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50 Shades of Uncomfortableness

I clean homes for a living. Most of my clients are older retired women active in the community and our church. For the past few months, I’m seeing this book sitting on most of their coffee tables. The book title, you say? 50 Shades Of Grey.

For those who don’t know, the book is pornography, much more extreme than your normal Harlequin romance. The problem I’m having is how these women think it’s ok to leave it out in the open for all to see? Call me old-fashioned, but I believe anything that has to do with sex should be kept in the privacy of your own bedroom.

Now I’m noticing the amount of women reading this book in public places. If a man pulled out a Playboy at the coffee shop, that would be a little creepy, right? What kind of advances are you welcoming, especially from a male stranger who has read the book? It’s scary!! While I’m not condoning the actions in the book, there is a time and a place, ladies! Keep it classy! 1020-12

I think the home is private and while I wouldn’t suggest leaving possibly offensive reading material in plain view, one’s home is your castle to do as you please with the caveat that leaving skanky items in common areas is an invitation for guests to come to some unflattering conclusions about you.   The OP is technically not a guest but rather a paid employee and I believe the employer has a right to expect discretion from his/her employees.

{ 144 comments… add one }
  • Sterling October 24, 2012, 8:40 am

    This is like saying I need to clear my shelves before hiring am aid because she might come to unflattering conclusions about me after seeing my collection of Anne Rice erotica and my very extensive collection of occult books, objects and art.

    You are hired to clean. So clean and leave your judgement out of it.

  • Bibianne October 24, 2012, 8:53 am

    @Coralreef: the best reply I’ve seen yet: “OP, your customers are retired, not dead.” Brilliant!

  • manybellsdown October 24, 2012, 9:01 am

    I admit, I would judge anyone who had a copy of that lying around just a little bit – for their terrible taste in literature. I’m not a fan of the “romance” genre in general, but my college roommate had quite a few and I’ve read some with plenty of explicit sex scenes in them. And this was 20 years ago. It’s hardly a new thing that women read sexy books.

    @TheElf – “Further, 50 Shades of Grey has become mainstream. There were articles about the popularity of it in major, well-respected newspapers! This grants it a leniancy you’ll not see with, say, Anne Rice’s Beauty series.”
    I was in Target a few weeks ago, and guess what was on the shelves next to 50 Shades? The entire reissued “Beauty” series. That makes “50 Shades” look like “Goodnight Moon”.

  • --Lia October 24, 2012, 9:15 am

    Chris– Even leaving sex toys out isn’t a concern for health reasons. There’s no disease that can be caught from picking up a sex toy with a cleaning rag. If you can clean a bathroom with the appropriate brushes and rubber gloves, you can put away or ignore sex toys with the same precautions.

    OP– It’s natural to feel uncomfortable with the fact that older people have sex lives. Some people feel uncomfortable with the fact that anyone other than their own self has a sex life. I’ve known people to feel uncomfortable with the fact that everybody poops. If you don’t work in the medical profession, you might get squeamish about every normal bodily function and normal bodily fluid. I’m not recommending that anyone bring up their experience with colonoscopy prep at the dinner table, but that’s not the same as owning items related to health, elimination, and sex in one’s own home. If you’re lucky, you’ll have an active sex life or active sex imagination when you’re old enough to be a grandmother too. It’s no more horrible then than it is for a young person.

  • Elizabeth October 24, 2012, 9:15 am

    Your employers’ reading preferences are not your business. Do you decide if you like what is in their refrigerators also? Is the clothing in the closet to your taste? You are the voyeur that I don’t want cleaning my house. Keep is classy for the cleaning crew? LoL.

    And Playboy in public is offensive purely because of the visible photos. 50 Shades doesn’t include photos for voyeurs to peer at.

    And 50 Shades inviting advances – I’m not even going to comment on this at all.

  • 2browneyes4 October 24, 2012, 9:16 am

    I agree with Esmeralda. What a person does in their own home is their business. The OP could employ some professionalism about the matter, and if she is unable to do so, or if the presence of the material is disconcerting for her, OP should seek employment elsewhere.

