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This woman isn't a prostitute, in the same way that a Sanitation Engineer isn't a janitor. It's her job to "entertain" the gentlemen who visit the Rogue Windmill, in return for expensive "gifts" that are in no way related to the "services" she provides. Deep down, though, she's a "performer" with deep "ambitions" to become a real "actress" someday. She's probably also working on her "bachelor's degree."
—encounter description for Courtesan in Kingdom of Loathing

"A courtesan is not a whore; if she were, no man of wealth and taste would bother with what he could have cheaper, elsewhere. Simple rutting, however luxurious the setting, is not sufficient for the price that a man pays for a cortegiana. [...]

I read and write in four languages, I speak six. I play the lute and sing. I dance. I can converse with a learned dottore of letters on the works of the Greeks and Romans, or on the works of the poets and philosophers of our own age. I even write poetry myself--it's bad poetry, but I can write it. I know as much about politics within Italy and the wider world as most of the gentlemen of the Case Vecchie. Quite a bit more, in fact. And as for the games of the bed--well, let me just assure you that I am a notable athlete. That is what is required to be a courtesan."
—Francesca in The Shadowof the Lion
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