I’ll make no bones about it, I might create some controversy with this one. Then again, as I proved that time I claimed that the Beatle’s “Octopus’s garden” is a post-modern allegory for people’s perceived feeling of safety within society wherein each of the Octopus’s legs represents an authority such as Government, religion or mass media when really they have been lured there by the oppressive Octopus to toil in the aforementioned garden, I am never afraid of controversy.
Conspiratorial cephalopods aside, some people reading this will hopefully get to the end of it and agree with me. Some, on the other hand, will accuse me of having no sense of humour and tell me I need a strong course of “banti-biotics” (yes, it makes me want to vomit too). Oh and I should tell you at this point that there will be a lot of quotation marks in this post. Sure it may be lazy writing but frankly I don’t want to run the risk of anyone thinking these repugnant words and phrases are my own.
The proverbial dead-horse I’ll be flogging today is the “lad”. Now I don’t mean any generic male between the age of 16 and 35, I mean a particularly cretinous type of male. You know the type, the sort who asserts that to not dunk your genitals into your best friends pint while he’s throwing up all over “that 8/10 at the bar” not only makes you a “shitLad” but also probably a homosexual and that, let me tell you, is definitely not “bantastic”.
It’s become clear to me through extensive online and real-world research, (by which I mean social media and hanging around in terrible night-clubs) that there are certain criteria one must meet in order to be deemed a lad. Firstly, all lads MUST use the word “banter” or any derivative of it at every possible opportunity. Extra points are awarded for making up new terms that involve the words “banter” or, to save time, “bant”. Examples include “Banter Claus” and “The Archbishop of Banterbury”.
You must dress like the sordid love-child of a boy-band (yes, all 5 of them) and a hipster. If you’re a student then buy as much Jack Wills as your student loan will allow. Student or not, you must own at least one pair of beige jeans (they’re not bloody chinos) for every day of the week as you must be ready at all times for the emergency lash.
You must not be able to hold your alcohol. Drinking 5 pints of snakebite and vomiting on your boat shoes makes you a better lad than being able to drink 10 pints of Guinness and a bottle of whiskey and still win the jackpot on the ItBox. I guess the key here is you must be able to vomit on command. The vomit must also be somewhere between Dulux’s Sumptuous Plum and Mulberry Burst. (Colour charts are available.)
In sharp contrast to your outward metro-sexual appearance you must think you’re so manly you could kill a man using nothing but a night-club promotions flyer and your own alpha masculinity. More importantly, you should make this clear to everyone in the room, but make sure you slip the word “banter” in there somewhere.
Lastly and most disturbingly, you must believe that women are things and that everything from general disrespect to sexual assault is just (I’m so sick of this word) “banter”. To illustrate this, I point you to a current trend at UK universities, the charmingly-named “slut-dropping”. This involves a group of lads picking up a drunk girl when she comes out of a club and offering her a lift home, then proceeding to drive in the opposite direction, kicking her out of the car and filming her as they drive away.
I don’t actually think my vocabulary is large enough to describe my level of contempt for this and anyone who’s ever been involved in it (and my vocabulary is pretty large, it includes words like loquacious and absquatulate.) Suffice to say if I had my way the punishment would involve a pair of skinny jeans and a particularly violent ferret with a checkered past and nothing left to lose and believe me, in reality it would be a lot less slapstick than it sounds.
Finally, any self-respecting lad must publicly pass judgement on whether or not he would engage in intercourse with any passing woman or indeed female celebrity or fictional character, regardless of how she feels about it or whether she would touch him with a 10-foot pole. (Remember it’s fine, it’s just “bant”.)
Lads are the sort of men (allegedly) who upon seeing Emmeline Pankhurst chained to a set of railings would assume she was a fresher “on the lash” with her university hockey team. They’re the sort of upstanding fellows who’s level of respect for women would embarrass the Taliban and who think that “glass ceiling” is the name of a stripclub in Magaluf.
The situation is only exacerbated by “lad mags” like Nuts and Zoo. You know the sort of cretinous publication that is aimed at people with so little cognitive function that the only reason they don’t come in pop-up form is because they’re worried some knuckle-dragging oaf might get carried away and poke his eye out on some “reality TV babe’s” implants.
Before anyone starts playing the “it’s only a bit of fun” card. No, it isn’t. Laserquest is only a bit of fun, running with scissors is only a bit of fun, any movie that ends with the word “… movie” is only a bit of fun (seriously, “Epic Movie” only had one bit of fun in it, and that was the end credits). This, is sexism in its most obvious form.
I guess the real reason this annoys me quite as much as it does is, aside from the obvious fact that women are in fact real live people, with feelings and dreams and probably some unpaid parking fines, that it perpetuates the idea that the young British male is a one-dimensional creature who’s only interests are beer, women and football. Don’t get me wrong, I like all of those things. (Well two of them. I’m not a football fan which is almost treasonous in lad culture.) I do however, have other interests, these include philosophy, science and generally being a judgemental bastard. The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed.
How can we as society ever hope for proper equality while this large number of hilarious scallywags still maintain that the only important feature of a woman is whether they would (eurgh) “smash or pass”. Having said that, I have been witness to women not only accepting this sort of abhorrent shenanigans but actively encouraging it. I don’t quite know what to make of that.
As far as I can see, the only way we’re going to solve this is we take a two-pronged approach, maybe in a half-pincer movement (it always solved everything in the A-Team). Women have to stop putting up with it and all the non-lad men (basically any man over the age of 18 who isn’t desperately clinging to their teenage-self like crazy clings to Lindsay Lohan) have to start telling lads to grow up.
Every now and then an issue like this barges its way through the queue to the centre of my attention and I start to wonder if I’m the only one that sees a problem in it. Thankfully due to the interactive nature of blogging now I can find out. So is it just me or does anyone else view lad culture with a certain level of cynical disgust?