  • saurus99 October 24, 2012, 9:22 am

    Actually I would feel a bit embarrassed if I found (after a guest/neighbour/friend/relative/anybode visiting my house) I had left a copy of a erotic novel on a coffee table in full view for everyone to see. The erotic novel in my bookcase – ok, I keep my books in my bookcase. The erotic novel in my bedroom – ok, few use to walk in my bedroom. The erotic novel in my kitchen or my cofe table – not where I would want it to be if I had visitors… Of course I can do want I want in my house, but…

    OP didn’t say anything about elder women should not read erotic novels, right? Or that a woman reading erotica “invites” unwanted attention?

  • Roslyn October 24, 2012, 9:27 am

    Well if I had seen this book laying around I wouldn’t have never known its content, I’ve never heard of it.

    What I don’t understand is why bring up the fact that the women reading the book are a.) retired (so therefore over the age of 60) and b.) church members.

    So does this imply that older women should not enjoy erotica? They were young once, and should “church members” not enjoy sex? I’m not a Christian myself, but is there a sin that is about having sex, just not enjoying it? Come on, that’s just sad. If Christians abstained from sex then how would you get more Christians? You would quickly go by the way of the Shakers.

    I had to look up the book at amazon to see the cover. There is no way that you could POSSIBLY be offended by the book laying on the coffee table, it’s a book with a man’s tie on it NOT naked people. Does it have illustrations inside? Then how can you compare it to reading a Playboy in public? I remember romance novels in the 1980’s with half dressed men and women planted right there on the cover, you knew what was between those pages.

    Keep your nose on your own face.

  • yankeegal77 October 24, 2012, 9:29 am

    OP, my eighty-three-year-old grandmother has shelves full of steamy romance novels and a subscription to Playboy. And (gasp!!!) she reads these novels in public! So…I guess if a man were to harass her, she is asking for it? (Oh, and she is very active and in fact, is quite involved in her church and works for a family as domestic help. As help, she prefers to mind her own darn business.)

    I receive all sorts of unwanted attention. Daily. I have every right to dress in an attractive manner, keep myself fit and if I’m reading, I can read whatever I darn well please and I have the right to be left alone. (BTW, most of the very offensive comments come by when I’m simply walking by on the sidewalk, or getting mail, or buying groceries and minding my own business. The problem lies with the men. Don’t blame me for their behavior–I’m certainly not asking for it.)

    FTR, I think that the book is pretty ridiculous and I have no intention of spending one minute reading it.

    IMO, your employer can have a wall full of boudoir photos and a rack of whips and all you need to do is make sure they don’t get dusty.

  • spartiechic October 24, 2012, 9:40 am

    I agree with most of the opinions already stated. Erotica is not porn as you have to actually use your imagination to see it. Even badly (horribly? atrociously?) written erotica like 50 Shades is not the same as reading Playboy. Good gravy, if you don’t like it, don’t look at it. Just clean the darn house and mind your own business.

  • Rap October 24, 2012, 9:48 am

    I’m not seeing where reading a book in your own home and leaving it on the coffee table is “inviting advances”.

    OP – some day, you’ll be retired and your cleaning person will be judging you and your sexy thoughts you shouldn’t have because you’re retired based on the books you leave about in your private home.

    Reading a book in your home is not the same as sitting at a bustop with it, and it’s certainly not the same as reading a Playboy. And while I think the book itself was poorly done, so are a lot of spreads in Playboy and yet I don’t see any men being hauled up and shamed for their reading and viewing habits.

  • Politrix October 24, 2012, 9:56 am

    Ugh, where do I begin with this.
    I may be committing a serious breach of etiquette by writing this, but OP, I sincerely hope you quit your job soon or get fired. It’s positively frightening to me that a person who an employer has hired to simply clean house, and nothing more, is not only snooping around the employer’s house — and if you’re seeing anything in that house other than the dirt and dust that needs to be cleaned, then yes, I call it SNOOPING — but passing judgement on what she sees (and gossiping about it on an internet forum), and thinks it’s her place to lecture her (OLDER!) employers on what is and what is not acceptable reading material. And this is in the supposed privacy of one’s own home! I’m sorry, OP, but you’re not fit for this line of work. Whether it was “50 Shades,” the Bible/Torah/Koran or Mao’s Little Red Book they have lying around the house, there’s an unwritten employer/employee confidentiality agreement when you sign up for this kind of thing (maybe it SHOULD be written down). And you have NO business examining your employer’s reading material, much less taking it upon yourself to deem its “appropriateness”.
    Seriously, OP, the etiquette breach here is yours and yours alone. Completely unprofessional.

