Why Lazy Men Hated 50 Shades of Grey

The wealth might be uncommon but the devotion doesn’t have to be

Siobhan Anke Haas
4 min readJul 5, 2020
All rights © Universal Pictures

You can blame your “bad luck” with the ladies on not being rich all you want.

But women want generosity, not necessarily wealth. Sure, some want the fabled glamourous life. And that’s ok too. But there are plenty of women who just want you to want to be generous and thoughtful at whatever your income level is.

When I was in college my ex worked so I could focus on school. It was the most unbelievably selfless thing anyone had ever done for me. I was floored. He got paid minimum wage. And one pay period during the winter he spent the last of his money on a sweater for me and two apples. I’m always cold. He wanted me to be warm and healthy. My heart almost couldn’t bear it so I wrote a shitty poem about it to try to convey the physical depth of my gratitude. He wanted me to publish my poetry but he didn’t need it as a thank you. “I like the way pink looks on you and you’re always cold. You need more sweaters,” was all he said when I tried to thank him through tears.

Just because fictional billionaire Christian Grey can be generous on a far grander scale than the average man can doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything. Stop looking for excuses to do nothing. You do not have to be rich to be generous and you know it. Opulence is not the only way to be thoughtful.

Welp. I don’t have a helicopter or a yacht so I guess I can’t do anything nice. Bitches always go for the rich guys. What’s a nice guy to do?

Well, if you’re in love with a good woman like Anastasia Steele you can try doing the things that the love of her life does.

He speaks highly of her to others.

He makes her feel special.

He defends her when people cross the line and aren’t listening to her defend herself.

He’s rarely on his phone.

He pays attention to her.

He surprises her. That takes initiative, thinking ahead, planning and follow-through. It’s nice to feel like you’re worth the effort.

He gives her gifts based on her interests. Can’t afford a first-edition of her favorite book? Most people can’t. Order a nice copy from your local bookstore. Some women even have a special place in their hearts for used bookstores. Take her and tell her to pick out a book she likes.

He asks for consent in half-a-dozen sexy ways. In three movies we see him go down on her consistently. He always makes her come. He’s patient, methodical, deliberate. He’s not rushing to oil-derrick the dry earth with monotonous pumping and no intimacy.

He is completely honest about his needs, wants and desires. He communicates his hard limits and respects hers. He desires her, ravages her.

But he’s also painfully tender with her, protective of her. He carries her satisfied body to bed with her head nestled in his neck.

He touches her face. He strokes her hair.

He makes sustained eye contact when he talks to her.

He shoots down the advances of beautiful women who disrespect their commitment and flirt with him in front of her.

He apologizes when he knows he’s wrong. He apologizes when he didn’t mean to hurt her but she communicates her feelings.

He makes her feel like she belongs. He makes her feel safe in this world, not just his world.

He provides for her.

She gets to feel cherished by her beloved.

Plenty of self-satisfied men “debunked” this whole premise like they were cutthroat detectives, that would never happen if he weren’t a handsome billionaire!

Wanna crack another code, player? That never would’ve happened if she weren’t young and beautiful either.

If you can suspend your disbelief for nine iterations of Fast & Furious you can suspend your disbelief for this iteration of Cinderella.

Their dynamic allows her to be everything from innocent ingenue to an independent professional with a career she’s passionate about. Women want to do and be multiple things, sometimes inhabit roles that our culture compartmentalizes as contradictory.

He loves every facet of her and reassures her that he believes in her, abilities and her talents. He’s confident in her ability to learn how to steer a ship, run a publishing company, drive a sports car, outrun bad guys or design a home.

In an economy where most students are facing a contracting job market with ominous debt, the easy fantasy has its appeal. And the Cinderella fairytale in some ways seems more plausible than actually securing a well-paying job. Being able to make your own way in the world with a successful career that affords you a comfortable lifestyle until you retire and can trust that there will still be money into the social security fund you’ve been paying into all along seems less likely than love-at-first-sight.

It is no more “unrealistic” than the Kardashians, the oil dramas of the 80s, MTV Cribs or countless music videos. Christian Grey’s wealth is likely just as unattainable as that depicted in most of our media.

So the only quantifiable difference I see is that a devoted man is doting on the woman he loves. If fidelity and consistent and loving effort are “unrealistic” the men who hated this story in book and movie form don’t realize they’re “diagnosing” the wrong problem.