Thursday, 15 February 2018

Dear Fifty Shades (Fifty Shades Freed Review)

Dear Fifty Shades,

It is with a heavy heart and a reluctant hand that I pen this letter to you. With all the creations I have courted over the years, part of me wishes I would handle this the same way I have the others. But you are not any other creation. You and I have history together, and with everything I have put into this relationship, I couldn’t just leave you without explaining my side of the story. You may hate reading this as much as I hate writing it, but these words must be said. In the four years we have known each other, I haven’t exactly been quiet about what I perceive as your flaws. I once did this out of a sense of respect and wanting you to better yourself but… you just never stopped giving me things to notice.

Your circle of friends, for instance. Knowing how difficult their time together has been, it is somewhat comforting to see Ana and Christian getting along this well. Hell, for the first time since you introduced me to them, they actually come across as a real couple. A real twisted couple, as Christian is still as domineering and romantically troubling as always, but a couple nonetheless. Of course, they have to get along: You’re the one who keeps insisting it. Maybe that’s why you invited all these other people to visit who either don’t have anything to do or just look uncomfortable being in your presence. Christian’s family kept bringing the mood down, mainly because it feels like they’re fighting for a chance to be heard over what you oh so wisely chose to fixate on, and I honestly wonder why Kate is even here since the reason why she should be here is weirdly glossed-over. I’ll admit one thing, though. As brief as his presence was, at least Jack was having fun. Outside of the bedroom, he’s the only person who was.

Then again, your sense of what is kinky and fun has always been askew. For all your pretences of being this darkly seductive temptress, I have yet to see anything from you that is anything other than tamed for the masses. I’d call it vanilla, except you seem to like that; not sure why frozen dairy and human body hair seem to fit together in your mind, but I’m not here to shame people for their sexual preferences. I’m not here to make a point of depicting those in dominant-submissive relationships as mentally scarred people with damaged familial history. I’m not here trying to present hand cuffs and butt plugs as if these are the most risqué tools at my disposal. I’m not you, after all.

But whatever, this is what you see as sexy; I would be fine with that if you actually gave me time to settle into the… position, as it were. I mentioned it in jest about your friends, but it seems like even you don’t want to be here; why else would you be rushing through everything? I’ll admit that I like how to-the-point you can be, as I’m not fond of chronic wafflers and needless navel-gazers, but you still could have done it without it feeling like I’m being pulled out of every single moment we have together into the next one. I’m all dressed-up with no other place to go; it’s okay to take your time. Maybe then, Ana and Christian getting into the lamest car chase I’ve ever seen would’ve had some excitement. Little of what you offer does these days.

But that’s just a side effect. A symptom of a far greater problem I see in you. No, it’s not your blatant misunderstanding of this lifestyle you keep flaunting as your own; I have had to make peace with that. Rather, it’s the reasons why you do it. You like showing this off. You like people playing voyeur to the moments you have established. You like exciting people. But you do it through a very conspicuous idea that whatever you deem as being appropriate isn’t so for others. You present BDSM as something sensual but also something to be pitied. These are sexual deviants, after all; why bother presenting their choices as anything human or even decent in your eyes? And yet, while Ana and Christian appear to be rather coy about their playtime, they also show a willingness to poke their noses into the sexual habits of others. I understand the joys of voyeurism; a lot of my work here consists of just watching you and others like you.
What I don’t understand is why you seem to have pedalled back on how you yourself judge their actions. I even remember that you actively questioned just how commanding and hypocritical they are, and I was quite warmed by that admission. But now, you’re just letting it all fall to the wayside. In my home country, we went through over a year of hell because the “upper class” wanted to fixate on the sexual lives of complete strangers; I have seen the damage that this mindset can do. Any hint of self-awareness I once saw in you has evaporated, because the people you seek to impress don’t like anything troubling in their little romantic fantasies. They changed you, and for that, I am sorry.

I am sorrier for this than I have been over any of these past relationships. I put the effort into ours, always turning up on Valentine’s Day in my best suit, ready to drink in every frame of your existence, because I understand the potential that you have. I would never ask you to pretend to be something you’re not; this may hurt to read, but you are not the smartest creation I have interacted with. Nor should you be. In fact, what first attracted me to you is that you were fun to be around. Sure, some of your ideas were a bit iffy and you don’t exactly surround yourself with the best people, but at your core, I believe that there is a place for you. The real you, not this caged bird that you have become.
I have always believed that, regardless of initial intent or purpose, entertainment is always valid. You are the embodiment of that, a creation so fundamentally flawed that I just could not get away from. Irony is what kept us together but, as last year showed, there is a lot of room in this world for enjoying things ironically. You could have given the world something truly special, something I always thought you were capable of… but as I have seen over these past four years, that splendour has passed.

I wanted this to work. I devoted myself to you in a way that no other creation on this Earth has seen. I treated you like the very special creature that you are. But that devotion was never returned. You always tried to be something that you were never meant to be, and tried as you might to make it work on our third date, it was far too little an effort at far too late a time. I loved you for what you are, flawed to the nth degree but something that always managed to put a smile on my face in spite of myself. But you were never able to accept that. And for that, I am afraid that I can no longer accept you.
Maybe in another time, when you have found your footing and gained some confidence in who you are, maybe then this could work. But not now. Not anymore. It is with a heavy heart and a reluctant hand that I have to end this relationship. Neither of us have anything more to gain from this connection, and I fear that we have already lost enough in the process. My heart will always carry some memory of you, even if it is of Christian singing Maybe I’m Amazed out of goddamn nowhere, but the rest of me can carry you no longer.


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