  • Lucky October 24, 2012, 10:03 am

    What people read in the privacy of their own homes is their business. If you don’t like it, find other clients. People are way too interested in other peoples’ sexual tastes in the name of “morality”. Whatever. It’s voyeurism. Do your job and mind your own business.

    You sound like one of those people on Amazon who returns a book with good content just because the writer used a few cuss words. If your life is so easy that you have time and energy to be outraged over such trivialities, then you’re extraordinarily lucky. Channel some of that into pursuing causes that actually matter; become a Big Sister, volunteer at the SPCA, tutor underprivileged children, whatever.

  • DowagerDutchess October 24, 2012, 10:15 am

    Surely the time and place is in their home? And they haven’t left it out for all to see, just you, the hired help. Your job is to maintain the fiction of privacy by pretending not to have seen anything you dont need to see.

    And I think it’s very different than playboy in public. If you’re reading a picture book, people can see that. They can’t (usually) see the words of a book you are reading unless they are snooping.

  • Lerah99 October 24, 2012, 10:16 am

    OP is being a little high strung about this issue.
    50 Shades of Grey isn’t even all that shocking. That the OP feels it is so far out in left field makes me think she hasn’t read Harlequin novels since the late 80’s or early 90’s (certainly not since the Temptations and Blaze lines came out).

    Also, I used to clean homes on the weekends to make extra money. I’m a little amused that as a house cleaner she is so shocked by a book left on the coffee table. Honestly, the private and personal items I saw all over the place (sex toys in the dishwasher anyone?) makes this seem silly.

    As for the victim blaming of “What kind of advances are you welcoming, especially from a male stranger who has read the book?” makes me see red.
    That is EXACTLY the kind of slut-shaming, “what did she expect if she wore that?”, rape culture attitude that leads victims NOT to report their sexual assult, because they are afraid they are going to be blamed for their own assult.

    You want to know what kind of advances she is welcoming? She is welcoming people NOT to talk to her because she is busy reading!

  • Cat October 24, 2012, 10:24 am

    We have all come across things that we find embarrassing. Some people are very liberal in sexual matters and some are very conservative.
    A friend of mine embarrassed me by asking me to sell some of her handbags at my garage sale. One lady chose a bag, came up to me, and inquired, “What is in this bag?” I said I was selling them for a friend and didn’t know what she might have left in them. The lady said, “Well, I know what it looks like!”
    When she pulled it out to show to me, I knew what it looked like too. It was a blue, plastic man’s pride and joy with a place for an attachment.
    I quickly hid it and was left on the horns of a dilemna. Should I return it to my friend, “Here you go; you left this in one of your bags.” or would she find my knowledge too much to handle and I should quietly dispose of it? I didn’t think Goodwill would want it, which is what I do with what I cannot sell at garage sales.
    Any thoughts on that anyone?

  • AS October 24, 2012, 10:25 am

    I was coming here to say that the OP is over-reacting way too much, and was happy to find that many posters said so before me. Your clients are mature adults, and I don’t see anything wrong in them reading adult novels every so often (or even all the times if they please!), that too in the privacy of their house. I haven’t read the novel, but as far as I know, it is erotic, but does not contain porn images like playboy magazine would have. And I can throw many books and movies which can fall in that category.

  • AS October 24, 2012, 10:27 am

    OH! And do you mind giving me your contact info’ so that I can hire you to clean my house? I would delightfully leave “Kamasutra” on my coffee table! (And I am not old, just newly married!). 😉

  • Cora October 24, 2012, 10:34 am

    Most people have registered their disbelief, that I share, that you would criticize a grandmother for still being interested in sex. I’d like for you to define at exactly what age or milestone a woman is “supposed” to lose interest. (I’m guessing that a man doesn’t face that requirement, but that’s a different argument).

    Yankeegal77 touched on this, and I’d like to expand: the idea that reading a book of erotica in public would necessarily invite unwelcome advances — therefore blaming the reader for such advances, instead of the creep who assumes he can have his way with the reader just because of what she’s reading — is the exact same logic as “she was asking for it” in cases of rape. NO. ONE. ASKS. to be violated. Yankeegal77 is right: she, like every other woman in the world, should be able to wear, read, and say what she thinks*, without fear of some ape presuming that whatever she’s doing gives him the right to hurt her.
    *Yes, I know, there is a “within reason” here, as others have noted. Women, equally as men, need to respect consenting-adult-only boundaries, for example no porn around children. The point still stands.

