Michael 84

Today’s Lads vs 90’s Lad Culture

Tuesday, 3rd May, 2016


There are no lads left!

At least, not what we labelled ‘lads’ back in the 90s and early 00’s. I was never what they’d call a lad back then, I loved to go out and have a good time, but a lad? Nope, that wasn’t me, people wouldn’t call me that, and I wouldn’t say I was ever a lad either. Still, if we fast forward to the lad culture from the 90’s to today’s so called ‘lads’, they are poles apart in so many ways.

The Stereotypical Lad

Did you miss the 90s/00s? If you’re 25 or under then you’ve probably missed out on the time which was the beginnings of what’s now called lad culture. Being a lad was more or less about going out, pulling girls and having fun, a laugh and not pretty much not caring about anything other than having a good time. It was about drinking lots of beer, the most stereotypical brand being Stella Artois, and washing that down with a couple of alcopops like Smirnoff Ice, Metz or VK.

It was about looking good for a night out, wearing your “Going out shirt” which was always the signal of the start of a good night, then having some banter with the lads in bars while drinking lots and lots of beer, then off to a club where you’d drink enough beer to give you confidence to chat a girl up. All lads loved football, unless they were posh lads, then they loved rugby. It was a time of kebabs, pies, eating whatever you wanted and generally not really caring too much about your physical body appearance, as long as you looked presentable. Music was brilliant, we had Brit Pop like Oasis vs Blur, and Dance from The Prodigy and Fatboy Slim and Hip Hop from Biggie, Tu Pac and Dre.

We were 100% free to be ourselves, to do what we wanted and to say fuck you to everyone and everything. Go hard or go home.

Girls Were The Same – The Ladette

It was true equality. “Whatever lads can do, girls can do too” and they did. It was a time of girl power, ladettes were born and were here to make a stand. This was a good thing. There was equality, lads could go to the pub with girls, they could all drink and have a brilliant time, be themselves and it was good. Lasses could all go out together, get hammered just as much as any of the lads, go to bars and clubs, meet lads and have no expectations. It was a good time for everyone. This was the mainstream, so it wasn’t frowned upon when it was in it’s infancy, other than by the toffs or uber-posh, stuck up ladies.

It was just the same with girls holidays…If you’ve ever seen TV like Ibiza Uncovered, Greece Uncovered and Holiday Reps, they paint a pretty good picture of what the girls holiday scene was about. Although the girly holiday still exists, it’s not really done the same way, and it’s a completely different vibe.

Today's Lads are all about the gym and beach body

Today’s Lads Have Changed

Today’s lad has changed. First of all the look; Today a lad is about having a beach body, going to the gym, working out and taking really good care of yourself. As you can see from this blog, Men’s Lifestyle has totally changed over the years, including the fashion. You’ve got to get the clothing right, all the time. It doesn’t mean fashionable, it means showing off the body you’ve been working on all week. Then there’s the fake tan. Yes, today’s lads wear fake tan. Have we mentioned the eyebrows? You have to get them threaded or shaped. Then there’s eye make-up as well as waxing or shaving. Your male grooming regime has to be on point if you want to make it as a lad these days.

So you’ve got the look, now what do you do when you go out? Beer and alcopops are gone. It’s all about cocktails. We’re talking mojitos and the like, no pints or bottles here. Not only that, meeting up with your friends in bars at 7pm or 8pm is now no more, the bar crawl is dead, long live going to one bar before hitting a club. And it’s not lads getting drunk, because you can’t drink beer like the lads of the 90’s and maintain the beach body, so it’s only a couple of drinks. There just isn’t the same banter, there isn’t the same attitude, and the feel good factor of going out for a good time is gone, it’s more about the look, and telling people (and now showing them) that you’ve had a night out. Living in the moment has gone.

There is no way on Earth that the lads of the 90’s would even consider to talk about their latest eyebrow treatment or what their favourite guyliner was. If today’s lads were out with the 90’s lads, they’d either be laughed at, or possible hit by someone taking offence.

