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Last Updated: Friday, 9 December 2005, 11:13 GMT
'Why the world needs lads'
Woman holding Glamour magazine
I don't want you reading my magazines again, OK?
After reading last week's Readers' Column, in which "lad mags" were attacked, Bas Dickson Leach leaps to their defence, and by extension, that of those who read them. If you'd like to write a column, tell us using the form at the foot of the page.

Without kicking off a battle of the sexes on the fair fields of the BBC web pages, surely the point of lad mags is that they are for Lads, and are not meant to please young Ladies?

They are written for their audience, the Lads.

Lad mags cater to their market, and if you attack the content of the lad mag - the four-page spreads of semi-clad hotties, the articles exploring the deep ramifications of farting, accompanied by a series of helpful recipes guaranteed to increase your own gas, the page after page of gadgets, and sporting focuses like "Nastiest tackles of the last century" - then you attack the Lad himself.

Now the Lad is a simple creature, and he enjoys many of the simpler pleasures in life - eating, drinking, the misfortunes of others, amazing and bizarre pictures, and of course, the idea that every woman in the world is both amazingly pretty, and spends a large portion of each day semi-naked.

Bas Dickson Leach
The day a Lad seeks to really get to know his Lady-friend is the day he gives up his subscription to Loaded
Bas Dickson Leach

This may seem to be degrading and unrealistic; to reduce women into two-dimensional caricatures of desire, but it's pretty much what Lads do anyway in their heads. Of course women are complex and beguiling creatures, and in order to have any meaningful relationship, they must be dealt with in all their intricacy, but the Lad is not looking for a meaningful relationship.

They may happen to find themselves in one by accident, but the day a Lad seeks to really get to know his Lady-friend, and discover what really makes her tick, is the day he gives up his subscription to Loaded.

I personally am not a fan of Cosmo's constant deconstructions of "What men REALLY want", which are usually full of patronising drivel, and "Eight Wild Sex tricks that will drive him crazy" followed by a list of banal bedroom activities that I'm sure my mother would not be embarrassed to bring up in polite dinner conversation. But I recognise that these magazines are not for me, and regard my time spent reading them as a spot of undercover action behind the lines of the female psyche.

Swilling lager

Yes, I recognise it is wholly strange to me, but perhaps by learning what women think I want, I will understand them better. Perhaps the fair sex could regard lad mags as an opportunity to learn about how young men think, although even I will admit, it may not be the most pleasant 20 minutes they will ever spend.

Now the Lad (and his mags) is also a real force for good in this world. It may seem hard to figure out why the group of tattooed 20-somethings wearing football shirts and swilling lager in the town centre while whistling at anything wearing a skirt should be worthy of admiration, but let's break this down.

BBC One's Men Behaving Badly
Do boys ever grow up?
The Lad is always an optimist, believing in the best possible result even after decades of disappointment (Charlton fans are a prime example of this). The Lad always looks on the funny side; take any major disaster or tragedy, and within 30 minutes, e-mails around the world will be sent containing jokes to lighten the collective mood; these e-mails are sent by Lads.

The Lad is loyal, Charlton fans again being a prime example. Think of the Lad as a small child, the same simplistic world view, happiness at the simplest things, like someone else getting hurt or embarrassing themselves, and love of toys and gadgets.

Some would say boys never grow up, and this is in essence true, although we do grow to like breasts as toys rather than as a source of food, and we like beer, so one can think of the Lad as a six-year-old alcoholic child with a sex drive.

Age of Lad

Now the world needs Lads, for young women to puzzle over and be frustrated by, for older men to look back on with fondness, and for mothers to pamper and tell off. Even if the pleasure you get from Lads is that you glory in not being one, at least they give you that joy.

So hurray for the Lad, and let's ease off his magazines shall we? For without knowing what's funny this month in the world, and what Jordan looks like topless, where would he be?

He'd still be in the pub farting and laughing about it, that's where, because he existed before Lad's mags, and he'll still exist when they are gone, for he is one of the ages of man. Let's call it the Age of Lad.


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