I Get Shy Talking About My Writing…

I Get Shy Talking About My Writing… And it’s not why you think.

Right, you’re reading this probably because you’ve read my stories and after that might’ve followed me on social media or happened upon this site. Chances are we know each other at least loosely, indirectly. I have zero self awareness on this issue, so I’m not sure if you’d find what comes next surprising, or if I am way more obvious than I thought…

The idea of telling people what I write about makes me feel weird and icky inside. I get a sort of ticklish sensation right above the stomach, sometimes higher up in my chest, which grows into an uncomfortable pressure of varying intensity. This sensation tells me that I’d like to just say what I’m about to say, but preferably not while I’m still standing in front of you (whether literally or figuratively).

I’d like to find the right words, write them down and leave you a note. Then I could run away while you read and understand it so I don’t have to deal with any feedback or risk getting nervous and blurting it out all wrong. These instincts are very inconvenient in a time when writers are supposed to be their own best spokespeople; I can’t afford to end up in a crowd and answer the question with a whispered: “Oh, just some stories, no big deal. Tell me about yourself instead!”

I’ve tried saying I write Erotic Romance which is true enough, but doesn’t feel quite right to me. Another possibility is to say I write ‘Romance with sex’, which is essentially the same but makes me feel like I’m about to be misunderstood and lost between the imagery of rapey alpha male knights and innocent maidens with heaving bosoms. I’d like you to understand, I really do, I just don’t want to have to open up enough to make it happen.

It’s not the sex. I don’t really give a shit about the fucking, the crude language, the cum stained sheets or used condoms that might feature in some of my stories (Mental note: must include cum stains in a future story, that would be hilarious); these things don’t embarrass me. Sex is easy, fun, quite acceptable even.

What gets me tied in knots is that I write about people who are real to me: strange, awkward people with fears and worries and hang-ups that often don’t even need to exist. Secretly, I like them better the more fucked up they are, which to me is quite a horrible thing to admit because it reeks of Schadenfreude. Then I try to justify it by giving those same people a happy ending with lots of fireworks along the way. My absolute favourite thing in the world is to watch (and write about) an underdog ending up on top.

Is that strange? Probably not, if one is to believe expressions like “everyone loves an underdog”. So why do I worry so much about how people will react? I’m not even that bothered about the sorts of people who think the character in question is weak and would prefer a confident type who swoops in with all the answers and the Great Handbook of Sexual Technique memorised beginning to end. Quite the opposite: what worries me the most is for someone to come up to me and say: “What made you think you could take a person / scenario / characteristic like this and use it for entertainment and profit. You’ve made me look and feel like an asshole because of it. How dare you!”

I think it’s because growing up I’ve always felt like an underdog myself. While the popular kids would reject me, I could count on solidarity from the other “outcasts”: I was never truly alone. And it would be a tragedy if something I did made another person feel worse somehow, even if it was unintentional. I’d prefer if it were the opposite actually, but that would make me sound all pretentious, so rather than admit to that, I’d prefer to sit quietly in the crowd, observing and keeping my thoughts to myself… Unless I have something funny to say.

Let’s ignore the Royal bloody Baby for just a moment

Disclaimer: I know I am breaking my own rule of not getting vocal about politics, but hey, I couldn’t help myself. It is also about politics in the UK. I promise I won’t feel bad if everyone ignores my little rant below…

Since yesterday I’ve been having a hard time keeping quiet. In between all the excitement about a baby being born which in no way affects any of us really, David Cameron made a confusing announcement which was covered by my radio station of choice in just one sentence: “David Cameron plans to block internet porn by means of an ‘opt-in’ system” or thereabouts. On my drive to and from work, I only half listen to the news bulletin usually, but this made me wake up; hang on, he’s doing what, now? This deserves further research…

In short, as far as I could gather, David Cameron is trying to save our children from being corrupted by the great evils of internet pornography. Oh and to make him look like a total hero, let’s toss around the terms rapists, paedophiles and child porn a few times so everyone will automatically agree with his plans. In fact this proposed measure is not (just) about blocking access to child porn or videos of abuse. He wants the entire internet to by default be the happy, fluffy, child-safe zone it has never been. But only with regards to sex. Violence and hate mongering is still fine even for children to see, apparently. He is conveniently failing to mention the occasional decapitation video which is probably quite a bit more traumatising to children than your average cumshot.

