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Are You Even Old Enough?!

8 Aug

Age is a funny thing. When we’re young we want to feel more grown up. As we get older we remember times when we had less responsibility, needed less sleep, could eat whatever we wanted to. The grass is always greener as they say.

One thing that hasn’t changed since I’ve entered adult life is the frequent comment about how young I look.

There are times in life when that really isn’t so bad. Getting ID’d at the liquor store can feel like a compliment. Looking young while attending a Taylor Swift concert diminishes the “why is she here without kids” stares I might otherwise get.

But generally speaking, being told you look young also comes with a judgemental stare that is trying to decipher if you are young and therefore perhaps not qualified, not mature enough, not capable enough.

This morning I watched TV as two co-hosts bantered back and forth about the year a particular event took place. The male co-host time and time again called out his counterpart for being SOOOOO young.

It’s been sitting with me all day because the tone and judgement in his voice had her on the defence even if it seemed playful on the surface.

At the end of the day they were doing the exact same job at the exact same time. Shouldn’t it stand to reason that despite their age difference, they both earned their seat at that table? Why does her age discredit her ability to perform at the highest of levels?

Yes there is something to be said for experience, but age and experience don’t always go hand in hand.

Recently I had an experience where my age (or seeming lack there of) landed me on the defence. My Husband and I just bought a house. We were doing a visit before our new home was about to close and one of the neighbours came over sizing up the new residents of her street. After looking me up and down she said to me “are you even old enough to buy a house?!”

In that moment I wish all I had said was yes. Yes I am. But because I felt so small, I felt the need to tell her my age, explain how hard we had both worked, and that this wasn’t actually the first home we’ve owned.

WHY?! I am a strong, experienced, smart and capable person. Have I been on the planet as long as some others? No! Are there people alive on Earth younger than me?! Heck yes.

So rather than taking shots at those who may seem too young to be doing what they’re doing in life, can’t we instead lift them up and give them mad props for working relentlessly to achieving the things that are important to them?

Old Babies. 

9 Dec

There are many things on TV and in movies that aren’t realistic, and I’m ok with this.
Super hot girls marrying the schlupy guy, talking animals, 20 somethings playing 15 year olds. The list goes on.

However, there is one problem that has yet to be solved that makes my blood boil every time I see it. Old. Babies.

Old babies you say?! What kind of Monster am I? Hear me out.

So many times when a baby is revealed on screen, the baby is dramatically older than the age it is supposed to be playing.

Example – Mindy Lahiri welcomes her baby into the world on this season of The Mindy Project, and our first glimpse at him is meant to be right after delivery while they are deciding on his name.

We expect to see a teeny little bundle of joy experiencing life’s first breaths, but instead we get a 6 month old. What?!?

leo
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect a new mother to bust it out of the hospital, run straight to a talent agent, take headshots and get that little peanut on the 9-5, but why does Hollywood keep trying to play us for fools?!
I’m also curious to understand how a 6 month old gets a job, but that’s neither here nor there right now.

What I’d like to propose is the following.
1) Fake babies. The working world is rough! Give the babies a break and do the audience a favour. We don’t expect the baby to be real, a fake new looking baby is less jarring than a real, old baby.
2) No baby at all. Swaddle up a log, a pillow, a bag of hammers. Whatever, swaddle it up and don’t shoot any scenes showing its “face”.
3) Time Lapse. Cut from the birthing room to 6 months later. Voila! Old baby is now age appropriate baby!
4) Use puppies. People will be genuinely confused and assume this was some edit gone wrong. Just roll with it.

So please casting agents everywhere. Hear my plea. Give us swaddled rocks, look aheads, bundled up baby elephants, but please stop trying to make old babies new again. You’re not fooling anyone.

Lucky 7 x 2 = 2014

6 Jan

So math has never been my forte but I do know one thing. 2013 was a tough year for many of us. Are we surprised?! 13 is a famously unlucky number.

