Why I Read 50 Shades

This past weekend I watched 50 shades darker..the ‘new’ E.L James inspired movie.


Most of you keep hearing and using the phrase 50 shades but I am sure most of you do not know much about E.L James or her 50 shades franchise. Erika Leonard James is currently the highest paid novelist with Forbes placing her income at $95 million including film rights to her books. She has sold over 125 million copies of the books (they are 4 currently) since they came out in 2012 and even in 2017, she is still raking in millions of pounds.

So, boys and gals, What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase? Do you think whips and chains? Ben wa balls? Clamps? Dominatrix outfits? Or are you part of the population that does not care about a romance like mills and boon on steroids trilogy?

Personally I feel like everyone has a certain jaded perception about the 4 books by E.L James. I say this because I got shot dirty looks whenever I carried any of the books so I opted reading the e-books from my tablet just for the element of mystery and because I got tired of the many questions and comments like ‘yani you are that chic who loves bdsm’. See the not so subtle judgy remarks? I could be reading a book about robotics but that doesn’t mean I am crazy about engineering. Maybe I am just widely read.

I asked three random guys what the 50 shades hulla balloo was all about (what they really thought about the books and/or the movies)

Guy 1 – 50 shades is about porn. Lots of porn (really??)

Guy 2 – Referring to the second movie 50 shades darker said, ‘its not just about sex in a relationship, its about love and baggage, and
finding someone who cares about you long enough to help you sort through your baggage’ (aww)

Guy 3 – Don’t know, Don’t care. (nonchalant much?)

So this is why I read ALL the books of the 50 shades trilogy…and watched the 2 movies. Yes. All. Of. Them. 50 shades of Grey, 50 shades darker, 50 shades freed and Grey.

Curiosity had a lot to do with it I must say. Why curiosity?
Because I am the kind of chic who falls in love with characters in books. I envision their lives, what they have for breakfast, what they do in their spare time, the color of their hair, their personas and such then zone out as I visualize all this. I was curious about Anastasia (that’s the girl who falls in love with the billionaire Christian Grey). I wondered why she did not have an email address in 2011 at the age of 22 (while I had a Yahoo.co.uk email address at 18). I was curious about her introducing her man to her step father and him being so okay and casual with him. Let’s face it, I am African… introducing any man to your folks IS A BIG DEAL!! And African parents never forget who you introduce to them. But then I guess its all parents. No?

I also happened to be curious about this mysterious man who was so messed up he never wanted to be touched (at one point he and Anastasia use a lipstick to draw only the areas that she was allowed to touch on his body – arms, and neck and his hair). My curiosity was also focused on how this man became a billionaire at the age of 26. How and when he ran his empire since all they ever did was explore their sexuality all the time in his ‘red room of torture’. Were all wealthy billionaires 50 shades of messed up? Do they all struggle with sexual desires that are extra ordinary and forbidden? So I read on & each and every single word came alive in my head.

And my deductions after the fourth and final book, which was the story as narrated by Christian Grey were that:

We are all deeply troubled human beings. Yes we go on about life like we are happy, but deep down, we are troubled souls. We struggle with affirmation, and with rejection and we google quotes on happiness to lift our spirits but, We all struggle with acceptance and the fear of not being good enough (atelophobia). Christian felt like the minute he disclosed his darkest secrets Anna would leave and she did yes, though she came back. This I suppose is because anyone worth being in your life as your life partner will be there through the good, the bad and the downright ugly and scary. This is called love. And according to 1 Cor 13, love is not self seeking or selfish, its forgiving and remembers no wrong doings.

Love is ever evolving. And if you are lucky, you evolve in the right direction and together. Initially, when they started out Grey was too controlling, obsessive and very possessive. Anna remains true to herself. She tries to bend over backwards to really please the guy withe the kinky stuff but eventually, she realizes she can only be herself (this is what wins Grey over). He does marry her when he realizes that she is unlike anyone he had met simply because she was herself. Lover of English tea and all.
Also, the fact that she was dating a 26 year old billionaire buying her an Audi, an i-pad and going for helicopter rides at the drop of a hat never made her feel any different, the material stuff was nice, but she wanted Grey to be himself with her and to communicate! Ladies, be yourself! If and when the money fizzles out character is what sees people through life.

The person who loves you signs up for the most unflattering version of yourself. By unflattering I mean waking up in the morning with no makeup whatsoever and having crusts in your eyes yet they kiss you and still call you beautiful, when you are down with a flu, red itchy eyes and a running nose, they make you chicken noodle soup to warm you up. When you eat bad sushi from the new place that you were dying to try out and your tummy acts up at 4am in the night and you are short of passing out from dehydration on the bathroom floor they hold your weave to make sure it does not get any food remains as you retch. There is a tampon scene in 50 shades darker that got women all antsy. Anna is on her period and Grey reaches…and pulls the blue tampon string..and tosses it into a nearby toilet. Would the person you love be in a gross situation and act like a gentleman all through?

Its important to get rid of baggage in a relationship or a marriage. In the plot, Elena is the elderly lady who happens to be a good friend to Grey’s adopted mom. She introduced Grey to the kink to fulfil her own s&m desires when he was 15. Grey was a minor and did not know any better + he was looking for a mother figure in Elena and she takes advantage; besides he came from a broken home and his biological mother commits suicide by overdosing right in front of him. He was just a 5 year old boy. All through the story line Elena haunts Grey and attempts severally to rekindle what they shared. All the while, Ana makes a lasting impression on Grey and he voices it in the movie when he confronts her and the kinky demons from his past ‘Elena, you taught me how to f***, while Anastasia taught me how to love’. Additional baggage is Jose, her best friend, the guy clearly smitten by Ana but she is blind to all his advances including the showcase for his photography where he had hung huge life size canvases of her. Messy entanglements happen all the time, but the person you love should help you unpack all your baggage one suitcase at a time.

50 shades anyone?


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