While I guess most people might agree that children should not accidentally be able to stumble across (child) porn, his plans of making ISPs implement a filter which is meant to block access to anything and everything adult in nature is ridiculous. Not only has he gone around calling his wonderful idea an “opt-in” system which if you don’t pay attention sounds great. Only if you listen carefully do you realise that you don’t “opt in” for the filter, you get the filter by default. You need to “opt in” to porn. Great. So you will need to contact your ISP, tell them you’re a pervert who likes to look at adult material, and ask for the filter to be turned off.

Dave, you cunt, that’s called opting OUT, not in!

Also, I like to think I’ve seen my fair share of the internet, starting from when I was young, impressionable and still in school. I can’t recall often finding myself in the situation where I’m looking for say a recipe or a book review, and accidentally encountering a video of someone getting it up the ass. If I want to see that sort of thing, I have to specifically search for it.

The first thing that crossed my mind was: wonderful, so every ISP will have a neat little record of all the deviants who asked for the filter to be turned off. How handy, since more than likely any potential rapists or child molesters are likely to be amongst those who would like their porn back, so those can perhaps more easily be monitored. The second thing I thought was, but filters don’t work, do they? As clever as technology has become, even Google can’t figure out how to eliminate false positives and adult content with seemingly innocent descriptions being misclassified by child safe filters. What hope do the mere humans at the ISPs have? (On a side note, would you like to see a wonderful example of filtering gone wrong in action? Open up Tumblr on your mobile and try searching for “gay” or “bisexual”. Yep. No results. Just why they would assume that all gay and bisexual content is unacceptable/pornographic in nature is beyond me.) Also, does anyone think it would take the average horny teenager more than 5 seconds to bypass the filter? I think not.

Of course mentioning the phrase “child porn” is getting especially Daily Mail readers very excitable. Why and how can anyone oppose such a thing when child porn is so very obviously evil? Listen up, dickheads, child porn is already illegal to watch, possess and distribute.

We do NOT need any more laws to ban it!

And remember when we hear those stories, of those shitty totalitarian regimes we’re so pleased we don’t have to live in, banning random things they don’t like online? How the internet in China for example only gives you the squeaky clean version of how Tibet isn’t actually Tibet but has always been part of China and the locals just love it that way? Remember how we feel relieved that we in fact have a free, uncensored internet which doesn’t just represent the assholes who happen to be in charge of the country?

Yeah. Not for long. The slippery slope argument gets dragged out for a lot of things nowadays, but is it really so far fetched to think that what our wonderful government stands for today might change a few elections from now? What if they’d like to filter out a little bit more then?

This whole situation is a big clusterfuck, and I’m not even going into the fact that while Cameron has been out congratulating himself for being our moral protector, his government is responsible for cuts to organisations which support victims of abuse.

Fucking Tories. Screw this, I’m going home.

About Heroes and Perfection

God knows why I’ve spent almost the entire day today reading up on Romance / Erotic Romance and the debate of whether the genre should feature physically perfect heroes / love interests or flawed ones. As one would expect, there are a lot of opinions out there both amongst writers and readers of Erotic Romance.

Actually this so-called research happened by accident because I wanted to read a certain type of story. I wanted to find authors and books to fulfil a craving I had for some lunchtime / bedtime reading (I like to be prepared).

Personally – if you’ve read most of my work you’ll already know this – I don’t tend to go for what most people might consider physical perfection. With the exception of Beautiful Stranger, where the male lead is what you might call “perfect” in the sense that he’s buff, none of my other male characters are. If I had to find stock images representing the main characters of my books, I’d have issues because they don’t fit the chiselled 6-pack mould!

I have my reasons and these are mostly selfish in nature. This may sound harsh, but I didn’t start writing to fulfil everyone else’s fantasies, rather I did to record my own. Hopefully through self publishing I’ll find a readership that agrees!

1. My idea of attractive does not match up with the mainstream media’s interpretation.

If I write about a man who objectively could be described as fat, it is because that’s what I like and what turns me on. I’m not running a charitable operation here, churning out stories to make often overlooked types of men feel good about themselves. (However, if I have that kind of effect on some readers who can see themselves as a certain character and this makes them happy; awesome, it’s a bonus!)

2. Looks aren’t everything.

Attractiveness and arousal can be related to looks, but that’s not the whole story. Not for me, anyway. I fantasise about lots of situations, lots of different types of people getting up to all sorts with each other. Ironically, Peter in Beautiful Stranger is “conventionally hot” in a mature mid 40s sort of way. Visually he would not do it for me because of what I’ve already mentioned above. But he’s attractive anyway because he is a confident, attentive lover.

