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If you’re aware of an imminent film titled Fifty Shades of Grey—based on a bestselling erotic novel of the same name—it’s partly because retailers and PR flacks have bent over backwards to cash in on its potent combination of conspicuous wealth and sexual bondage.
How do we know? Because for the past few weeks, we’ve been buried under a billion dumb email pitches from folks who believe, against all evidence, that their product, service, or company should be associated with the Fifty Shades phenomenon. Here is what they’re saying:
“With February comes the holidays made for lovers and passion.”
You know, like Valentine’s Day! And, uh, the presidents one. (Chinese New Year, maybe?)
“If you want to dominate Valentine’s Day, skip the roses and send the limited-edition Fifty Shades of Grey Bear.”
Vermont Teddy Bear
Welp, there goes my will to live.
Make Up For Ever:
“Tease your lips with this colorful threesome inspired by the Fifty Shades of Grey movie.”
Never imagined someone would manage to make lips unsexy through the power of innuendo. Also, that is not the politically correct term for a multiracial ménage à trois.
This lady begs to differ.
“Each wash gives a brilliant clean with a blend of aphrodisiac scents—alluring rose with a hint of jasmine, infused with spicy sandalwood.”
It’s not every day people petition against and boycott a company for selling a detergent that “glorifies and normalizes abuse of women.” Bravo.
“Women have been preparing for this movie since the first book was published in 2011, and now, with a Valentine’s Day release, the buzz around the film is reaching fever pitch.”
Since 2011, women have undergone strength training, hand-to-hand combat lessons, and deadly survival drills in order to gird themselves for the film adaptation of a book they masturbated to. Most can now open pickle jars with their vaginas. They are ready.
“These humorous (and completely functional) padded changing mats are the latest addition from the BabyWise Mattress Factory.”
Functional? I just wanted one for show.
“Feel the cold metal against your skin and remember the exceptional encounters of Christian and Anastasia.”
Yes, remember those things that didn’t actually happen.
“Fifty Shades-inspired couples may live out the hottest scenes from the story and submit to Sheri’s version of the Red Room of Pain, Sensory-Deprivation Sex, the Bathtub Blow Job, Silk Tie Oral Sex and Ben Wa Balls Spanking, and Sheri’s courtesans are skilled at fulfilling every BDSM fantasy in a safe, comfortable environment.”
You know times are tough when a brothel has to advertise.
Tripping.com ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ vacation rentals:
“The images are very good quality and the most amazing ‘house porn’ you’ll ever see.”
I’ve always wanted to see two houses fucking.
A cookbook called Fifty Shades of Chicken:
“The way his apron hangs from his hips already has me all wobbly. But as he coats my thighs with sticky liquid I can hardly contain myself. Is it the wine, or is my aroma starting to drive him crazy too?”
You know, this might be better than the original book.
“What’s the sexiest handful of foliage?”
Just a bunch of dead wet leaves pulled from a rain gutter, I’m guessing.
“Wine plays an important role in Fifty Shades of Grey, reflecting the sensuality that pervades every encounter between Anastasia and Christian.”
That’s sensuality for you, always pervading everything. RUDE.
“Romantic; liberating and totally fun; the party game that will entertain and surprise you as it reveals how you see your friends your friends see you [sic].”
Sounds like the literal opposite of sex.
Fifty Shades of Gin:
“With Fifty Shades of Grey jumping from script to screen this Valentine’s season, our Gin of the Month, Warner Edwards, would like to know what ‘shade’ of their gins you would like to share with your Valentine Partner in Fifty Shades Crime.”
There’s only one shade of gin: revolting.
“Sssh.com’s #Sssh50 “kinky tweet” contest has your name all over it.”
Please get my name off that, I may need it for a loan application at some point.
“For those people who are lucky enough to bag a night, they’ll have access to the building’s bar and gym as well as their own private roof terrace and balcony. The only thing that they won’t be able to find is the red room—that really is stuff of fiction.”
Probably easier than becoming a billionaire, at least.
“Floral styles for the different stages of a relationship …”
I need the kind of flowers that say “get the hell out of my inbox and set yourself on fire.”
“The clock is ticking as we approach the theatrical release of Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Yeah, that’s how time works.
“Swapalease.com, the nation’s largest car lease marketplace, analyzed colors of its entire online ecosystem and discovered that the grayscale dominates the automotive landscape.”
Miles Klee is a novelist and web culture reporter. The former editor of the Daily Dot’s Unclick section, Klee’s essays, satire, and fiction have appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair, 3:AM, Salon, the Awl, the New York Observer, the Millions, and the Village Voice. He's the author of two odd books of fiction, 'Ivyland' and 'True False.'