Vanilla Slim: An Improbable Pimp in the Empire of Lust

Bob Armstrong, Author . Carroll & Graf $14.95 (234p) ISBN 978-0-7867-1701-9

Word spreads quickly among Armstrong's co-inmates: "You a pimp? This is not real! A white pimp. An old white pimp. How ya do that?" Armstrong (b. 1942), a "low-end journalist" (he reviewed porn DVDs for Exotic and freelanced for the San Francisco Chronicle ) who had run Zen Escort Service for only eight months before getting busted, was nicknamed Vanilla Slim (a reference to the legendary black pimp Iceberg Slim). Actually, entrance to Pimpworld was absurdly easy: Armstrong ran a classified ad for "escorts" in SF Weekly , auditioned about 50 girls, chose six or so, charged johns $500 an hour and kept $150. The work was easy; the toughest part was getting a girl to her client on time; thereafter he'd loiter in a hotel lobby reading the New Republic and doing occasional lines of speed or cocaine until she reappeared. Aside from character studies of the girls, Armstrong passes along some nuggets: most escorts' capacity for common sense is "zero," lesbians make the best escorts "since there's no conflict of interest" and gay videos are generally more erotic and tasteful than straight ones. Armstrong offers funny, pungent lines interspersed with self-examining digressions, producing a funny read for the Imus crowd. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 10/10/2005
Release date: 12/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
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