Book Review: The Good Lay Guide

From page 37 of the book:

Africans are such a mixture of everybody and everything, plus a lot Europeans don’t understand, that it’s hard to comment. But don’t believe everything your mother told you, dear. And if she didn’t, then who am I to interfere?

Orientals. Supposed to say ‘Ah! So!’ just when you wish they wouldn’t. From personal observation, I’d simply point out that they’re very small. No woman over five foot two should interest herself in a normal Chinese or Japanese. (Indians are a different matter, supple and beautiful and cultured and savage. Very exciting – remember all those erotic paintings which so shocked the Raj?) No man than average size should attempt a Hong Kong Chinese, or her wailings (I think they are professional wailers. I have certainly been kept awake by friends’ and colleagues’ efforts with them) will terrify everyone within miles.


Leaving aside her racist use of the word “Oriental,” Chinese and Japanese males are short, undesirable, ugly (implicit) and stiff (implicit) but Indian males are not short (implicit), desirable, beautiful and supple. However, even today the average Indian is shorter than the average East Asian. Thus one can deduce that the author is basing these generalizations on her personal experience and not impersonal data. At the time this book was written, the average East Asian (30 years old) would have been about 170cm or 5′ 7″ or 5″ taller than the 5′ 2″ woman referenced. So what height does the female author find ideal? The average British male would have been LESS than 5′ 9.5″ so that she excludes Asian males because of a deficit of a less than a whopping 2.5″! One is left wondering exactly how Indians can be simultaneously savage and cultured? Is that even politically correct in 1985 England? And if Chinese females are professional drama queens, why are European males marrying, mating and dating them in droves (even in China and Japan)?

Notice that that author says that Africans are mixed (then they wouldn’t be Africans would they? they would be mixed), claims that it is hard to comment (which is silly since she would have had more Africans in the U.K. than Chinese or Japanese males to make comparisons) and then tries to emasculate African males (for the purpose of masculinizing European males and enhancing her national book sales) by saying that women should not believe what their mothers told them about African males which would indicate that the author has intimate knowledge about such issues contradicting her ‘hard to comment’ ethnic hedging.

Shame on Maggie Cowell and the publisher of this racist tripe.


Cowell, Maggie. 1985. The Good Lay Guide. London: Futura Publications.


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