The counterparts, the girls, have also followed suit. Sure, it’s always been the done thing to get your hair done and wear something new for a night out for any girl. But now it’s been turned up a few notches, and attitudes have changed. It’s about the fake tan, hair, nails and eyebrows, looking their best, and generally being unapproachable. The new ladettes, which are the opposite of what a ladette was, have once again put themselves in the girl box, the equality of the 90’s is somewhat gone. Of course this is not every girl, but a stereotype of what I will call for the purpose of this article, “the new ladette”.

From Banter To Bellends

The ‘Lads’ are now toxic. Why has this happened? Well, idiots have ruined what lads were. Being a lad was about generally larking around, having fun, and there was never any malice involved at all. It was humour, sarcasm, irony and tongue in cheek most of the time. A lad can no longer call a lass attractive, because he’s labelled a chauvinist, sexist and generally a disgrace. The new lads ruined this by generally being dickheads. Taking things to extreme, and doing things which are not acceptable such as making dodgy vidoes in Magaluf and jokes which could never be seen as a joke by any sane person.

Even girls are not immune to this, there’s a whole new culture of slut shaming which is girls degrading other girls for looking what once upon a time may be called “Sexy”.

It’s good news if you’re a girl who likes a good looking lad, because now it’s (apparently) OK to look at men as a sexual object, seeing them as a piece of meat and there’s seemingly no problem to label men as hot. It’s taken a complete 180 with it being fine for girls to ogle guys, but unacceptable the other way around.

A Lad Is About Shagging – The New Fuckboys

A lad is about shagging, it always has been and it always will be you may say…Partly true, maybe, but you have to ask yourself, who are they shagging? each other? no. Back in the 90’s sex happened, but it was as much about girls pulling lads as well as the other way around, and everyone knew it. Girls would go out on the pull, lads would do the same, they’d pull each other, and both were happy. Maybe it would lead somewhere, maybe it wouldn’t. There were no expectations, and both parties knew the score. It was also not the be-all and end-all of a good night out, you could have a night out with the lads and not pull, but the idea and anticipation was part of being a lad.

Today’s pulling is a strange mix of lads who think they look better than they do, looking for girls who think they look better than they do. It’s become more about a trophy or merit badge than anything else. But it’s not about numbers, it’s about looks. Today’s lad needs to pull a worldie model, a good looking girl who’s a laugh is no longer good enough. Once this is done, it’s time to move on to the next one who’s got to be better looking. The grass is always greener on the other side for the new generation of lads and lasses.

There’s a new term being banded about, yes it’s the fuckboy. What is this? Well it’s a term given to lads who are only interested in sleeping with girls and have no interest in a relationship. Is this a new thing? Not really, if a guy has a reputation for sleeping around, he has to sleep with someone, a girl, as mentioned above. It seems the people complaining of fuckboys are the ones sleeping with them, the cycle goes on. Does that make these girls, fuckgirls?


Today’s Lads vs 90’s Lads

Today when you think of lads in celebrity culture you’ll probably look at the likes of TOWIE or Geordie Shore. The men on these shows fit the profile of the new lads, and if you asked people they’d probably call them lads. They fit in the criteria above, but they are not like the lads of the 90s. When I think of lads I think of TFI Friday, Noel & Liam Gallagher, All Brit Pop Culture, Men Behaving Badly and Gazza and the infamous dentist chair story. Being a lad in the 90’s was the boyish sense of humour. It was just that little bit cheeky, enough to earn the title of a lad, but not so much that you’d be a complete wanker.  Lads of the 90’s were about having non-stop, total, complete 100% fun and humour and not giving a fuck, with today’s crop more bothered about making sure they have their eyebrows done.

All images copyright to their respective owners and are for editorial use & opinion.

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Michael Adams

About Michael

Michael Adams is the founder and editor of Michael 84, blogger and T-shirt designer from Newcastle, UK. Sharing men's fashion tips, style advice and lifestyle information for all guys.

  1. Bryan Fish Said,

    Nailed it on the head. Top read.

    posted on Monday 25th September, 2017 at 16:29