But here we are. It’s a new year. It’s 2014. 7 is a notoriously lucky number and 7 x 2 = 14 which means 2014 will be awesome.

OK, maybe I’m grabbing at straws here but I’m determined to kick this year’s butt and if some questionable math will help me put a positive spin on 2014 then so be it!

So to kick off the new year I want to share some things I’m excited for.

1) Exploring our new city: Yes, this is the very first blog post since our big move and I’m really looking forward to exploring our new city. So far I’ve found a dairy free bakery run by the cutest Eastern-European woman who always asks me where in Europe I’m from but pretends we’re BFF’s, a great Pad Thai place and VEGAN CUPCAKES!! Did I mention I love treats? This city is chalk-a-block full of them.

2) Reconnecting with friends and family:  Moving to the city was a bit scary but we’ve been welcomed with open arms by old friends and new and we’re settling in pretty well. We’re also now a pretty quick drive away from The Husband’s family and childhood friends. I’m pretty lucky because they’re awesome and I love them and they’ve taken me in as one of their own. My Halifax friends. I MISS YOU. But fear not, I’m in good hands here.

I’m also exceptionally pumped to be closer to our Nieces and Nephew who live a fairly short drive away. They finally have figured out who we are and I love that we can take in a hockey game, or skating lesson, or a ridiculously competitive game of Just Dance 2014 whenever we want.

3) Juan-uary. Yes I still watch The Bachelor. This season just got started and the adorable Juan Pablo is the man of the hour. So during these chilly winter months we can take comfort in knowing there is some smut to look forward to every Monday!

4) Working out with The Husband: We’ve been going to the gym together for quite some time but always worked out on our own. We’re trying to take advantage of the gym in our building which is a touch small, but it’s forced us to join forces! I must say, I was a bit scared The Husband would morph into Jillian Michaels and scream at me all the time, but we’re working hard and having fun. Move over Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod!

5) Last but not least I’m very excited for January 29th. Why? It’s when our amazing friend Jared Keeso’s new show 19-2 debut’s on Bravo!! 19-2 was filmed in Montreal and is the English version of the already popular French-Canadian Police drama that shares the same name.

And if you don’t mind me getting sappy here for a moment I have to say how proud we are of Jared. We are always cheering for you pal, but we have a sneaking suspicion that 2014 is going to be an awesome one for you too. We miss you but can’t wait to have you on our TV every week!

Ok. Sap-fest over. Now check out the trailer and get DVR’ing, January 29th is coming up soon you know!

 

 

To everyone who felt a bit roughed up by 2013, I wish you a happy, healthy, and wonderful 2014. Lucky 7’s have to be good for something right?

Overalls and Fanny Packs

5 Aug

A while back I saw of picture of Jessi Cruickshank sporting overalls. She looked SO cute in them that I thought, I MUST HAVE OVERALLS AGAIN!

Most of my younger years were spent wearing snazzy Oshkosh overalls in varying colours and patterns, and then when I was 10 I went into a denim overall phase.

Don’t even get me started on the Tommy Jeans overalls trend that ran rampant through my Jr. High School. My parents refused to shell out the big bucks for the Tommy Hilfiger overalls and suggested I save up babysitting money to get them.

Not only did I take them up on this challenge, I began my career as a shopper of the finer things on a budget. A local kids store sold Tommy Jeans overalls for kids. Being a shrimp at the time the largest kids size (which looked exactly like the smallest ladies size) fit me and they were about half the price!

So the day came and I got my Tommy overalls and felt like the coolest kid around.

So naturally when I saw Jessi in the overalls I wondered if I too should bring these back into my life for the fourth time.

I was discussing this with my Mother-In-Law and her statement put me back into place. “If that girl can look that cute in OVERALLS, think of how cute she would look in other clothes! You don’t need overalls. Overalls are for working.” Good. Point. I now don’t own overalls in my late 20’s. That is for the best I think.

