Anyway, there's this book out there called 50 Shades of Grey that is supposedly all the best things about sex and romance ever. Or at least that's what people are saying. I don't really know, because I had never heard of it before yesterday. Because I live under a rock, apparently.
So, the way that I was introduced to this book was through this fabulous recap on a blog by writer Jennifer Armintrout, who I also had not heard of before yesterday, but who is ridiculously funny, and who writes really well, and whose books I now want to read in entirety. I've already read one written under her pseudonym Abigail Barnette entitled Bride of the Wolf, which if you're looking for well written, incredible sexy erotica involving a werewolf, I highly recommend it, especially since I never once had the squicky, bestiality vibe I usually get from sexualized werewolves. Also...I'd like to take a moment to appreciate the irony that Barnette is the pseudonym, while the unlikely sounding Armintrout appears to be her real last name.
Apparently, 50 Shades of Grey started out as Twilight fan fiction, which is abundantly obvious, despite furious claims by fans to the contrary. It is Edward and Bella do BDSM...badly. I'm not someone who is a heavily into the BDSM scene, but I have been curious about it, and as I do with anything that makes me curious, I researched the shit out of BDSM, something the author of 50 Shades apparently didn't feel the need to do, since she portrays BDSM as an outcome of childhood abuse and an inappropriate teenage relationship with a pedophile. Now, I don't doubt there are people out there who have been damaged and can only experience pleasure through BDSM, but it's not the norm in the BDSM community. And as an adult survivor of childhood physical and sexual abuse, I can tell you that it reliving what someone did to me as a child is not even a little bit sexy, and any BDSM activity I've ever been interested in would have stopped immediately if it even for a second reminded me of being abused as a child.
Okay...all that is interesting, and the sexual politics in the story are definitely something we should all be talking about. Are we really wanting to encourage girls to read a book where the heroine feels she has to give in to things she doesn't want to do, just to keep her partner?
But, that is not the purpose of this post. I don't want to have that conversation right now because, frankly it's too emotionally triggering for a woman with PTSD to have while off her meds.
Anyway, this book, 50 Shades of Grey, like Twilight, have women all over the country bemoaning the fact that their husbands and boyfriends are not as awesomely romantic as these fictional characters. Women who are deeply disappointed not to be living with the men (Christian and Edward) in these books every day.
Now, I want to talk about something that Edward and Christian have in common...they are these dark and brooding characters who are so damn sexy that all females in their immediate vicinity want to drop their panties immediately upon seeing them. (But, Christian is not not based on Edward...no...) They are, of course, perfect examples of the male physique, and they are dark and brooding. And they both play the piano masterfully. Wait...what? Somehow, it's sexy for these guys to play the piano? I don't know where that comes from, because I know when we were kids, we always pictured the boys who took piano lessons to look like this:
Now, don't get me wrong. I have some amazing guy friends who are probably deeply embarrassed when their moms show people the pictures in which they look exactly like this boy. And they grew up to be pretty cute guys. But...paragons of all things that exemplify masculine beauty do not look like this. They just don't. Which is why, in the Twilight movies, Edward looks like this:
And it's rumored that Christian from 50 Shades of Grey is going to look like this:
With all due respect to my nerdy male friends, who are too fucking awesome for words, this:
Does not grow into this:
I'm sorry, but it just doesn't. And, you know what? I'm actually glad that's the way it is. It would be really, really fucking unfair if you got to be that incredibly hot and also you were this cool, nerdy guy who played the piano. The cool, nerdy guys who play the piano have a lot to offer. Guys who look like that, usually, well...they don't. They're asses. Because they fucking know they are hot, so why do they have to be cool, interesting guys? They don't. They just have to sit there and smolder and half the women in the room will have to go and change their panties. Cool, interesting guys are that way because they have interests outside of what hair gel makes their hair look just messy enough to be hot. They have spent their lives learning that earning romantic attention means having something to bring to the table, something that's going to make women want to talk to them rather than the guy smoldering away at the end of the bar.
But then, tonight, as I was listening to my iPod and crying like a fucking idiot (I mentioned the part where I'm not on my meds, right?) it hit me. There are two songs that are responsible for this whole piano playing, romantic, hot guy bullshit....
Fucking Brenda Russell with her Piano In The Dark:
And fucking Lauryn Hill with her Killing Me Softly:
Those. Fucking. Bitches. Seriously, are they trying to make women feel like their men are not panty dropping material unless they are not only accomplished men, but accomplished men who are hot and can play the piano? Between those women and Stephanie Meyer and E.L. James, they are ruining sex lives every where. Brenda Russell and Lauryn Hill laid the groundwork, instilling these damn songs into our collective American female psyche, and then those bitches Stephanie Meyer and E.L. James come along and cement the bullshit idea that this hot, piano playing, brooding guy is the only kind of guy who can and should have access to our wet panties.
Look, ladies....I've dated musicians. In fact, my only serious relationships of my adult life were with musicians, and this after my musician
sperm donor biodad walked out on me at age four. (I know, I know....my psychiatrist has a field day with that one, let me tell you...) And, in dating musicians, I've also spent a lot of time with their musician friends and, you know what? Musicians don't make good partners, because you will always, always come second to the music, ladies. Yeah, they may do charming shit at first and play music for you and make it seem all romantic and shit...that doesn't last. You end up resenting the flotsam and jetsam that musicians strew around your home. You resent the nights that they don't come home and take out the trash because they're out playing music. You resent the fact that you have to wear headphones to read because of the incessant practicing. When you've heard a song five hundred times, it's not romantic anymore. It's fucking annoying.
So, even if you manage to find your, hot, brooding piano player, he isn't going to give up the piano for you...anymore than an artist is going to stop painting for you, or a writer is going to stop writing for you. And as a sometimes writer myself, I can tell you that no matter what, the art is the first and purest love in an artist's life. Even if they aren't playing or painting or writing because life and family and all of that gets in the way, the art is still the deepest love. And, if they do give up the music for you, they are going to resent your ass. It's not going to be all romance and roses anymore.
So, okay...read these books, listen to these songs. Enjoy them. I sure as hell do. But, understand that these books are fantasy. Edward Cullen doesn't exist, and not because he's a vampire, but because that person, the perfect, sexy amazing man who never annoys you or resents you or makes you want to strangle him doesn't fucking exist. And why would you want that guy, anyway? Look at how Bella/Ana is always so filled with shattering angst about how these gods among men are just too good for them. Yeah, that sounds like a fun and sexy way to go through life.