Fifty shades of Red and Green
[Writer’s note: This piece is in no way based off a true story. It is fan fiction of fan fiction of “Twilight,” assuming my editor’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” plot summary was accurate.]
Filling out this year’s Student Life Sex Survey didn’t require much thought—no, I haven’t done this, or any of that, or in any of these places. They say that one is the loneliest number, but from my perspective, the zero in the “How many sexual partners have you had?” response feels pretty lonely indeed.
You see, some people’s sexual histories, written out, would fill volumes; others’ lists of tonsil hockey partners could become ideal bedtime reading (we don’t need to swallow a whole novel, but a respectable short story would be nice—I’ve heard length doesn’t matter anyway); and still more could at least draw on a Post-It’s worth of experience. But mine makes Hemingway’s famous six-word story read like “War and Peace.” Mine needs a dose of Viagra just to be large enough to write a complete sentence about it.
Last year in this space, I discussed my attempt to recruit a (fake) Internet girlfriend, a plan that had to be aborted following the Manti Te’o scandal. And in the year since, well, let’s just say that the closest I’ve come to interacting with a woman’s nether regions was attending “The Vagina Monologues” at Graham Chapel.
Feb. 14 was fast approaching, unlike potential dates, and I was resigned to spending another V-Day hoarding my V-card and eating alone in Bear’s Den, with nobody to turn my half-and-half into a whole.
But an idea appeared, and with it a cartoony light bulb above my head, when I overheard my editor discussing a story he had read for his intro to sexuality studies class. More specifically, he was analyzing a modern-day literary hero, Anastasia Steele, of “Fifty Shades of Grey” fame.
We have a lot in common, Ana and I. She is a reporter for Washington State University’s student newspaper; I am a reporter for Washington University’s. She is—well, there’s not much else I know about the character and Wikipedia doesn’t list any other traits, but “Fifty Shades” is nothing more than a projection fantasy for its readers, and I can certainly project my fantasy onto this page as much as E.L. James did on all 530 of hers.
The “Fifty Shades” playbook doesn’t seem very complicated: interview subject, have sex with subject. As a sports editor, I know all about playbooks, and the “Fifty Shades” one is about as complicated as that of the Family Play setting on Madden.
Plus, using my writing to attract a coitus companion would play up my strengths: I might not be able to turn a girl on, but I can turn a phrase with the best of them. Now it’s just a matter of reframing my interviews as wooing opportunities.
Last semester, for instance, I was assigned a story on a former Wash. U. athlete who took her competitive spirit to the Legends Football League. The LFL acronym, though, used to stand for the more provocative Lingerie Football League, and maybe next time I’ll ask her for an interview over dinner and movie—and before I’ve even transcribed her quotes, we’ll be back in my dorm encroaching on each other’s line of scrimmage.
Admittedly, some of the acts described on Wikipedia’s “Fifty Shades” page sound as painful as being tackled by Kam Chancellor, and no amount of lingerie could make that brand of illegal contact desirable for a rookie such as myself. There’s hazing, and then there’s whatever Ana’s interviewee plans on doing with his purchase of “cable ties, masking tape and rope.”
But I can start slow. Before long, I’ll be speaking with an athlete who can show me 50 shades of Red and Green.
According to our survey, 21 students have had sexual relations in the Athletic Complex. And I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22.