  • gramma dishes October 24, 2012, 10:44 am

    That one would make judgements about me based on what they perceive as my choice in reading material is disgusting, disheartening and maybe even a little frightening. I find the attitude expressed in the original post extremely offensive on a multitude of levels.

    I am in the age group you reference.

    If I had a paid housekeeper who was that interested in what I have visible as reading material in the privacy of my own home (I wish there were a way to underline the words “in the privacy of my own home”) — so much so that she’d feel compelled to speak to my priest, pastor, rabbi about it so that he could lecture me from the sanctity of the pulpit — she’d be without a job instantly. AND I’d tell my friends who also might be using that person as a housekeeper so that they could take steps to protect their own privacy as well.

  • jen a. October 24, 2012, 10:49 am

    The funniest thing about this post is that in the ad box next to it there’s an advertisement for “50 Shades of Grey – the Classical Album.” Well done, OP. I suspect you’ve sold at least a few copies of the book you find so offensive.

  • Gilraen October 24, 2012, 10:50 am

    Really I think it says more about the OP and her interpretation of a book than anything else. Personally I just think it is a badly written book, but that is my personal opinion. I just wonder would the OP be offended by books like Lady Chatterley’s lover by D.H. Lawrence or Nabokov’s Lolita. I can name another few that were quite controversial in their days.

  • Annie October 24, 2012, 10:52 am

    My 85 year old grandpa has a book on erotic message, kept in his living room book collection. Go grandpa!

  • psammead October 24, 2012, 10:59 am


    By bringing up the fact that the clients reading 50 Shades of Grey were “older retired women, active in the church”–as if that were relevant–the OP implied that there was something especially shocking or reprehensible about such women reading an erotic novel.

    And regarding women who read the book in public, the OP said “What kind of advances are you welcoming?” so yes, she did explicitly say that women who read 50 Shades of Grey in public are inviting sexual advances. Like most of the posters here, I find that a lot more offensive than reading 50 Shades of Grey in public.

  • Lola October 24, 2012, 11:02 am

    I don’t mind the fact that 50 Shades is explicit (after all, the same argument could be leveled against literary classics such as Lolita) — but it’s so excruciatingly badly written that it becomes just plain smut. And yes, one should exercise caution when reading smut in a public park or taking it through a TSA checkpoint, for instance.

  • stella October 24, 2012, 11:09 am

    Yikes! Please never come clean my home. If you’re judging people based on reading material, I cannot imagine what you must think of cleaning someone’s toilet. Yuck, right? That should be kept in the privacy of their own homes…. oh wait!

    I would judge someone for reading that because it is an absolutely horrific book, not because it contains sex scenes. Get over it. Women are allowed to have sexuality without being worried about being diagnosed with hysteria, and older women do not suddenly become sexless once you stop being comfortable with their age.

    As for what kind of advances I’d be welcoming by reading an erotic book in public? NONE. I’d be welcoming no advances. OP, you need to take a good, long look at yourself and your backward thinking regarding women and sexuality. I bet you came here looking for people to cheer you on and agree with you, but YOUR actions and thoughts are the ones that breech etiquette.

  • stella October 24, 2012, 11:12 am

    *breach etiquette. There are rules of etiquette regarding pants, but that is not what I was talking about.

  • La October 24, 2012, 11:12 am

    If I were a cleaner and I found an employer reading this, I would probably shake my head at their poor choice of smut (it’s a bad story with weak characterisation and plot; and its depiction of kink and surrounding issues of consent and enjoyment are dangerously inaccurate) and then move on. I’m being employed as a housekeeper, not as a personal smut critic.

  • The Elf October 24, 2012, 11:23 am

    Lia, I’d draw the line at “toys” being left out. That does push the boundaries of privacy for an employee. Even without the disease factor, there’s the ick factor. Put those it the nightstand or panty drawer like everybody else. A book is one thing. A “toy” is another.

  • DGS October 24, 2012, 11:28 am

    First and foremost, the OP is hired to clean, not judge the contents of her employers’ homes. So, do your job cleaning and do not pass judgment unless you come across something illegal (kinky book – no biggie; giant stash of heroin – hmmm, maybe, I ought to call the police).

