We're about 3 weeks from the release of the Fifty Shades of Grey film, and no doubt you're either shivering with anticipation or cautiously dreading it. Although I'm in the latter camp, so firmly that I've already pitched a tent, I'm always open to the possibility that the movie might fix the problems of the novel. That said, I have to wonder: Is there something legitimate to learn from this piece of work, besides what Ben Wa balls are? Well, I've collected a few excerpts from the book, and the answer is a definite maybe.
For instance: Maybe it'll reclaim some of the sillier aspects of Anastasia's mental monologue, and fix her more unforgivable traits, like her unwillingness to use a search engine! I am always open to being proven wrong. But until that movie hits the theaters, I have only the original text to work with, and with enough thought you could definitely get something out of the adorable S&M adventures of Ana and friends.
Kinda. Sorta. Well, I'll let you be the judge.
So have your Pinterest board queued up, ladies, here's some Fifty Shades of Grey quotes to give you some real life inspiration.
"I know nothing about this man I’m about to interview. He could be ninety or he could be thirty. The uncertainty is galling, and my nerves resurface, making me fidget."
Context: Anastasia is sent over to interview Christian Grey in Kate's stead, and she's anxious because her sick roommate didn't provide her with all the stats.
Lesson: GOOGLE IT, oh my God. It's really, really fortunate that Kate's going to be a journalist and Ana isn't, because even basic level journalism requires a little bit of fact-checking and research. As in, JUST PUT IT IN A SEARCH ENGINE. Seriously, Ana.
Look, nobody's perfect, and rest assured when you're on deadline it's hard to do a whole background check on a person. But this is amateur hour, she could've looked up his Wikipedia page off her iPhone while in the waiting room. Learn from this, guys. Gain inspiration from this.
"Get in the car, go home, do your studying. Forget about him... Now! And stop all this self-pitying, wallowing crap. I take a deep, steadying breath and stand up. Get it together, Steele. I head for Kate’s car, wiping the tears off my face as I do. I will not think of him again. I can just chalk this incident up to experience and concentrate on my exams."
Context: Ana had a miniature nervous breakdown, because Christian went out of his way to have tea with her and then didn't propose on the spot or something.
Lesson: To be fair, she chides herself earlier for crying at something so stupid, and we've all had knowingly silly sadness attacks like that. Do you know how many times I've burst into drunk tears at a bar because the guy I like is talking to some other girl? Enough where Brannigan's now has a box of tissues at the ready. Likewise, I've heard that last sentence uttered by pretty much every other girl I went to Rutgers with.
That said, Ana's determination to forget about Christian is a genuinely strong mentality. (It's unfortunately usurped that the film doesn't end here and she ends up with him for three more books, so...wash.)
"Anastasia, I’m not a hearts and flowers kind of man, I don’t do romance. My tastes are very singular. You should steer clear from me."
Context: Christian is reading excerpts of New Moon, I think.
Lesson: Take what a man says about himself at face value. Not to overgeneralize an entire gender, but men can bepretty straight-forward. In this, he's literally waving a GIANT RED FLAG IN HER FACE, and Anastasia, sadly, IS ONLY SEEING THINGS IN FIFTY SHADES OF GREY.
"I glance down at the foil packet beside me. ‘Always prepared’ I murmur. He looks at me confused as he redoes his fly. I hold up the empty packet. 'A man can hope, Anastasia, dream even, and sometimes his dreams come true.'”
Context: They just did it on a desk.
Lesson: FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS! Also always practice safe sex, even if your usual sexual forays involve a lot of whipping, flogging, and chaining. There's kinky, and then there's just plain reckless.
“Sometimes I wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Perhaps I’ve spent too long in the company of my literary romantic heroes, and consequently my ideals and expectations are far too high.”
Context: Ana is writing some deep observations on her Tumblr. No, honestly she's just talking to her friend Jose, and lamenting her inability to settle for someone who doesn't give her butterflies. It's all very Carrie Bradshaw of her.
Lesson: If you want to take any quote in the book seriously, this is it. Probably all of us have unrealistically high expectations of love, be it from books, television, movies or even properly filtered Instagrams. Media romanticizes everything. It is very easy to read something and get wrapped up in the fantasy, ignoring how it would problematically translate into real life. This applies to Fifty Shades, but it certainly isn't new or exclusive to that (personally I have a major Scarlett O'Hara complex). The dramas of love aren't so easily solved when there's nobody to write a happy ending (teehee). Also, most sadists are not millionaires, so that.
This doesn't mean you should settle, of course, not at all. Just be cautious about the lessons you learn from your favorite fictional characters.
Images: Universal Pictures, Giphy (5)