ByBenjamin Kissell, writer at

Fifty Shades of ... um ... I Wonder How Many Glasses of Wine It Would Take To Make This Happen? ... Or Will My Liver Explode Into Glittery Shards First?

Benjamin Kissell

[hopefully hilarious update of an article I previously publishedf]

Full disclosure: I've never made a secret of my intense, full-bodied disinterest in Twilight from the get-go [think of an oak-barrel aged Cabernet Sauvignon ... mmmm, wine].

I made pithy, barely-under-my-breath comments about it to its face like I was cast in Heathers and Mean Girls bitching about that skank across the room; penning snark-fueled tweets like I was Taylor Swift after a break-up [I love the woman; she knows how to write some scathing-ex songs and commentary]. As an openly gay man who once dated the tee-totally-wrong guy because he had an awesome hairdo, you would think I'd be right there with the rest of the world fawning over Robert Pattinson. But, you would be wrong.

In short, I did not like Twilight, its author, most of its actors, its media saturation ... and truth be told, was no fan of its odd effect on the populace.

That is ... except when it came to my paycheck.

When Twilight began baring its glittery fangs with the herds of Twi-Hards (teens and their moms alike) my store - the now, lamentably gone Borders Books Inc. - took note. We saw the rabid fans queueing up outside of the Young Adult bookshelves hunting for copies of Twilight, New Moon and their ilk as well as the as-many-as-possible and the are-you-kidding-me-weird concoctions we tossed on the shelves to tie-in to the Twilight brand.

Why yes, we took advantage of this at Borders. Why?
Why yes, we took advantage of this at Borders. Why?

There are [somewhere not easily internet-search-accessible - trust me, I've looked *phew*] even photos of me in white-tinged make-up and glitter posing with customers (and their mothers) as I played ring-master to our Twilight parties. [Yes, I am aware how hipster it is of me to both mock them and yet partake in their excesses ... in my defense, I'm a narcissist who loves to have an audience (as evidenced by my "Pavlovian Responses"). ] We all played a part - audience, readers, book-sellers and even detractors - in the media and hype that became the Twilight typhoon of popularity. [How Fraudian is my subconsious; I had to type 'popularity' three times there ... the first two times I misspelled it as 'poopularity'.]

I even tried to make my way through the movies a few years back; my ex-roommates decided we should have an All-Twilight-All-the-Time Movie marathon in honor of the series ending. Between distracting myself with texting my friend John - who wound up as my fiance last year - and the nigh-lethal levels of wine I chugged to make it through the first 3 films ... well, you'd think I was at Gitmo the way I whined, bitched and moaned. Of course, by the second bottle (and end of the first movie) I was actually - dare we say it - enjoying the movies. I was lying on the carpet, hugging my empty wine bottles, snuggling my cats and found myself texting John little gems like "drunkety juice make plot holes disappear" "stalker love is only tru love" and "story be jeenyuss" as I got progressively more shit-faced (which resulted in enjoying the hyper-over-acting and piss-poor rip-off writing [seriously; read Romeo & Juliet, watch Roswell and then compare/contrast them to Twilight ... you're welcome]).


Of course, I woke up the day-after with cotton mouth, enough empty bottles that would make Guns N Roses blush gin blossoms and a sense of shame on-par with being dumped by a Kardashian. [HAH! I slay me with the timely jokes].

90's jokes are THE BEST jokes.
90's jokes are THE BEST jokes.

[random Twilight shout-out - if you haven't before, check out brilliant author, Jen Lancaster's acca-awesome Twilight twists, you should - she lampoons and breaks the 4th Wall in the best ways possible]

And you know what? I wouldn't find all of this so bad as all that, what with the Twilight Empire finally slowly dying a glitter-infused natural death, if it weren't for all of the spin-offs/knock-offs that completely saturated the market and have consumed the public subconscious since.

Twilight is, oh-so-grudgingly-admitted, a cultural phenomenon [of course, so were the Taco Bell Chihuahua, platform shoes and Crazy Town ... so we're not talking the best-of here] and, like any true cultural phenomenon, it spawned everything from spoof books (National Lampoon did it right) to rip-offs and prolific fan fiction. In the rare instance of genuine talent trumping subject matter, authors like Cassandra Clare shot into the spotlight - and bestsellers list - when their Twilight Fan Fic writing found its way onto various literary agents' screens [I so heart Cassie - such a sweetheart; I've yet to hear anyone speak an ill word of her].

Of course, just as soon as I'm about to forgive and forget with Twilight and its hellspawn, we're gifted with the oh-so-what-the-f#@k-ness of Fifty Shades of Grey (the ultimate BDSM fan fic of Twilight) and its omnipresent popularity.

Can I just ...

Uhm ...

I mean it's ...

Yeah, no. The tampon thing? Eww. I'll just be over here waiting until the furor over the novel/movie/everything-else-associated-with-it dies down. Go on, entertain yourselves with it - I have a good book and I learned how to wait years ago. [Of course, if wine is involved while I wait, lawdd knows what shitty things I may begin to stop hating ... perhaps even Kanye West? Nah. The amount of sweet, sweet Moscato needed to make that happen would kill me, comma others, first.]

Okay, Ellen - you won be back.
Okay, Ellen - you won be back.


You know, come to think of it, the rampant narcissist in me keeps wondering if I should start writing Twilight Fan Fic in a get-rich/famous-quick scheme. I mean, I've no qualms admitting that I want massive attention called to my writing - even when I don't always have something deep to say. Ooh! Perhaps, I could call it 'Middle of the Day' and make it about a struggling artist and her creep-tastic stalker-esque anger-management-needing agent-turned-lover ...

Worth a shot, right?

"... and they lived happily ever after"
"... and they lived happily ever after"

And if it isn't worth a shot (of vodka) perhaps it's at least worth a chug of wine?


Should I pen, and would you read, 'Middle of the Day'?


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