‘He’s ready to see you now,’ says the well-dressed receptionist. I find myself wondering what she gets paid. Some people seem to get off on the constant presence of servile flunkies, and I make a note to actually talk to some of them later in this story. Meanwhile, Christian Grey, superstar billionaire, is waiting for me in his office.
I have no idea why he has agreed to this interview with Red Rag – he must have had his people research our political leanings, and he knows we’re looking through his financial records, which are murky and confusing, just like Grey Holdings itself. Nobody’s ever been sure what the company actually does. They prefer to focus on Christian Grey’s tight abs and storm-grey eyes. But I can’t get excited over someone whose precise methods of profiting from the alienated labour of god knows how many low-waged staff still need investigating.
They’ve got a point, though – Christian Grey is incredibly hot, and also really rich and successful, like Mark Zuckerberg if Mark Zuckerberg were incredibly hot. Also a bit like Edward Cullen from Twilight, although not enough to constitute a copyright violation, because he’s wearing a business suit. Just another bloodsucker.
“Miss Gold,” he says. His voice is deep and growly like a sexy vacuum cleaner. “Please sit down. May I call you Emma?”
“Let’s keep this professional,” I say, turning on the recorder.
“You’re a very sweet girl,” he says “And I’m sure you’re just waiting for someone to sweep you away from this mundane life of entry-level journalism. It’s a collapsing industry, you know. Don’t you want to know what I do to relax?” Christian Grey runs his fingers over the back of my chair.
“I’m going to take a wild guess that you like to tie up submissive young women and beat them to a pulp while you sob about your mother.”
Christian Grey looks out the window broodingly. “Okay, fine,” he says, “Let’s talk about finance.”
My inner goddess puts on a necklace of men’s skulls and starts doing a war dance of victory.
After I send in my preliminary report, Christian Grey turns up at my work unannounced.
‘I can’t stop thinking about you, Emma,” he says, “I feel like you really see me. Like you know parts of me nobody has ever known before.’
‘That’s because nobody has ever taken a detailed look at your overseas tax holdings before.’
‘I’d like to take you to dinner, but first you have to sign this non-disclosure agreement.”
“I’m signing nothing,” I say. “Come back with a detailed breakdown of your payroll and we can talk.”
Christian Grey fixes me with a penetrating stare, like he wants to beat fifty shades of shit out of me.
“Stay away from me, Emma,” he says, “I’m dangerous.”
“Alright,” I say, “Get the hell out of my office, I’ve got work to do.”
I’m back at my flat when the package arrives. Christian Grey has bought me a priceless first edition of my favourite book, “On the Origins of the Family, Private Property and The State.”
Five minutes later, the phone rings. It’s Christian.” I can’t accept gifts from a source,” I say. “Honestly, though, have you even read this book?”
“No,” he says, “I just thought that if I gave you very expensive gifts you would stop hounding me with FOI requests and then let me fuck you.”
“Jeez,” I say, “You need to go away and sit and think about commodity fetishism and the compensation of emotional labour. Also your obvious issues with women. By the way, how did you get this number?”
“I run a tech firm. Of course I’m tracking all your communications. I’ve also bugged your laptop.”
“That’s called corporate cyber-stalking. I’m going to set Democracy Now on your ass.”
“I love it when you talk dirty, Emma.”
“Great. My safe word is “restraining order.”
Alright, alright, so I had sex with Christian Grey. What can I say? I was bored and horny and my hitachi was broken. Great body, but he lurches between ranting about his childhood and trying to play out his virgin fantasies, which I was having none of.
When the suit comes off, Christian Grey is like every self-involved controlling man-child I’ve ever fucked, except with more money and a bunch of scary dudes with guns on his payroll. Also, he keeps nagging me to sign an huge weird contract with all the things he wants to do to me. Among other things I get to cede complete control over my reproductive rights. Not for a fleet of helicopters, buddy.
“Holy crap,” I say, “I have never seen a contract like this before in any of my extensive experience within the BDSM community. This isn’t about sex. This is about controlling every aspect of my behaviour. This is the work of a disturbed person with a team of lawyers enabling his abusive tendencies. Nobody in their right mind would sign.”
“I’ll buy you a Lamborghini’
“I’d really prefer a tank.”
Christian gives in and shows me around his creepy home dungeon. It’s all decked out with douchebag sex-toys, every one of which costs more than my flat. I’ve been to more interesting parties in Brixton.
“My desires are…unconventional,” he admits
“So are mine,” I say. “I want to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and destroy the male sex.”
Christian goes off to sulk in his helicopter.
When he comes back he’s still in a mood. “Look,” I say, “I don’t think you’re really a ‘dominant’ at all. I don’t think you know what that means. I don’t want to police your fantasies, but the way this is playing out is deeply problematic. You’re just an entitled sociopath and misogynist in a nice tie, and there are plenty of people who might find that sexy, but I don’t.”
“You need to learn to manage my expectations. I am not a patient man,” he mutters.
I pull my tampon out and throw it violently at his head.
“Alright. Here’s the deal,” says Christian, wiping the blood off his face. “I’ll give you everything you ever wanted, as long as I can control you completely.”
“Shut up and call me Melinda Gates,” I say, buckling on my strap-on.
My FOI requests have come through. And I finally got the receptionist to talk, girl to girl. Pretty soon there’s going to be a big expose on the activities of Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc. I imagine Christian won’t be a rich man for very much longer. I’d tell him, but I’ve got to keep my personal and professional lives distinct.
So, so distinct.
“Say it again, bourgeois scum!”
“The history of all previous societies has been the history of class struggle!”
He’s so freaking hot when he’s quoting Marx. “No,” I say, tweaking Christian’s nipple-clamps, and I smile. “Say the other thing.”
“SAFE, SANE AND CONSENSUAL!” He screams.
My inner goddess sprouts a thousand tentacles and demands blood sacrifice.
With thanks to muse and misandry consultant Meredith Yayanos.