Similarly I hope that my more unconventional characters (John in Just Another Day at the Office, and George in One Night Stand) might appeal to readers who might not find them physically as attractive as I would. They might find John cute because he’s shy and quite innocent in a way. George could be appealing because he’s got that manly & rough, long-haired biker thing going for him. Or perhaps such readers would appreciate that in the eyes of their respective love interests, they are perfect.

Again perhaps (and this is something I came across in my pseudo-research multiple times today) some readers don’t care what I imagine my characters look like, they’ll simply imagine what they want them to look like and get their kicks that way. That’s fine and I do expect it; that’s why I try to keep physical descriptions fairly vague.

3. Realism vs. Fantasy

I get that (Erotic) Romance is a genre that a lot of people read to escape reality. A lot of these readers may want to imagine a perfect world where beautiful people have mind-blowing sex. Good for them.

Personally, I enjoy some realism because it allows me to identify with a story. I want to read about that guy I saw on the train or at the supermarket, not a billionaire who looks like an airbrushed magazine cut-out.Happily I also tend to fantasise about that same guy, Joe Average or even the guy sitting in the corner of the pub by himself who nobody notices.

So for me, realism merges with fantasy and I combine elements of both. While the characters show realism, I do like a bit of unrealistic hot fantasy sex where everyone always has an orgasm and instinctively people know how to please their partners.

4. The classic, tortured hero

I’ve touched upon this in an earlier, ancient blog post about 50 shades, but a lot of us women like “damaged goods”. Even if they are otherwise perfect alpha males, if they are scarred in some way that requires us to “fix” them with our love, the appeal grows exponentially. Whether this is due to some kind of misplaced instinct to mother the men in our lives, or something else, I’m not sure.

All I know is, give me a man who is honest enough to express some kind of self doubt and I’m like a moth to a flame. Not only do I feel like he’s a complete and genuine person rather than a one-dimensional arrogant prick, I also need to prove him wrong. This is especially the case if the issue he has is basically subjective (appearance related?) and not really a problem for me or my female characters. So you think you’re too old / too fat / too poor / too inexperienced or shy and therefore unlovable? Wrong!

***

Alright that’s enough ranting for one blog post. I should probably do a bit more research because I want to read about my ideal man before bedtime and I haven’t found him yet. Or perhaps I should just give up and write about him instead…

Xmas Dinner with the Crazies

For those who follow me on FB, or I speak to on a regular basis, you will have noticed my blind panic at the prospect of having people over for a fancy meal on Christmas. I thought I’d post an update, since Christmas is now properly over.

Overall it went well, everyone seemed to have a good time. The food was utterly demolished by the end of it, as was the rather excessive (according to my mother) wine supply.

Family gatherings are a time for catching up and of course gossip. Especially this gathering had a lot of that, mainly because it was the first time my mother and my nephew met. My (half)sister and my mother haven’t been in touch for over 20 years. Therefore it was also the first time my mother and my (half) brother-in-law met but there wasn’t much conversation there. Partially because they didn’t understand a word the other said.

In any case, I’ve always been aware that my family, whether from mom’s or dad’s side, are a bit challenging and nutty. I know everyone says this about their own family, but I’m serious.

To add to the bizarre nature of the situation, we had the opportunity to drag up much told crazy stories and proudly demonstrate our combined insanity in front of two outsiders, friends my sister dragged along.

After putting my nephew in charge of wines – after all, he’s the snob who wouldn’t let me buy them in Aldi and insisted on picking out quality bottles himself with his 40% wine shop staff discount – I only had to take care of the food. The Christmas Goose was a great success and people ate with abandon.

It was a mixed bunch, a mash-up of cultural backgrounds and nationalities (and varying English skills). Funnily the only Englishman at the table was my nephew, who got plenty of shit for that from the rest of us. But that’s OK, he can take it. This was exactly the point where I was thankful for not inviting the next door neighbour as well, as this would have become very awkward very quickly.

Out of the 8 people that somehow managed to squeeze themselves around our 6 person dinner table (two on each head), it was mainly my mom, sis and nephew doing most of the talking.

Upon having cleared some empty dishes I come back to the following exchange.

“Oh but your dad left that gun in my wardrobe!” says mom.

“Really?!” sis asks, before waving to her friend in a sort of *nudge nudge, wink wink* this story will be awesome kind of fashion. “Please do tell me what happened!”

