It's an epic story filled with romance and disappointment; hope and fear. And at the very end, there is a dramatic scene that usually takes place in the bedroom.
Often it starts out with so much promise, only to be tripped up on the shoals of experience, until we realize we can attain a more rewarding and satisfying relationship with ourselves and our loved ones through patience, tolerance, experience, and a commitment to family and friends, as well as the resolve to be true to ourselves.
There is young passion, maturing into a deeper, more textured love. But the story is not without violence, and sometimes even death, along with the general ravages of time. I am talking about the experience of real life itself, in all its colors and textures, with all its rewards and disappointments -- and the result, for most of us, is 50 shades of gray.
Wait! If you thought this post was about the new movie, based on last year's hottest book 50 Shades of Grey, you are sorely mistaken. The Grey in that story is a narcissistic, self-serving misogynist named Christian Grey, who lures the young and curious literature student Anastasia Steele into his lair of sexual restraint.
I read the book and, believe me, it is much more an old-fashioned romance novel than any kind of modern, sexually explicit literary spellbinder. I am not likely to see the movie, because I suspect it is all tease and titillation, but does not deliver a true sense of resolution or completion, much less any real emotional impact.
I read the book last year because my friend's wife said she'd read it and actually liked it. B tried to read the book and gave up -- not because it offended her delicate sense of sexual propriety (which she does have), but because she thought the book was repetitive and shallow. She couldn't get engaged with the story; and she put it down because she felt it just wasn't going anywhere.
Anyway, B and I watched a truly romantic movie on Valentine's Day. On TV we caught Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, a classic that B (amazingly!) had never seen before.
Casablanca is one great film that still holds up, more than 70 years later. And for those of you who were attracted to this post by the titillation in the title, to paraphrase Captain Louis Renault from the movie: I am shocked ... shocked to find that you think there is some kind of pornography going on in here!