Want to go back? Read the first chapter.
Time for more close-reading of Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian. Are you banging your head against a desk yet?
You might remember that chapter 1 ended with Christian running a background check on Ana. (Ooh, how romaaaantic!) Chapter 2 begins with the results of that background check, including such riveting information as Ana’s birthdate, address, social security number, and bank balance. Yep, E.L. James sure knows how to pen a page-turner.
Christian pores over this information while sitting in his car in the parking lot of the hardware store where Ana works, because Christian is a fucking creep.
I’d tried to resist. I’d waited five days, five tedious days, to see if I’d forget about her. And I don’t do waiting. I hate waiting… for anything.
This doesn’t bode well for Christian’s grasp of the concept of consent – which sometimes involves (gasp!) waiting until someone is ready.
Christian briefly considers telling his therapist, Dr. Flynn, about his “lascivious” feelings for Ana, because he’s worried he’s “behaving like a stalker” (yes, Christian, I’m glad you figured that out). But he decides against this because he doesn’t want Flynn “hounding [him] about his latest solution-based-therapy shit.” Hey, Christian, I hate to break it to you, but solution-based therapy would probably do you a lot of good right about now.
This chapter brings us the first direct reference to Christian’s penis (oh joy). His “cock twitches in response” when he sees Ana sucking a bagel crumb off her finger at the hardware store counter. “Maybe this will stop if I fetter, fuck, and flog her,” he posits to himself. Uh, okay.
His opening line to her at the hardware store is, “Miss Steele. What a pleasant surprise,” which is pure frightening bullshit. He has sought her out at the random-ass shop where she works, in the creepiest possible way, and he’s trying to convince her it’s a coincidence. He’s attempting to manufacture a meet-cute and it’s gross.
She’s dressed in a tight T-shirt and jeans, not the shapeless shit she was wearing earlier this week. She’s all long legs, narrow waist, and perfect tits. … I’ve flown in from Seattle just to see you, and the way you look right now, it was really worth the journey.
It genuinely worries me that there are men out there who think this way, who view women this way. I know that this book is going to try to convince me that Christian develops romantic feelings for Ana, and begins to care about her as a person, but it’s going to be hard for me to scrub this objectifying inner commentary out of my brain when we get to that part of the story. She’s nothing but a sex doll to him at this point. It gives me the heebie-jeebies.
It’s starting to grate on me that E.L. James has her characters use the word “shall” so often. I can’t remember anyone, real or fictional, using that word with any degree of sincerity in the past 30+ years – and yet Christian and Ana are dropping “shalls” all over the place like that’s the way 21st-century humans naturally talk. Uh, no. This dialogue reads like a misinformed martian wrote it.
As she passes [the masking tape] to me, the tips of our fingers touch, briefly. It resonates in my groin. Damn!
Is any of the ~”sexy”~ stuff in this book going to actually be sexy? Judging by this positively boner-killing excerpt, I’m guessing no.
He buys some obviously kink-intended hardware goods from her, and she asks if he’d be willing to pose for some photos for her friend Kate’s article. All the while, he’s calling her “the delectable Miss Steele” in his mind. Ew.
Then Ana’s coworker Paul shows up, bringing out even more of Christian’s horrible side (which isn’t really a side so much as it is his entire personality). He thinks, “Who the hell is this prick?” and “Get your fucking paws off her,” and calls Paul an asshole. Okay, James, we get it: Christian is possessive as fuck. He hasn’t even asked her out yet and he thinks he owns her.
I have to know whether there’s a hope in hell she might consider what I have in mind. How can I ask her? Am I ready to take on a submissive who knows nothing? She’s going to need substantial training. Closing my eyes, I imagine the interesting possibilities this presents… Getting there is going to be half the fun.
Grey’s thoughts so far have painted him as extremely socially out-of-touch. It is beyond inappropriate to be thinking this far ahead into a sexual future with someone, and angling for a specific and manipulative outcome, when nothing romantic or sexual has even happened between them yet. He’s like a serial killer who’s set his sights on his next victim. It’s chilling.
After Christian leaves the hardware store, he gets into his car, informs his driver he’ll be staying in Portland for the weekend, and then contemplates taking a hike to “walk this strange hunger out of [his] system.” I’m not sure I can imagine anything more brooding than that.
After the hike, he spends several hours moping around in his hotel room waiting for Ana to call. When she finally does, they set up the photoshoot for the next morning. It’s still a perfectly chaste interaction but Grey is thinking about tying her up and fucking her, because he’s Grey.
How the hell am I going to close this deal?
FOR FUCK’S SAKE, CHRISTIAN, SHE IS A HUMAN, NOT A STOCKS ACQUISITION!
Next week, we’ll do chapter 3. Think you can handle the idiocy?
Want to keep reading? Go to the next chapter.