I sit down at the table, while my nephew just looks at me with a raised eyebrow. The story of the gun is well known in our family; an AK-47 which my dad carried for protection(?!) while doing video coverage for a news agency during the 1967 Six Day War in Israel. One which he then proceeded to hide in his camera bag and smuggled home to Europe, upon being air lifted out by the British Forces. Fuck knows why. I’m all for souvenirs, but an AK-47?

“Oh yes, he kept it all that time, from 1967 right until he died in ’89. At my house. I got rid of it then.”

By now, the Alpha males at the table (everyone but my nephew, he’s more of a Beta male) are realising that family stories in our house are a lot more interesting than they were expecting.

Mind, we are not a family of gangsters.

Keeping a gun in your girlfriend’s wardrobe is not considered normal behaviour. In fact, my mother is the most rule conscious person I know, to this day I find it shocking that my dad managed to smooth-talk her into having a weapon in her house, in a country with extremely strict gun laws. (Just to explain this to any Americans reading this: by “strict gun laws” I don’t mean paperwork’s a pain in the ass when getting a permit. I mean you CANNOT get a permit, because guns are banned. Even something seemingly silly like pepper spray is completely illegal.)

“Oh my, what did you do?” 

“Well, of course I phoned the police.” 

I hear a sigh of disbelief and horror from the Alpha male corner, this was not what they were hoping for.

“That must have been an awkward conversation.”

“Not really, I phoned them and said: ‘My partner has just passed away, and in his things in the wardrobe I found a Kalashnikov. What shall I do with it?’ The policeman didn’t believe me. He laughed at me as if I was a nutcase and told me: ‘Why don’t you bring it into the main police station and we’ll deal with the matter there.'”

“No, you didn’t give it to them, did you!” One of the Alphas exclaims.

Mom continues.

“Actually yes, I did exactly what the man had told me on the phone. I packed up the gun, and the ammo, and went to the police station and handed it to them.”

“You should’ve seen their faces!”

Maybe you had to be there. But this story is always a winner, even if I have already heard it many times. Funnily on this occasion the story didn’t end there. The “let’s show off how crazy we all are in front of people we’ve never met before” act continued on to:

“Of course after that your grandmother handed me some knives.”

Me: What?!

“Yeah, she said, ‘Here, hand them to the police, they’re illegal weapons.’ So I did.”

While I’m sitting at the table pondering why my 90 year old grandmother had big ass knives in her possession, sis helps out.

“Oh, you are aware grandma spent some time in jail?”

Me: WTF???

And that started a whole new story.

As I said. Insane. Every single one of them.

True Love and other Myths

Before I start, I’ll admit that I may be feeling a little bitter as I write this. I’ll also admit that “a little” may be an understatement. But I do believe that nowadays we live in a world where love and relationships are so over hyped that it would be impossible to achieve the supposed ideal.

1. True love lasts forever
No. I don’t buy it for a second. Yes, you may see couples who have been together their whole lives. Sometimes even first lovers who have never been with anyone else. But I don’t for a second believe that they never have their moments of doubt and despair. In my opinion it would be impossible for two people to always feel love for one another. I’m sure even the most “perfect” couple has times when they just want to murder each other in a spectacularly violent fashion.

2. Soul mates
Nothing short of drinking too much tickles my gag reflex like the phrase ‘so-and-so and I are SOUL MATES!’. Really? Another one is ‘we finish eachother’s sentences’. Ugh! The world is a big place, and people vary so much in tastes, character, outlook, that I simply cannot believe that there is this one person out there who matches me perfectly. The best we can hope for is some overlap to make every day life run smoothly. Maybe some shared interests and similar religious background (or lack thereof), just so you don’t fight every time you settle down to watch some TV, or discuss current affairs. But the world is simply too diverse for two people to be exactly the same. And if that was the case, it would be incredibly boring also. Which leads me onto my next point;

3. Happy couples should do EVERYTHING together
Oh god no! If you’ve found someone you enjoy spending time with, don’t go and ruin it by spending every waking moment with them. Doing everything with them, involving them in every one of your tedious daily affairs. When I was young, much like everyone else, I had received my fill of ‘they lived happily ever after’ fairytale brainwashing. Therefore I never used to understand when my mother advised; ‘You know it’s good for couples to have different jobs. What would they talk about if they already spent all day together at work?’ It may have sounded unromantic to the young me, but it’s true. Nothing gets boring quicker in a relationship than not having your own identity.

