Vanilla Slim by Bob Armstrong
An Improbable Pimp in the Empire of Lust

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On December 8, 2002, the San Francisco Chronicle published an article by "Insight" contributor Bob Armstrong titled "Zen Dolls: Confessions of a Pimp in the Pod." In the article, Bob briefly recounted his adventures running an "escort" service before being arrested on March 27, 2002, on one count of pimping and two counts of selling drugs, all the while working as a freelance journalist. He spent time in the county lock-up where fellow inmates dubbed him "Vanilla Slim," but with a clean record he got off with 19 days served and three years probation. Articulate, argumentative, engaging, and witty, Armstrong is the philosopher-pimp: a college-educated, 50-something-year-old man, hip to San Francisco's various ethnic and cultural scenes, and hip to the city's history. Beautifully described in a kind of Bukowski-esque style, Armstrong relates the stories of his Zen Dolls with compassion and insight. Charging $500 a session, he's a cultural and sex industry critic, whose need to live a life of danger led him to think there was some good money and good times to be had by running a high-end operation. Armstrong's rise and fall is a rollercoaster ride through a life lived on the edge.

About Bob Armstrong

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Bob Armstrong is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco and Portland. He has written 38 stories over the past five years for the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Insight” section. He began “Zen Dolls,” his high-end prostitution outfit after meeting and writing about various escort services for sex industry magazines. He is currently an editor and regular contributor to Exotic magazine.
Published December 19, 2005 by Da Capo Press. 256 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Crime.

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Bopping from Vietnam reminiscences to roiling stream-of-consciousness accounts of his nights conversing with his undereducated but chatty girls, Armstrong keeps up a running commentary of his thoughts on politics, drugs, his peculiar obsession with Hitler and, of course, sex.

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