Since the third installment's January release, E. L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy has been practically inescapable, between whispers at the office water cooler, face-shielding paperbacks on the METRO and awkward conversations at the family dinner table.
While my own conflict centers around whether to subject myself to a trashy novel in exchange for greater societal understanding (and, of course, a bit of ribald entertainment), it seems that other women experience an inner debate of a more physical variety.
Like, whether or not to engage in a real-life, Anastasia Steele/Christian Grey relationship of their own.
SeekingArrangement.com claims that 8,306 (and counting) Houston women have signed up for the site.
SeekingArrangement.com, self-described as "the world's largest online dating website for those who are seeking mutually beneficial relationships," claims that enrollment has "ballooned" since the trilogy appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers list, with more than 186,000 women signing up for the site to find their own version of the Fifty Shades fantasy.
"Fifty Shades of Grey is a sugar daddy meet sugar baby story based on money, power and sex," Brandon Wade, founder and CEO of the website, said in a statement.
"Most women love the Cinderella story where a young and innocent girl is swept off her feet by a rich, powerful and handsome man," Wade continued. "This is the reason why hundreds of thousands of women are signing up on SeekingArrangement.com to fulfill their own fantasy."
That idea appeals to Texas women in particular: The site claims that 8,306 (and counting) Houston women have signed up for the site, plus more than 5,265 women from San Antonio, 4,736 from Dallas and 3,177 from Austin.
Though the site facilitates match ups for "friendship or companionship," many member seem interested in the same BDSM practices so pervasive in James' erotic novels: Of the 1.6 million site members polled, 78.8 percent of women like the idea of succumbing to a dominant male, while 90 percent of men find the idea of a submissive women to be exciting.