Why Can’t I Have A Real Life Christian Grey?

2013-02-23 11.45.33Do you ever go through your WordPress stats page and look at the search terms that people put in to find you?  Of course you do.  I do. This question came up recently as a search term for my blog and it got me thinking about the longing that might be behind the question.

On the same day – as fate often allows – a good facebook/fanfic friend posted this link.


My personal favorite:

8. Have a normal face
Staring at his lover in chapter 20, Christian Grey’s “eyes blaze with anger, need and pure unadulterated lust”.

Stand in front of a mirror. Have a go at that combination. Now, never make that face again. You look constipated.

After I had fallen about laughing at all the truisms that Victoria Coren brings up I wondered about the women out there who are looking for a real life Mr Grey and all the men who are now getting mixed messages about what is appropriate behavior when encountering the Grey-sessed.

Later that same day someone posted this story on facebook.

When I was 16, I hoped that one day I would have a boyfriend.

When I was 18, I got a boyfriend, but there was no passion. So I decided I needed a passionate guy with a zest for life.

In college I dated a passionate guy, but he was too emotional. Everything was an emergency, he was a drama queen, cried all the time and threatened suicide. So I decided I needed a guy with stability.

When I was 25, I found a very stable guy but he was boring. He was totally predictable and never got excited about anything. Life became so dull that I decided I needed a guy with some excitement.

When I was 28, I found an exciting guy, but I couldn’t keep up with him. He rushed from one thing to another, never settling on anything. He did mad, impetuous things and flirted with everyone he met. He made me miserable as often as happy. He was great fun initially and very energetic, but directionless. So I decided to find
a guy with some ambition.

When I turned 31, I found a smart ambitious guy with his feet planted firmly on the ground and married him. He was so ambitious that he divorced me, took everything I owned, and ran off with my best friend.

I am now 47 and am looking for a guy with a big dick.

The message board ran hot for a while with shared sentiments.  This type of moral tale needs to come with a warning – there are a lot of photoshopped dicks out there!!

I was lucky to find my life partner in my 20s.  I feel for others who found, then lost; or are still looking.  I have a couple of friends who even in their forties are serial monogamists, still looking for Mr Right and settling for Mr Right Now.  A lot of discussion surrounded the training of a young man to meet a woman’s needs. My response was to post this sage advice.  Helen Humes recorded this originally in 1927 and it still stands up.

I found it reassuring to read The College Crush.  Jen explains that the obsession with CG is ok, even understandable.  Fictional heroes are good for the soul but in the search for our own real life partner, we need to have a firm grip on reality.

1. Knight in Shining Armor

Described as a man who gallantly comes to the aid of a woman in a time of need. Sure, there are guys out there that will drop everything to change your flat tire or kill the spider taunting you on the wall, but really it’s old misogynist ideal that has become romanticized. We are more than capable to grab that shoe, kill the spider, then freak out about how gross that was without a man being present.

2. You complete me.

I know I cried when a teary eyed Jerry Maguire entered into a room full of angry women ranting about how the men in their lives ruined them and declared to his wife that “she completes him”.  But you don’t want to aspire to complete someone, you want to aspire to be the person that best complements them. If there are holes in people’s lives they need to fill those on their own, not with you.

 3. Love at first sight.

Infatuation, lust, wonder, awe, and curiosity – all things that can happen at first sight- love not so much. Love is too profound and truly beautiful to happen so immediately.

 4. Can’t imagine my life without you.

When a relationship comes to an end it always seems this way. It must be the end of the world because how could you possibly go on breathing without this person, but then one day it just happens you wake up and the relationship is no longer the crux of your being, but a memory fond, or not, that is now in the past.

Once you leave college and are out in the “real world” you quickly realize that your happiness relies solely on your shoulders. It is now on you to find a job, new friends and new hobbies that will make you the happiest you. Yes, being in a relationship is fun and exciting but the only way relationships can truly grow and survive is if you make yourself happy first. So, stop falling for these false ideals and find a guy who complements the best parts of you.


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Remind yourselves, Christian Grey, even as a fictional boyfriend, is deeply flawed and not always in a rational and sexy way.  More importantly he does NOT exist  and if he did, apparently he would look like a serial killer.

Identikit rendering of the real Christian Grey. Creepy stalker doesn’t begin to describe him.

YouTube Video Playlist – it’s more than you wanted

An extensive video playlist of all things 50 Shades related.  Over 150 videos including trailers of almost any acting combination you can dream up.  A great resource if you are speculating on the casting of the movies.  Thanks to sindydoll35  for putting this together.

Family Time–Better with Plasma Grenades

Family Time–Better with Plasma Grenades.

This resonates so nicely with my life in obsessions.  I remember when AOM came out.  I was doing the last 6 months of my Masters degree, sitting at home writing while the kids were at school.  In reality I was stuck and playing hours of AOM – or at the very least it ran in the background while I dabbled with narrative analysis.  Finally one day the obsession took over – I forgot to pick up the kids from school.  Had to front up to the office and be told off for abandoning them.  I shamefully admitted this to them years later – they love to hold it over my head when I am being a bad mother.  Of course, they recognize that my obsession is currently being Sasha and so they bring up the AOM incident  to remind me.  They are right but quite frankly they are old enough to catch the train.  Sod them I say.

Another good mother of the year award goes to me.  It is right up there with suggesting to my son that his band should call themselves the Uncanny Twats.

