Local History Advent Calendar 2018 – Day 1 – Vancouver gigolos

When I am researching one topic I often come across random historical tidbits that I think might be interesting to research one day.  These tidbits sometimes end up as full-fledged stories and sometimes they just stay as random historical tidbits.  I have collected quite a few, so I thought it might be fun to present them in the form of “treats” for a local history advent calendar. Think of them as holiday cocktail party fodder – 24 facts about Vancouver history that can be used as conversation starters at your next social event.

Day 1: Vancouver once had gigolos for hire….

“In these dreary days when the ‘debbies’ want to don party frocks and go-out-and-forget-about-it-all and the ‘Co-eddies’ are willing but washed-up (financially) – well, what is a poor girl to do?”

This headline from the front page of the March 13, 1933 edition of the Vancouver Sun caught my eye!

“a gigolo must be well groomed, passable looking, properly dressed, versed in the social graces, a good dancer, hold his liquor well, and be depended upon to know his place and keep it. Individual assets are, of course, additional, such as: Barrymore profile, Adonis build, fiery eyes, foreign accent.” – Vancouver Sun, March 15, 1933






27 thoughts on “Local History Advent Calendar 2018 – Day 1 – Vancouver gigolos

  1. How curious…your 1933 historical factoid about gigalos in Vancouver triggered an old memory of song lyrics by David Lee Roth “I’m just a gigolo and everywhere I go; people know the bar I am playing; Pay for every dance selling each romance; Ooh, I could say there would come a day when news will pass away; what could they say about me; When the end comes I know there were just the gigolos; Right cause I’m without me, etc.” Was prompted to go to Wikipedia to find the origins of this song and discovered it was a translation from an Austrian melody about “the social collapse experienced in Austria after WWI.” The 1930’s saw recordings of this song by Bing Crosby and Betty Boop and later rather famously by Louis Prima. Bet there are a lot of people who recall at least one of those renditions.
    Judith Maxie

    1. Hi Judith, When I came across this clipping from the paper I was also reminded of the song too. I thought the article very curious, as I always assumed the word ‘gigolo’ had a negative connotation. It was interesting to see this favourable article on Gigolos. I wonder how long this group survived? I imagine it was rather fleeting.

  2. “a new claim to being a cosmopolitan city”?! Yeesh, we were on the aspirational trail of World Class City status 85 years ago

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