4. You never keep secrets from your partner
Judge as some of you may, I think there are good reasons to keep secrets. It might be too presumptuous of me to assume that a lot of people have deep, dark thoughts and fantasies that they fear nobody else might understand. But it certainly can be the case. Not telling your partner, doesn’t mean you don’t love them. Also not every fantasy is meant to be acted out, some are much safer locked away in the depths of your mind where they cannot hurt anyone, especially your other half. While it’s relatively easy to give your body and your heart to someone, giving every one of your thoughts is in an entirely different league. Not everyone can hope to achieve this ideal, so there is no reason to feel bad about it.

5. When you love each other, you’ll never look at anyone else, think about anyone else, do anyone else
Wouldn’t it be nice, to be such a selfless and pure person. Never plagued by curiosity about what it might be like, on the other side of the fence. Fine, during the honeymoon period when your hormones are going wild for the other person, perhaps you won’t glance at the attractive waitress at the restaurant. Or appreciate the perfect physique of the barista serving up your morning cappuccino. But as time passes, so does that insane obsession with your other half. Love may make you blind, while you’re newly in love. But sooner or later, your eyes are wide open. And personally I don’t think there is anything wrong with looking around, watching porn, having horny thoughts or dreams about others. Depending on your own moral compass and any agreements between you and your partner, it might even be ok to act on such feelings.

In my opinion, true love is being able to accept that the other person isn’t perfect, isn’t all you’ve ever wanted, but they’re yours and that’s enough (mostly). And no matter how much you want to clobber them over the head with a cricket bat every so often. Once you’ve calmed down, you return to them and retain the ability to make each other smile.

Growing up and other embarrassments

For some reason I’ve been looking back on my teenage years lately. My poor mom had her hands full, raising a volatile rebellious version of me by herself and I certainly did not make it easy for her. She never fully knew what I was up to, until years later (over a glass or two of wine) I answered some of her more prying questions. But I suppose the things she did get wind of, were probably stressful enough at the time.

 My top 5 classic Teenage moments:

 1. Sex Ed.

I suppose I was about 13 when our school had a 2 day special Sex education programme. Many topics were discussed in a typical European manner; one where children are encouraged to be open and honest, the aim being to instill tolerance for all things different. After a particularly long discussion in class about what we can and cannot discuss with our parents, I felt liberated. Plus I was already quite rebellious with a “don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks” attitude. Upon coming home, I decided to strike up a conversation.

“Mom, if I was a lesbian, what would you say?”

“What am I supposed to say. You are what you are.”

“Wouldn’t you mind?”

“No. Why are you asking?”

“Oh we had this discussion thing in school. About tolerance and stuff.”

….

“Mom, what do you think about oral sex?”

*spluttering, coughing noise*

“Err, you’re too young!”

“Yeah ok, but do you think it’s right or wrong?”

*awkward silence*

“Well, would you do it?”

*Mom turns bright red*

“That’s something everyone should decide for themselves.”

I never got my answer….

2. Extra-curricular Activities

I grew up in a small, boring town with about 100,000 inhabitants. As a result the town centre was particularly unexciting and had a poor selection of shops. But when I was 14 or 15, something exciting opened up, just a bit outside the normal shopping zone. Just a bit further from view, but it didn’t go unnoticed. Something with shiny latex outfits in the window, yet minus the seedy neon “Sex shop” sign.

Due to the lacklustre shopping avenues in our home town, of course us teenage girls would often take a train to a larger city nearby to do our shopping. One where dimly lit “Sex Shops” were nothing unusual. Those were scary looking from the outside though, the windows were darkened so you couldn’t look inside. And until you’d set foot in one you wouldn’t know what was in there.

So I’d never been in one.

This new, bright and airy shop with the kinky clothes was different and not so scary at all. Basically like Ann Summers in the UK, an entirely new concept to me at the time.

After noticing this shop on a previous trip to the town centre. One day I waited until the street was empty and ventured inside. I was a naive teen and a virgin. And I came home with my first little vibrator (the big ones just seemed physically impossible). Once I had paid I excitedly took the opaque plastic bag I was handed with this much coveted possession and left the shop. I was so over the moon that it didn’t bother me much that a builder loitering outside made a particularly rude remark. Not bothering with a comeback, I simply gave him the finger and walked off smiling.

