Insomnia, Wizard Vans, and Why Modern Women Read "50 Shades of Grey"
We’ve been rather serious this week discussing the business side of the writing business. Today, we’re going to take off on
a bizarre tangent another topic, namely because I haven’t slept in days and why put all this insomnia to waste?
I feel a lot like That 70s Show, the episode when the group decided to record all the “brilliant” ideas they got when they were stoned in the basement. Ideas that later…?
Some of my ideas (concocted at 4:00 a.m.) seemed sheer genius at the time when I was held fast in the grip of sleep-deprivation. Then later? Upon reflection, they
were completely asinine didn’t make the cut. Namely my idea for a 24 hour manicure-pedicure spa, for people like me who COULDN’T GET TO SLEEP.
At least we could get our toes done :D.
Then, I decided that when I made it big, the car of my dreams would be a WIZARD VAN. Hey, mobile bookstore and a guaranteed way to keep The Spawn from dating until he’s over thirty.
You know you’ve hit a new low when you’re shopping for a panel van with a Star Wars mural at three in the morning.
Yet, 24 Hour Mani-Pedi Spas and panel vans aside, I did take some time to think through the whole E.L. James 50 Shades thing, putting my sleep-addled brain to unraveling one of the greatest mysteries of our times.
I have a couple confessions. First, as an author and recovered editor, every time I hear the buzz about 50 Shades of Grey being a runaway success, I want to throw myself in traffic. All the craft classes, the conferences, the research and people really want to read books about THIS? My second confession is I haven’t actually read 50 Shades of Grey. Hey, only so much time in the day and my job requires a lot of reading and research, and this genre?
“Not my beer,” as the Dutch like to say.
Yet, it didn’t stop me from wondering, why are these books so popular, especially with modern women? Why is there a virtual explosion in a genre that involves advanced skills in knot-tying and requires a leather-cleaning kit? What makes college-educated modern women who are taking the world by storm gravitate to wanting to be “enslaved”?
Why isn’t there enough NyQuil to get me to SLEEP?
Sorry, got off-topic there.
Prepare to play armchair psychiatrist. I am not a real psychiatrist, but I do play one on the Internet. My credentials? 1) Being a modern woman 2) possessing empathy 3) I once took a Feminist Politics class in college.
Reason #1—The Culture Shift
I think it’s fairly common knowledge that the individuals who gravitate to wanting to be dominated are often the powerful. Judges, politicians, doctors, lawyers, CEOs, etc. have a lot of responsibility. When we’re boss, everyone comes to us for answers and looks to us to be in charge. Thing is? While being in charge is great, it can also be exhausting.
I’ve been through two agents, and both times I waited far too long to part ways. Why? I was tired of thinking and being in charge *whiiiiiine* I wanted someone to order me around and tell me what to do.
Master Agent, I will rewrite that chapter. I’m a BAD, BAD WRITER!”
***Clearly, both agents made lousy “Tops”.
I imagine if we had a time-machine and zoomed back to 1950, no one would drop by the house and wonder why a man’s wife didn’t have a job.
“What? Your little woman’s baking pies, changing diapers, and ironing your shirts? Why doesn’t she have a REAL job?”
We gals were in charge of house, kids, cooking, and laundry. We were on the PTA and baked cookies and made costumes for school plays. In 1952, women were accustomed to thousands of years of being ordered around, so safe to say we wouldn’t have wanted more of that in the bedroom. Yet, as the glass ceiling shattered and more women took on traditionally male roles? We began to see a shift.
“I can open my OWN door, thank you.”
***Subtext—But feel free to tie me up me later.****
Many women are in charge of pretty much EVERYTHING, whether we want to be or not. Even though most women work full-time, we’re still largely responsible for child-rearing and household duties. Trust me, (and maybe it’s because I AM in Texas), if someone comes over to the house and notices it’s so filthy the CDC needs to do a drop-by? My tail is on the line. NO ONE is going to look to my husband and ask why he didn’t help do more chores.
My toddler attends nursery school and the school still asks ME to hand-make costumes for plays for a three-year-old. Really. Sure, let me fit that into my meetings, deadlines, blogs, books and traveling. Yet, when my kid shows up for the play wearing a Batman shirt instead of dressed as a caterpillar? Nobody asks Hubby why he didn’t break out the sewing machine and hot glue gun.
No, it isn’t fair, but fair is a weather condition.
Reason #2—The Whole “Less Thinking Thing”
No, I don’t read erotica, but I am guilty of having an addiction to celebrity magazines. Modern women are using their brains more than ever, and sure that sounds insulting, but bear with me.
Just Host wants my website to have a password with two uppercase letters, a symbol, punctuation, a number and a clever emoticon embedded within. I have to reset my password almost every time I log in. My brain is exhausted.
Because EVERYONE wants us to do this crap. I have passwords for my passwords and no idea what I did with the electric bill and why is the toddler suddenly quiet and am I wearing my bra on the outside of my shirt?
Sometimes the “grey” matter just needs a break.
Why do you think I’m blogging about this stuff?
Reason #3—It’s Just Too Hard to Kick Your Own @$$
I think a lot of modern women (especially those who happen to be moms) live in a state of perpetual guilt. For instance, my toddler knows his colors, his numbers and can even read…but potty training? I might as well be trying to teach him Advanced Particle Physics. I vacillate between, “Hey, not too bad. He’s pretty smart” and “OH DEAR GOD I SO SUCK AND MY CHILD MIGHT BE RETARDED.”
Yes, I am a #1 best-selling author, but the closets are a DISASTER and the dust bunnies have started a Hippie Commune in the garage and I swear I OWN scissors. I’ve bought 54 pairs! Where the hell have they all gone?
***My husband loses NO sleep over these things, btw.
Inside I know I’m a failure, but maybe it would just be cathartic and allow me to move forward if I could be handcuffed and told, “You’ve been bad. I saw inside your fridge and know you didn’t finish the laundry. Tell me you’re a bad wife!”
Me: “I’m a BAD, BAD GIRL! I know! I haven’t sorted baby toys from the toddler toys! Yes, there are newborn clothes still in my child’s closet! I’M A BAD MOM! PUNISH ME!”
Then I can cry, confess and move on.
See? 50 Shades demystified! And y’all thought women were complicated (ok we are O_o).
What are your thoughts? Ever been in the clutches of insomnia and bombarded with “brilliant” ideas? Are you a modern woman riddled with nonsensical guilt? A modern dad? Am I on to something, that maybe we just want someone else to make a decision or…20?
I LOVE hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of August, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
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