    Second of all, while in my opinion, “50 shades” is terrible literature, and I’d be inclined to wrinkle my nose at it simply because there is better literature, including better erotica out there, it is no more and no less piquant than many other erotic books (e.g. some of Anne Rice and Nora Roberts’ works come to mind) and numerous other products available today, and I’d discourage OP from forming any judgments about people reading that book solely on that basis. What a critical, judgmental, nosy and crass thing to do!

    To insinuate that reading that book (or Playboy or any other erotic or even pornographic literature) in public is inviting unwelcome advances is akin to blaming a rape victim for being brutally violated because he or she happened to have been suggestively dressed, or because he or she happened to have attended a party. It is positively revolting and deeply offensive. That kind of rape culture is what results in rape survivors feeling shamed by the abuse they had incurred and reluctant to contact the authorities about their violation. Shame on you.

    And finally, older people, including respectable church ladies, have sex, are sexual beings and hopefully, are able to enjoy sex, with partners and by themselves, for many healthy years. Just because someone is no longer a spring chicken does not mean that they lose their ability to experience sexual desire or sexual pleasure. Some day, I’ll be in my eighties, and I hope that I’m able to enjoy that aspect of my life.

    Cycling back to my first comment, you are hired to clean houses, not to pass your judgment on the contents of those houses or their inhabitants. Focus on your dust pan, your paper towels and your cleaning products and worry less about what graces peoples’ coffee tables, lest you be fired.

  • The Elf October 24, 2012, 11:28 am

    Uh, what I meant about the “ick factor” was really about TMI. Not about toys being icky. To clarify: existence of toys, perfectly okay. Toys left where the cleaning crew has to clean them up for you, icky TMI.

  • The Elf October 24, 2012, 11:29 am

    Cat, how about “This one didn’t sell. Sorry.” Nothing about why it didn’t sell.

  • DTM October 24, 2012, 11:48 am

    I disagree with the OP.

    It’s not her business what her clients read. Besides, I do not think that books are “pornography” as the OP says. Though they are horribly written books (that’s for debate among many), I do not think women reading it in public is as bad as a man pulling out a playboy. BIG difference OP!

    The fact that OP is even writting about this shows a lack of professionalism and descretion. You are paid to clean, not air your clients booklist. If I was one of your clients and found out you posted on here, I would fire you and spread the word to the rest of the community on your lack of professionalism..

    PS- don’t be such a prude! 😉

  • Ashley October 24, 2012, 11:50 am

    There’s so much wrong with this post it’s ridiculous. First of all, you are getting paid to clean their houses, not pass judgement on their reading material. Secondly, who cares how old they are? If that’s what they want to read, then that’s what they want to read. Third, it’s NOT pornography. It is (albeit horribly written) erotic literature. It has no pictures and the cover is VERY tame compared to some books in the same genre.

    As for the whole thing of “What kind of advances are you welcoming, especially from a male stranger who has read the book?” Um, again, as I stated earlier, no pictures, tame cover, lay it flat on the table, or even just hold it how most people hold a book and you wouldn’t be able to tell what was being read unless you actively TRIED to bend over and read the title of the book. So no, it’s not really the same as a man reading a Playboy in public because Playboy has pictures and very obvious covers.

    Also, I was reading some of the comments and cannot believe someone actually told the OP to go to her pastor or whatever and tell him to admonish these people from the pulpit or whatever. No. No no no no. No. On what planet is that a good/acceptable idea? It is just a book.

  • Meow October 24, 2012, 12:06 pm

    You are paid to clean, not to judge what your clients do in their own home. That you would judge someone for what book they left on their coffee table is as ridiculous as judging them reading a differing daily paper than you do. Or leaving soap scum in the sink. Or using Sunlight instead of Dawn for their dishes.

    Personally, the only thing I find offensive about 50 SoG is how poorly written it is and the fact it has a brilliant marketing team behind it getting filthy rich off it. So don’t compare it to Playboy- while there are nakies aplenty the articles themselves are actually quite well written, especially in comparison!

