Before I start, I just want to remind you that I don’t fall in with the crowd that seems to think itself above those who choose to read the Fifty Shades series, especially those who cite the fact that it’s poorly written or that there are so many better things out there to read as reasons to not read it, as if those who do read it are just poor fools who don’t know any better. I don’t see any reason for making fun of what books people choose to read, and I kind of think you’re an asshole if you truly believe that of the fifty berjillion copies these books sold, all of them went to women just too stupid to know any better.
However, that said, making fun of this magazine – it’s contents and very existence – is absolutely fair game.
NO TIME FOR PLEASANTRIES, GUYS. Metalia tweeted a picture of this magazine, saying that it needed a serious Cliff’s Noting. Apparently, Internet, it’s not just a book series. It’s a movement. That is carried at Wal Mart in the form of a one off magazine printing titled Fifty Shades (of American Women who Love the Book and Live the Life).
Allow me to tell you about yourselves and your movement, American women who love the book and live the life.
You’ll need to give me a moment to settle into a groove with this magazine. It’s not especially Cosmo-ish. Where Cosmo would normally have the section that would tell you all the good parts of the magazine so you don’t have to bother to read it, Fifty Shades (of American Women who)… okay, FSOAWWLTBALTL…Fuhsawball… FSWOBBLE… Fswobble instead has a little blurb justifying it’s very existence. It’s not a book! It’s a movement! It’s a global phenomenon! It’s KICKSTARTED A SEXUAL REVOLUTION! We’re having a national CONVERSATION about the give and take in a successful relationship.
Actually, Fswobble, the national conversation right now is more centered around who exactly is in charge of the give and take of a lady’s vaginal ins and outs, but… okay, yeah, it’s a stretch, but I’ll give it to you.
Fswobble proper starts with a writer waiting in line overnight to get a book signed by the author, EL James, and we all learn something important – don’t go meet EL James. This is possibly one of the most painfully awkward things I have ever read. Christian is locked in her basement because he’s been a bad boy? She actually signs the books “Laters baby?” Is “Laters baby” a thing? I mean, I know it’s a thing in the book, that suave dudes say to their ladies, so… suave… authors… sign their books that way?
Oh, and guess what, guys? There’s a fourth book coming. Because after a trilogy where a couple meets, has conflict, comes together, falls apart, comes together, falls apart, comes together, suffers a kidnapping, gets married, has a baby, and ends with a happily ever after epilogue basically tying up the whole story of a man with a sexual fetish known to generally be a LIFESTYLE choice basically giving it up to just play here and there lightly for the lady in his life, what you really want to add is some kind of convoluted bullshit story on top of it.
Moving on, Fswobble has some suggestions for the casting directors for the eventually Fifty Shades movies. Because of course there are going to be movies, even though there should never actually be movies, because how would that even begin to work? Their “best bet” is Ian Somerhalder, but they’re wrong, because the answer to every casting decision ever can be answered as follows: Do you need a man with dark hair? Choose Zachary Quinto. Do you need a man with light hair? Choose Paul Bettany. Do you need a specialty actor for some reason or another? Please contact me for further assistance.
Second, casting choices for Ana, to which I say, who fucking cares, because do you remember what she looks like? Can you name an Ana personality characteristic besides sucking? (HA! No but seriously.) Just put a wig on a broom and save some money so you can have Sharon Stone play Mrs. Robinson. Right? RIGHT?
FINALLY, though, we have entered into my Cliff’s Noting comfort zone. Let me tell you how a crappy magazine thinks you should better run your life as a lady.
If all of this modern technology is doing your little lady head in, don’t worry. Here is how you apply lady rules to that super confusing FACEBOOK NONSENSE:
1. NEVER FRIEND HIM FIRST!!! That’s like calling him! Or speaking to him without being spoken to! OR MEETING HIS EYES.
2. You can like one of his photos. Just one. ONE. No more than one. ONLY HARLOTS AND TRAMPS like multiple photos. A lady restrains her clickty clicks.
3. DON’T comment on his posts. It’s like how you should be seen and not heard, because you’re a lady and you’re just decorative, except this is the Internet, so don’t type at him, because Fswobble says, and I quote, it’s “tacky.”
4. DO remove any uggo pictures of yourself. Now. Now. DO IT NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW.
5. Make sure your Facebook status is accurate. If you’re single, it should say you’re single. Advertise that shit, ladies.
