Is Reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” the Creepiest Thing Someone Can Do on the Subway?

Hes creepy even without a book.
  • He’s creepy even without a book.

Short answer: no.

In fact, if reading is the creepiest thing that you see someone do on the subway?

You are far, far luckier than just about anyone I know.

Adam Sternbergh wrote in the New York Times blog last week about the creepy things that people read on the subway. Sternbergh’s query came following the latest “Fifty Shades of Grey” news that “according to a Random House publicist, the three books in the trilogy recently sold nearly twice as many copies in one week on Amazon as the next 1,000 fiction paperbacks combined.”

That news is staggering. That is a lot of books. And many of them are probably actual paper books—no hiding your prurient interests on a Kindle!

Which, if you ask me, is refreshing. I mean, how else am I supposed to judge people if not by what they’re reading? On looks alone? That seems so…superficial.

According to Sternbergh, New Yorkers are much less likely to judge people who read “Fifty Shades of Grey” on the subway because of its “sexy” nature. They are much more likely to judge people because it is, by most accounts, a horribly written book.

I personally haven’t read it because I got my fill of BDSM books when I was going through a Stephen Elliott phase after a college professor of mine recommended “Happy Baby,” which, good book, but interesting recommendation. Especially coming from a chemistry professor.

Also, I heard that the main character’s name is Anastasia, and the delightful Anastasia Krupnik is the zenith of literary Anastasia’s for me, so I don’t want to contaminate her name with tales of anal plugs and Ben Wa balls.


Apparently, as we all probably already knew by riding the L train and giving our own disdainful looks to the people reading one of the “Dragon Tattoo” books, New Yorkers don’t really get skeeved out by the thought that our fellow passengers are leaving the seats wet (and not because of sweat), but rather, we get annoyed because of the fact that they are fucking idiots.

Some of them are even shameless enough to read Hemingway.

Like, in public.

I don’t know though. I prefer to focus on the good things people read.

For example, I will guarantee to strike up a conversation with someone who is reading “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” by Mr. Rob Lowe. Because I think it would be a fun conversation.

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