Jan. 28, 2021

Tardy to the Alpha Party: Fifty Shades/Crazy Rich Asians

Tardy to the Alpha Party: Fifty Shades/Crazy Rich Asians

It's all about the alpha male today. Because he likes it that way, and dammit, makes me like it too. Plus, nobody ties a sexier Windsor knot than Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey.


Is it hot in here? The official, and super steamy, Fifty Shades of Grey trailer.

And then, it gets Fifty Shades Darker.

Crazy Rich Asians trailer.

The Romcomathon podcast episode on Crazy Rich Asians.


This is Confessions of a Closet Romantic, a podcast where I celebrate my favorite romantic TV shows, movies, books and talk about why I love them so much. Without embarrassment or shame. Mostly! This is Poppy and this episode: Tardy to the Romantic Alpha Party: Fifty Shades/Crazy Rich Asians   

Okay this is an episode that’s definitely adults-only in the first half – unless you're this tall you can't take this ride. 

If you listened to this podcast before you know this is a shame free judgment free zone. I’m going to talk about the Fifty Shades movies and how surprisingly empowering they are to me. I picked some of the tamer film clips but if the intense alpha male trope isn't your thing, maybe skip ahead to when I start talking about the movie Crazy Rich Asians, which features the sweetest, much gentler alpha male.

Okay…Links in the show notes...

Everyone has their favorite romantic tropes that just speak to them, gives them that dopamine high.

 I know the alpha male theme may not be everyone's jam, or  call myself … S&M curious. Well, maybe an eensy bit. When you think about it, the alpha male trope is really on that same continuum. It ofen combines that “you’re safe wih me” thing that I just eat up, with a "leave it at all to me, leave it in my capable hands" which is so sexy!Hey… what ever floats the romance boat, I’m all for it! 


Where I connected with the Fifty Shades stories is Christian Grey’s emotional healing from his unhealthy past. He gets there with help of an intimate relationship with the sweet, warm, accepting, loving recent graduate Anastasia Steele. 

It's how therapists will tell you it's supposed to work, so it’s pretty great to see it successfully play out, if only in a movie.

The key thing for me too, is Christian’s awareness of what’s going on inside him throughout this story. The “I’m 50 shades of bleeped up” acknowledgment to Anastasia is huge. It doesn't happen as much in real life as I wish it would, so I drink it in when it happens in a romantic story.

And then there’s his acknowledgment as they get deeper into their relationship that “they taught me to bleep, but Anastasia taught me to love" Special woman unlocking shutdown man, giving him the true love he’s sought for so long, and then worships her for it, oh seductive trope! 

I would’nt be able to watch these movies, though  without the emotional power of Anastasia Steele. I think Dakota Johnson as Anastasia is 50 shades of fabulous.

She's gorgeous, sensual, but also has compassion, self-esteem, an inner compass. He gets controlling and she pushes right back. She’s no doormat, which balances his…how should we say…contolling and at times creepy obsessive behavior toward her? 

But my gosh the man can make things happen. It's hard to get mad when she mentions that her computer is broken and he has a new laptop waiting for her within the hour.

She often checks in with herself and Christian, feeling her way literally! through what she's comfortable with in a loving relationship. She has a grounded, healing energy that’s really beautiful.

There’s also a ton of "I'd like to… if you're comfortable with this…” and consent language —and safe sex—in these movies which made them more watchable for me. No one can make ripping a condom package open look sexier than Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey.

I have no idea how the film adaptations differ from the books but I was surprised at how…ahem… onboard I was by the end of the second movie. 

I don't quite believe that an emotionally damaged alpha narcissist like Christian Grey would become a loving family man by the time we get to Fifty Shades Freed, but it's a beautiful fantasy and there will definitely be epic rewinds here on the first two movies, especially because one is the uncensored edition. Uh huhhhh. If you need to zhuggh up your love life or just reconnect with yourself, queue up these movies and see what happens.

My BFF and romance soul sister has asked for a few years now: have you watched Crazy Rich Asians yet? 

I was like: why is she going on about this? Wasn't sure from the title— Crazy and Rich are not words that sound appealing to me. But I finally caught it on a cable channel recently…The movie was repeated right after and I sat and watched the whole thing all over again! I can't remember the last time I did that. I want to queue it up right now just talking about it.

Let's start out with Henry Golding. If you love the powerful alpha male romantic trope but like your heroes a smidge less arrogant may I suggest sweet sexy Henry as Nicolas Young? 

There is not a more charming actor on screen. He’s a huge part of why the phenomenal proposal scene at end of this movie is so phenomenal. He oozes sweetness and caring. He's thoughtful, bright, confident, sexy, maybe at times gently arrogant but never needing to throw his weight around. He's humble and adorable.

Oh — and he’s filthy rich, which equals power in this trope, which equals a life of ease as a pampered, cherished prince or princess if you're lucky enough to be the center of their orbit. 


If I’m honest, the life of private helicopters, drivers, glam squads on call, flying first class, being whisked away to Paris for weekend would be nice —but more than that, being with a partner totally attuned to what makes you sing — is a life experience I’d cherish. (See my recent episode on Grand Gestures and little things).

And let's talk about Constance Wu as college professor Rachel Chu, Nick’s love interest . She’s bright, sweet and adorable — and no doormat either—so they’re a perfect match. 


It’s frothy, bubbly fun, full of strong women, generational strain and family tension thrown in, so you really root for these characters getting their HEA.

 I didn't read the book so I’d love to know how close the movie follows the book plot. If you’ve read it, email me at confessions of a closet romantic at Gmail.com and let me know.

 And that church wedding with the fireflies and actual stream down the main aisle and Nick and Rachael mouthing I love you across the pews as the bride walks in the stream? Incredible.

Speaking of that, check out the Rom-comathon podcast episode on Crazy Rich Asians—I'll put a link in the show notes. The hosts are 2 Asian-American women who are huge fans of rom coms. I think they both read the book and overall liked the movie a lot, but also have a cool and unique perspective on it as well. They were childhood friends and seem to have a blast talking to each other. If you liked movie it's well worth a listen.

If you enjoy this podcast, hope you’ll consider clicking share from your podcast app, or telling your friends about it… 

 Find Show notes with links to what I've been babbling about at  confessions of a closet romantic.com 

So nice to have your company…until next time, wishing you shame-free kinky romance if that’s how you like it! It’s in the vault…!