 3. My 12th Birthday.

Not quite teenage, granted. But the story fits in as being fairly embarrassing.
Let me start by saying my mother wasn’t a nudist; far from it. But I wasn’t brought up to be ashamed of nudity either and it wasn’t until I hit puberty that I had any issues changing in front of her, and vice versa. So yes, this may seem shocking to some people but I’ve seen my mother naked. But during the previous few months something else new did happen. Mom had started dating. For the first time since my dad passed when I was just a toddler, it wasn’t just us girls.

On the morning of my 12th Birthday:

“Happy birthday, darling. What would you like for breakfast?”

“Meh.”

“What’s wrong, why so grumpy?”

“You woke me, you know.”

*Mom giving me the WTF raised eyebrow look*

“You, and your boyfriend! I woke up and heard something really weird. It was freaking me out. Like sort of howling.”

*Mom turning pink*

“I got up to figure out where the racket was coming from, opened your door…”

*awkward silence*

“How could you! On MY birthday!” 

That morning, after the first time her boyfriend spent the night, I discovered that my mother is a screamer. And my biggest worry was that she had disturbed my sleep on my birthday.

 4. Stern instruction

I was a bit of a late bloomer when it came to boys. Apparently being a Goth was a fairly effective form of contraception in my school. My first boyfriend therefore didn’t go to my school at all. In fact he wasn’t in school anymore. And he wasn’t in the same country either.

I had an internet relationship with a guy 6 years older than me starting at age 15. When I was 16, he finally visited. Bearing in mind that I had just picked him up at the airport by myself, by train, and we’d spent about 1 hour face to face in total, coming home to face my mother was frankly the least of my worries. (Just to clarify; yes she knew and she agreed that he could stay. Us Europeans are cool that way.)

So while she offered him tea, he went to unpack his stuff to take out the various gifts and things he had brought for me. Some of it was clothes, prompting mom and him both to cheer: “Try it on! Try it on!”.

No sooner had I stepped out of the living room and closed the door in order to change in the hallway, I hear mom put on the distinctive voice she uses when she’s trying to be an authority figure.

“Please, whatever you do, use a condom!”

“Err.. Ma’m.. we’re not..”

“Whatever, use a condom. I do not want my daughter pregnant. She’s only 16.”

I nearly died laughing in the hallway.

At that point, we hadn’t even had our first kiss.

 5. Busted

So as you’ve already read above. I had decided at around 15, that I wanted to try out vibrators. I was exploring my body and I really wanted to give myself an orgasm. One vibrator wasn’t quite enough, because it was a fairly simple one. I especially went back to the same shop and had them order one in that was different, waterproof.

I anyway love to take long showers, that day it was even longer. I experimented and did my best with the new toy. I didn’t quite cum but it was interesting. I vowed to try that again until I would succeed.

Later that same evening the conversation went something like this:

“May I make a request.” *grumpy expression*

“What, mom?”

“Don’t leave your… THINGS… in the shower.”

“What?”

“Your thing. Your fake PENIS.”

“Oh.”

Why “50 Shades” just worked

Lately I’ve been discussing this topic with friends and so it got me thinking. I can’t speak for a lot of other ladies out there, but at first I did find it odd that a book of that sort made it so big. It speaks volumes of how open minded we have become as a society (or want to appear anyway).

Curiosity got the better of me and I decided to see for myself what the attraction was. I was at a point in my life where I was feeling a bit resentful towards everyone, as a result I decided towards the beginning of the first book that Christian is an asshole.

However I had to keep reading to find out what would happen next…

And before I knew it I kept reaching over for the Kindle app on my phone while sitting on the sofa and watching TV, while queuing at the supermarket check out, yes even while stuck in traffic on my way to work! What’s more, that really pissed me off! I was fully prepared to hate these books, and yet I had gotten sucked in.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a LOT wrong with them. From the language to the repetitive sex scenes… In fact the sex left me pretty cold overall. I couldn’t identify with the main character – Ana – at all, which I guess was the main problem for me.

But, as I continued reading, I couldn’t help but want things to turn out well for both of them. Sure, Christian is a total freak and basically acts like a stalker. But there was something there…

Well for me, I guess I’ve figured it out, and you may quote me on that!

I think, deep down, we want to believe in the fairy tale that love conquers all. That even the most fucked up man can be magically cured if only the right woman came along. If only her love was pure enough and she cared for him and he could see that he was worthy. We all want to be that woman.

BUT: We also realise that these feelings are a bit patronising and embarrassing. So 50 Shades worked because we could have the guilty pleasure of watching our favourite kind of  romantic fairytale unfold. And then turn around and tell our girlfriends that we basically read it for the kinky sex. 

I know I didn’t.