Image

Look at Jessi looking all cute in her overalls.

overalls

Overalls in their natural habitat.

Now let’s move on to another trend that I can’t say I was ever crazy about but has never truly seemed to die.

Let’s talk about The Fanny Pack. The words alone make me shudder a bit. I get it. Having a bag you can wear on your body to keep your hands free is a beautiful thing. But it doesn’t need to be this way!!!

Rhianna has decided to take it upon herself to make The Fanny Pack cool. Surely Rhianna of all people has someone to carry her bag, keep her things safe, pass her lip gloss when she needs it. But no. She brought Gucci in to this to try and make this seem OK.

fannypack

For a minute there you were like hey that’s cool. I want one right?

Honestly, I think her Gucci fanny pack is not so bad at all. The problem is this. If Rhianna (or any stylish trend-setting celeb) wears a fanny pack, the rest of the world now thinks it’s ok to continue to wear fanny packs.

They are pulling out their 100% polyester neon green gems from 1980 and saying things like “I knew these were going to come back in style one day!” and shoving all of their precious goods into a pouch attached to their waists.

There are so many alternatives to The Fanny Pack that are far more fashionable and even more practical. Cross body bags, messenger bags, back packs, your pockets, the list goes on. Please, choose your bag wisely.

 

We’ll Miss You Cory

14 Jul

This morning I woke to the news of Cory Monteith passing away and I must admit I’m pretty torn up about all of this.

To be honest I didn’t know for the longest time that he struggled with addiction. You never heard reports of erratic behaviour or saw pictures of him that would make you question his sobriety.

In a world full of celebrities who are publicly on a downward spiral constantly resisting help, Cory seemed to know his demons and  tried to tackle them which made me want to see him overcome them even more.

I just re-watched his 2011 interview with George Stroumboulopoulos and Strombo addresses the fact that usually fame leads to the deterioration of a person struggling with addiction, but in this case it seemed to help him want to get better. Monteith seemed genuine in saying that his drug addiction stemmed from not fitting in as a kid which makes this news all the more heartbreaking.

The family at Glee seemed like a closely knit one and the place where he finally fit in. So much so that he even found love with Lea Michelle there. With a huge ensemble cast like this, so many people were there to build him up and support him and I can’t imagine the incredible sense of loss and pain that comes with the death of someone you were rooting for so very badly.

My heart is with Cory Monteith today. By tackling bullying, gay rights issues, love, loss, and even bad decisions as Finn Hudson on Glee –  he gave so many other kids who felt out of place someone to look up to.

He will be missed.

 

 

MS Bike Tour!

10 Jul

On July 27th and 28th I will be embarking on the Windsor to Wolfville (Nova Scotia) leg of the MS Bike Tour.

I’m really excited to take on this new challenge as I’m not a seasoned road biker but I think this is an amazing way to support a great cause.

I know that there are SO many organizations out there that people lend their support to – so I’m trying to be a little different in how I go about raising money.

We are doing the bike tour to support a local family in HRM who has been significantly impacted by this disease. So I want to offer this to a local business:

 

For a donation of $250 and a t-shirt ( or other swag that will allow me to still ride a bike safely) with your company name / info on it – I will sport your gear while doing the 50km bike ride from Windsor to Wolfville.

biketour

What’s in it for you? I will not be a speedy biker so you have 50km of slow bike riding along a well seen route to gain exposure for your business AND you can feel good about doing it.

If this is something that interests you please leave a comment below with an email address to get in touch!

If this level of support is not for you but you’d still like to donate to our team please visit http://bit.ly/1bptKMi .

Really dairy free? Or just sort of?

16 Apr

no-dairy

I love food. LOVE food. But a couple of years ago after years of struggling with stomach issues, it was discovered that I had a dairy allergy. Those who know me will know that if I was given the option of eating only two foods for the rest of my life (without the risk of getting scurvy) I would pick pizza and bubblegum ice cream. To say I was a dairy fan would be an understatement.

