I have not read it myself, only extracts or various spoofs, but there is no denying the influence 50 Shades of Grey has had in certain quarters. While on the one hand I'm pleased that this popularity and acceptance of erotica has helped other, better authors to reach new audiences, on the other I am dismayed by the number of women I'd hitherto thought of as relatively intelligent suddenly declaring their quest for a real life Mr Whippy, or whatever the fuck he was called.
I just don't know how to react to these statements. Why go searching for real life equivalents of poorly written fictitious characters when real life is full of poorly realised actual people? My understanding is that 50 Shades of Grey first came into being as Twilight fanfic and that was bad enough. Anyone who can get off on the concept of vampires who spend their time either sparkling or sulking needs a slap. Which of course they would like, as long as it is from a twinkly twat or millionaire misogynist. Bafflingly, hordes of middle aged women seem to be Twilight/Shades of Grey fans and suddenly the internet is full of wannabe subs looking for a dom with a helicopter. I fear disappointment ahead for all concerned. I enjoy fantasy as much as anyone but if I were to go looking for a unicorn I'd be hard pressed to find anything closer in real life than a horse with an icecream cone on its head. Entertaining but not the same thing as I'd imagined.
If you are one of the many looking for your real life dominant hero then consider this. There are plenty of men out there who will happily smack you on the arse with a hairbrush and ask you to call him "Sir", but how many are also devilishly handsome, charismatic, fabulously wealthy and own a helicopter? The reality is you may find someone who is awesomely skilled with a roll of bondage tape and a spatula but they may also be balding, overweight, short, skinny, unemployed or a member of parliament. Will they still hold the same appeal for the Twilight/Shades of Shite enthusiasts once things move past the online stage?
No, leave Mr Grey on the page where he belongs. Better still, in the bin. On fire. There is no real life equivalent and for that I am grateful.