Exercise – a dialogue “Fifty Shades of Sodom”

This one is just dialogue. It could probably go into a story one day, but I didn’t feel like writing one around it. I imagine two women, high school friends who are now late 20s/early 30s and married, getting together after not seeing each other for awhile but falling back into their old snarky banter. It reads very much like a conversation I would have with my friend Kris, which is probably why it turned out as a dialogue: we would usually have these kinds of conversations over a chat client or email. Loosely based on things I’ve witnessed, but exaggerated for humor. It popped into my head one morning when I was thinking about an old acquaintance who recently named a son Aiden, a currently overused name, and branched out into a bunch of other things.

Fifty Shades of Sodom

“It’s getting to the point where naming your kid ‘John’ is edgy.”

“It’s getting to the point where waiting until your mid-20s to have a kid is edgy. How young was that last girl?”

“I don’t know. It’s so hard to tell nowadays. Either I’m getting too old or I just see too many young twenty-somethings with the rough, orange-brown hide of forty-somethings.”

“No shit. Like my hairdresser. It doesn’t help that they talk like they’ve been smoking a pack a day since kindergarten.”

“You mean since they pushed out their first spawn?”


“It’s actually a thing they have a name for, though. Vocal fry.”

“Vocal fry? Like they fried their voice?”

“I don’t know. They don’t know why but all of a sudden girls are talking like that.”

“You know, Lindsey Lohan talks like that. It must be her fault.”

“Everything is Lindsey Lohan’s fault.”

“There’s getting to be no place for pale intellectuals like ourselves. Except universities.”

“I guess we were meant to be professors. Too bad I don’t want to teach.”

“Professors don’t teach. They pontificate between theses and grading.”

“Ugh, grading.”

“And fielding questions from leather-skinned mothers of three with voices like a belt sander.”

“Blech. You just described everyone I work with.”

“No shit? I’m sorry.”

“Seriously. They wonder why I’m so quiet. It’s like that INFJ quote: ‘I’m only quiet because I’m busy silently judging you.’”

“I think that’s a quote from Daria.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised. They did call me Daria in high school.”

“Yeah, we did.”

“Anyway, yeah, I work with a bunch of women who I think are in their 30s. I mean, they can’t be much older than me. But they’re talking about their teenagers – they each have like four kids, by the way.”

“Breeding excellence.”

“Well that’s the thing. They’re not trashy people. But all they talk about is their kids so I feel like I have nothing in common with them. They eat candy all day and their idea of dieting is to talk about signing up with Nutrasystem and bringing in frozen Healthy Choice dinners, but then ordering out crap food half the days. Meanwhile I’m there with my bag lunch.”

“—like a priest at a rave—“

“Good one.”


“On the one hand, I feel like there’s something wrong with me—“

“There’s nothing wrong with you. ‘Normal’ is situational.”

“But I don’t fit in.”

“Would you want to?”

“Hell no. Part of why I’m apprehensive about having kids is I look at these people like ‘is that what I’ll become?’”

“No, no more than we turned into some boring marriage stereotype when we married our husbands. You’ll be one of the cool parents with cool kids and it’ll be all casual and laid back.”

“And I won’t be one of those women talking about nothing but diapers and ‘liking’ all the ‘mommy’ pages on Facebook and changing my job to ‘mommy of so and so.’”

“God no. Remember, women like that are the same ones who celebrated one week anniversaries with their high school boyfriends and called themselves ‘Mrs. So and So’ for every guy they dated.”

“Ugh. I hope you’re right. Anyway, so I keep my opinions to myself—“

“Otherwise it’ll be like high school again.”

“Ugh, don’t remind me.”

“The ‘truth project’?”

“Stupidest assignment ever.”

“You really got into it. No filter.”

“They put ‘tell us how you really feel’ next to my photo in the yearbook. Assholes.”

“You’d been holding it in so long.”

“Damn it felt good, though. Now I have to get drunk to do that. I’m glad there was no alcohol at the company picnic.”

“Why? What happened at the company picnic?”

“Well, I was hanging out with my mentor, you know, because I know basically no one still. We sat with some girls she knows while we were eating lunch. Everything’s whatever… then they started going on about ‘the Gray books’.”

“The Gray Books? What the fuck are the Gray—oh, oh shit no.”

Fifty Shades of Gray.”

“Holy shit, there’s more than one?”

“It’s a series.”

“Jesus Christ…”

“Yeah, they were going on to each other about ‘have you read them? Aren’t they amaaaazing? Which one are you on? Oh you need to borrow number three after I finish it—‘”

“I’m sorry, I’m still wrestling with this: some illiterate bitch managed to shit out three-plus books of poorly-written mommy porn?”


“I don’t want to live on this planet anymore. As soon as they terraform Mars, I’m out.”

“So this whole time, I’m sitting there staring at my plate, biting my tongue in half while thinking, ‘I’ve been reading Anna Karenina on my Kindle during lunch. For fun’.”

“Oh man. I’m so sorry.”

“Eh, it’s okay. I work to make money, not friends. They’re friendly enough and I like the job. I just keep to myself and do my job, which the boss loves. Plus, I have the perfect response now for if they ask me if I’ve read ‘the Gray books’.”


“’No, but I’ve read 120 Days of Sodom’.”

“Hah! Have you?”

“Not yet, but it’s on my Kindle. Grabbed it for a dollar. I don’t think I’ll be reading it during lunch, though.”

“I don’t blame you.”

“You should see the reviews on Amazon. ‘This is sick and disgusting! Amazon should put a warning label on this!’”

“Uh, they did. It says ‘by the Marquis de Sade’.”

“That’s the thing: the uneducated dope probably hasn’t ever heard of him! Oh, and another one: ‘I expected to get a sexual charge out of this—‘”


“’—but I didn’t know there were scenes with young children. That’s disgusting! I will not support a work depicting child sexual abuse!’”

“They thought the Marquis de fucking Sade would somehow stop short of child molestation?”

“I know, right?”

“Well, let me know how it is.”

“Will do. I’ll let you know if anyone asks.”

“It’d be hilarious if someone seriously had never heard of it and thought it was somehow similar to Fifty Shades.”

“Well, I hear it has S&M…”

“And is by the inventor of same, or at least whose name it derives from. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if someone thought that and picked it up to read?”


“She draws a bubble bath, lights some candles—husband and kids are at a movie or something. She’s all set to diddle herself and then BOOM: the prose stylings of the Marquis de Sade.”

“Sexual torture.”

“She expects sexy time and gets a Stephen King horror.”

“Clive Barker.”

“The husband and kids come home and find her in a drained, scummy tub, catatonic, candles all burned down—“

“Ha ha! Vag sealed shut on its own!”

“’Well, I guess we won’t be having four more kids before forty, then!’”

“Ha ha! Oh my god, I’m dying! Hee hee hee! That was awesome. Thank you. I love you.”

“I love you too, hon. I’m glad we finally hung out.”

“Me too. I’ve been needing an ab workout.”




~ by Amber on August 18, 2012.

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