E. L. James has typed out the entire sex contract AGAIN and it’s so unbelievably tedious. It covers everything from STIs to making sure the equipment is sterilised, and it has a lot of terms like “in accordance with Clause 3.2” and “subject to the proviso of Clauses 2-5”. It’s really boring. It has appendices (plural) and everything. It even has little sections of dotted lines in the book for Christian and Ana to sign. That’s realism, folks.
The only person who remotely finds this interesting is the author, because this is her own personal fantasy and she’s inviting us to share in every last gory detail. She could have simply given us a run-down of the most important parts, a highlights reel, if you will, but E. L. James is anxious to convince us that this is like real life.
In addition to the ‘hard limits’ that Christian previously set out (you know, ‘no gynaecological instruments’), there is a list of ‘soft limits’ which includes fellatio, cunnilingus, vaginal fisting and anal intercourse. I can’t wait for Ana to join us in the 21st century, get on the internet and do some research because you can bet your bottom dollar she doesn’t know what most/any of those are.
Christian also needs to know if she’s okay with the use of dildos, butt plugs and genital clamps. Honestly, whatever romance and mystery there was in this story has gone straight out the window with the mention of ‘butt plugs’.
After reading this list, Ana has a few problems, as you can imagine: “Every weekend? That’s too much. I’ll never see Kate or whatever friends I may make at my new job – provided I get one.” Yeah, that’s the first thing you’d logically think about. A rich and powerful CEO is proposing that you sign a contract to become his submissive, so that he can plug your butt to his heart’s content, and all you’re bothered about is seeing your one friend at the weekend.
“This is so much to take on board,” Ana whinges. “As Jose would say, a real mind-fuck.” Oh, that Jose, he's such a character. That is some catchphrase he's got there. Never heard that before.
Ana says that her ‘inner goddess’ is jumping around like a five-year-old. I wish she would stop with the child references; they really do not sit well with me in this context. “Please, let’s do this,” her (five-year-old) inner goddess begs. “Otherwise we’ll end up alone with lots of cats and your classic novels to keep you company
Kate wakes Ana up in the morning. “I glance at my alarm. It’s eight in the morning. Holy Moses. I’ve slept for a solid nine hours.” Oh my god! Hold the front page! Ana slept for slightly longer than the recommended daily amount! This is unbelievable. No, really, it is. I’m in shock. (Someone kill me.)
There’s a parcel being delivered for Ana. It’s big. It looks interesting (Kate’s words, not mine). Christian has apparently sent her a MacBook Pro, with a tech guy to show her exactly how to use it (because Ana seems to be from the Dark Ages and wrote all her college essays by hand, with the flickering light of a candle in the background).
The tech guy tells her he’s set up an email address for her. “I have an email address?” wonders Ana, in utter shock. Can someone please explain to me how this woman has managed to stumble through her pathetic, sheltered life thus far? How did she manage to apply for her internships without an email address? How did she correspond with her university? This was written in 2012. There were cats with Facebook accounts in 2012, and this girl doesn’t even have an email address. I despair.
When Ana signs into her new-fangled, high-tech email account, there is an email from Christian. What follows is a vomit-inducing sequence of emails. None of them really say much of interest, except for that awful phrase – “Laters, baby.” Ana compares herself to a small, giddy child. Again with the child references. They make me very uncomfortable, why hasn’t E. L. James picked up on this? Stop mentioning children in your erotica. It's very weird.
Ana goes to work, and has Jose come and meet her there so that they can go for coffee. “[Jose] smiles his dazzling toothy all-Hispanic-American smile.” What is an ‘all-Hispanic-American’ smile? Is that different to an all-American smile? Oh wait, of course it is, he's ethnically diverse. We hadn't had a reminder for a few chapters. I had completely forgotten about the shameless tokenism of this useless character.
We don’t even get an insight into what happens between Ana and Jose at coffee. I think the author deems an interaction irrelevant if there aren't any nipple clamps or pube-tuggers. Ana just goes home and emails Christian some more. She already has no life outside of this man.
Being unsure of where to start with her research into BDSM, Ana asks Christian what she should type into Google. “Always start with Wikipedia,” recommends Christian (hahahahahahahaha). Sage advice.
PS - if you want to follow me on Twitter, I'm @fateiskind. Laters, baby. (Sorry.)