In the twentieth chapter of Eclipse, Bella literally begs Edward to have sex with her. Edward says no. Bella begs some more. Edward gets all moral on her and possibly reveals that he's a Christian (Mormon?) vampire. Then...ugh. Just ugh. If you thought all the "marriage before sex" bullshit was bad, this chapter is the worst. It's perhaps the most awkward and uncomfortable piece of writing in the whole series. Intrigued? Then it's time for Mark to read Eclipse.
This hurts. So bad. Sit down, grab a blanket and a box of tissues, and be prepared to trudge through some of the most irritating propaganda you'll ever read.
CHAPTER 20: COMPROMISE
Before I dive in, let me clear something up about how I feel about marriage. I was, admittedly, pretty hostile towards the entire idea in a couple of past journals. Which, also, is very ironic, since I was so involved with the fight for gay marriage equality here in California. I still believe marriage should be available to all consenting couples, but I've come to feel that gay marriage should be pretty low on the list of things we need to fix in regards to queer rights, since people are being denied access to health care, jobs, and are being killed for being anything other than heterosexual. That's more important to me.
But, again, I approach the issue of marriage in a deeply personal way. I grew up feeling as if I'd always be excluded from the institution. It felt like a religious right of passage and a social rite of passage towards becoming a "real man." Being gay and not at all super masculine, these things held no interest in me. So I rejected the idea of marriage and have been critical towards the act for a long time. It always seemed so bogus and unnecessary to me, specifically because I was excluded from it all.
I'm just trying to provide some context to my thoughts. I think I rubbed people the wrong way with my thoughts last time around, so to clear things up, I don't believe you're a horrible person for getting married. I don't think that if you are married, that you did things the wrong way or that you're some weirdo or anything. I also don't believe that you're doomed if you get married or that you can't marry your first love. I think it's strange to wait to have sex until marriage, but I don't think it's anything to get upset over.
However, if you're Stephenie Meyer and you imbue your book with really creepy Christian/Mormon tenets, I'm gonna call you on it.
- I'd had plenty of time to think through the ramifications of Jasper and Emmett's bet--to figure out the things I was willing to lose with my humanity, and that part that I was not willing to give up. I knew which human experience I was going to insist on before I became inhuman.
This is on the third page of the chapter. It's when I knew I'd be doomed by what was to come. I mean, at this point, it's already been drilled into our skulls that Edward is noble for asking Bella to marry her, so the only possible thing left she could demand was sex. Great.
He was back before I'd taken a step, but I ignored him and went to the huge gold bed, plopping down on the edge and then sliding to the center. I curled up in a ball, my arms wrapped around my knees.
"Okay," I grumbled. Now that I was where I wanted to be, I could afford a little reluctance. "Let me have it."
Emphasis by me. Please hit me with a blunt object.
- I leaned into him, ducking my head under his arm and cuddling into his side. It probably felt similar to snuggling with Michaelangelo's David, except that this perfect marble creature wrapped his arms around me to pull me closer.
I'm sure it was also the same because both those things have the same personality. Christ.
So Bella begins the horrifying conversation to convince Edward to put his sparkle peen inside of her. And it's painfully, painfully awkward and reads like poorly written fanfiction. Enjoy:
- I couldn't believe how awkward and idiotic I felt. I was too innocent--which was, of course, central to the discussion. I didn't have the faintest idea how to be seductive. I would just have to settle for flushed and self-conscious.
Meyer doesn't know how to be seductive either, Bella. Don't feel too bad.
- My hands were slightly shaky as I unlocked my arms from around his neck. My fingers slid down his neck to the collar of his shirt. The trembling didn't help as I tried to hurry to undo the buttons before he stopped me.
This is really happening, folks. Unbearable.
- He pushed me away at once, his face heavily disapproving. "Be reasonable, Bella."
UGH. Dude, you are forcing her, essentially, to marry you even though you are turning her into a vampire WHICH LASTS FOREVER. Seriously. Stop it.
"So you can ask for any stupid, ridiculous thing you want--like getting married--but I'm not allowed to even discuss what I--"
While I was ranting, he pulled my hands together to restrain them in just one of his, and put his other hand over my mouth.
"No." His face was hard.
Published. In a book. In the 21st century. We're supposed to fall in love with a dude who physically restrains his women from discussing sex. WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY
"You know why I have to say no," he murmured. "You know that I want you, too."
"Do you?" I whispered, my voice full of doubt.
"Of course I do, you silly, beautiful, oversensitive girl."
There's nothing I love more than a guy being sexist and dismissive of my opinions in one single sentence. Bless your heart, Edward Cullen.
