The Christian Greys

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What is appealing about Christian Greys? I am watching the movie Fifty Shades of Grey, and I know that I am drawn to the series because in the books he’s this mysterious guy with a fucked up past. In real life, many wonder why some women want to date, commit, or get married to a guy who has so many issues. When I was younger and interested in guys that had similar traits in college—smart, potentially successful, philosophical, read a lot—I thought that they would make great mates. When I look back on them, I am like what the fuck was I thinking? Really? Why are some women attractive to fucked up, controlling men? Is it because these men act charming and nice at the beginning, and as time goes on, they discovered that these men have prick characteristics. What do I mean by prick characteristics?

The appeal of Christian Grey and other men boils down to these qualities:

–Charming & Mysterious
Christian Grey is charming and mysterious. The men I met in college that I really liked demonstrated these qualities as well. First one that I met was the Learning Support Guy. I really did not notice him, and I actually was not attractive to him (unlike Ana who is instantly attractive to Christian). I only became attractive to Learning Support guy when he offered me a ride to the rental house I was staying in. First fall: Nerd, semi-Goth prince charming. Second Fall: when I learned he loved to read and was passionate about science fiction. Third Fall: when he invited me to hang out with him in WR. Fourth Fall: when I asked him out, he wanted to go on a real date.

Heartbreak: when I found out that instead of wanting to continue to teach me how to play chess, he started to date a girl who was in this high school college preparatory program. They started going out and playing chess. He quit hanging out with me. Then, before I knew it, they were dating. It really, really stung me. It was another male to add to the disappointment list. Years later, he and I got back in contact, and they broke up. I asked him outright why did he quit hanging out with me. He shared with me that she told him not to hang out with me, and she was crazy. Hmm…looking on it, a story has two sides. He started dating another girl who was religious and broke up with her. When I visited WR, he and I hung out, and even though I felt that pull of attraction, he was not interested in me. I always wonder if he did not want to date me because I was black, and he was white. He grew up in WR which is South Middle Georgia in a bigger town twenty miles away from me. Yet, his mom and dad were German-Irish Americans, and he adored his mother while his father acted a bit indifferent towards him. No telling what conversations the son and father had or what kind of relationship that he had with his father. If I am remembering correctly, the mother was nice to me, but she didn’t try to really get to know me. It was almost like I was another one of his friend’s he was bringing home.

–Dangerous & Mysterious
Christian Grey is a tease in some regards, isn’t he? I mean some readers could argue that he doesn’t want to hurt Ana when he finds out that she is an incurable romantic. However, from my perspective, this may be playing hard to get. Yet, it is also called stringing a woman along when she wants a committed relationship and not a fling. The second guy I was attractive to is Mr. Smooth Chocolate Suave. I remember coming home from class or an event, and Mr. Smooth Chocolate Suave was sitting on the couch. He was one of my roommate’s best friends. Now, reflecting on it, when he first saw me, he was quite interested in me, but I didn’t notice the signs until near the end of the night, he tried to make a move on me, and I refused. He got a quick mad on it. As he kept hanging around, I found myself very attractive to him because he was very smart and quite philosophical. He was also impressed by how smart I was.

Heartbreak: Yet, the relationship did not go anywhere. He wanted to sleep with me, but my roommates warned him not to pursue me as such because they did not want to see me hurt. I found out that they went behind my back and discussed this…and I cried because it hurt really bad. I felt like they were treating me like a kid. However, looking back on it, it was for the best. He and I kiss one night…and it was my first kiss. However, nothing more happened…he did not want any more than he could give. I was heartbroken and blamed myself because I was not good enough.

–Uncommitted & Hiding Secrets
Christian Grey does hide secrets from Ana. Yes, he is upfront with his sexual lifestyle, but when you read the second book, Fifty Shades Darker, he hides a huge secret from Ana which he alludes to. He tells her that if she would know what he really is like, she would leave him. In the middle of the book, he tells her that he sleeps with girls that resemble his mother and punishes them because he cannot punish his mother who is dead. This is the initial reason why he doesn’t want to have an emotional relationship with Ana.
I was in an uncommitted relationship, and I had a gut instinct not to date this person or see him. However ,one of my college friends suggested that we both date because she did not want him to longer pay attention to her. Anyway, he and I started seeing each other, but what was there to see? First off, looking back on it, he only wanted sex from me, but when it came to other commitments, he did not want not agree to them. He was stringing me along and did not think I was special enough. He also was flirting with my friend, the same friend who tried to divert his attention to me. He kept flirting with her, and they continued to communicate. When I found out, I was quite angry. Besides, he and I didn’t really have anything in common looking back on it. He wanted to become a police officer, and I was a junior intellect. One day, it hit me with sudden clarity that I deserved better, and I did not want to keep getting strung along by someone who did not care about my emotional well-being and intellect. Of course, when I began hanging out with another new friend (who eventually became my boyfriend and still is), I broke it off with I want to be a police officer guy. I was actually friends with a male who wanted to spend time with me and was interested in me. I saw the difference. I broke it off right away with the guy and did not speak to him for a very long time because you know what? I was pissed. He strung me along instead of being honest with me and saying…I am just not into you like that.

Christian Grey is a dark prince and dark knight. He is a character in a book, and I am sure many women have met someone like him or someone who has many characteristics like him. What E.L. James does is write a male character who has very troubling issues. His mother was a drug addict, and her pimp abused him while his mother neglected him. Christian meets Ana and wants her to become his submissive, but he falls in love with her because her positive example changes him. In reality, most relationships don’t happen like this. Most men, women, or both with this type of behavior do not all of the sudden change for someone who is a positive figure in their lives. If anything, these people are abusive and continue to terrorize their victims who they say that they love—but it is actual an obsession that they have with them. And what is obsession about? It is about control. It is about saying that you love someone, but you actually, in this context of a relationship, want to control them. With many abusers, it is about winning. If I beat you and you cower, I win. If I cut you off of your friends and family, I win. This is because you are supposed to be devoted to me.

I am not saying any of these guys that I’ve been involved with have ever tried to control me as such. However, I understand Ana’s motivation in wanting to turn her dark knight…her dark prince into Prince Charming. She wants him to be a good man because she loves him, and she thinks that there isn’t anyone else for her but him. I believe many female fans, especially, are tied to the book because it is a story about a woman who transforms a man with her influence. However, at what costs? Is Ana really heroic? Does Ana really illustrate being a feminist heroine?

What does it say about young women today? I was once a young woman as well who became involved with three men. Two of them weren’t in the sense relationships like both men agreed to actually date me or have a committed relationship with me. However, what do you call them? I could argue, looking back on it, that I was in some type of relationship with these men. When you look at the term “relationship” what does it exactly mean? I would define it as being in steady contact with someone you relate to. It is not a romantic relationship, but it is relating to someone and seeing what the boundaries are with that person. However, the first two did not want to go any further. The third one…it was a semi relationship—nothing really substantial because the guy did not want to commit.

And then my very first relationship…I didn’t mention that one. It started in high school when I was a senior, and it was an online relationship. He was good guy, but we could never make it happen. That’s another story for another time…

Do you think it is realistic for a woman to turn a person who acts like a dick into a prince? Or do some women come off with a warp sense of thinking that the fucked up guy that they’ve learned about (they’ve learned that the charming and mysterious individual person is a fucked up person) can be changed by their positive presence?

Best,
S

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