  • Bridget October 24, 2012, 12:17 pm

    I respectfully disagree with the Admin. This person is paid to clean homes, not to inspect their belongings and feel righteous indignation at what they see. She is a contracted to provide a service and should be turning a blind eye to things she feels to be offensive (yet not illegal. it’s not child porn afterall). Should her employer be required to clean their house before her just in case she decides to be offended by whatever? I’d like to point out that 50 Shades of Grey is in every grocery store next to the register and Playboy is not. it’s not like their leaving leather panties and flails scattered around the house.

  • German Shepherd October 24, 2012, 12:40 pm

    shadowfox79 said it all for me too and so did ferretrick.

    OP, why does age matter? It’s one thing if a child is reading the book, but if an elderly woman is, why is that so shocking? Stop stereotyping, stop judging, and stop making a mountain out of a molehill. Yeesh.

  • Jays October 24, 2012, 12:45 pm

    Hear hear, gramma dishes!

    I found the OP appalling. One, it’s none of her business. Two, these are her clients’ homes. Where the heck else should they leave their books? Three, I see no problem with reading them in public. It’s not like anyone’s forcing people to hang over their shoulders to see what’s going on, after all.

    Four … don’t even get me started on the “inviting advances” comment. Ugh.

  • XH October 24, 2012, 12:54 pm


    What’s for you to say that reading erotica is about lusting for another man? The OP’s employer may have been reading erotic fiction for ideas on creative fun things to do with her husband. It’s fiction. There’s nothing in it to say that you must lust after the characters in it.

    If you follow such a strict view of what qualifies as pornography, then the Song of Songs could inspire lusting after a man who is not your husband if you’re not careful. Best not leave that out in public. Wouldn’t want to attract the wrong kind of attention – such as fiery sermons from your church’s minister.

    Gosh. OP, that’s incredibly judgmental and nosey of you. I hope you understand that it’s unprofessional to take offense at private things encountered in someone’s home that you’re paid to clean. It’s not your place to censor your employer’s reading list.

  • Ann October 24, 2012, 1:03 pm

    I’m with ManyBellsDown. The only thing to be embarrassed about would be bad taste in literature and the only moral issue would be disgust about abusive behaviour.

    I confess I only flipped through a friend’s copy, but she said she absolutely agreed and after getting half way through book one gave the set back to the colleague who’d loaned them to her.

  • Eeb October 24, 2012, 1:10 pm

    @Kathryn – Oh yes, I totally agree, reading erotica or other sexually explicit material is EXACTLY the same as adultery. That’s why I don’t even read the Bible anymore, with all those stories of fornication, begat-ing, multiple wives, sodomy, even rape! Why, my quivering stars, the entire Christian religion is simply AWASH with adultery! Just thinking about it makes me want to reach for my smelling salts!

  • technobabble October 24, 2012, 1:13 pm

    There is a difference between pulling out a copy of 50 Shades of Grey in public and whipping out a Playboy. Most of society is aware of the content of the 50 Shades books, but the covers are fairly innocuous. Unlike a pornographic magazine, which has pictures of semi- and fully nude men and ladies plastered all over the pages. Reading 50 Shades of Grey in public shouldn’t offend anybody any more than reading any other novel in public. It’s just words on a page, and passers-by aren’t subjected to any of the so-called “offensive” material unless you decide to treat all the other commuters on the bus to a dramatic reading.

    I was waiting for a friend in a coffee shop the other day reading Brett Easton Ellis’ American Psycho. When it comes to offensive material, this book has it all: violence, rape, murder, general disdain for society. But nobody seemed to take offense to my wildly inappropriate reading material because I was sitting quietly in my chair reading a book that could have been anything until you got close enough to see; and I highly doubt that those people who did recognize the book I was reading assume I was a misogynist serial killer.

    I also agree with the above posters in that the OP shouldn’t be so judgy about the reading material laying around her employers’ homes. Let the ladies enjoy their erotica in peace. If you don’t think they ought to be doing it in their private residences, where do you think they should bring it?

  • WrenskiBaby October 24, 2012, 1:17 pm

    I’m a housekeeper, so allow me to say: You should just clean around such items and straighten them up as you would any other item. What a person has in his or her trash can should be invisible to you as well. And never open a drawer unless necessary to your job.

  • Green123 October 24, 2012, 1:25 pm

    Do your job and butt out OP.

