Fifty Shades of Red

Josie Leavitt -- April 18th, 2012

I spent much of yesterday laughing. I was laughing with the women who slunk in looking for the second and third books in the Fifty Shades of Grey series. The women were all well above 18 and all, save one, were married and most had children. That these books have so captivated yet simultaneously embarrassed women is hilarious to me and them.

There were two kinds of shoppers yesterday. The bold ones who proudly strode up to the counter eagerly eying the books and thumbing through them while being rung up. The sheepish ones practically pointed mutely while turning crimson and dashing out of the store. Most calls about the books were made from garbled cell phones and went like this: “Do you have them?”

I felt a little bit like a drug dealer with fresh product. It’s nice to be popular, but I wish there was less slouching about the books. There’s nothing wrong with reading erotica. No one here cares what people read. Honestly, I’m mostly thrilled that women are so energized by these books. We’ve certainly had extremely lively conversations in the last few weeks, and that has been delightful.

I do have to share one classic story about these books. After school yesterday, a first grade teacher at the local school came in already blushing. She saw the books on the front counter and as she picked up and slid her two books toward me she muttered, “I know it’s gross, but I just have to find out what happens.” She was blushing so hard, I swear I could feel the heat coming off her face. She had hoped to dash in and dash out. Sadly for her, one of her students came in with his father. She saw him and at first actually tried to hide, but she realized she was caught, and fumbled to get the books tucked in her jacket before William saw them.

I tried not to laugh, but it had been a long day of red-faced grown women and I found the whole thing endlessly entertaining.

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