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How to Be a Bush Pilot: A Field Guide to Getting Luckier

by Claudia Dey

Sex is probably second only to personal finance among the many subjects readers are constantly seeking advice on. Claudia Dey, formerly a sex columnist for the ­defunct Toro magazine and The Globe and Mail, and author of the well-received debut novel Stunt, has entered this crowded field with a thick manual, ostensibly directed ­toward men, on how to score with style.

The controlling conceit in the book has Dey as commander/mistress/flight instructor, lecturing her classroom of bush pilots (BPs) on the finer points of things like anatomy, apparel, and ass play. The coverage is thorough, the tone light and humorous. It does get repetitive in a hurry, especially with Dey’s congratulatory gold stars and “affirmatives,” but the book is more a reference volume to be dipped into, not read cover to cover. One can even excuse the cutesy, affected euphemisms like “butterfly” and “go-go.”

But it’s hard to understand Dey’s decision to give the book such a retro flavour. One would have thought her target audience to be young BPs with more enthusiasm than skill. Her introduction is even directed at “young bucks” – the “hard-ons of the future.” And yet the book reads as if it’s addressing men in their forties, with references to Star Wars, CHiPs, Pac-Man, Farrah Fawcett, Cheryl Tiegs, and songs that no one in their twenties will recognize. The BPs Dey appears to be lecturing are more likely to view their prostates as medical concerns than potential pleasure centres.

However, Dey’s advice is mostly commonsensical and healthy. Good sex, she insits, involves lots of communication between partners. When in doubt, listen to your mistress. Indeed, the bottom line here is all about serving a woman’s needs. Not only does a good BP buy the groceries and cook dinner, he even cleans the dishes afterward. Women, we learn, like to be on top. Keeping all of this in mind is a “one-way ticket to Screwtopia.”