Reporters Online

On Reporters online from February 2018, Esther, co-owner of The Courtesan Club, extensively discusses the ins and outs of the escort service. Esther talks about the escort agency’s mission, which includes transforming the negative image of the sex industry into a positive one. She also explains the application procedure of a high class escort model.

Esther Meppelink runs high class escort agency The Courtesan Club

Text by Anne Bakker

During her studies in Dutch Language and Literature, Esther Meppelink (1973) came to Women of the World, an exclusive escort agency in Amsterdam, for a part-time job in 1999. The agency had existed for a year and was completely run by women. This was very special in this industry at the time. Esther started out as an operator, quickly became a manager and has been a co-owner for years.

Today the agency is called The Courtesan Club

‘”With our new name and chic site, I think we distinguish ourselves even more than before. Although we were very satisfied with the name Women of the World, we wanted a name that exudes even more class and emphasizes that we are primarily about companionship, and not just about sex. To us, a courtesan is the ultimate companion because of her beauty, intelligence and eloquence.

When I was still a student, I couldn’t have imagined that I would ever become the owner of an escort agency. But I liked this inspiring company so much, full of women of the world (literally!) that I didn’t want to leave. And I still like it a lot. Unfortunately, the recent negative reports about human trafficking have given prostitution a worse name. We see it as our mission to show that there are also women who work in this industry consciously, voluntarily and with great pleasure.

In Amsterdam, for example, escort agencies have only been required to hold a permit since 2008

In addition, we want to show that there are also good, reliable, legally operating agencies and not only shady ones. Since the lifting of the brothel ban in 2000, many municipalities have introduced a licensing system for clubs and private houses. The escort agencies have largely been ignored. In Amsterdam, for example, escort agencies have only been required to hold a permit since 2008. This has created a large, dark outgrowth in the escort industry. Such a shame for the public perception of the industry!

We have an average of thirty to forty women between the ages of 18 and 35. Usually they are 21 years and older, as will be legally required in a while. I think eighteen is still quite young. Although not all eighteen-year-old’s are alike, someone who is older usually has more life experience. They are fun, beautiful and intelligent girls, who can talk about many things and have a broad range of interests. Almost all our girls are highly educated. That’s not necessarily a requirement as, in our opinion, intelligence cannot be measured exclusively by education. It often turns out to fit best the wishes of our customers though. We represent a lot of students, but we also have ladies with a full-time job. A solicitor, a lawyer, a psychologist, freelancers in all kinds of areas.

Girls often think that if they call today, they can start tomorrow

Courtesan Amsterdam However, that’s not possible at our agency. We receive the applications by email, including photos. When this looks positive, my partner Julie Ryan has the first conversation via Skype in English. This way we know if the girls are fluent in this language (one of our requirements). Then a second conversation with me follows, at our office. That meeting lasts only half an hour. We don’t want to immediately flood the candidates with information.

We then give the girls, and ourselves, a few days to think about it. If we’re both enthusiastic, we schedule a third appointment. This appointment takes more than two hours. All the ins & outs are discussed, about safe sex, about clothing, what they can and can’t talk about with customers. The girls determine what they wear, assuming that it’s appropriate for the type of work they do (so not in jeans to the Hilton Hotel, unless explicitly asked for).

Asking, for example, whether someone is married or has children is not done. And you shouldn’t bring up controversial topics. No matter how conservative you may be in the Netherlands about certain (political) views, compared to foreign men you are almost always very liberal. Not that we expect the girls to say “Yes, Sir” to everything. A fascinating discussion, especially if the man initiates it, is of course fine. But within certain limits. You don’t want to end up in a heated discussion.

When I evaluate a girl, it’s mainly based on my feeling about her

Of course, a girl must look good and well-groomed, be social and intelligent and be able to hold a conversation. But above all she has to have a good energy. I sometimes rejected beautiful girls because my intuition said no. I also make sure that a girl is responsible, punctual and service-orientated. As a courtesan you have to be there for your customer and be able to see something beautiful in everyone.

Obviously, having an addiction is out of the question. And a girl has to have something besides this work. I don’t want girls who are only doing this job. This as protection for the girl herself. This life is not the real world, there’s more to it than just the Amstel Hotel and the PC Hooftstraat. But we also want to make sure that a girl does this job with pleasure and doesn’t depend on it. If someone does this to pay her rent, chances are she’s working more often than she wants to. Or perhaps even going back to that particular client she didn’t actually like, et cetera. That is not good for the girls themselves and not for our customers. They expect a certain level and they pay for it, so they deserve quality.

We think it’s important that ‘our girls’ know each other

For example, girls must also be willing to kiss with customers. We offer the Girlfriend Experience, and that usually includes kissing. If you turn your head away when a customer wants to kiss you, it becomes very distant. Girls, of course, always have the right to refuse a customer or certain actions. Courtesan Amsterdam If someone (or the situation) doesn’t feel right, the customer is disrespectful or turns out to be drunk, we recommend that she immediately leaves. Girls can also indicate whether or not they are open to, for example, bookings with a couple or anal sex.

We think it’s important that ‘our girls’ know each other. That’s why we regularly organize get-together’s, where they can meet and share experiences. They tell each other things they’re perhaps not comfortable telling us, the management. Moreover, we want to be a real club, one whole. A new girl, if she likes, will be paired with someone who has worked with us for some time. A kind of mentorship. Not that she’s really coached. The guidance, that’s what Julie and I do, but this way a girl can discuss something with someone who does the same work. Furthermore, girls sometimes go to a customer together, so they sometimes work together.

The girls employment is arranged through opting in

They’re not really employees, but they also not self-employed. It is a kind of intermediate form. For example, although they decide for themselves when they want to be available, we have to handle the taxes. They receive a net amount.

Just as we make demands on our girls, we also make demands on our customers. For the girls, the main rule always is: a customer should treat you well and respectfully or else you will leave as soon as possible. We try to assess this on the phone. When a man calls for ‘a nice woman with big tits’, we immediately indicate that these kinds of statements do not suit our way of working. If he can correct himself, he’ll get another chance. Otherwise it will be over immediately. If someone calls drunk or shouts, ‘I want to have a girl within half an hour,’ that also doesn’t work. A booking can never be made in just one call. For example, we want to have the time to verify that a customer is really where he says he is.

A date lasts at least two hours, and that costs 750 euros

Courtesan Amsterdam In the past fifteen years we’ve built up a very large, steady customer base. Men who call again and again because they are very satisfied. Many of our customers are from abroad, at least 60 percent. Almost all are businessmen, and that also applies to the Dutch gentlemen who call us. It’s usually men in high positions who have seen much of the world. Developed gentlemen, who treat women nicely and just want to have a good time. Their expectations are high, because they pay a lot.

A date lasts at least two hours, and that costs 750 euros. Incidentally, many men book the girls longer. All night or even a few days. The men can choose someone themselves on our website, which shows photos. Some trust us so much that we can make the choice for them. We are always honest. When a man calls for a certain type of woman and she is not available with us at that time, we say that. As a result, we may miss a customer at the time, but he will contact us again because he knows that we’re reliable. Our website is also genuine and we don’t do extensive photo shopping. We won’t promise anything that we cannot deliver.”

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