The Midwest never really considered itself beautiful. It was more of a “sneakers and T-shirts” kind of geographical region. Its skin was pale, owing to the three to four months of reduced sunlight every year. Its cities were decidedly frumpy. No, it wasn’t up on the big East Coast trends, like having New York in it. In fact, most guys tended to fly right over it.

So when the Midwest met Fifty Shades Of Grey, it was excited but nervous—self-conscious about its flat, unstylish topography. The Midwest couldn’t help but feel plain; after all, it contained the Great Plains. “There’s really not much to know about me,” the Midwest said to Fifty Shades Of Grey. “I mean, look at me.”

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“I am,” Fifty Shades Of Grey said, setting the Midwest trembling. It intensely studied the Midwest, lingering over its marketing potential. It seemed to see right into the Midwest in a way no one ever had—in a way that said it recognized the natural beauty of its landscape, and that it appreciated all of its ample assets, like the Midwest’s soft, wide fields that were so ripe for agriculture, or for breeding repressed audiences that yearned for socially acceptable pornography. Fifty Shades looked at the Midwest in a way that said it wanted to plow those fields.

The Midwest drew a shuddering breath, and immediately bought thousands of tickets to see Fifty Shades Of Grey.

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Again and again, the Midwest opened up its trembling purse to Grey, coming repeatedly to the Fandango website and purchasing far more than the average in pre-sale tickets. Oh, it bought so much…. Ah jeez. It thought it would never stop buying. And then, just as the middle of the country felt like it was going to burst, its upper states fully aroused, it felt a fire spreading down there—in its Southern area.

Yes, Arkansas, Western Virginia, Kentucky, and Alabama were all tingling, aching to have Grey inside them as well. Oh, how they ached, begging to be set free from their conservative values with some sanitized kink. They bought more than twice the amount of tickets they’d bought with any other movie, gripping them tightly with two hands, pulling them closer. Other movies had never made them feel this titillated, longing to give themselves over completely to a sociopath, except maybe American Sniper.

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Meanwhile, Mississippi felt itself getting wet, from its humid subtropical climate. Mississippi had been spanked repeatedly by hurricanes and tornadoes; it was no virgin to being slapped around a little. But this time, that spanking came with the delicious promise of fucking by someone who was even more withholding than the state government had been with Katrina funds.

Lying there, gasping from the excitement and the ground-level ozone, Mississippi realized that its pre-sales for Grey were nearly four times the average. Holy cow. It was amazed at just how loose and liquid it was, deep within its hot little pocketbook. Mississippi was like a river down there, one that was responsible for the bulk of the nation’s waterborne freight transport. Holy crap.

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“Let those stuck-up coastal bitches say what they want— that we’re not as attractive, that we don’t have the best clothes, that we’re not cosmopolitan, that we don’t have big, heaving cultural centers or tight little local food movements,” these states thought, clutching their tickets defiantly. “Fifty Shades Of Grey wants us anyway, for the reason behind all of the most meaningful relationships: our willingness to enter repeatedly into a binding contract. Oh!”