6. Don’t make a duckface. I’m going to co-sign that one, Fswobble.
7. DO know when to can it. Apparently, if you send a message, and then wait by the computer like you should, and your obsessive stalking pays off and you notice that your quarry has been online, but has NOT answered your message, THROW YOURSELF OFF A BRIDGE, IT’S OVER FOR YOU, SISTER. Because you SENT a MESSAGE and he didn’t PRIORITIZE YOU IMMEDIATELY. What the fuck kind of not-Edward… I mean, not-Christian Grey is that guy? Right the fuck up his, am I right?
ADDITIONALLY, if you decide to go all archaic and email him, put the word SEX in the subject line. People love that NSFW shit, it’s charming and bold. Be like Ana and “taunt him with turn ons” – apparently, this means you should reference the dude he’s suspicious you’re boning on the side. Gives guys raging boners.
There’s also instructions on sexting, but don’t do that, okay? Actually, just don’t commit any sex anything to the Internet. I have two poorly coded words for you, Internet – Shmibby Shmoler, okay?
There’s more helpful tips here about picking out budget champagne, but you should feel free to ignore them if your boyfriend is a billionaire, because what the hell, take him for all he’s worth, am I right?
Seriously, it says that.
On the next page, there is a legitimate three panel instructional diagram for spanking beginners. The art is really poorly done. I don’t understand the physics of this at all. I’m pretty sure this woman is levitating. And they seem to be on this bed that is just missing a huge chunk out of one corner. And this guy has positively no ass, and once he starts spanking, HIS TORSO IS ACTUALLY DETACHED FROM HIS LEG PORTION.
Edit: On further Twitter discussion, I decided this poorly photographed illustrative addition was needed.
No, but really, flat hand to ass cheek. The arrow indicates and up and down motion and the text suggests that you watch your partners body language to know what to do. May I also suggest you listen to your partner’s language language? I mean, a hunched up body communicates something, sure, but, “Stop, stop, that smarts and your torso is FALLING OFF OH GOD OH GOD!” is also a fine indicator of danger.
I’m not going to take the quiz to find out what shade of grey I am (kind of a shiny, iridescent, dolphin-esque kind of color, I think), and neither are you, but I’ll give you some insights into what kinds of things would give you lots of naughty points:
– RED nail polish, you shameless hussy – 7 points!
– At dinner time, ordering take out would score you 8 points, tramp, while cooking a family recipe only nets you 2.
– London is a 1 point vacation destination, while Las Vegas is a 10 point choice.
Don’t even think about being attracted to a guy for his sense of self-confidence. You might as well just go sell yourself on the streets. You’re probably also a credit card shopper who doesn’t pay off her entire balance immediately every month. I can practically write an entire book about your sex life now.
“Frisky Food” suggestions for a Fifty Shades theme party:
– Forbidden fruit – you can dip it in chocolate! Then people will know it’s not a VANILLA party! LOLOLOL! Reaching? On the first item? OF COURSE NOT NERVOUS LAUGHTER IS THE MAGAZINE OVER YET?
– Red Room of Pain Red Vines – It suggests laying them “artfully” on a table. And then LABELING them individually with words like “sub,” “dom,” and “inner goddess.” Would you like an individually labeled Red Vine? How do you individually label a red vine?
– Ben Wa Balls – There’s not even a food suggestion for this. It just says it can be a fun food OR dessert! Does not see fit to mention they were in Ana’s vagina for their appearance in the story.
– Oreo Truffles – Okay, fine, that’s normal, what’s the Fifty Shades connection? Oh. Oh, Fswobble thinks they should obviously be dipped in white chocolate and dyed grey. Delicious. Nothing people love more than dusty old grey balls.
And now, a random selection of seemingly random statements from fifty random women. I believe this is the “love the book and live the life” portion of the magazine. Some highlights:
“Maybe we poured it on too fast, but we had it lit, and we poured it on my stomach and I was like ‘FUCK!’ You put it on your stomach, and it’s hot […] so I got burned. I don’t know if it was a poorly designed candle, or we just didn’t do it right.”
You don’t know if it was a poorly designed candle? The one you lit? That then caught on fire? And burned hotly, as intended? The one you then tipped onto your flesh? That candle? That’s the one you’re not sure was designed correctly? Ok. I was just checking.
“I work in a pharmacy, and lately we’ve been seeing a lot of girls come in with UTIs and yeast infections. A lot more than usual. We finally got to the bottom of it… a lot of these girls were recreating the infamous ice cream scene in Fifty Shades Darker.”
