I am not a fan of Fifty Shades of Grey. It was imperative that I start by saying that. I’d hate for anyone out there to read a word further and think I actually liked this book.
I set out a few weeks ago to read this “novel” (and yes, those are “air quotes”) that is making some woman $1 million per week. I knew the premise of it and quite frankly was not interested. But I had to know what all the fuss was about, was it much ado about nothing? So I started reading. And then I stopped. And then I tried to start up again but couldn’t. Then I tried again. And basically I’ve made it through chapter 8 and cannot will myself to go any further. If you’ve read the “book” (yes, more “air quotes”), perhaps you can guess why chapter 8 would be my stopping point. But alas, we will get to my chapter 8 rant in the coming days. And it wasn’t just chapter 8. There are so many things wrong with this book, I’d need ten more long, pointy fingers to count them.
Today, though, I’d like to start my rant with the character of Christian Grey. I don’t know about you, but when I was a little girl, I dreamed of Prince Charming. And then later in middle school, I dreamed of dating Greg Tepas. In high school, it was Ward. Now…well, that’ll follow in a minute. But the common denominator in each of these dreams was male hotness. As in, Dude, he’s smokin’ hot. Smokin’ hot–at least to me–is any and all of these: beautiful eyes, muscles, abs of steel, muscular arms, any kind of an athlete’s body, and manly clothes–you know, jeans, t-shirt, baggy sweats (although, not white! There’s a story there…), long board shorts. You get the picture. And not to be forgotten: a sense of humor.
Nowhere in this dream or in my imagination did I want to date a man who “gestured with his long-fingered, beautifully manicured hand.” I did not fantasize about someone who “rubbed his chin with his long index finger” as he “contemplated” an answer nor someone who “extended a long-fingered hand to me”. And I did not want someone to “take my hand, clasping it with his long, cool fingers.” Geez, what’s with the long fingers? All I can picture is E.T. Gross.
I can also safely say that I never wanted my Prince Charming to say upon seeing me, “Miss Darcy, What a pleasant surprise.” I never dreamed of Ward saying to me at Prom, “Lead the way, Miss Darcy.” Maybe my English teacher would say this or perhaps elderly George down at the antique store. But definitely not the man of my dreams.
And finally I can say that I NEVER dreamed Prince Charming would have a list of rules for dating me. Rules that called me a Submissive and included telling me what to eat, what to wear, and how many times I should exercise. And if Greg Tepas had handed me a contract before the Valentine’s Day dance in middle school, I would’ve slammed his puny, 8th-grade hand in his locker.
So my confusion arises because I cannot for the life of me understand why millions of women are swooning over Christian Grey. He’s creepy. He’s icky. He has the fingers of E.T. He’s a metro-sexual at best. And really, he sounds gay. No offense to gay people. I like gay people. But a gay man is not a young girl’s dream. And he’s not supposed to be. (He’s supposed to be a young boy’s dream.)
Which leads me to the antithesis of Christian Grey.
Sure, Magic Mike dabbled in some weird sexual situations. I mean, he’s a stripper. And yes, he’s a stripper. But he’s only a stripper because he’s trying to fulfill his dream of making custom furniture. Oh that’s right, because he’s a MAN, a builder, a maker of things. With his hands. Which, by the way, did not carry ten long, pointy fingers. Nowhere did I see Magic Mike with “a long-fingered hand”. And nowhere was he “contemplating by rubbing his chin with a long index finger”. He had man hands. And a man body. The abs in that scene where he danced in the baggy sweats and baseball hat? Dude, he’s smokin’ hot.
And another thing, Magic Mike wasn’t handing over “monogrammed, freshly laundered linen handkerchiefs” and dressed in a “cream, chunky-knit sweater” and “walking boots.” What the hell are walking boots anyway? No, Magic Mike had on long shorts, a flannel, baggy sweats, board shorts at the beach. That stuff is hot. Chunky-knit sweaters and laundered hankies, not. And yes, I know Magic Mike sported a thong or two, but again, he was working to fulfill a dream. At one point, he even said to the girl outside her apartment, “Am I Magic Mike right now when I’m talking to you?” He was a stripper by profession only.
And I know the Greyhards are going to want to connect Christian’s weird sexual deviancy to Magic Mike’s weird sexual encounters, but there’s a difference. A gigantic difference. A Milky Way type of difference. Magic Mike was empty inside and lost. That’s right, because he’s a REAL HUMAN BEING, with emotion. Sure, the Greyhards will want to give some song and dance about how later in the books (Yes, there are books plural that people are reading. Ahhhhh), it is revealed that Christian Grey is tormented. Blah blah blah. He’s a creep and a sexual deviant. There’s no background that can adequately justify the disgusting perv that he is. Magic Mike didn’t even kiss the girl he liked until the very last scene. And that was without a contract, by the way.
And that gets to the heart of the issue. Magic Mike is my dream boy. Not only is he hot, driven, and manly. But he’s a guy. A real guy. He joked around with the girl. He was shy about asking her out. He even turned around when he thought it might be over with her and said, “Is that it? Is that how this is gonna end?” When he drove home after quitting his stripper gig, tears stained his cheeks. He was crying! Crying in his big, manly truck. And he showed up on her doorstep, all sad and vulnerable. And they sat and talked. And then they kissed.
I don’t know what you’re dreaming of, but I feel like Steven Soderbergh jumped inside my head and snatched away my dream to use in his movie. I dream of a man who’s confident and hot but also funny and vulnerable. I dream of a man who’d give up nearly all of his savings just to rescue my brother. I dream of the man who will make the move and ask me out but who will also show he’s hurting and let me help. I don’t dream of the long, pointy fingers of some Dominant, uptight, sexual perv.
I dream of Magic Mike.