Some people say I’m indifferent, but I don’t care.

reviews

Any author who says he doesn’t pay attention to reviews is lying. Same goes for celebrities who claim to never read what is written about them. Authors are forced to deal with reviews because readers do consider them when making a purchase. Poor reviews, regardless of what motivated them, hurt the author’s income directly. The effect isn’t quite so direct for actors. Tom Cruise is going to get paid, whether you like him as Jack Reacher or not.

I bring this up because I was curious why there was such a dichotomy with E. L. James’ Fifty Shades, especially book one. It seems most readers love it or hate it. I wondered if this phenomenon was going to bleed over to my parodies. It did and that bothers me. If I were selling 75,000 copies a day, like James, I would similarly not give much of a shit. Since, for me, reviews translate into sales, which translate into a dinner of hamburger and happy hour draft or chorizo penne and pinot, I need to give quite a shit. So, I tried to find the reason for the polarity of the reviews, and believe I have succeeded.

Many women who love her book, hate my parodies and vice versa. I believe the root cause is battered woman’s syndrome. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Hear me out.

The main figure in her book is Christian, who is domineering and abusive. He makes innocent Ana do things against her will. He strips her of her privacy, innocence, and virginity. He controls her, much as he has controlled many women before her. Naturally, there’s no talk of him causing physical harm. Still, make no mistake: A man like this in your life may bring you to orgasm, but don’t be surprised when he goes too far.

As I read her books, his character angered me because the last thing I want to see is a woman turned on by a beast like Christian. We all know five years hence she’ll be telling an officer and coworkers she got the bruises from falling. She’ll defend him because his love is intense. It’s an addiction. The high is worth the pain of the prick.

So, in my books I played off this character and called him out for what he is: a disgusting, self-entitled, deranged, misogynistic animal who doesn’t know how to treat others properly. Women who love James’ books and love her Christian character, defend him by abusing me in reviews. They can’t attack my character (Mormon), because he’s a gentleman. Instead they attack his creator, without regard for the fact that my books are humorous parodies.

If these 1-star reviewers don’t find my books to be funny, I can live with that. I can’t teach funny. But, they write these hateful reviews and attack me and my trade personally, instead of being honest with themselves and other readers about why my books make them uncomfortable. They’re suffering from battered woman’s syndrome, and don’t want the man-in-the-mind exposed for what he is.

I wish I could have psychological profiles done on the reviewers. I bet the 5-star reviewers would be women who see the real Christian and refuse to submit to abuse. That’s my kind of woman: strong and intolerant of anyone attempting to control them. To you, my dears, I give SIX STARS!

Fifty Shades of Silver Hair and Socks – Chapter 1

My name is Mormon Silver, and women leave their marks on me. They distract me and drive me crazy; that causes chin frosting as well as my tendency to improperly separate colors from whites. I need to understand the effect they have, so I tweet a local billionairess, Beatrice Plastique.

@BPlastique, I’m enchanted by you and I’d love to interview you for my blog. #whynot

I never expected a reply. Then …

@MormonSilver, I’m tied up at the moment, but I’ll fit you in soon. #whysure

I bite my bottom lip and feel a twitch in my board shorts. She’s only thirty-three whereas I’m in the late autumn of my life at fifty. Would I have an actual shot at the legend?

Her assistant called me and set up a late morning appointment. He asked me to arrive early since I would need to review and sign an NDA before meeting with the blond goddess. I hardly slept as I dreamed of sunset strolls on a Tahitian beach with Ms. Plastique on my arm. It could happen. Stay positive, Mormon.

The morning of that fateful day I scrubbed and trimmed a little extra, just in case. I ran through three spritzes of my secret weapon, Acqua di Gio, and then carefully selected black boxer briefs (one never knows), indigo jeans, a Hugo Boss black T-shirt, and my signature silver argyle socks. I trimmed my nails and applied Crest Whitestrips. Would she be kissing me?

When I arrive at her office in Rancho Santa Fe, her assistant greets me. He’s chiseled with a full head of high hair and olive skin. He scans me head to shoe and sniffs. What a pretentious pufta.

“I love your jeans. Are they Nudie?”
“Oh, thank you. Yes, in fact they are.”
“Spin for me, darling.”
“Um … OK.”
“Wonderful. My name is Eric. I’m one of Ms. Plastique’s personal assistants.”
Fine, I misjudged him.
“Nice meeting you, Eric.”

Eric hands me a sheet of paper entitled “Interview Non-Disclosure Agreement,” and guides me to the waiting area.

“Please review this, initial each line, and sign at the bottom. Can I fetch you a chai tea latte?”

Wow, somebody did his homework; that’s my third-favorite beverage right behind bourbon and a woman’s love nectar.

“That would be awesome. Thank you.”

The NDA is brief but it contains curious clauses.

  1. Interviewer will not look at interviewee’s eyes, breasts, or feet unless directed by interviewee.
  2. Interviewer will allow interviewee to touch him as she pleases without disclosing it in his blog. Yes!
  3. Interviewer will answer honestly questions concerning his sexual stamina and history. Wait a minute, who’s interviewing whom?
  4. Interviewee reserves the right to bathe interviewer and demand he wear the cologne and robe of her choice. Well, I am a dirty boy.
  5. Interviewee enjoys gentle hair pulling, neck nibbling, light spanking, nipple clamps, indirect clitoral pressure, and hockey playoffs. He shoots; he scores! Go Flyers!

I sign and nod to Eric. He picks up the phone, presumably checking with my princess, hangs up, and then smiles at me while pointing at her office door.

“Ms. Plastique will see you now. Please go right in.”

I hand Eric the signed NDA.

“Actually, I need you to give that to Ms. Plastique.”
“All right.”

I tap once on the door and walk in, trying to avoid staring at the places she specified. I catch the scent of Chanel and then see her sitting behind a glass desk staring at her Mac. God, her hair is golden, her skin is glowing, and her square-rimmed glasses are so sexy. I must have her.

“Have a seat, Mr. Silver. I’ll be right with you.”
“Please call me Mormon,” I insist as I extend the NDA and a hand to shake. She ignores my gesture and smirks.
“Sit down, Mormon …”
I obey.
“… and take off your shoes.”
I obey.
She peeks under her desk.
“Silver socks. Interesting.”
“Thank you.”

(to be continued)