Wages of sin are not bad

August 20, 2004

Hard-pressed academics in the UK often turn to extracurricular activities to make ends meet - consulting, external examining and perhaps a spot of paid marking.

But a US social anthropologist with a masters from Yale University and a doctorate from Boston University went one step further: she moonlighted as a high-priced prostitute.

Jeanette Angell has lifted the lid on her double life. She reveals in a book published this month that she taught a course about prostitution at the same time as she was working for a Boston escort service that specialised in providing brainy women for men who wanted conversation and sex.

Ms Angell, who has changed her name since her days in the callgirl business, says she went into the field for one reason only: "I had a sudden need for money. That's the real truth."

As a scholar, she admits to having been "intensely curious about being able to enter into another world, a hidden world that exists in parallel to our own. But, essentially, it was the money. It was a job."

The story began in 1995 while Ms Angell, then 34, was on her way to the UK to lecture for a week at the London School of Economics.

She picked up a copy of a local alternative weekly newspaper on her way to the airport to look for a second job and found an ad for an escort service.

Ms Angell is outspoken about the fact that her story highlights deeper problems in American higher education, which pays some teachers so little that they can't make ends meet. "We have a president who is illiterate, and in some ways we deserve what we got, for underfunding teachers and schools at all levels."

But it also taught her that academia was not for her. Now married and living in the Boston suburbs, she said: "I found that what I really wanted to do was to write. So I left academia and have been writing full time since then. And I have been very happy."

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