Don't Call Him a Prostitute: Q&A with Gigolos Star Vin Armani

Vin Armani, now starring in the third season of Gigolos, tells Details how the Showtime docudrama has changed his life, what men need to know about women, and why he hates the prostitute questions.

Photo courtesy Showtime Networks, Leila Navidi

Vin Armani isn't your typical gigolo—the philosophy major turned male escort is more likely to discuss the metaphysics of love than he is to brag about his conquests. Now starring in the third season of Gigolos, the 33-year-old tells Details how the Showtime docudrama has changed his life, what men need to know about women, and what it's like to be compared to a prostitute.

DETAILS: How did you go from enjoying women's company to being paid to enjoy their company? In other words, how did you get started as a gigolo?

ARMANI:Even as a teenager, I had girlfriends buying me clothes and jewelry, paying for expensive meals and trips, letting me drive their cars, and live in their homes. I have been implicitly compensated by women for my company—and therefore a "gigolo"—for almost as long as I have been enjoying the company of women. I was introduced to Garren James, who owns Cowboys4Angels, by a woman I'd been seeing on-and-off for a couple of years. Every couple of weeks she would call and we'd go out for dinner or drinks, and then back to her place to finish the evening in bed. One night, she was feeling frisky and I wasn't available—so she called called Cowboys4Angels and Garren sent over a gentleman to keep her company. When I saw her a week or so later, she told me about it. And then she said, "This is something you really should be doing. I'm going to introduce you to the guy who runs the agency." The rest is history.

DETAILS: When you were asked to tape your escorting experiences for the world to watch, what were your first thoughts? How does it feel to have your work—and some sexual experiences—exposed on TV?

ARMANI:I'm very open about sex and my body, so the idea of someone filming or watching me in flagrante delicto doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I find it arousing. But I'm a very private person, so my biggest concern when exposing myself to the public was and continues to be the idea that I will not be able to go out in public and simply be anonymous. I like to go out and people-watch or be alone with my thoughts, and to not have to second-guess whether the person sitting next to me knows who I am.

DETAILS: How about spilling your secrets? What can you teach us about women we may not know?

ARMANI:There are so many things that men don't know about women that I could fill volumes. But let's talk about a few fundamentals. First, women are as much sexual creatures as men. I think culture tells us the opposite—but people who believe this myth have obviously not read too many of the romance novels on grocery store shelves. Most men have never even considered that women would actually respond better to them if they cultivated some personal sexiness. And second, women are rooting for you. To be crystal clear, every woman would be ecstatic if today, as she was going about her business, she met the man of her dreams. If a woman agrees to go out with a guy, she is hoping in the back of her mind that he is wonderful and charming and sexy. She is hoping that by the end of the night he has aroused her so much that she simply can't help but drag him into the bedroom. Too often men view dates as an adversarial situation instead of realizing that both parties are working toward the same goal.

DETAILS: Do you have real relationships? How do the women you date feel about your paid dates?

ARMANI:All of my relationships are "real," whether they are with clients or not. I refuse to have any fake relationships in my life. A healthy relationship is one where both parties feel like they are getting a good deal. It's not always an exchange of money, but it's always an exchange of time, energy, attention and care. I do date outside the context of being an escort, and any women that I date knows what I do for a living. I wouldn't be dating them if they had a problem with my job.

DETAILS: We know you don't get paid to have sex, but sometimes it happens. How does that affect your view on prostitution? Should it be legal throughout the U.S.?

ARMANI:I am an escort—what I do is not prostitution. That's something that most people simply don't understand. Prostitution is a crime, and it requires the exchange of a specific sex act for money. Escorts are paid for their time and we're never contracted for sex acts of any kind, so legalizing prostitution wouldn't really affect me or my colleagues. I live in a state [Nevada] where prostitution is actually legal in many counties. Clients that want to visit prostitutes visit prostitutes. Clients that want to see escorts see escorts. The services we provide are different enough that there isn't a big crossover in terms of clientele.

DETAILS: So is there a social stigma attached to being an escort?

ARMANI:Honestly, people know so little about escorts that there really isn't a stigma. I know many escorts, men and women, and there are many who are open about what they do for a living, even with strangers. The response is almost universally one of curiosity. I've also had dozens of men and women say to me, "That sounds awesome. How can I get into the business?"

DETAILS: So do you have any advice for men who want to be paid to date?

ARMANI: I spent the last five years honing my dating skills. Becoming a master seducer was—and still is—my absolute passion. So, my advice to a would-be gigolo is the same as it would be to a would-be prize fighter: Don't even think about stepping into the professional ring until your amateur record is stellar.

Jillian Kramer

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