What the hell is a Greybie, you might ask. Well, I was wondering the same thing before Entertainment Tonight ran a segment on Greybies. Apparently, Greybies are babies who were conceived after the mothers read EL James’ Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Supposedly, these mothers were burnt out in the bedroom or tired of making conception a chore, and reading James’ novel/s was like CPR to their love lives.

To be honest, I haven’t read Fifty Shades–I seldom read popular fiction because I often find the hype is better than the book. Although I have several friends who’ve read and raved about the book (although none have miraculously conceived) I just don’t find the premise appealing to my personal tastes and the hero sounds like a controlling asshole. At least, that’s my take-away when I read the blurb:

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

The fact that I don’t generally read erotic romance isn’t even a factor in why I haven’t rushed out to buy my copy of  James’ book. It’s the blurb. The first half of it sounds a bit like the description of a Lifetime Movie about domestic violence and abuse. The heroine is described as unworldly and innocent but it’s not a historical romance and when I read the word innocent, I think virgin. Is Anastasia Steele a virgin–in this day and age? Really? Unless she’s a young adult, I find that somewhat unlikely. And if she is a virgin, I don’t think a real “hero” would go out of his way to deflower her or introduce her to a world of “erotic pleasures.” Maybe it’s just me, but that sounds kind of skanky on his part.

Friends who’ve read the book claim it’s a wonderful romance about a woman finding herself and fulfilling her own romantic fantasies and a man who experiences character growth and learns to love. It sounds like a good thing on the surface, but if I think about it, I wonder what kind of message this sends to young women. Are they really supposed to believe they can change a controlling, emotionally abusive man if they only love him enough.

Yikes! I’m seeing Lifetime Movies in my head again and it sets my teeth on edge. Women who think they can change a man if they only love him more are destined for heartache and possibly some broken bones.

Fifty Shades may not be a story about abuse, but it takes three whole books for the controlling hero who wants her “on his own terms” to realize love isn’t about erotic role playing or control. That alone, should be a red flag to women who think they can change a man through love alone. No matter how much we love someone, we cannot change them or make them love us in return. That sounds desperate and pathetic. That’s another thing that  bothers me. The author describes the heroine as “desperate to get close to Grey.” And once she embarks on this purely physical relationship, she begins to explore her own dark desires.

Really? Are those desires her own? Or is she just trying to grasp any straw that will bring her closer to Grey? Is this yet another attempt to “love him enough” so he’ll love her in return? Does she think this will change him and make him love her? A man’s failure to change isn’t the result of “his” woman not loving him enough. It’s because he’s usually an asshole or a really screwed up individual who could use some counselling.

I’m not saying people are incapable of change. I just happen to believe that change has to come from within. As for these Greybies, I have to wonder how the husbands/boyfriends feel knowing their wives and girlfriends needed to read a book to get into the mood. Do they see this as a blow to their egos? Or is this a case of not caring where the appetite comes from as long as the women “eat’ at home?

I’m all for spicing up the love life and if reading “mommy porn” worked for these women, then more power to them. But they should remember the old goose and gander analogy and not to get offended if their spouses are surfing the net for porn or looking at girly magazines for inspiration. After all, men are more visual than women.

Frankly, I find spending time together as a couple and concentrating on one another to be the most powerful aphrodisiac of all. Batteries need not be included and no toys required if the couple sets aside time for romance. Spontaneity is a fine concept, but in today’s busy world, most couples don’t have time to be spontaneous and sex sometimes takes backstage to jobs, kids, the house, the yard, church, or other responsibilities. Planning a date night is the best way to breathe life back into a neglected sex life, and whatever the night entails should be fun and enjoyable for both partners.

As for recommending Fifty Shades to couples having difficulty conceiving, I wouldn’t recommend it. Those trying to conceive probably have enough well-meaning friends giving them pointers without one of them suggesting that reading an erotic romance might help. If that’s all it took to conceive those “Greybies,” then I suspect the problem wasn’t physical. Without the use of birth control and with more frequent “exposure,” I’m sure those women would have become pregnant with or without  reading Fifty Shades.

Am I missing out by not reading James’ book?

Whether Fifty Shades is the best romance ever, mommy porn, or just another book hardly matters. Fifty  Shades of Grey is practically a household word and I’m sure Ms. James is very pleased with her success. Kudos to her!