Thursday, May 17, 2012

Secrets in the Suburbs

Last week's Dateline show - an investigative journalism program that explores a mysterious crime, with various twists and turns along the way - was based on a theme near and dear to my heart. A woman was murdered in an upscale suburb of Detroit, and the investigation revealed that her husband had a secret life and was known as "Master Bob"  in the local BDSM community.

The narrator made much of the fact that the activities were all about sex, describing the other woman in Bob's life as his "sex slave", and repeatedly calling the dungeon a "sex dungeon". The obvious intent was to turn it from a common-enough occurrence into something horrific that naturally leads to violence and murder. At one point, the book 50 Shades of Grey was mentioned, along with a picture of the cover, as an example of BDSM becoming more common. It was a nice plug for the book, I suppose.

They interviewed a woman who had joined Master Bob and his slave in the dungeon for her first session, and had later written about it on her blog. One of the excerpts from the blog had me laughing. "The first time I felt his belt, it was ecstasy." When the reporter said the word "vanilla", you could almost see the quotes he put around it, as an unfamiliar term. The interviewee used it quite comfortably. At one point the reporter asked if it hurt. Doh!

Ron and I watched it with some amusement. It was a good thing we were alone and not watching it with anyone else.

"Just imagine, people doing that," Ron said.

"Well, I never!" I pretended to be shocked. Then I laughed, "I want to hear more about that belt."

When interviewed, the husband said that he and his wife had an "understanding" about certain things, and she accepted the fact that he had another woman but did not know about his BDSM activities. I wonder...

I was glad to hear that in preparing the case for trial, none of the information about the BDSM activities would be used. It was decided that it had nothing to do with the facts surrounding the murder.

Here is a preview of the show.

From Hermione's Heart


Anonymous said...


Thank you for sharing. I am visiting a dungeon tonight for an educational discussion on the use of the cane. It is an interesting place hidden in the city.


bobbsroom said...

HI Hermione,

Ahh The joys of not knowing what goes on behind closed doors. Or should that be the other way around?

Take Care


Rosie said...

While I'm not really into BDSM and dungeons scare the bejeezus out of me, I'm still offended when it's turned into a sick twisted game of violence in the media. There was a Criminal Minds the other week that did the same thing... made BDSM the thing of sociopaths and an underground sex slave ring. As if those things always go together.

Emen said...

I don't mean to make light of what happened to this poor woman but the preview really makes me wonder how good Master Bob's technique was. He did a good job on the old "sex dungeon" there. :)

Hermione said...

Joey - That sound interesting. I hope you'll blog about the experience.

Bob - Imaginations are running wild all over North America.

Rosie - That's what bothered me too. One does not necessarily lead to the other.

Emen - They didn't go into that kind of detail, alas, and she was killed by a third party, nowhere near the dungeon.


Aimless Rambling said...

The heck with Sex in the City, it should be Sex in Suburbia.

ronnie said...


Thanks for sharing. Would have been interesting and quite amusing to watch.

Didn't have sound turned on as I am in the ofice so not sure if the dungeon was part of the house, if so, how come his wife didn't know about it.


Unknown said...

Sad story... whenever anyone is murdered. Hope the killer is found and convicted. This expose though is just sad... Are they trying to convict the man in public opinion?

Julia said...

How fascinating, and I think kind of amazing that they are actually going to leave his BDSM activities out of the trail. That can't sit right with some people.
But I find it amazing how 50 Shades of Grey has caused such a ruckus!

Erica said...

"This S&M business." Of course, because we're all so sick and sordid. (sigh) Of course, the dungeon was dingy and grimy. Funny thing -- I've been in a lot of dungeons over the years, and they've all been immaculately clean.

Hermione said...

Sunnygirl - There's a lot that goes on behind closed doors in suburbia and elsewhere.

Ronnie - The dungeon was in a downtown location, under a bar. So she wouldn't necessarily know of its existence.

Red - Yes, possibly. They always look at the spouse as a possible suspect in murder cases, and as soon as he appeared on TV, lots of people recognized him as a Dom.

Julia - The book was a convenient tie-in with the show.

Erica - The stairs leading down to it were full of rubbish, probably blown there by the wind. They repeatedly showed them. The inside didn't look dirty, just dark. I'm sure it was quite clean and functional.


Daisychain said...

The video wouldnt load for me, but I agree, why is the lifestyle always portrayed as so sinister? There are extremes in everything!!! xxx

Lea said...

Stuff like that and how BDSM is portrayed in the media and vanilla world is why so many of us live with worry about ever being "outed." It's a shame that people can't just mind their own business. If you liked your neighbor and thought he was a nice guy, how does who he is change once you find out he likes to spank someone on the weekend? It doesn't. Get over it.

Hermione said...

Daisy - It wouldn't have been a gripping news exclusive if they had portrayed BDSM as something quite common, especially in big cities.

Lea - I agree completely, and that's what we thought when we watched the program. So what? He's just like us.