Fifty shades of Santa

If bondage-themed presents are all right for newborns, then I have some suggestions for the rest of us

15 December 2012

9:00 AM

15 December 2012

9:00 AM

During a frantic online rummage for last-minute Christmas presents (I am too old to risk actually purchasing anything on the internet this close to the 25th, but I thought I might find some inspiration for presents I could then go out and buy in the shops and drag home in a bag on a stinking bus full of fat tourists through solid traffic), I came upon something very disturbing indeed: novelty baby clothes inspired by… Fifty Shades of Grey.

You thought the sexualisation of children had gone only as far as six-year-old girls dressed up as Lady Gaga. But it has gone much, much further. Such as, for example, tiny romper suits available on a website called Etsy, with ‘My mummy read Fifty Shades of Grey nine months ago’ written on it.

Nine months. Get it? Hilarious, no doubt. But an odd thing to want to wrap up and put under the tree. The image that sticks most in my mind from a swift read of Fifty Shades some months ago is of the eponymous Christian Grey giving his girlfriend an orgasm by whacking her sharply in the privates with a riding crop. That wouldn’t lead to a baby, would it? Gosh, there’s so much I don’t know. I even managed to waste quarter of a century of sexual activity without discovering that the secret of female ecstasy is a smart crack in the goolies with a cold stick.

Other seasonal gift suggestions include baby clothes featuring the image of a neck tie (famously used in the book to fasten the heroine to assorted solid objects for the purpose of silent physical violation) and jumpsuits and bibs with ‘My mummy pretends Christian Grey is my daddy’ written on them.

Isn’t that a lovely idea? When I’m spooning spag bol into my own baby daughter this Christmas, I think the thing I am most going to want to see on her front, along with the tomato stains and dribble, is information about what my wife is dreaming of to keep herself awake during our annual festive rumpy.

But if the wind is blowing that way, then I must blow with it. And with that in mind, I plan to market a range of Christmas gifts next year myself, which will stay close to the traditional sorts of presents one tends to buy at this time, but with a timely twist of the sort of light bondage, domination and sadomasochism the British public seem to require in even the most mundane present these days. I shall call it ‘Fifty Shades of Santa’, and it will include:



Pin The Tail on The Donkey game (Donkey not included)
Really just a blindfold and a sharp object. For two players or more.

A nice bedroom slipper No, not a pair. Just one slipper. Oh come on, do I have to draw pictures?

Adjustable silver napkin ring Or is it?

Gardener’s kneeling mat For indoor use only.

Personalised Cluedo Set You know it is Miss Scarlett in the library with the lead piping and the rope. But how long will you make her wait?

Personalised Monopoly Set Joining the dog and the top hat are such sexy new playing counters as the handcuffs, the leather mask and the dildo. In this game, it’s all about getting the other players to stop at your hotel on Old Compton Street, luring them into a dogging session on Free Parking, and hoping you are lucky enough to be sent directly to jail, to be chained up and punished, because you’re a naughty, naughty boy.

Piping hot mince pies Applied to the thighs.

The Oxford Dictionary of Safe Words Contains words such as ‘tiramisu’, ‘zygote’, ‘floccinaucinihilipilification’, and other helpful things to shout when those nipple-clamps are just too tight even for you…

…I’m worrying now that when I print this piece out to check it through there is going to be some terrible misunderstanding. The list is going to print accidentally in my wife’s office and she’s going to think it’s what I want for Christmas and get me all of it. Or, worse, it’s going to fall behind a sofa and be found by my baby daughter 17 years from now, who will no doubt look at it, laugh and say, ‘Ugh, Dad, people in the olden days were so vanilla!’

Giles Coren writes for the Times.

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Show comments
  • wycombewanderer

    I was disappointed that your article dated 15.12.2012 didn’t include tomorrows Euromillion numbers!

  • literarybear

    It seems like there’s fifty shades of everything these days, but Fifty Shades of Santa takes a decidedly different approach to that now famous designation, presenting 12 lighthearted, humorous holiday romances by twelve award-winning authors. We like to call it, “romance for the rest of us,” the rest of us being readers whose idea of love doesn’t include implements of pain. An Amazon eBook. Don”t get too tied up with that other stuff — Fifty Shades of Santa will be a welcome antidote.

  • Sarah

    I haven’t actually met a woman who’s read this book. Are you sure it’s not just journalism who buy it to write articles about it?

    • Charlotte.

      Unfortunately I know plenty, even friends of mine who I considered moderately intelligent are reading this trash.

      • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.p.mccarthy1 Daniel Peter Justin McCarthy


        • RichieP

          … ‘neck tie’? Since when were you an American?

    • Eddie

      That’s because you don’t know anyone but manhating muff-divers and misandrist bluestocking bluenoses, love. I haven’t met any North Koreans or Polar Bears eaither but know they exist (you really have to learn that your experience and your opinion is just that and proves nothing at all).
      The sales speak for themselves – as they do for Mills and Boon crap. Many women LOVE this drivel. Most women do not spend their days reading Spare Rib and Camille Bore-ya, with some spite courtesy of Dworkin or Sneer on the side.
      Or are you actually suggesting in your conspiracy-obsessed manhate-addled brain that there is some deliberate conspiracy here by nasty men to promote women as the sort of hare-brained bimbos who read trash like 50 shades?
      Women read way more than men – esp fiction – but what they read is in general dreadful drivel: romantic escapism, emotional pornography, historical princess stories and other codswallop.

    • Eddie

      Stick with ‘Mrs Seahorse’ and ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar Manhating Feminist’ – we’ll let you know when we think you can start on the books without pictures, Ms Misandrist!

      It is INCREDIBLE that even with something like this you Sarah Psycho are suggesting that there is some kind of misogynistic conspiracy which has attempted to lie to tyhe world that women are reading this drivel in their droves.

      But then, facts were never your strong point eh?

      In defence of women, most PEOPLE read crap – so women read Mills and Boon or the emo-porn of historical fiction; men who read go for cheap thrillers or biographies or nonentity celebrities.

      Just a few well-read people like me read quality books. Maybe 5% of the population, if that.

      I really would not line my cats’ litter tray with 50 shades of shit. It’s a women’s book, by a woman, for women who think they’re being big and clever and naughty, but are in fact mutton parading as halal lamb chops. Vile. Can’t they just stick to touching themselves and pretending it’s Alan Titchmarsh?

  • http://www.facebook.com/funnelwebkitten Denise Webber

    thanks for the giggle Giles. It makes all this assorted 50 Shades tosh bearable.

  • hrdoiugoegjlijuho

    Giles Coren writes for the Times. Oh dear.

  • La Fold

    its nowt new. Mills and Boon with a some kinky in it. Surprised
    no one done it earlier to be fair.

    And I know plenty of women who have read it from single mums
    to a prison officer. Fair play to them, least they’re not watching the meat
    puppet pantomime Nuremberg rally that is X Factor.

    Although romance has always puzzled me. Wuthering heights
    was a wake up call., the romantic “hero” is a brooding, psychopathic, bitter,
    revenge obsessed dog killer.

    That’s where ive been going wrong all these years with
    meals, and jokes and trips to the cinema etc. I should just sucker punch her in
    the jaw and yell “pop goes the weasel.”

    Reminds me of the time I was forced to watch dirty dancing
    AND Pretty Woman in the same night.

    Ones a film about a street walking woman of the night and a
    rich arrogant twat. The other about how
    one man takes his family on holiday for his own daughter to be conned into paying for a back street
    abortion and then she gets deflowered by the local gigillo.