    Oh, and Fifty Shades is not porn. It’s awful, badly written claptrap, but it’s certainly not porn. Even if it was, it’s none of your business. I’m sure your employer will be delighted to find a less judgemental cleaner if you can’t be trusted to do what you’re paid to do and instead spend your time tutting at the books your employer has left lying around.

  • Cj October 24, 2012, 2:01 pm

    Well thank goodness this lady does not clean my house. I have real adult movies, toys and other things that get left out occaisionaly becuase we have no children. I also have nude artwork (tasteful IMHO) on the walls. One painting was a self nude portriat of my husbands grandmother! I don’t see what the fuss is. Also reading “trashy” books in public is not a big thing. The title does not let little kids know what the content is. I also would have no problem with playboy being read in public, it only has nude images no diviant coupling.

  • Chicalola October 24, 2012, 2:40 pm

    “The problem I’m having is how these women think it’s ok to leave it out in the open for all to see? Call me old-fashioned, but I believe anything that has to do with sex should be kept in the privacy of your own bedroom.” This really got me. The privacy of their bedroom? How about the privacy of THEIR HOME? No matter their age, they have the right to place things in their home in any room they see fit. If what they have in their home is so offensive, you shoudn’t be cleaning their home. Or any homes….since I’m sure there are a lot of people who keep things in their home others would judge as unacceptable. That’s the great thing about not sharing your home with anyone else…..:)

  • Goldie October 24, 2012, 2:47 pm

    This is exactly the reason why I never got the courage to hire a housecleaner, even when I had the resources for it and a large house I couldn’t keep clean on my own. From talking to a few people (including my own parents, who worked on a cleaning team of 8-10 people for a year) I concluded that people talk. Now, most people who clean your home are discreet and professional, but you’ll never know when you run into one who talks, won’t be able to enforce it that they don’t talk, and won’t find out that they’ve been talking about you until it’s too late.

  • Traherne October 24, 2012, 2:54 pm

    I had a cleaning lady who kept harrassing me because of my small collection of hindu and buddhist figurines. Said it was “the work of the devil”. She then stumbled into a few CDs with artwork she considered questionable. When I finally explained to her I was agnostic, she said she couldn’t possibly keep working for me. Which was a shame, because she was great.

  • sillyme October 24, 2012, 2:58 pm

    These books have been discussed in Daytime TV and are in plain view in any bookstore. So, here’s to hoping the OP doesn’t go to Barnes and Noble much. At any rate, they’re hardly the stuff of brown-bag, behind-the-counter traditional porn. In my day it was Anais Nin. Then came Anne Rice. Now it’s 50 Shades of Grey.

    Thing is, one person’s porn is another person’s seat on the pop-culture bandwagon. Aside from the whole you’re-there-to-do-a-job, given how extreme porn can get, I’d say these books belong to a grey area (get it?) and it’s a matter of morals and taste, and people don’t owe it to anyone – employees or guests, to censor literary or artistic tastes in their own home.

  • Cat Whisperer October 24, 2012, 3:27 pm


    Disclosure: I have never read any of the “50 Shades of Gray” books, nor do I plan to. Not because their content is offensive, but because people whose opinion I respect tell me that if you leave the sexual content out, the books are boring, banal and not particularly well-written.

    Okay… does this mean that if I leave out any of my books on stallion management and broodmare management, which include both pictures and graphic descriptions (albeit in very technical language) of the process of breeding horses, that I’m in danger of being judged not just as someone who owns nasty books, but particularly kinky since they involve animals?

    Does this mean that someone who observes my library, which includes all of the Agatha Christie books, all of the Dorothy Sayers books, and a whole slew of “true crime” books, will conclude that I have a murderous mind?

    And the “Harry Potter” books and the “Wizard of Earthsea” books and the Mary Stewart books about the Arthurian legend… does my possession of these books permit someone to conclude that I’m into the occult?

    OP, the “50 Shades of Grey” books are on the best-seller list. They’re books that people talk about. They’re a curiousity. I doubt very much that people who are openly reading these books and leaving them around are heavily into pornography. (I also doubt, based on what people tell me, that many people finish reading the books!)

    My advice to OP: if you can’t work in the houses of people who hire you without being judgemental about what kind of books they read, then find another way to earn money. And if you continue to work in other people’s houses, bear in mind that people who have REAL secrets to hide, really shameful things going on, are very careful to conceal the evidence of what they’re doing from people like you.

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