May 21, 2006

"The woman with a PhD in sociology, an expertise in women's studies and a former career as a well-regarded college professor."

Accused of running a house of prostitution in her $400,000 suburban home. The neighbors had gotten suspicious:
For months, Bonnie Sorak and other residents on Shirley Meadow Court had speculated about the goings-on at the home of the woman known to take walks at midnight, string Christmas lights at 4 a.m. and always buy candy when schoolkids went door to door. Lately, neighbors had noticed, men in golf shirts driving Lexuses and other nice cars seemed to be frequenting the house. Sorak had idly wondered if Britton was dealing drugs. Another neighbor had joked that she must be turning tricks.

Now, as Sorak pulled up to her house, her two small children in the backseat, she spotted police. Hurriedly closing the garage door behind her, she called her husband: "The SWAT team is over there now."
Men in golf shirts! That gets the neighbors talking. Too many men, too similarly dressed, all with nice cars, and just not staying long enough.


Troy said...

Wow -- a natural 38D brickhouse with liberal politics and a Ph.D. Intellectually stimulating.

Sounds like her field work got a little too... practical.

Dave said...

She likely made a better living as a madam than as a professor.

David said...

Betty Friedan was right!

You can have it all, baby!

SWAT Team? Now that is safe sex!

The Drill SGT said...

A sad story.

I think she has mental health issues.

Bissage said...

I'm with The Drill SGT. Earlier, I was typing up a snarky quip and I got all guilty-feeling so I stopped.

I don't know about the mental health stuff but this is a mighty unhappy thing.

And she's got kids. What about them?

PatCA said...

What's with these profs and their over the top lives? Is this suggestive of a pattern, or is the media seeking out stories particularly in academe? Cathy Seipp had this story earlier.

J said...

"Men in golf shirts! That gets the neighbors talking. Too many men, too similarly dressed, all with nice cars, and just not staying long enough."

Well, that and the fact that somebody with a PhD in sociology could afford a 400K house. I'd be suspicious too.

Meade said...

Her mother is interviewed and her second husband is mentioned but left out is her father and her first husband who presumably fathered her son and daughter. My guess: half her story (and diagnosis) lies with those two men.

Dave said...

"Betty Friedan was right!

You can have it all, baby! "

Wasn't that the old Virginia Slims marketing line? Did they get it from Friedan?

Meade said...

That was "You've come a long way, baby." I thought the "You can have it all" slogan came from Helen Gurley Brown.

yellojkt said...

I think "house of prostitution" is a little over the top. It was a house and there was prostitution, but it was one unemployed, albeit hot, college professor, not an entire brothel.

knox said...

I don't feel sorry for her. She sounds like a classic "toxic" person, manipulative and phony in all aspects, her service work notwithstanding... everything about her little biography signals: Run away from this person as fast as you can.

altoids1306 said...

I'm more perplexed by why the WaPo decided to devote so much ink to such an utterly trivial story...

But after thinking about it a little more, I guess it hits several key targets:

1. Suffering sociology professors, and the dismal state of the humanities in general.

2. Male oppression (by male department chairs dating female grad students!)

3. Suburbs-as-existential-hell.

4. Male sexual predation - men in polo shirts driving Lexi at night...where children play in the day!

5. Chronic victimhood.

6. Starbucks coffee, and cliche oriental decor.

(Me, cynical? No, why do you ask...?)

Ann Althouse said...

7. Radio stations with sex-themed contests

8. potbelly pigs

9. emotional support pet

10. interview takes place on a bed

11. sex business using the web

12. "38D... beautiful and beguiling. Vulnerable...Warm and witty, then evasive and chilly. Sexy. Unforgettable....lips glimmer with a petal-pink gloss that's very Bobbi Brown -- very wedding-day pale"

13. town name: Boring, Oregon


But really, this thing is written like a short story. It raises a question -- what's the connection between studying the subordination of women and voluntarily entering into a classic form of subordination? -- but it never even attempts to answer the question. It just leaves you with it.

altoids1306 said...

Heh - I guess that's the one redeeming aspect of the article - it doesn't try to explicitly force an opinion on the reader, although there are plenty of pointed barbs in the details (the Starbucks patrons heads whip around, her eyes are large and vulnerable). What is the connection? I suppose it's an example of "I choose my choice."

While I have nothing but dry scorn for the article, I do feel sorry for the woman - if she has two kids, age 21 and 19, then how old is she? Why doesn't she have any friends to look out for her?

Brendan said...

I gotta tell you, they treated me right.

PatCA said...

I think you're both right, Ann and altoids. It's not news, nor opinion column, but fiction. I guess it's cheaper to produce this than to send reporters around the world to report I think the falling subscription rates indicate that most people are on to this and simply don't buy it as the truth (life in America is a soulless hell!). Anybody who's attended college or reads gets it, that this story and th "news" in general, are constructed fiction.

knox said...

most people are on to this and simply don't buy it as the truth (life in America is a soulless hell!

this is how I felt when I saw "American Beauty" for the first time. A very specific, cliched view of the family and the suburbs we've seen and heard a million times before... enough already.

37383938393839383938383 said...

It raises a question -- what's the connection between studying the subordination of women and voluntarily entering into a classic form of subordination?

I find amusing that everyone sees a contradiction. Perhaps she thinks the restriction of valid social roles is the oppression, and choosing to have sex for money is a valid and liberating choice. The only oppression is the police arresting her for following her joy.

I also find amusing that one would presume such an educated woman would be oppressed. This woman has more choices, and is better informed to make those choices, than most Americans, if not human beings presently on the planet. There is no subordination, and she is likely not crazy. She just liked doing the nasty for cash. I believe Mary Jo Frug defended this position within feminist academe for years. It isn't even an outlier perspective.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, seems a more honest, moral, and ethical profession than the one described two posts up. Everyone knows what they are paying, getting, and getting paid for. Victimless too. Not too many lawyers OR professors can make any of those claims.

(God forbid a phd in sociology can afford a $400,000 house. Can you guys spell Fed mediated bush housing bubble? snicker)

HaloJonesFan said...

Hee. It is fun to read this article as though it were a Penthouse letter instead of a serious attempt at journalism.

Bruce Hayden said...

I understand why many, if not most, consider most prostitition to be oppression and exploitation of women. But here, I would almost argue the opposite, that it was exploitation of men.

The problem is that this trade has been going on for eons. Women trade sex for security, material goods, and the like, and men get the sex by providing the security, material goods, etc.

I know plenty of women her age who trade a nice dinner for sex. The difference here is that it is more open, and she gets more what she wants.

I am not saying that all dating is about sex, because it isn't. But one of the things about middle aged dating is that for a lot of both sexes, the trade seems a lot more open than it did when younger. Or,, maybe, the women just like sex more, and are willing to have it with more men, as they get a bit older.

In any case, after that cynical take on male/female relations, I think that what is good now is that our daughters no longer have that staart choice. Instead of having to acquire wealth and security through men, they can now do it on their own, through their own merits and hard work.

Now, half the law school and medical school grads are women. But if you go back to when Sandra Day O'Connor was graduating almost at the top of her class from law school, women was a rarity there.

The other thing is that there are plenty of women who look at the hard work that it takes to suceed on their own merits, and figure that they might as well get that security the old fashioned way - doing something that, by this woman's age, some women have discovered that they do enjoy.

PatCA said...

Amen, knoxgirl. American Beauty, totally overrated.

jeff said...

Boring, OR? I'm going to have to go back and read the rest of that article....

BTW, in Oregon there is indeed a town named Boring... and about 300 others that ought to be.