Men who are tough, handsome, and rich, with a hint of violence. Men who shower their women with expensive gifts. Men who put up with caprice and childish behavior by their women. Such are the men of romance novels, as I said in an essay written way back in the 1994 in The Virginian-Pilot.
Reading Fifty Shades of Grey by the woman writer E.L. James, what’s immediately obvious is that this is essentially a romance novel. It fits the genre exactly. (In case anyone has been asleep for the last six months, Fifty Shades of Grey and its companion books have sold a zillion copies and attracted a lot of attention.) Besides the attributes I mention above, Shades of Grey also unspools at a monotonously slow pace, stretching out the moments before the protagonists actually get into bed. Another classic Romance novel technique. Women really do like foreplay, it seems.