As I said in December, I decided to do a happiness project, which entails that I do something unusual, strange or, outright silly every month that I would never normally do. For the month of January, I made up my mind to read Fifty Shades of Grey; a book, I would never really care to even glance at in the book store. It is February 1, 2015 and the project is done—sort of.

Originally, I thought it would be fun trying to read something very different. I am used to philosophy books, which are created for deeply contemplative individuals who care about the great mysteries of life. Getting away from the serious sounded like fun. Boy, was I ever mistaken! My deeply philosophical goddess, Sophia, jumped out to have a strong opinion about this terribly written, awful book while I kept turning the pages. Eventually, Sophia—the Greek word for wisdom—became so infuriated inside me that I had to physically throw the book across the room a few times. For a happiness project, I have to say that it did not make me happy. Finally, I gave up 150 pages into it. Once I decided to dump it into the garbage, I felt a huge sense of relief.

The following are the main issues with the book in a nutshell. The characters are weak and unrealistic and, they do not gain any strength or learn any worthwhile lesson in the book. Starting with Anesthesia, she is such a weak and unlikely woman that one would have to search with a microscope in this life to find an unrealistically portrayed woman like her around. She is well educated, twenty-one years old, has a part time job and lives as a grown up with a roommate. She looks like a mature woman, right? Of course, she does. Yet, the author wants everyone to believe that she managed to stay a virgin all this time, had never pleasured herself before and she never had any serious sexual feelings before she met Christian Grey. Seriously? This sounds like a bad soap opera from the Victorian era. The assumption that a woman has an asexual ice cold body until the late age of twenty-one when a control-freak man suddenly wakes up the sexual desire in her is outrageous. Given the fact that most girls start masturbating at a kindergarten age and have raging hormones by about age sixteen, this is the most unrealistic, old-fashioned, 19th century portrayal of female sexuality I have ever seen. It is false, misleading and sends the wrong message to men about female sexuality. A woman is not dead until the right knight and shining armour comes around! She has serious sexual desires long before that! That is the reason it is so rare to see a twenty-one year old virgin.

Moreover, there is a conflicting description of the strength Anesthesia is supposed to have in the story. She is a serious and well-educated woman. She has a realistic view about her own family and the characters around her. At the same time, she is supposedly too weak to say “no” to the outrageous fantasy of an egotistic man whom she barely knows, even after he shows her what looks like a torture chamber from a point of view of a twenty-one year old virgin woman. If she is this weak of a character, how did she stay a virgin up until that point? In addition, she has a mind boggling first sexual experience?! Keep on dreaming, girls! Most women are so nervous about being intimate with a man for the first time that it is anything but mind boggling. Learning to share intimacy takes time; it does not happen all at once. Also, after all this, she manages to keep seeing him and, according to the storyline, ask him to practically beat her up. What kind of an intelligent woman would do such a thing? She cannot be that weak!

Naturally, Christian Grey fares no better. He portrays an egotistic, self-centered, damaged man who likes to control the world and women in it. His dictatorial attitude does not seem to improve a bit in the book. He wants to make a sex-slave out of a twenty-one year old weak woman. He wishes to reward Anesthesia, like a child, for doing sexual favours for him and to please him in general and, also, to punish her for being a bad girl. I have to say this is sickening to read. Women have been used and abused all over the world. This is not the type of sexual behavior young men should be encouraged to learn. If it takes a man degrading a woman to be sexually excited, he is a poor excuse for a man! And, if it takes a woman being degraded to have an orgasm, she needs to consult a psychologist! The world has done enough harm to women and their sexuality throughout the millenniums. Enough is enough! If a man cannot treat a woman with outmost respect and cannot see her as living representation of a goddess, he does not deserve her company! End of story!

Of course, I realized that people are free to do as they please in life—as long as they do not kill each other in the process. They can read this book. They can see the upcoming movie. They can imitate or adopt the suggested lifestyle. Still, I seriously hope that people will stay away from such poor portrayal of women—and men—and their sexuality. People deserve better! I have faith that people are better than this poor demonstration of so-called sexual “adventure”. They just have to be better!

I hope never to see this book again. I am back to reading philosophy. I returned Sophia to her natural balance inside my mind and heart. I wish I could get my $20 back that I paid for the book, though! What a waste of money!

For the month of February, I chose to play a card game called, “Cards Against Humanity” with some friends. I will describe the game and the time I had playing this game next month.

M. J. Mandoki