That did not happen. You work in a pharmacy. You didn’t even say you were a pharmaCIST. You did not “get to the bottom” of anything. You do not have some map in some underground pill bunker with flashing red lights indicating increasing numbers of local stingy vaginas. That’s not even your job to keep track of. What, did you do this on your off hours? A side project? The UTI Detective, on the case? Shut up, you just lied, and you lied to a stupid magazine. Look at yourself. LOOK AT YOURSELF.
“I’d be lying if I said it didn’t turn me on. I’d also be lying if I told you my husband and I haven’t written up our own little sex contract.”
Us, too. It said, “Let’s have some.” We already broke it.
“My sex life post-Fifty Shades hasn’t changed much, but my dating life has. I’ve already been out with three helicopter pilots!”
Here are some things that men think:
– It’s easy to get a girl to do what you want when you own a helicopter.
– Wash your hands when you use an elevator.
There’s a bunch of articles I can’t be bothered to read because their lead ins are so terribly, terribly, unbelievably awful. Example: “I fix men like Christian Grey… I’M A SEX WHISPERER.”
No. I will not be whispered.
A second one is on the struggle of being a secret sub, which has the potential to be an interesting article, until you read the first question which basically says, Hey, Fifty Shades is here! Why is so important for you to keep your kinky side a secret! It’s so obvious hardly anyone thinks it’s weird anymore.
Sometimes I wonder if people ever leave the Internet or the big cities on the edges of the country.
Something interesting to me, also, is apparently, 60% of women surveyed for this magazine think that this particular series has taken the “freak” stigma off of the BDSM lifestyle. Really? Really? You think so? When these books portrayed Christian Grey as a damaged individual who was, for all intents and purposes, molested by an older woman and introduced into the lifestyle at a criminally young age? And by the end of the story, he’s basically “healed” out of the lifestyle by Ana, except for light playing, so isn’t actually even living the lifestyle? But people think it’s actually helped destigmatize legitimate BDSM lifestyle practitioners?
I don’t know, why don’t you ask some what they think?
Article: “I’m a Mormon, and I LOVED it.”
Good for you! I’m an Arizonan and I like cheeseburgers.
Fswobble, look, now, you and I are getting to a point where I know you’ve got a magazine to fill up and you’re trying to capitalize while the capitalizing is good, but this: “American Revolution: For the first time in a long time, American women are confidently talking about sex – for all the right reasons.”
No. Just, no. Stop trying to make Fifty Shades more of a thing than it is. It IS a thing. It’s a thing. I get that. But it’s not, like, a bra burning, ball grabbing thing. It’s just a thing. It’s a sensation. It is a popular book the way Twilight was popular, the way any book is popular and is passed among friends and talked about among friends.
And any lady friends who are lady friends for long enough are going to talk about sex.
AND EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT SEX RIGHT NOW. And it’s not because of EL James and Christian Grey and the helicopter and balls and red rooms of pain and whatever. It’s because it’s important. And I’m not even reading this article, because YOU ARE NOT giving credit for any open discussion that may or may not be happening at this moment to BOOKS because I assure you, it is coincidentally timed.
They are books and they are popular, but they aren’t a revolution for sex, or for women, or for literature (except for maybe self-publishing), or for kink, or for anything of meaning, and they will go away, and you know that, Fswobble, and that is why 800 subscription cards didn’t fall into my lap when I opened you.
There are suggestions for more dirty books, but I’ve only read one of them, and frankly, I’ve lost my trust in Fswobble, so I suggest you just follow me and my friends on Goodreads for further suggestions.
The magazine finishes off with some suggestions on how to eat like a sex goddess, including chocolate, bananas, oysters, and asparagus. Most of that is in contradiction to an earlier section I ignored about how to eat like Ana, but she wasn’t a sex goddess, not really, so I suppose you can make your choice there. But BOTH of those were in contradiction to TWO articles on how to be sexier, which were mostly about being skinny and having a tight ass. I didn’t think you needed to be informed that yet another magazine thought that was how to be sexy, though.
LASTLY, a somewhat intriguing advertisement on the back page. I’m not even making fun of it, my interest is genuinely piqued. It could end up being the best part of the whole magazine. I may let you know. I’ll leave the link for you to check out on your own time. It is not safe for work. www.yourmasque.com
I don’t know, Internet. I never thought I’d say it, but I’m scared and I kind of miss Cosmo.
all quotes from Fifty Shades of American Women September/October 2012