Sasha xox

Framing the Future of Fanfiction

Framing the Future of Fanfiction: How The New York Times’ Portrayal of a Youth Media Subculture Influences Beliefs about Media Literacy Education (JMLE 4:3) : National Association for Media Literacy Education.

This article discusses how online fanfiction communities, their members, and their literacy practices are portrayed within popular and news media discourses. Many media literacy scholars believe these youth media subcultures practice complex and sophisticated forms of “new media” literacy. However, when educators attempt to incorporate these practices into K-12 literacy programs, the public’s reactions may be heavily influenced by the media’s documented patterns of marginalizing, dismissing, and denouncing youth subcultures. This study employs frame and critical discourse analysis in order to examine how the news media’s portrayal of fanfiction shapes and reflects the beliefs of teachers, students, and parents.

Once we get started…

I have to admit, I bought the FSoG bundle on kindle, long after all the books had come out.  Long after I had walked past them on shelves at the local shopping mall for months.  It then took me another month or so to start reading them.  I tried, but like many before me I was expecting something different, in Ana’s words ‘more’.  It took two more goes before I got into them.  By then I had heard the hype on radio and television about how Ana could come on command and how totally ridiculous that was.  I had also come across stories of under 18 year old students who were reading the books in their free time at school (yes, I am writing under a pseudonym because it is not worth the hassle trying to justify this to the other side of my life).  Mini Me is 15 years old and the reason why I ever started to indulge in YA fiction like Twilight. I was concerned that FSoG might be next for her so I read it as research (LOL).

Two days and three books later when I climbed out of my pjs and faced the world again, I was flushed and let’s face it, just a little bit excited by the whole experience. SuperGeek was away travelling that weekend, hence the extended pj time.  Boy was he in for a surprise when he got back.

I started to have sly discussions with select colleagues.  Of course, most of my colleagues would want to buy the books just so they could smack me over the head for reading them.  Feminists, especially post-structural feminists, can be a feisty lot.  So there are only a couple of people who know about my secret life as Sasha J Cameron.  Thank goodness they are supportive, confident and forgiving women.  Now this is not to say that I think FSoG has set us back 50 years socially.  In fact, I don’t think I have felt so empowered in my life. But it is a hard sell when people want to pick FSoG apart on the technicalities without understanding the cultural world it has opened up for many of us  (and no, I have not suddenly found out that I have BDSM tendencies).

Since that first reading frenzy (let’s face it, if you are blogging about it you didn’t stop at one pass, right?), I have slipped out of my preoccupation with YA and historical romance (I don’t mean to be unfaithful to Stephanie Laurens, Karen Hawkins, Virginia Henley, Mary Jo Putney and the rest of those wonderful authors who have been rocking my world for the past few years) and slipped into erotica (see the WickedWriters link).  I love EL James but Shayla Black /Shelly Bradley brought me to my pre-orgasmic knees and when I grow up (it was a joke) I want to write just like her.  Hot, hot, hot steamy scenes.

I was into my second reading of FSoG when I started to really recognize the parallels with Twilight – the food, the music, the power exchange – so when Mini Me asked why I was so obsessed and I started to discuss the themes with her she did a Kate – petulant, hands on hips, “You know that it started of as Twilight FanFiction, don’t you?”

While I had heard of fanfic, it wasn’t something I was particularly interested in.  Wasn’t it all for trekkies?  Well, that started off a whole new line of inquiry for me.  All my life I have been a secret writer.  I have talked about writing a great romance novel for years.  I always thought I would begin and end with historical romance.  Suddenly all my desires were converging in one golden opportunity.  FSoG Fan Fiction.  I will tell you about the convergence in a different post because it is a long and detailed story.  Needless to say, this is as much a process of becoming for me as it is an exercise in self study.  There is every chance that no one will read this blog and that is fine – pointless – but fine.  What I am hoping is that by creating it I can explore how a participatory culture like Fan Fic might improve my learning and process as a writer.  I may still never publish anything of my own but I do want to know what this could offer from an educative standpoint for any one of any age.

I have thrown in some research terms here so in some ways I want to come clean.  While I have been plowing through erotica at a rate of knots (no pun intended), I have also been reading FanFic, Fandom and Digital Literacies research by people like Henry Jenkins, Rebecca Black, Colin Lankshear, James Gee. My latest purchase is by Tanya Erzen Fanpire: The Twilight Saga and the Women Who Love It.  Anyone who wanted to, heaven forbid, trawl through my kindle library at the moment would be stunned by the mix.  It also includes books on how to write steamy sex scenes, but I digress.  I am not a literacy expert – anyone who tries to read my writing can tell I don’t quite have those skills – but I am a pedagogy and curriculum expert so I am interested in the ways that taking part help us to learn and grow.

Eventually, I will delve into why I think FSoG is great in terms of service to the world.  For all those who want to put these books down and tell us why they are robbing our souls, I blow a great big academic and literary raspberry.  I have never had so much fun in my life as this last month when I wrote Investing Elliot.  It was a wonderful release (from marking 6000 word essays) and something I will be repeating soon.  I, for one, think EL James is amazing for what she has done, just by opening up the conversation for women to take back their sexual power, and for what she allows us to continue to do as writers through fan fiction.

BTW – Mini Me still hasn’t read, nor does she have any desire to read FSoG, and that is okay by me.  She might come back to it when she is older and ready for it.  And no, she does not read any of my fan fiction, even though she is already a better writer than me.  She was last seen in her room reading Little Women.

See you on the flipside,


Sasha xox