Needless to say, the first few months of completely cutting dairy out of my life were extremely challenging. Because this is an allergy, and not lactose intollerance, I couldn’t just load up on Lactaid and be on my merry way. Trust me. I tried. Also at the time, goat cheese alternatives weren’t widely available and I was stuck eating mostly soy based products that tasted like plastic.

In the last 2 plus years things have changed a lot and people are becoming more in tune with what they are eating and as a result restaurants have also followed suit to ensure that people can visit their favourite eatery.

For the most part, my visits to restaurants are riddled with me asking a million questions to ensure I’m not going to leave there a bloated, uncomfortable disgusting mess, or I just avoid most restaurants all together and stick to a select few that I know I can enjoy something, worry-free.

In the past three weeks or so I’ve had TWO situations where I was told I was eating something either a) goat cheese based or b) dairy free all together.

In both situations it turns out they weren’t and as a result spent more time than I’d like feeling awful and keeping close to the facilities. (TMI I KNOW but I’m trying to illustrate a point here.)

In my case (to my knowledge) my encounter with dairy will not land me in the hospital, however, there are a lot of people out there with serious allergies that could result in a trip to the hospital, or even worse.

If as a restaurant your menu states something like “please advise server of any allergies” my hope is that you would stand true to that and advise patrons if their meal option won’t jive with the allergy they’ve told you they have. TRUST ME. Us allergy ridden kids would much rather NOT eat something instead of eating something that is going to wreak havoc on our bodies. On top of that we’re more likely to come back to your restaurant because we can trust we can eat there.

What restaurants may not realize is that sometimes it’s not the obvious foods that have dairy in them. For example, battered french fries usually have dairy in them, some types of buns have dairy in them, most pestos have dairy in them… And when I say dairy I don’t just mean STRAIGHT UP MILK.

Basically any kind of cheese that comes from a cow, modified milk ingredients, butter, buttermilk, milk powder etc… falls into that category.

So my ask is this. If you’re a server at a restaurant or a restaurant who can make modifications to your food for people with allergies, please do take the time to ensure that you look beyond the obvious. There is nothing worse than paying money to eat a meal only to worry the entire time that you’re not being taken seriously and will ultimately feel like garbage.

And as for you sufferers out there – below is a list of a few places in Halifax that are incredibly accommodating for people like us – aside from the obviously places like The Heartwood etc…

Morris East – You can have your pizza and eat it too! They are WONDERFUL here for taking the time to get to know their patrons and they even have a coconut milk creme brule.

A Mano – Again, have that hankering for pizza? A Mano is another great go-to and they have delicious creamy goat cheese that can go on top of that pizza pie. And for dessert? Sorbeto which is also dairy free! AND they even do sorbetto to go so while you’re friends are all stuffing their faces will dairy filled ice cream while walking the Halifax Waterfront, fear not. You can enjoy a treat too.

Salty’s – Having spent many years working at Salty’s in my younger years, this kitchen is staffed with an amazing team who makes a lot from scratch and so they know the in’s and out’s of what they’re working with.

The Sweet Hereafter – They have vegan cheesecake THAT TASTES LIKE CHEESECAKE. The lovely duo at The Sweet Hereafter have made a point to offer vegan flavours for quite some time now. They do their research and they’ve instilled the utmost confidence in me that I can eat pretty much an entire cake to myself and only feel bloated because, well that’s a heck of a lot of cheesecake.

Q – Despite Pulled Pork always leaving me feeling like I need a nap, the team at Q has always gone above and beyond to make sure I’m eating safe foods. Even if it means going bun-less.

The Foggy Goggle – If the Internet’s Joel Kelly can make this his second home, the rest of us can eat here with peace of mind. Again, with a great kitchen, they know what they’re putting in our mouths, and they can make sure they keep the bad stuff out.

