The book Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James, is gaining popularity in the United Kingdom, the United States, and beyond. It is the first book in a trilogy that tells the story of a virginal university student, Anastasia Steele, and her bad-boy boyfriend Christian Grey. When Anastasia meets Christian, she is a shy, innocent co-ed looking to write a news story, but by the end of the book, Christian has introduced her to a new world: a sexual world of pain, pleasure, and fantasy.
Although many women can’t help but swoon over Christian as they read about his sexual exploits (not to mention, his muscles and his huge bank account), a real-life Christian might not be the ideal partner. Here’s why:
He’s controlling. Christian isn’t just dominating in the bedroom, he is also dominating outside the bedroom as well. He inserts himself into Anastasia’s life however he chooses, and he invades her privacy. He runs a background check and keeps tabs on her activities. For example, in one scene, Anastasia leaves town to visit her mother and Christian finds out her flight information without her knowledge. Sure, it’s sweet that he upgrades her ticket to first-class, but how did he know what flight she was taking in the first place? In real life, a guy like that could be more than a handful. You don’t want a partner who doesn’t trust you or who hacks into your e-mail account looking for dirt. A first-class ticket is romantic, but not if it gives you a feeling of insecurity and fear.
Her friends don’t like the relationship. One sign of an abusive relationship is a partner who separates you from your friends and family. He wants you all to himself so he can control you and keep you from hearing criticism about the relationship. Anastasia’s friends are initially impressed by her rich, handsome new boyfriend, but as the book continues, they start to feel very wary about his influence on her. In real life, you don’t want a partner who makes your friends nervous or who drives a wedge between you and your loved ones. Your friends and your partner don’t have to be the best of buds, but they should respect one another and support you.
He is “fifty shades” of messed up. As Christian tells Anastasia, he is “fifty shades of @*&%$ up.” He doesn’t want to be touched and he can’t let anyone in. All these issues relate back to his horrible childhood and the abuse he suffered when he was young. While everyone has issues, Christian refuses to deal with his and instead expects his partners to simply work around his emotional hang-ups. In real life, a partner like that would be very destructive and toxic to be around.
You can’t “fix” a guy. Part of the appeal of Christian (and bad boys like him) is that women often fantasize about fixing a broken partner. Call it a Florence Nightingale syndrome, but some women think they can be the one person who heals their wounded lover and helps him see the light. Anastasia does help to open Christian’s heart, and as the trilogy continues, she guides him to a better place — but in real life, this would be highly unlikely. You can’t fix your partner, only he can…and he has to want to.
While there are many reasons why Christian would raise red flags in real life, in fantasy land, he is an entertaining and exciting crush. So indulge your fantasies and have fun with Christian and his fifty shades — but remember to look out for the bad boys in real life!