You glare at him, Richard Alpert.
- He leaned down to whisper in my ear. "No," he mumured silkily. "It's not possible now. Later, when you're less breakable. Be patient, Bella."
Coupla things here. Silkily. Silkily.
Also, look. Girls have to deal with enough physical intimidation from men who think they're genetically weaker. Now, the romantic hero of the book thinks the love of his life is breakable? Seriously, this is like Sexism 101. How does no one see this?
- "Because right now, physically, there's nothing I want more than you. More than food or water or oxygen. Intellectually, I have my priorities in a slightly more sensible order. But physically..."
You know, I was actually on Bella's side throughout this. I understand that she wants to experience sex as a human and she absolutely should. She is reasonable, smart, and vaguely mature about all this. Until now. More than subsistence? So you'd starve to do death to be with Edward? THIS ISN'T ROMANTIC, GUYS AND GALS. IT'S CREEPY AND WEIRD.
So Bella convinces Edward that they should at least TRY to have some sort of sexual interaction and that if it goes badly, they'll stop and she will do everything and anything he wants. Actually, the full line is:
- "And I'll give you what you want," I promised rashly. "I'll marry you. I'll let you pay for Dartmouth, and I won't complain about the bribe to get me in. You can't even buy me a fast car if that makes you happy! Just...please."
Not very flattering, Bella. Is this Meyer's way of making Bella look like a fool so that you'll side with Edward and think getting married before sex is a good idea? Sigh.
I exhaled with a loud huff. "I have to marry you first?" I asked in disbelief.
"That's the deal--take it or leave it. Compromise, remember?"
And there it is, finally spelled out in all its glory: in order to get the things you most enjoy, you have to get married before you have sex. Because if you don't, you might run away!
- "You just promised to marry me before you do any changing, but if I give in tonight, what guarantee do I have that you won't go running off to Carlisle in the morning? I am--clearly--much less reluctant to give you what you want. Therefore...you first."
Yep. How's that for the sanctity of marriage? I want to you to marry me first simply because you are more resistant to it than my end of the bargain.
Seriously. SERIOUSLY. These guys love each other. WHYYYYYY.
- He kissed me another time. "Do you get the feeling that everything is backward?" he laughed in my ear. "Traditionally, shouldn't you be arguing my side, and I yours?"
I hate you, Edward Cullen, and you're not even a real person. Damn it.
"That's it, isn't it?" The short laugh that escaped me was more shocked than amused. "You're trying to protect your virtue!" I covered my mouth with my hand to muffle the giggle that followed. The words were so...old-fashioned.
"No, silly girl," he muttered against my shoulder. "I'm trying to protect yours. And you're making it shockingly difficult."
Newsflash, Edward: THAT ISN'T YOUR JOB AND IT ISN'T YOUR BUSINESS. Stop trying to protect things that ARE NOT YOURS, YOU FUCKING CREEP.
- "The same principle applies--the only difference is that this is the one area in which I'm just as spotless as you are. Can't I leave one rule unbroken?...You know that I've stolen, I've lied, I've coveted...my virture is all I have left."
Edward Cullen is a Christian vampire who follows the Ten Commandments. Only he doesn't, because he has broken all of them but one. I am completely at a loss.
- "I coveted you." His smile darkened. "I had no right to want you--but I reached out and took you anyway."
So much of this is deeply, deeply disturbing. First of all, no "right" to want her? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? Also, he took her. Like...what? Against her will? Also, how can you covet a single woman????
Sit down, my friends, 'cuz this next one is a homerun:
- "It doesn't have to be a big production. I don't need any fanfare. You won't have to tell anyone or make any changes. We'll go to Vegas--you can wear old jeans and we'll go to the chapel with the drive-through window. I just want it to be official--that you belong to me and no one else."
Ah, the sanctity of marriage. There's nothing like drive-through weddings and expressions of complete possession.
Then Edward decides to show Bella the wedding ring he's going to give to Bella and gets her to try it on to see if he needs it to be refitted. And he basically has an orgasm while watching her.
- Before I could catch that breath, he was kissing me, his lips exultant. I was lightheaded when he moved his mouth to whisper in my ear--but his breathing was just as ragged as mine. "Yes, I like it. You have no idea."
There is not a shower hot enough to clean off the horrible, dirty things that that sentence inspires in me. So. Fucking. Gross.
And while she's got the ring on her finger, Edward Cullen proposes to Bella Swan.
- There were many things I wanted to say, some of them not nice at all, and others more disgustingly gooey and romantic than he probably dreamed I was capable of. Rather than embarrass myself with either, I whispered, "Yes."
Pure fucking love, guys.