Ok – that list makes me look like a glutton, but I warned you. I love food. And when I eat out I want to feel comfortable, safe and enjoy every last bite!

Let me know if you have any other go-to restaurants where you know you can have a great meal or treat!

 

 

This Needs to Stop – Bananas in Pyjamas

31 Oct

So a conversation on Twitter sparked a YouTube search of the Bananas in Pyjamas theme song. Instead I found a full episode so I thought hey, why not. After singing the theme song (ps if you know the final lyrics to that song I’ve been trying to figure them out since 1996…) I noticed the episode was called “Garden Gnomes” so naturally I continued to watch.

I’m not going to lie I laughed more than I probably should of given the demo of this TV show but it’s cute and they are Bananas in outfits with cute little Australian accents.. so what’s not to like.

Anyway about 3/4 of the way through I stopped the video to continue watching X Factor but I was compelled to finish. Please watch the video and tell me what you think is missing?

OK if you didn’t figure it out. THERE IS NO MORAL TO THIS STORY!!! You can’t very well go around breaking people’s stuff, posing as faux Garden Gnomes, then go have snacks with your friends and never explain why on Earth you were dressed up AS A GARDEN GNOME! What’s next B1 and B2? Do you play hide and go seek AND THEN NEVER FIND YOUR FRIENDS?!

To think that the youth of today were raised on such craziness. Next I’m going to learn they weren’t even real bananas.

A Comprehensive Review of Fifty Shades of Grey

22 Aug

The following review of Fifty Shades of Grey **contains graphic language and descriptions of sex.** It is a review of an erotic novel, after all. **Do not read this if you will be offended.**

Additionally, this review is only meant for those who may be under the misapprehension that there is any literary merit to this book. If you understand and enjoy that it is pornography, and therefore not worth critiquing, then you need read no further. We already agree.

However, if you have been told it is actually a “good book” or is interesting in any way, let this serve as a warning.

This review contains many spoilers.

This review has been prepared by myself, Joel, and my friends Ellie and Emily. For context and perspective, we are Canadian, in our twenties, and our day jobs are in communications.

Characters

It seems appropriate to start with what we feel is the worst aspect of the book: the people. Since the reader must spend more than 300 pages with them, reading as they talk, have sex, and most of all think, digging into exactly how poorly the characters are handled is important.

Anastasia Steele (oh god, the names) is our main character. We follow her thoughts throughout the book, which is written, we must mention, in the insufferable “present historical” style. Anastasia does not tell us what she thought at the time, but what she is thinking currently. The book reads like the notes in a film script or play, describing what the characters are doing at the time. This is annoying from the first page.

Imagine reading,
“I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror. Damn my hair–it just won’t behave, and damn Katherine Kavanagh for being ill and subjecting me to this ordeal. I should be studying for my final exams, which are next week, yet here I am trying to brush my hair into submission.”

Imagine how painful that style would be to read for hours and hours. That passage, we must note, happens to be the first few lines of the novel. It does not improve from there.

Ana’s main characteristics at the beginning of the story are the following:

  • she is twenty-one
  • she is finishing college
  • she does not own a computer
  • she is attractive, but insecure
  • she is a virgin
  • she has kissed before, but did not particularly enjoy it
  • she has never been drunk
  • she does not enjoy exercise and does not do it often

We are given, as far as we could determine, no reason why Ana has led such a sheltered life. Merely that she hasn’t been interested in anything sexual or alcohol-related. No background, no insight. Nothing that might make us sympathetic or intrigued.

By the end of the novel, which, it must be noted, spans only a few weeks she:

  • has graduated college
  • gets drunk and drinks wine daily
  • regularly has wild sex with a man she only recently met, who is twenty-seven, including: sex while on her period, sex after dinner in the boathouse at his parents’ house (while his family is in the main house), sex with toys and bindings, sex involving pain and submission, sex wherein she learns she can touch her toes without ever having tried before

Again, this book takes place over only a few short weeks, as far as we could tell. And almost all of the story is a series of her own imaginings, conversations/hallucinations with both her subconscious and her “inner goddess”, and incredibly banal conversations with the other characters.

