Fifty Shades of Nay

“No, Joanna. That right there. That is specifically the reason why I don’t want to see that movie. Because everyone (including you) keeps telling me how great it is and how I HAVE to see it and I MUST see it and the world will end if I DON’T see it. Well, the fact that everyone is pushing so hard for my watching this movie is reason enough for me NOT to see it.”

That was a paraphrased quote from a friend who, for their privacy and protection, shall remain nameless for the remainder of this post. But who, nonetheless, used to annoy me with what I perceived to be outlandish curmudgeon-ness over anything deemed popular by society.

This person used to call the behavior “pushing back.” Pushing back against the “vast majority,” pushing back against the “mainstream,” pushing back for the sake of being “different” or in my opinion, “difficult” was this individual’s M.O. And it bugged the crap out of me. That is, until very recently.

It all began with Twilight and was later solidified by The Hunger Games. Not the books or movies per se… but the whole damn kit and caboodle. The books, the movies, the magazine covers, the posters, the commercials, the Late Night / TMZ television fodder about the minutia of the everyday lives of the actors, writers and directors, the fact that it was “newsworthy” that LeBron James was reading The Hunger Games in between championship games… It was all too much.

Thus, I began, ever so subtly to “push back” myself. I would not—under any circumstance—read those books, watch those movies or be drawn in by the over-hyped drama and frenzy that seemed to have raptured so many — including the genius that is one Lebron James.

As the title suggests, there are a few other things (not nearly fifty — though given time I’m sure there could be) over which I have begun to dig in my heels — just because I am either A. tired of hearing about them, B. I personally don’t “get” or C. simply because I can.

  1. Instagram – I just have to ask: Why is it suddenly so cool to have an app make your stunningly-clear, brilliantly-colored, high-quality digital photos look like crappy Polaroids from the 70s? The reason our photos looked like THAT in the 70s was because, aside from going to Sears and sitting for “professional portraits” taken by some over-zealous, obnoxious, balding photographer sweating profusely inside his polyester, powder-blue suit — we didn’t HAVE any other option.
  2. Fifty Shades of Grey – If one more person tells me that I simply MUST read this totally A – MA – ZING and all-consuming series of horribly-written, thinly-veiled-porn-wrapped-in-a-ridiculously-disturbing-storyline, utterly-misogynistic novels which I will apparently NOT be able to put down even for one second after I have picked them up… I am going to punch them.
  3. Kindle (or any e-reader) – OK. I can understand the appeal on this one. Totally convenient, easy, practical, portable, yada, yada, yada. I just prefer to hold a real book in my hands. Call me a hopeless romantic or an old fart, but after staring at screens all day long from the phone to the computer to the television… it truly feels like an escape to retreat into an actual book made of paper, fabric and glue and get lost between the pages.
  4. Skinny jeans (for EVERY body) – First of all, there is no such thing. I don’t care what Old Navy says about how there is a pair out there for every type of body under the sun. I am here to tell you that there is not. The view from the bleachers last Friday night at a high-school football game proved that theory. Some people should not be wearing skinny jeans no matter what Old Navy says. Just watch the commercial next time it’s on. Notice there aren’t any short, round, pudgy, muffiny-toppy-types walking the runway in that ad? I wonder why?
  5. Gluten-free anything – Whether standing in line at Starbucks, at the department store or the movie theater, someone can be overheard talking about it. “So I’ve decided to go gluten free…” or “My chiropractor thinks my back pain is because of too much gluten…” or I think the reason I can’t shake these last 10 pounds is because I eat too much gluten…” (Or it could have something to do with the triple-shot, Venti, double-caramel latte with extra whipped cream in your hand — but what do I know? I’m just an outsider who can’t help but hear you gripe about gluten.) Let me ask this… Where was gluten 10 years ago? I have no idea but I suspect it was just as present then as it is now and yet all of the sudden it is The Great Satan. Have a sinusitis? It’s probably gluten. Car won’t start? Must be gluten. Polar icecaps melting? Gotta be gluten.

Call me a curmudgeon if you wish, but I think I finally understand where my crusty cohort was coming from. The fact that EVERYONE loves it SOOOO much, and is pushing for it SOOOO hard, is sometimes reason enough to say: “Nay.”

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