Some people might describe D. Tim Thomas, the founder of Supermodel Vacations, as a pimp. But to his client Dean Benzie, Thomas is a coach, a guide and a visionary.
"He is truly a priest among men," Benzie writes in his glowing Supermodel Vacations testimonial.
Last spring Benzie set off for Europe on a 10-day supermodel tour, during which he stayed in five-star hotels, dined in the finest restaurants and had his own "supermodel-looking" woman to take care of all other needs. Now, in a phone interview from Knoxville, Tenn., he says that the trip changed his life--and his marriage--forever.
"In retrospect, I have found that this was a necessary phase of my evolution towards being a truly free thinker. The older and deeper your fears, the more it may 'hurt' a little, but the reward is personal expansion," Benzie says. "I am now hooked on the 'pain' of breaking free. My reward is life-changing personal growth ... I feel more like the man I was born to be but never knew how until I met Dennis [D. Tim Thomas]."
Unlike other soul-searching vacations, like trekking through Tibet or meditating at some Oprah-endorsed spa retreat, Thomas' Supermodel Vacations aims to help guys like Benzie achieve spiritual fulfillment with the help of their very own lovely female escorts.
"From a man's perspective. Well, I think of myself as a gentleman, so from a gentleman's perspective, this is one of the funnest, coolest things you can imagine," Benzie says. "I got everything I was looking for and a lot more."
Benzie and his wife of 16 years, Becky, have nothing but praise for Thomas' supermodel tours, and both say it's done wonders for the relationship between them and among the entire family--they are the proud parents of 9-year-old twins.
"I heard about it from Tim and Dean, and I saw the website and thought it was interesting," Becky Benzie says. "It was a mutual decision and I encouraged him to do it."
Dean Benzie, a technical training specialist for a gym equipment company, says that whereas before he was feeling burned out and weighed down by his fears, he now feels like he's free.
"When I tell guys about this, the response is really positive, of course, but a lot of them are like, 'What can I get for $5,000?'" Benzie says. "But that's not what it's about. It's a way for guys to get in touch with themselves."
Benzie adds, "A lot of women, they at first say [Thomas] is a pimp. But then they realize it's more of a matchmaking service. Although, I suppose, from a married perspective, it's different."
Where the Girls Are
One woman in a Supermodel Vacations ad strikes a come-hither pose, wearing only a tiny, thigh-baring tank dress that clings to every curve. The photograph doesn't show her actual face, but presumably she is one of the supportive European "supermodels" waiting to help men along on their quest toward fulfillment.
"Are you shy? Can't figure out this whole 'girl' thing?" the advertisement asks. "Let me take you to a world where everything you ever dreamed of in a woman comes true."
Thomas looks out from another photo, sporting a swanky bow tie and self-assured smile.
"I personally take you to Europe first class & put you into the arms of a super babe! who will absolutely fulfill every fantasy you ever thought of & a few you haven't!" the advertisement continues. "I'll be your personal coach, guide, protector, valet, counselor, and teacher."
Even before Thomas begins describing his latest business venture, he stands out from the crowd. At the coffee shop we meet for an interview, he holds open doors for women and politely weaves past several aging, Teva-wearing hippies.
Thomas, looking sharp in his black button-up shirt, crisp olive-green suit and bright yellow sunglasses, says that he has actually been doing his supermodel tours for three years, mainly for friends or acquaintances. But only last fall he realized he could transform it into a business venture. So far he estimates he's done about 22 trips with men, but explains that some guys have gone four or five times.
The self-described world traveler, who says he had "been around the world four times" before he stopped counting, already runs two companies, one designing the "World's Best Yellow Page Ads" as well as a web design company in Holland. He says that on one of his many trips to Northern Europe he noticed that many European women don't only date equally beautiful men.
"I'm putting guys in a position that they don't have a chance at in this country," he says. "In Northern Europe, often the most beautiful women are with total geeks. And these are educated women with class, with the best social graces in the world."
Thomas hopes that what began as a way to thrust his cubicle-dwelling workaholic friends into a jet-set world brimming with beautiful women can become a profitable business venture. Shorter vacations begin at $25,000, but he's much more supportive of guys splurging on the more deluxe $125,000 or $175,000 fantasy tour packages.
And, according to the raving testimonials of his clients, some boys are eager to invest in fantasy vacations.