The most prominent aspects of Ana’s personality, then, appear to be her willingness to do whatever she is asked, even as she claims constantly that she is hesitant, and her ability to do things she’s never tried before with deftness and pleasure. This is coupled with her constant “reveries” in which she imagines all the things a sane person would simply say out loud, leaving the reader to plead with her to just open her mouth and make the story actually happen instead of having it all play out in the mind of a simpleton.

Christian Grey, the other main character, is equally frustrating. First, he is an impossibly attractive twenty-seven-year-old millionaire, entrepreneur, charmer, and polymath.

Sexually, he is both skilled (even if his tastes are less than conventional) and very well-endowed (as we are told many, many times). He is also an excellent dresser, and his pants “hang off his hips, in that way” (we are never told precisely which way that is, however).

Christian Grey speaks like a nostalgic retiree, constantly yearning for a youth he’s never had and a past that never happened. For instance, he actually uses the phrase, “making the beast with two backs.” Now, do you know anyone under forty who has ever said that unironically?

We are told his unusual proclivities have been brought on by his experience with an older woman when he was a teenager. She used him sexually, and he has developed certain needs and desires as a result. He is, as he says, “fifty shades of fucked up.” He staunchly refuses to explain his history to Ana, because, well, it’s none of her business and they just met. But, in a further effort to frustrate the reader beyond the point of sympathy, Ana asks him over and over and over again about this, and then dares to express shock and hurt when he becomes angry at her constant questions.

These are the most boring and cliched archetypes you can have for characters: A mysterious, dangerous, sexually-experienced, and somewhat violent man, and a needy, nagging, virginal, and insecure woman. It’s insulting to everyone.

E. L. James wrote this story originally as Twilight fan-fiction (seriously). So, this is essentially the story: Ana is a repressed girl with no experience with anything interesting. Christian is a very old man in a young man’s body, who long ago was turned into something mysterious and dangerous by an older woman (who is still in his life). He then attempts to turn Ana into someone like him, asking her to sign a contract which would make this transformation essentially irrevocable. Are you getting this? She has removed the vampirism from a vampire story, leaving everything else intact.

The only time these characters seem like real, actual people are during their endless email conversations. We’re not sure why. Is it the change in perspective, or is it because in an email exchange you actually need to exchange information and thoughts? Sometimes their emails actually manage to be mildly funny. But while these are a much-appreciated break from the rest of the story, they do little to make the book worth reading overall.

It’s not worth talking about any of the other characters. They are all just placeholders, dummies through which Ana can express her thoughts and desires, without ever saying anything meaningful.

Repetition

Yes, repetition gets its own section. It is the book’s constant reminder that it was written by someone with an, at best, fundamental grasp of creative writing, and edited by someone either incredibly lazy or possibly deceased.

Let me briefly excerpt from a previous post on this book:

In a normal story, the word “impassive”, to describe someone’s body language or statements, would be used sparingly. In this book, it is used 28 times. Every 13 pages or so. That’s common enough to unsettle the stomach.

But that is not even the worst offender. No, it would seem that “flush” wins the prize. Any time the main character experiences the slightest surprise (and she is surprised by everything that happens in her world), she “flushes” and her breath usually “hitches”. “Flush” or “flushes” appears a staggering 113 times. That’s, get this, every 3.3 pages.

The word has lost all meaning. It’s like the author has a tick. It just appears, “unbidden” (as she would say, 11 times in the story), and unwelcome.

She also says that someone’s mouth presses “into a hard line” 14 times. That may not seem like a lot, but think about how specific a phrase that is. Have you ever heard someone use it before? Have it repeated 14 times over the course of a story that contains almost no exposition and less action, and you can get a picture of how grating it becomes.

