Following its policy of catching on to a trend a week after everyone else has covered it, the Washington Post has been all over sado-masochist crossover hit 50 Shades of Grey this week. The editorial board demanded that libraries stock the book, and columnist Ruth Marcus speculated that women like it for its feminism.
But Sally Quinn, fresh off a drubbing for her story about how no one invites her to the good parties anymore, has the most interesting explanation for the book’s popularity with women. She’s been reading it, and she thinks the book’s allure lies in the fact that getting tied and spanked by a billionaire is a little like dealing with God (emphasis added):
Just when he is withholding his love from her and she is weeping and can no longer bear it, he embraces her with an overwhelming totality. Just when she is doubting herself for her submission, he turns the tables and offers himself to her.Sound familiar? These are some of the same emotional conflicts that I believe could be attributed to Mother Teresa and her lifetime struggle in her relationship with God.
In the book, the God/billionaire calls his sex room “the Red Room of Pain.” Quinn’s encompassing theory even has this figured out:
Perhaps that is what is attracting so many women to these “Fifty Shades of Grey” books unknowingly. We all live in our own Red Room of Pain (private hell) for some part of our lives. Fifty Shades shows heaven can exist as well, and shows us a way to experience some of that overpowering bliss on earth.
Why would anyone leave Quinn and her bizarre takes on pop culture off their guest lists? They’re cocktail hour dynamite!