/immoral for you to have sex."

      She's on the naive side, she's not some kind of literal mental child who doesn't know what sex is.

      Delete
    4. AB, what the hell is up with that judge? Rape is rape. Surely the victim's age is irrelevant next to the fact that she was RAPED?

      (If they'd had consensual sex, the verdict would have made more sense to me, aka "yeah she's still underage but mature enough to make an informed decision about whether, and who with, she wants to have sex")

      Delete
  30. I don't know why you are torturing yourself by reading this book.

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  31. I died at the Bela Lugosi comment.

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  32. “There are a few items I need. To start with, I’d like some cable ties,” he murmurs, his gray eyes cool but amused. [...] “I’d like some masking tape.” [...] “I’ll take five yards of the natural filament rope please.”

    This scene always reminds me of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bhMyFQNfsY

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  33. Yes, the clerk at Home Depot gets it, you're going to use rope for sexy sex things, and they're approximately as intrigued and delighted as the staff at Rite Aid were when you held your box of condoms aloft and screamed "THESE ARE FOR MY PENIS!"

    Holy crap. I stopped reading your blog for a few months, and when I come back, I discover this thing of comedic beauty. Why did I ever leave?

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  34. One thing I'll disagree with you on is the love for no reason thing. People who are predators are really good at recognizing insecure naive potential victims.

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  35. Honestly.... I liked them. I liked the stories but then again, I used to be pretty heavy in a BDSM relationship. I had a Dom, and I his Sub and it was good. Then I fell in love, the warm and fuzzy kind of love that every woman likes - I'm still with him today and sure we share a kink or a thousand and it works. I love these books because 1) They take me back - and 2) Because I'm a sucker for 'mommy porn' books. The writing is terrible, the characters are sub-par and confusing, and yet the redemption aspect of the story really gets me. I read them all in two days. ( Sad I know ) and yet I found them funny. ONE thing I will say that was honestly well done in these stories were the emails between Christian and Ana. The taglines were hysterical, the emails cute, and it gave insight and some love to the story... After the whole BDSM Sub/Dom aspect. Maybe that's just me...

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  36. The boytoy's boyfriend is an utter sadist. He tortured the two of us for almost fifteen minutes by reaching some kind of excerpt from these books. I used to work at an adult store, as a manager, and yeah we sold a lot of these books 'cause the company was about making money and we'd have been stupid not to carry such a popular item. But I refused to read them - normally you read or skim through the books so you know WTF you're selling but I just couldn't, even before I'd started to hear what they were actually like. I read the "contract" that he comes up with and a bit of their "negotiation" over it and that was waaaaay too much and horrible and wrong for me.

    There are only two good things I have to say about this books series. Well, three now. The first is that, not just through selling the books themselves but also through selling various items through the store, I made a lot of money for the company I used to work for which sometimes earned me small bonuses so I could do things like purchase comic books or a new toy for the cats. The second is that the series seemed to lead a lot of women (and some men) in the stores I worked at to exploring kink for the first-ever time - yeah all het couples near as I could tell but the company really tended to cater to cishet people in general so what can you do - some ladies even went for the top or dominant angle, I got to play Educator to all kinds of kinky newbies while selling them kinky toys from the store and though it might be egotistical of me to say at least they were learning SOME shit right 'cause it was from me (I'm not the most experienced kinkster/BDSMer ever, but I'm a huge HUGE nerd about this kind of stuff, I do have a fair amount of experience, and I do have a lot of experience being an educator on this subject anyway (though not professionally.)) The third good thing I can say is that I've just discovered this fisk, and some other fisks/snarks/whatever through links in your comments, and so far it's very entertaining. I have a decent idea about what is coming based on stuff I've heard, buuut yeah.

    Anyway your fisk is cracking me up, can't wait to see how you manage to hold up. Braver than I am, seriously. These excerpts are only bearable because of your hilarious comments, name substitutions, etc.

    -J.M.M.

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