Likewise, she refers to her “inner goddess” 58 times throughout the story. Do you know what that is? We are never told. But her subconscious, usually referred to in the same sentence, appears to be the angel on her shoulder warning her of danger, and her inner goddess is the devil on her other shoulder. We guess. In any case, it’s incredibly distracting. One is left to wonder about these constant internal conversations, and the way she personifies parts of her personality. She seems like someone quite mentally unwell.

Subtlety

This book leaves absolutely nothing for the reader to imagine or learn on his or her own. Instead, everything is brutally and thoroughly hammered into the reader’s mind.

These sentences, we are not kidding, actually appear in the novel:

“He shrugs noncommittally.”
“‘Hmm,’ he replies noncommittally.”

Someone actually shrugs without commitment. Can you even believe it?

Here is another sentence you would never imagine reading in a real book published in the real world:

“‘What is it?’ she says inquisitively.”

Someone asks a question, inquisitively. It’s almost as if they were inquiring about something through the use of a question. Who would ever think?

Metaphors are not the author’s strong point, either. That is, she can’t let them simply be metaphors. She has to explain them to the reader.

Read this:
“Honestly, his surname should be Cryptic, not Grey.”

Was that not the entire point of naming the book Fifty Shades of Grey? His name is Grey, and he’s mysterious. There is your title, there is your pun. But no, it is as if either the author does not understand the meaning of her own title, or worries the reader does not, and so she breaks it by spelling it out.

Here is another one:
“His look is so intense, half in shadow and half in the bright white light from the landing lights. Dark knight and white knight, it’s a fitting metaphor for Christian.”

Again, we are given a metaphor, and then it is explained to us, even stating that it is, in fact, a metaphor. The great thing about metaphors is that you don’t have to explain them. Because when you do, their power is removed, and they take more away than they give.

In a book full of bad sentences, it’s hard to pick the worst, but these certainly rank highly: “He presses a button and the Kings of Leon start singing. Hmmm … this I know. ‘Sex on Fire.’ How appropriate.”

Great, thanks Ana. We get it.

The Ick Factor

Most of the conversations about this book focus on the sex. And for good reason, it is really the only thing that approaches being interesting in the story. But the “ick factor” is hard to overcome.

You may have heard that the book is full of bondage and other intense behaviour. That’s sort of true. But, honestly, the only thing that really borders on unusual is the aggressive nature of it. Ana is spanked, whipped, and otherwise handled forcefully in their sex scenes. But beyond that, it’s all pretty standard. Except for the following:

When Ana is on her period, we are told: Christian “pulls on the blue string–what?!–and gently takes my tampon out and tosses it into the nearby toilet.”

This book does not do detail, normally. We are given almost no important information about the characters’ actions or motivations. But when they have sex, the details gets so… granular, it’s both shocking and, yet again, distracting. Also there is a point in which Christian takes his used condom and puts it in his pocket. For no reason other than to dispose of it. It’s an incredibly strange moment.

We are young, open-minded people. The sex is not the weird thing to us. It’s the way it’s described. It’s so over-the-top and detailed, about the oddest things, that it becomes a parody of sex scene, and not an exercise in eroticism.

I’ve quoted Jane Espenson before about over-describing things:

Remember Spinal Tap? Remember what “St. Hubbins” was the patron saint of? “Quality footwear,” that’s right. Not shoes. Superordinate. And, at the other end of the very same spectrum, remember this Buffy line? “I’m not exactly quaking in my stylish yet affordable boots”? Subordinate. The too-general is funny. The too-specific is funny. But, sorry, Goldilocks, just right is not funny.

What could have been

Here’s an outline for a novel:

A physically and sexually abused teenager grows up to become a wealthy, successful young man. Riddled with painful memories and robbed of his childhood, he begins to explore his own sexuality and desires in extreme and dangerous ways. On a path toward complete self-destruction, he meets a girl.

