I was lining up for lunch at Tim Hortons yesterday when I noticed an elderly woman, in her late 60s, sitting alone in a corner table seriously devouring a book more than the muffin in front of her. She put down the book, took a sip of her coffee and wiped her mouth with a napkin. She stared blankly towards my direction as if visualizing and digesting what she just read. I peeked at what she was reading: 50 Shades of Grey.
I took a second look to make sure I was not imagining it. This woman, who is somebody's grandmother, is reading about bondage, ass whopping and kinky sex between a dominant man and a submissive girl in view of a busy lunch crowd. I mean, honestly..
I suddenly realized how mainstream being edgy and wild has become nowadays. Literary porn has apparently reached a wider demographic from what I'm seeing.
The 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon started with a subculture of bourgeois 40-something housewives reading this in their hoity-toity book clubs, and having giddy discussions about S & M and a confused innocent young girl getting her ass spanked by a 28 year old billionaire.
It became such a sensation and even caused wide-spread concern as to who shall play the lead characters in the film adaptation. Mind you, the book is god-horribly written. It displays the massive disconnect between what is recognized as literary writing and commercial success in publishing.
Yes, I've read the book. I read all 3 of them. And all I can say is that 50 Shades of Grey is a book that is ought to be read and USED in the privacy of your own little red room. It is a pornographic and masturbatory aid for readers, primarily women who do not necessarily enjoy porn, but who can reap the benefits of reading about it, add a little umph to the bedroom. It is definitely not a book you take to the train and read like a novel, or in grandmama's case, in full view of strangers in a busy coffee shop.
It's been said that when your shoe-shine man starts sharing stock tips, it's time to sell. Is it not the same thing when you see a Grandmother reading about fetishes and kinky playrooms filled with red leather furniture, you have to admit that the sub-culture of erotica has lost some of its appeal? When Grandma starts droning about exotic sex practices, exotic sex practices get de-kinkified.
Last night, a discussion on talk radio zeroed in on the dominant/submissive subculture that seems to be very visible now in Toronto. A mother called in complaining about his 8 year old boy, asking about their lesbian-couple neighbours whom he saw walking in broad daylight, one with a leather collar on her neck, attached to a leash that the other one was pulling. Did this just put a fork in your libido?
How much farther out there do you need to go to be out there?