fifty shades of grey book coverI'll readily admit that -- like most women in America right now -- I'm engrossed in E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. No shame here! Knowing that it began as Twilight fan fiction, I can't help but envision Christian Grey as RPatz and Anastasia Steele as KStew. But a'course, unlike Twilight scribe Stephenie Meyer, James is actually giving us what we want: A whole lotta SEX! Whoohoo! Unfortunately, just like her, she's made a dangerous misstep when it comes to the romance between her leading lovers.

Although Christian is ultimately a three-dimensonal, sympathetic character, he's also described repetitively as mercurial. Ana can't keep up with his ever-changing moods that blow breathtakingly hot to bone-chillingly cold. At least through most of the first book, Fifty's mysterious nature and hair-trigger mood swings have Anastasia walking on eggshells, petrified that he's going to snap. And this is somehow supposed to be ... sexy as hell?

I'm sorry, but what a crap message to send women!

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Anyone who has ever been with a man like that knows better. Being intimate with a man who you can't read, who is always playing mind games, who makes you feel like you have to be perpetually "on" in a way that doesn't come naturally doesn't make most women feel like they're Aphrodite or have their "inner goddess" doing cartwheels. It makes us feel like sh*t! Not to mention that having to endure that kind of behavior from a guy is exhausting. And in the most extreme cases, I wouldn't hesitate to call it emotional abuse.

What's more, women who find themselves believing that manipulative, mind-effing Christian Grey-like behavior is a-okay -- worse yet, attractive -- are only setting themselves up for failure in love.

I've been there. (Sigh ... Haven't we all?) And it wasn't until I got a good hard shake from a big sister-like roommate that I realized putting up with a guy like that was going to prevent me from finding someone worthy of me -- someone who could offer a real, stable relationship. Not long after she helped me see the light, I found my now-fiance, and every so often, in talking to single girlfriends who are dealing with shady Grey-like characters, I try to pass that wisdom along.

There are certainly aspects of Ana and Christian's relationship in Fifty Shades of Grey that are hot -- I'll give E.L. that much. But as far as equating mercurial mood swings and constant guessing games with a satisfying physical and emotional bond? Sounds more like a nightmare than a fantasy come true.

Have you ever been in a relationship with a standoff-ish, "mercurial," even manipulative guy like Christian Grey? Do you think it's wrong to glorify that kind of bad behavior?


Image via Barnes & Noble