This girl comes from a deeply puritan background. Her parents, devout Christians in an extremist sect, have kept her completely isolated from the world outside her family and church. Everything outside this life is considered evil, and she pictures the world around her to be very dangerous and always frightening. She eventually ends up going to a Christian college in the deep south, and along the way meets this man. Her lack of experience, and her fear of anything that might challenge her faith or anger her parents, keeps her from engaging physically or emotionally with him, at first.

Overtime, however, they become better and better friends, realizing that they have both missed out on their youth, and have both missed out on the opportunity for a healthy sexual relationship, and the understanding of what it means to be emotionally intimate.

Their sexual relationship is painful, for both of them, both physically and emotionally, and soon it is over. But as they go their separate ways, they realize that, at least for a moment, they knew what it was like to experience innocence.

Would you read that book? I’d read that book.

That’s what Fifty Shades of Grey could have been, but wasn’t.

Conclusion

Fifty Shades of Grey is a bad book. A very, very bad book. We understand that this is exactly like saying that the latest pornography film is a bad movie. Of course it is, and no one should be surprised.

But this book has become something of a phenomenon. It is talked about in newspapers, on TV, and around the water cooler, so to speak. We had heard about it constantly, and so we finally had to find out what it was really about.

Because we were told, like many of you perhaps, that while it is a graphically sexual book, it contains an interesting story, and it is worth reading for that reason alone. It is our hope that we have shown you that this is not the case.

Fifty Shades of Grey is a pornography book, and that’s great. We see nothing wrong with people thinking and talking about sexuality and things outside of their comfort zone.

But this book is no more art, and no more interesting, than something you find in a teenager’s web browser history.

Originally posted on Start As Close to the End As Possible.

This Needs to Stop – The lack of workplace etiquette

14 Oct

I think that our readers can relate to the many office policies and rules that come along with most workplaces. They can range from the very simple “no smoking in the bathroom rule”, to the complex office politics that surround the lunch room. But I think that there are a few things that we can safely suggest need to stop in offices everywhere.

1. The Reply All – You get a company wide email, maybe it is an announcement about someone’s new position in the company, and I am sure you are thrilled for co-worker X on their promotion. And maybe you want to express this to your co-worker, who could fault you for that? Not me, that is for sure. But I’ll tell you what  I will take issue with: when you reply all to this email, instead of directly sending the congrats to your co-worker. Because to be honest, more times than not, most people do not care to have their inbox filled with emails that are not meant for them.

2. The Overshare – It’s Monday morning, and you are sharing some details from your weekend with co-workers, nothing wrong with that. Until you take it too far, and suddenly I am listening to you regale me with stories of your hot flashes, your grandmother’s bladder infection or your kid’s vomit. I am not sure when or why it has happened. I do hold the internet partially responsible for creating a culture of oversharing, but it needs to stop. Here’s a tip: if you want to write a blog that expresses your personal (and I mean very personal thoughts and reflections) that is your business, but maybe you do not share that through your corporate Twitter account.

3. Check ins – I know, I know, I have talked about this before but people do not seem to be getting the hint. I do not want my Twitter feed filled with you checking in at the doctor’s, the pharmacy, the bathroom (yep, this has happened), or your mother-in-law’s. And maybe, just maybe, you don’t check in at a bar at 3:30pm on a Friday. That way all your co-workers won’t know that you skipped out early to get bombed.

4. The company-wide email – I consider the company-wide email a privilege. Not everyone should have the power to send these, and if you do, you must treat this power like you have the keys to launch nuclear weapons. Fast and loose is the not the motto you should be employing in these situations. OK, so let’s say you have the power to send these emails. Call me old fashioned, or maybe it the PR professional in me, but I think that a certain amount of professionalism should be expected in these emails. I am all for a little color commentary but I am not OK with you using these as a place to share long winded personal happenings. Because it’s fairly safe to assume that people do not give a shit about the minor details of your life, maybe you save those details for your mom, and to be honest, she may not care to hear them either.