"Let me tell you how my life has changed since I vacationed with Dennis Thomas. Here, when a woman identifies you as a single male with a good income, they cannot see you for who you are. They see you only as a pigeon to be plucked! Her needs are most important, and she is not looking for love, she is looking for a way out of her own daily struggle," Kenny Lampton, one of Thomas' clients, writes. "Dennis has weeded out this element. He has found the best of the best. I did not have to waste time finding the 'hidden treasures.' I would like to thank Dennis Thomas and his staff for understanding how important my time is. [He] made every minute count. Opened my mind and changed my life!"
Thomas says that the original concept for Supermodel Vacations had nothing to do with women or sex. He initially envisioned it more as a makeover vacation for geeks.
"My first idea was BeJamesBond.com. I was going to teach guys manners, social graces, how to dress with style," Thomas says earnestly. "But a bunch of my worldly friends said, 'Get to the point. These guys want dates.' So I thought, why not put these beautiful girls and average guys together?"
Now Thomas' website, www.supermodelvacations.com, still reflects his hopes for the guys to achieve personal transformations, but also makes it very clear that European women will help very closely every step of the way.
"It brings me so much happiness when I see a guy who has spent his whole life dreaming about a girl that is as beautiful as the one I put him with," Thomas writes. "The real fruits of your labors await you on your first Supermodel Vacation."
Men chosen after Thomas' interview process, which he says is aimed at screening out jerks, then surf the web and choose the type of girl they're looking for before booking their flights. (Thomas says the most popular look is Baywatch-inspired, with guys requesting their own Pamela Anderson Lee).
"I don't post photos of the actual girls on my site because they change over constantly. It's not like the Russian bride services that have had the same girls up forever," Thomas says. "But I get them a doppelganger, a 90 percent look-alike, of their dream girl."
On the $125,000 tour, for example, European women companions arrive the day the guys step off the first-class flight from the U.S. to Amsterdam. If the match is acceptable to both parties, each signs a waiver form that they will spend their time with their companion throughout the trip. They then ride on a luxury bus with the other happy couples to enjoy the sights, foods and hotels of Europe.
"You stay in only five-star hotels, castles or chateaux in Brussels, Paris, Normandy," Thomas says. "The guys even get to ride in a race car and I snap pictures of them afterward, each with his medal and his girl all over him. It really completes the James Bond adventure."
The company website makes numerous references to promising that "nothing less than the absolute satisfaction of our client's dreams are adequate." Yet Thomas says he never asks any of the women to have sex with their male companions.
"I don't ask these girls to have sex, I just say that it's up to them. But these are European women; they view sex differently," Thomas says.
He quickly adds, "I don't hire escorts or girls that were prostitutes. They all sign legal waivers saying they've never done that. So my girls were never prostitutes, they are just good, clean girls who wanna have good, clean fun. Which in my opinion involves sex."
Although Thomas won't say specifically how much the girls are paid for their time and energies, he says they are "well-compensated."
"Their expenses and bills for the trip are paid, and on top of that, whatever it costs the girls to be away from their jobs. We match the salary of work they're missing. You have to remember, the girls aren't rich, but the guys are."
If the match isn't satisfactory, his business associates in Amsterdam are there to help and will even send out another supermodel if necessary.
"If the girl doesn't work out, she's on a bullet train back to Amsterdam," Thomas vows. "The longest a client is going to go without a supermodel 'Bond girl' is four hours."
Tim Thomas says he already has two gentlemen booked for his next European Supermodel Vacation, scheduled to depart at at the beginning of June. He has four more spots to fill and expects a reporter for Playboy to partake in the adventure.
Thomas is even teaming up with a man who recently landed a 20-year-old Russian bride to add a Supermodel Marriage Vacation tour for those looking for a more serious relationship.
Dean Benzie says he would definitely consider another supermodel tour, but he and his wife, Becky, say he won't need the marriage trip anytime soon. They say his trip last spring has reinvigorated Dean's life and their 16-year-old marriage.
"It has had such a positive effect on him. He went into the Navy when he was 17 years old, and he had that military mentality. And when we took time off before it was always to visit relatives. This was the first time in his life he had the opportunity to do something for himself. And because we're so honest with each other, we pretty much knew what was going on at all times."
Apparently, Benzie called his wife every day while he was gone to update her on his adventures with his supermodel.
When asked if she would go on her own supermodel babe vacation, Becky is far less enthusiastic.
"Um, maybe I'd go," she says. "It sure sounded like he had a lot of fun. But I think it's just what he needed at the time."