Aug 27, 2012

DIY: How to read Fifty Shades of Grey covertly

Originally published on

I understand the awkwardness of reading an erotic novel like Fifty Shades of Grey on the subway. That's why I've come up with this craftacular DIY manual, to guide you through reading it without anyone knowing the better. 

Operation: Wrap Around

Level: Easy 

Reader: This is the ideal solution for someone with few resources and little time. 

Tactic: If you’re not concerned about damaging the spine of the novel, wrap the front cover around the back to block the sultry title from the wide-eyed grandmother sitting in priority seating. If cracking the binding is a concern, consider the following: if you’re standing, face a wall so the title of the novel is blocked from other passengers and if you’re sitting down, balance the book on the top of your thighs. 

Disclaimer: If you choose the latter, it might be slightly uncomfortable to read the text at this jarring angle but your objective will be fulfilled and judgemental riders won't know you're reading about The Red Room of Pain.

Operation: Genius

Level: Medium

Reader: For the white collar businesswoman who has a reputation at stake and wants to maintain an intellectual air, while still learning whether Anastasia Steele will sign Christian Grey's sex contract. 

Tactic: Remove the book sleeve of a classic British novel that will make you look infinitely smarter than your prized piece of smut. Simply unwrap the jacket of the hardcover novel that you secretly stock on your bookshelf to make you look smarter (examples include Selections of Kierkegaard and George Eliot’s Middlemarch) and wrap it around your erotic titillator. Now, when a naysayer accuses you of reading EL James, you can stare at them with utter distaste and remark triumphantly “HOW DARE YOU SUGGEST I’M READING ABOUT ANAL FISTING WHEN IN FACT I’M READING ABOUT EXISTENTIALISM.” That will shut them up. 


Operation: Master of Disguise 

Level: Difficult 

Reader: This option is ideally suited for skilled costumers because if you over-stylize you can wind up drawing further attention to yourself. Then if someone recognizes you, you won't just be the girl reading Fifty Shades, you’ll be the girl who insists on reading Fifty Shades while donning a stick-on handlebar moustache. And that’s even worse. 

Tactic: When assigned with the task of reading Fifty Shades of Grey covertly (note: I wasn’t assigned, unless assigning means personally deciding) my original thought was to conceal the novel itself. However, upon further reflection it became clear that a craftier option would be to disguise the reader so they’re barely recognizable. This could involve any measure of costumes, including but not limited to wigs, thick-framed glasses, sideburns and fedoras. ANDPOP is not responsible for anyone who suffers embarrassent while reading Fifty Shades of Grey. It was your personal decision. Take some ownership, man.

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