I joined YouTube’s MomPulse Channel a couple of months ago, and for my first vlog for them, I answered their Question of the Week: “What’s All the Hype Around Fifty Shades of Grey?” Because I needed the book as a prop, I bought a copy at Costco, but figured I wouldn’t actually have time to read it.
I wrote a blog about its “Mom Porn” hype but got some flack from someone who commented that I had no business criticizing a book that I hadn’t actually read. Forget that I wasn’t actually talking about the book, but rather about the hype surrounding the book. But I’m a thin-skinned creature and this stranger’s comment got under my thin skin, so I thought I should probably read it and find out what everyone was talking about.
I did. I found it poorly written, redundant and occasionally sophomoric, and yet I enjoyed it immensely. Everyone had been hyping its kinky, sadomasochist theme, and because I’m a pretty tame gal, I thought I’d be fairly shocked. But there’s really nothing that has made my jaw drop.
This week a hotel in England replaced the Gideon Bible with Fifty Shades of Grey. The good news is, there’ll be probably be more people reading the new book, so the maids won’t have to keep cleaning the dust and cobwebs from Gideon’s lack of use. The bad news is, unlike the Bible, there’ll probably be a lot of people stealing the books from the rooms. The guests will go to hell anyway just for reading such debauchery. A little thievery won’t add any worse punishment if they’re already going to the hottest spot ever created.
At this very moment, my family and I are vacationing at Rancho Las Palmas in Rancho Mirage, and I assume most of the female guests are wishing that the British hotel owner could take charge of this resort.
By the pool, I saw three moms sunning themselves with their noses in the book and another flipping through a Kindle edition. As I floated round and round the Lazy River reading the second part of the trilogy, guests glanced at me and commented on Fifty Shades of Grey.
“I just downloaded it on my iPad.”
“I tried to check it out from the library but there were over 600 people on the waiting list.
“I’m just starting the third book. I couldn’t put the other two down.”
“My mom’s reading that book.”
The last response came from a boy who was about nine years old. His dad Ed gave me his business card and told me that he is selling blingy Fifty Shades of Grey t-shirts online. I can buy a Laters Baby shirt with rhinestone handcuffs or a sparkly Lip Biter Eye Roller tee. They each sell for $18.99. I told him that I’d bet the proceeds are paying for his Palm Springs vacation.
At this family-friendly resort toddlers play in the sand. Dads bounce babies in the pool. Some giggling girls scream as they race down the water slide. A couple of boys squirt me with their water jets, drenching my book. I shake off the water and try to decipher the wet page as the words on the other side bleed through. I’m reading a kinky sex scene involving a dominatrix spreader bar with ankle and wrist restraints.
“He pulls both my hands backward and cuffs them to the bar, next to my ankles. Oh… My knees are drawn up, my ass in the air, utterly vulnerable, completely his.”
Other moms around the pool read other risqué scenes as they change their babies’ diapers, order chicken nuggets for their kids, reapply 70 SPF sun block, and take yet another bathroom trip with their kids – or perhaps whisper to just pee in the pool. After all, mom is in the middle of a really juicy part.
The hotel in England keeps Fifty Shades of Grey handy as a helping hand to romance. But even though Fifty Shades of Greyis probably the most popular reading material at Rancho Las Palmas, there’s not a lot of romance going on. My daughters are sleeping on the convertible sofa, and my 5-year old son is snoozing in the king bed between me and my husband. We and other couples have the opportunity to individually ditch the kids, but the mate is left holding the diaper bag. And much like the characters in the book, these moms probably feel that romance is better when two are involved.
Granted, I’m not particularly interested in trying out the spreader. But the other vacationing moms and I who are feeling a little amorous this week by racing through this racy book are just going to have to wait until we get home to get a little romance.
Good thing I brought along part 3 of the trilogy to tide me over.