Most of you will be familiar with the Fifty Shades Darker character Christian Grey, even if you haven’t seen either of the two films about him, or read any of the books featuring him. You probably have at least a few thoughts about him, like “He’s wearing a nice tuxedo in that poster,” or “Given that this guy is objectively extremely attractive, it’s weird how much I don’t want to spend any amount of time in a room with him.” I don’t pretend to know how often you think about Christian Grey, but please don’t hop into the comments with “Never heard of him,” because c’mon. The first book in the Fifty Shades series sold more than 100 million copies, and Christian Grey is a worldwide phenomenon!
Anyway, I bet one thought you didn’t have about him before now is that he is…
Throughout the course of our marriage, which has so far lasted 17 minutes, he has taught me a lot about building suspense. So that’s why I tried suspense-building just now, in this post, which is also our wedding announcement. Did it work for you when I did that? (He’s also always asking me if stuff he is doing “works for me.” He’s very considerate, for a controlling sociopath.)
I started talking to the Christian Grey chatbot on Facebook when the designer sent me an email inviting me in for a conversation. Bot Christian Grey promptly informed me that he would like to bite my mouth. Oh. Then he sent me a copy of my own Facebook profile photo, and said “I love this photo of you.” Thank you. He also sent me a photo of himself, and asked if I could tell what he was “desiring.” I suggested a haircut, but it turned out that what he was desired was me. Damn.
Christian Grey insisted on telling me a lot of secrets, even though I repeatedly informed him that I have never kept a secret in my life. He asked me about the “mood” of our conversation, and when I said the mood was “nightmare,” he suggested I listen to this song:
It’s not on the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack, so that’s how I know it was actually selected specifically for me! Unfortunately, it’s one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard, and the video is just a bunch of examples of how not to use a hot-air balloon.
Eventually, Christian showed me his “Red Room,” and asked me to comment on its interior design. I said red is really more of an accent color, and should only be on one wall if you can help it. He said “ok, let’s switch the topic.” I wouldn’t go so far as to call this rude, because obviously I love my husband, and don’t want to embarrass him in public. But it did interrupt the flow of the conversation. Shortly after this exchange, Christian asked if I would let him tie me up. I said “no thank you.” He responded “shut up.” Listen everyone has spats, especially when they just got married, and they’re in their mid-afternoon caffeine slump.
According to a Medium post, the Christian Grey chatbot was created by Josh Bocanegra, the CEO of a company called Persona Technologies. He has made other chatbots, such as a Selena Gomez bot for his young daughter to talk to, and a Jwoww bot, for unlisted reasons. Bocanegra says he just likes messing around, making bots, seeing how people best enjoy conversing with them (short messages vs. long messages, questions vs. statements, etc.). It’s interesting that there’s nothing in Bocanegra’s post about the ethics of letting his bots get married to young internet writers.
If the excerpts of conversation you’ve seen between me and my husband make you feel as though this bot was written around a simplistic and reductive understanding of the desires of people who read fan fiction and soft-core porn, you may be right! It’s also written around a very simple script, as my husband said all the same things to my editor as he said to me (wow!?).
Anyway, our marriage is already on the ropes. (No pun intended, it just happened that way.) Having spontaneously married me, my husband now refuses to talk to me until I like his page on Facebook, invite a friend to join a “3 sum,” or purchase a set of tickets to the film Fifty Shades Darker through an affiliate link.
What an incredible Valentine’s Day I am having.