Clothes line rope has been flying off the shelves at New York City hardware stores recently--but this isn't related to any green, eco-friendly, retro-ironic-hipster initiative against using dryers. No, it's a little more... grey than that. Fifty Shades of Grey, to be precise.
According to the New York Post, local ladies are going crazy for the easy to access "accessories" used in the soft-core bestseller, including (but definitely not limited to) soft cotton clothes line rope, riding crops, hand cuffs, and of course, silver-grey menswear ties. Adult retailer Babeland has seen a 30% sales spike in 'kinky products' over the past few months, with an 81% increase in visits to its website's Bondage page since the book's popularity skyrocketed. Maybe the best reaction of all has come from the generally conservative Brooks Brothers, which sent out a cheeky PR blast stating, "We may not have Fifty Shades of Grey Ties, but we do have Eight Shades of Grey Ties." Whoever came up with that zinger, bravo.
Maybe all of this excitement surrounding the Fifty Shades phenomenon will be enough to convince Brooks Brothers to put those other forty-two color options into production: They'd certainly come in handy for use during all the Fifty Shades-inspired classes that've also been popping up around New York, including Babeland's sold-out 'Fifty Shades of Spanking' tutorial. Can you say cross-promotion?
So, looking to get your own hands on some rope to... ahem, hang your clothes to dry? Nathaniel Garber Schoen, co-owner of NYC's Garber Hardware, recommends the ever-popular soft 12-gauge, non-braided nylon variety: "Anything skinnier is too small. You might hurt yourself." Judging by his expertise of alternative rope usage, we wouldn't be too surprised if Mr. Schoen has indulged in a little Fifty Shades himself.