Posted on | February 14, 2014
Okay, I can’t say “every.” I don’t know “every.” I do know that I’ve now read eight different books in the 50 Shades subgenre, the most recent being Beg Me, which is one of those books that’s so close to getting it right that it’s almost painful. I understand that these books are meant to be fantasies, and that part of the fantasy, at least for women readers, is the swept-awayness of it all, the overriding of the woman protagonists’ reserve, sense of caution, and even sense of self-preservation, in the tearing down of the mask that she presents to the world in order to access her inner essence, the submissive, pain-loving, man-loving creature that hides behind that professional demeanor.
And every one of these stories is missing this critical scene:
Anna glanced around the coffee shop, unbelieving that she was here, talking to this man. Couldn’t the other patrons see? Couldn’t the gothic woman with the laptop smell the lust hovering in the air? Those three women at that table conferring over the book titled Sermons and Service, they must have felt the power arcing between Flynn and herself. Right?
Flynn waved his hand. “Anna?”
“Sorry,” she said, her breath rough in her throat. “I just needed a moment.”
“I understand,” he said. His knowing grin should have infuriated her. It didn’t. Instead, it simply sank into her and pooled down in her belly, reached down into her cunt, and glowed like an ember. “But,” he said, leaning forward to rest his elbows on the table, “We should do something important first.”
“Now.” He reached into his jacket and pulled out a slim wallet. Anna was stunned. Was he going to offer her money? “Let’s perform a little trust exercise. Our first. Do you have a friend, someone you can rely on?” He opened up his wallet and held out a small plastic card. She realized it was his drivers license. “I want you to message her. I want you to tell her that you’re going out with a man, but your battery is going to die soon. So, if she wants to reach you, she should message this guy at this phone number.” He tapped the driver’s license, then took out a pen and wrote a number on a napkin. “If you want, you can dial now to confirm it’s this phone.” He gestured toward his pocket again.
She was confused. “Why?”
“Anna, some people call this a hobby. Others call it a lifestyle. Whatever it is, this thing that we do attracts more than its fair share of weirdos. Not all of them are good weirdos.” He tapped his ID again, then his face spread into that knowing smile. “Your friend should know where you went. That way, you know I have no fear of being found. You said you wanted to give me everything. But there are some things you shouldn’t have to risk.”
Anna stared at him. She hadn’t considered that possibility. “Do it,” he said, and this time it was that voice, the one that made her shiver deep within.
She pulled out her phone and hammered out the message with her thumbs. “Done,” she said.
“Good. Are you ready for the next one?” She nodded. “What should I not do?”
She shivered. He’d seen the incident at the bar. He knew. She leaned toward him, close enough to whisper. “Don’t call me a slut. Don’t say I’m dirty, or… or wrong. Don’t make me feel ashamed.”
“I’m going to make you feel, Anna. You’ll feel pain. You’ll feel ecstasy. I want you to feel like a queen. But I will never deliberately make you feel ashamed.”
I don’t know why I’ve never seen a scene like this in a mainstream 50 Shades clone. Maybe in the world of romance novels negotiation and trust building just aren’t sexy. Actually having to say what you want takes away from the fantasy of being overwhelmed, swept away, completely understood.
Then again, you know, I’ve actually done this stuff. Not just written about it.