Whether or not you’ve seen or read “Fifty Shades of Grey,” we think it’s safe to say a large percentage of us have a hard time identifying with Anastasia Steele or her relationship with Christian Grey. In an attempt to understand her a little better, let’s make Ana one of us. What if “Fifty Shades of Grey” was set in the Bay Area? What if Ana were a UC Berkeley student?
Ana, an English major at UC Berkeley, lives with her roommate Kate, a media studies major, on the north side of campus, where she can read her novels in peace and quiet. One day, Ana makes a trip to San Francisco to conduct an interview with CEO of Grey Enterprises, Christian Grey, on behalf of Kate, who has fallen ill.
Christian, five years after graduating from the campus Haas School of Business, established himself as a legendary business tycoon and has become a UC Berkeley success story and a benefactor to the campus. Christian is intrigued by Ana’s simplicity and independent spirit. He gives her a free Grey Enterprises pencil, because college students love free things — something he learned from attending career fairs.
Ana works at Ace Hardware on University Avenue and Oxford Street. Christian, who happens to be in Berkeley for an alumni event, runs into Ana at the hardware store, where he buys suspicious amounts of rope, duct tape and cable for a “personal recreational project.” As she assists him in making his purchases, she thanks him for the interview, and Christian agrees to do a photoshoot as well.
After the photoshoot with Ana’s friend Jose, an art practice major, Christian and Ana get coffee at Caffe Strada. Christian reminisces on his time at UC Berkeley, being the king of his business frat and captain of his intramural soccer team. Anastasia doesn’t have much to talk about, as she has an extreme lack of social activities and extracurriculars and spends most of her time reading in Morrison Library. Ana just happens to be the quiet, introverted type — the type to attend all of her 8 a.m. discussions but not actually participate. After they get coffee, Ana is almost hit by an aggressive biker. Christian pulls her out of the way and also pays for her jaywalking ticket.
Later, Ana goes out with Kate and their friends for a night at Cafe Durant. Extremely intoxicated, Ana drunk calls Christian and tries to tell him off. Christian, who has been staying at the Claremont, realizes she’s drunk and goes to pick her up. After he pushes Jose off her, he tries to take her home. Ana, confused, asks how Christian even found her at Cafe D, because he definitely couldn’t have tracked her ancient flip phone. Christian gazes deeply into her eyes and purrs, “It’s Taco Tuesday.”
As Christian tries to romance Ana, he buys her several gifts. First, a Macbook so she isn’t doing her research on BDSM relationships at Moffit Library or printing out visuals of dominant-submissive sexual practices at the Open Computing Facility. He also buys her a brand-new Audi, which she never uses because her AC Transit pass hasn’t expired yet. He probably should have just loaded $1,000 onto a Clipper Card for her to use when she BARTs to visit him in the city.
Despite all the gifts and stays at Christian’s luxurious apartment in San Francisco, Ana has had enough. After one too many sessions in Christian’s playroom — spoiler alert — Ana leaves him. She realizes that she has fallen for a man who doesn’t respect her the way a woman should be respected and that she was too naive to have figured that out earlier. She probably also wishes she had taken a gender and women’s studies class.
Image Sources: Martin Dubé