There's a new fiction series making waves among Upper East Side moms, and it happens to be the "triple-X" Fifty Shades trilogy featuring a 27-year-old billionaire, Christian Grey, who seduces a college graduate into becoming his submissive sex slave. Like all great books, or those less so, a code of behavior has sprung up among its fans, according to the New York Post. Avid readers have done the following:
- "devoured all 1,200-plus hot-and-heavy pages...in less than two weeks."
- "couldn’t put it down.”
- "shooed away momfriends at her son’s school pickup because she didn’t want to be distracted from her reading."
- sat "on my couch at 7 a.m. with my two kids while they’re watching cartoons and drinking milk, and I’d be reading it on the Kindle app on my phone."
The series, by E.L. James, has a nickname, actually several: "The Book," "Twilight for the grown-up set," "mommy porn," and the "mouthpiece for a generation." Dana Schuster writes, it "is rapidly becoming a cult hit among Manhattan women, who are exchanging well-worn paperback copies and excited whispers about the book’s 'red room of pain' (Grey’s in-house sex playroom) everywhere from Fred’s at Barneys to parent-teacher conference night at school."
It is functioning as a tool for female bonding, an aphrodisiac to women who might not be otherwise all that interested in sex with their husbands, a marriage revitalizer, a glimpse into the joys of reading for children who've never seen their parents doing it so much, and an educational supplement about BDSM:
“I found myself explaining what BDSM [bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism] was to some of the moms at a Saturday morning basketball,” says power publicist Alison Brod, who hails “Fifty Shades” as “the new kabbalah for female bonding in this city.”
The book is also being used for its fashion advice, with a bunch of husbands getting silver ties (Grey's "favorite neckwear") for Christmas. All this despite the fact that, as the readers all seem to agree, it's a pretty horribly written book: "'The writing was a little lame,' admits Upper East Side mom Pam, who at the last minute asked not to use her last name because she 'didn’t want my doormen knowing I read this book.’”
The Post provides an excerpt, but as they put it, they're a family newspaper. So we took it upon ourselves to take a peek via the "Look Inside" feature on Amazon. Some pages in, we got this scintillating bit:
"Penny for your thoughts?" Grey is back, startling me.
I go crimson. I was just thinking about running my fingers through your hair and wondering if it would feel soft to touch. I shake my head. He's carrying a tray, which he sets down on the small, round, birch-veneer table. He hands me a cup and saucer, a small teapot, and a side plate bearing a lone teabag labeled "Twinings English Breakfast" -- my favorite. He has a coffee which bears a wonderful leaf-pattern imprinted in the milk. How do they do that? I wonder idly. He's also bought himself a blueberry muffin.
Well, when the titles of a book series are Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed, you already know you're not getting Shakespeare. At least in this version of Twilight Edward eats. We're intrigued.
Image via Shutterstock by IKO.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.