Fifty Shades Of Grey
Perhaps you remember the viral advertisement where Isaiah Mustafa of the impeccable pecs encouraged women to “look at your man, now back to me, now back at your man, now back to me” and then, accordingly, buy Old Spice so their men could “smell like he’s me.”
The advertisement’s self-aware ribbing of the gulf between the clichéd perfect man and the ordinary guy was cheeky and hilarious, but a sign of the times? With E L James’ adult novel Fifty Shades of Grey still dominating the New York Times bestseller list, I’m starting to wonder. Because though many have marvelled at the runaway success of the erotic novel, its popularity isn’t at all surprising given our collective enthusiasm for romance as a genre - featuring, of course, a male romantic hero against whom men in real life simply cannot compare.
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Damn you, Fifty Shades of Grey, for keeping me up all night. And, no, it’s not what you think. While you were blushing and trying to co-ordinate your index finger (page-turning being somewhat challenging when reading erotica), I was having an ‘if only’ moment.
OK, maybe there was a little ‘If only Christian Grey would ditch his linen shirt on my bedroom floor’ (I’m not explaining the plot for the three people living under a rock or too tight to drop $9.96 in Big W for what is, admittedly, one shade literary; 49 sensation). But mostly it was ‘If only I’d written that freakin’ book, I’d be a squillionaire.’
Everyone who strings words together for a living wishes they’d written a bestseller. I’ve often mused I was Jane Austen or JK Rowling, or even that drug fiend Enid Blyton. You’d have to be on some sort of substance to cook up The Faraway Tree and protagonists called Fanny and Dick. They were gifted at creating characters and getting them into trouble (although I’d have hooked up Lizzie and Mr Darcy 100 pages earlier, and left that brat Dick to languish in The Land of Spells).
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