The Lad Index: Documenting the six types of lad you met in 2017 Britain
Yes, the ‘work hard, play hard’ one is in here
British men have changed over time. There’ve been top-hat sporting chaps; there’ve been duelling libertines. There’ve been Teddy Boys and mods and punks – but most importantly, there’ve been lads.
They seem to have been around forever, but really they didn’t come about until Nuts and Zoo and the invention of the Yorkie gave them a platform: for the last 20 or so years they’ve been bubbling under, a counter-culture of young white men with tight jeans and bad haircuts who love their boys and boozing above anyone else.
But where does the lad belong in a post-Brexit, post-Inbetweeners, post-Loaded Britain? We’ve broken down the six types of lad you most likely ran into in 2017. Be aware: some of them are cheekier than others.
One of the most prevalent types of lad in the modern climate is the House Lad, for whom no night out is just quite massive enough. He spends his winters in Northern warehouse parties and his summers at daytime ragers on the Med, having had a taste for it ever since he worked as a rep in Malia/Napa/Zante when he was 19.
Everything about the House Lad is pure love: pure love of the sesh, pure love of pop house and pure love of the purest MD he can get his hands on. He fucking loves you mate, he’ll tell you through a sweaty gurn, as he aggressively massages the back of your neck to the thumping beat of David Zowie. We sort of fucking love him too.
Famous examples: Tom Zanetti, Alex Mytton and that bloke who fed ketamine to a seagull in ‘beefa.
Natural habitat: Ibiza (the good side), festivals in Croatia, the DJ-heavy warehouse parties of Manchester and Leeds.
What do they drink? A bottle of water, or a solitary double-vodka-coke which they’ll clutch inattentively as they bop along to the beat.
What do they chant? WILL GRIGG’S ON FIRE.
The Streetwear Lad doesn’t have time for blokey banter – he’s too busy making memes and complaining about the mainstream. Not interested in boozing and even less bothered about the glorious sesh, the Streetwear Lad is just as condescending as the rest of them: it’s just that he does it smugly on social media.
Invariably a teenager, invariably dressed like a bit of a dick and invariably the sort of guy who’ll end up in the Alt-Right, the streetwear lad would never leave his room if it weren’t to scout out backgrounds for his WDYWT shots. You’ll never be as cool as him and his boys, and they’ll never let you forget it.
Famous examples: Rocco Ritchie, Leo Mandella and countless other 15-year-old streetwear bloggers.
Natural habitat: Outside of early morning queues for trainer drops, the Streetwear Lad lurks almost solely online – in Instagram comment sections, smug Snapchat stories and BTS streetwear groups where they cop and criticise garms in equal measure.
What do they drink? They’re probably too young to – but they definitely smoke a lot of weed.
What do they chant? They don’t.
Some stereotypes never go away, and the Posh Lad has existed ever since Lord Byron first bolted red wine out of goblet made from a dead monk’s skull. You’ll find him watching the rugby, no doubt with some sort of fresh rugger-related injury, and him and his lot will always be the drunkest, loudest, rudest guys in whatever pub or faux-trash club you find them in.
His routines are as old as the money he’s from: they still play eyebrows during the day and International Drinking Rules during the night, and they still probably say things like “GET IT DOWN YOU ZULU WARRIOR.” Like many of his ilk, he’s stuck in the past – mainly because nothing’s ever been the same since he ruled the boarding school common room.
Famous examples: Jack Whitehall in Fresh Meat, or any Made In Chelsea character who didn’t last more than a season. Oh, and this guy, of course.
Natural habitat: Clapham Common and Home Counties pub gardens.
What do they drink? Pints upon pints upon pints.
What do they chant? SWING LOOOOOOW, SWEET CHARIOT.
You’ll see them every Thursday and Friday, spilling out onto every street corner in every city in the UK. They’re the Work Hard Play Hard lads, and they’re about to slur into your face how they “started at lunch and are still going.”
To be fair, his job will be relatively high-octane: he’ll be an estate agent or in recruitment, and he’ll finish every day at 8pm and be back in the office at 8am – despite his Friday and Saturday nights never ending till then. His brain is just wired like that: when it’s not on work it’s on the lash, and there’s no room for anything else.
Famous examples: Dapper Laughs, the cast of PhoneShop and that bloke who got caught doing coke on the tube.
Natural habitat: The Square Mile, or any Foxtons within the Greater London area.
What do they drink? Pints, but posher ones than the Posh Lad does – Peroni or San Miguel rather than Fosters or Carling. It’s either that, or the most expensive bottle of bubbly on the menu, even though they’re usually too pissed to taste it.
What do they chant? Probably something mildly racist and/or sexist.
This is probably the one you know best. After all, you see him on your TV every day – from the pumped-up triceps of Geordie Shore and Ex on the Beach to the perfectly-plucked eyebrows of TOWIE and Love Island, the cheeky lad has become a brand of his own.
And why wouldn’t he be? He’s just trying to live his best life. He wants to have the best body, to crack the best jokes, to shag the most women, and that’s all he’s ever aspired to be. He shares UNILAD and LADbible articles on Facebook, and uploads Snapchat and Instagram stories of him whipping his mates with towels and yelling at girls in the street. You’d probably dislike him, but he’s just so damn cheeky (read: thick.)
Famous examples: Scotty T. Stephen Bear. Joey Essex. You know the score.
Natural habitat: Newcastle town centre, any Nando’s/the regions
What do they drink? Everything you drunk on your teenage lads’ holiday: Jägerbombs, fishbowls, every colour of VK and, if they’re pushing the boat out, a bottle of Grey Goose between 10 of them.
What do they chant? OI OIIII.
Perhaps the worst kind of bloke around, the Anti-Lad tries so hard to mock lad culture that he ends up coming full circle. The problem is, he’s always been on the outside looking in – and while he outwardly attacks what he sees as the worst kind of male friendship, he secretly yearns for his mates to plan a big dirty weekender in Mallorca.
Sure, he hates the gym and house music and makes fun of shuffling and bumbags, but in his quest to satirise the abominable “lad” he more or less becomes one: he’ll make a big fuss of his laddy nights outs with the boys because it’s so not him, and you’ll always find him shouting “AAAALLL THE LADS” on a night out despite looking like a knock-off Serge Pizzorno from Kasabian.
Famous examples: Rick Edwards, Simon Amstell and anyone who writes for VICE.
Natural habitat: A craft pub in East London or somewhere in the Home Counties.
What do they drink? An IPA, or any beer which makes them just different enough from the loutish lager drinkers. Like Hop House 13. Or Guinness.
What do they chant? LADS LADS LADS (Ironically, of course.)