Women and Men: I wanna be in your gang, oh yeah

They get blind drunk and they dance badly. They thump each other and boast about football, sex and beer. 'Why can't I be a lad, too?' demands Monique Roffey
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sometimes I want to be a lad. If this sounds sad, let me explain. I don't want to be a laddish girl, or an honorary lad, or a female version of the real thing, because there is no female version of the lad. Sometimes, I'd just like to be an actual lad. I'm not saying I don't like being a woman, because I do. It's just that female stereotypes are different, and they don't include, or come near to, what lads are like.

When lads get together, on the maturity Richter scale, they score a big fat zero. Lads I know and love do the following things: thump each other and give each other dead arms. Fight and throw each other on to cars. Get arrested for fighting and throwing each other on to cars. Push each other over. Try to suspend the drunkest one of them upside down out of the windows at parties. Fall over and hurt themselves quite a lot. Boast and compete about everything (football and girls.) Drink heavily and dance badly. Pull. Good looking lads are shy and awkward with women. Ugly lads are confident. Both types always get laid. Because most women like lads and think they're boyish, incorrigible rogues.

Lads are funny. No, they don't stand around "telling jokes" and trying to be witty; it's a group behaviour thing. When together, they regress in age. They're in the playground again talking, lying and boasting about their knowledge of football and girls. Except they're grown men. Yet this form of basic childish communication is probably the most comfortable form of being themselves. No sophisticated chat, no intelligent post-modern philosophising, no trying to rationalise feminist ideas. Lads are just grown men with all their defences down.

I suppose that's where my lad envy lies. I like them so much, and they make me laugh so much that I wish I were one of them and had friends like them too. Weedy? Yes. Girly? Yup. Completely pathetic. But I suffer from a blushing younger sister type Lad Crush. I long to get up to the same stupid pranks.

Women just don't act stupid, rowdy, boastful or boisterous. They're too grown up, and, okay, I'll say it, a bit wet. They don't want to go out on a Friday night, get very drunk, fall over, chat people up and pull. Okay, woman do want to pull, but just not in such a gung-ho, immature and seedy way. In general, women are mature and complex. They like "conversation'' and don't like getting their clothes rumpled. They think that being drunk and immature is unsexy.

Maybe it is. But it's still fun. When I'm having lots of fun, I don't really care what I look like and I'll quite happily sacrifice looking sexy. Lads also bond with each other easily. Laddism is a kind of unacknowledged friend-making/personality screening code among men. I've seen men who've never met before bond instantly over a game of five-a-side football or a pint and a chat (about football).

Within minutes of being introduced they are swapping stories, shared tastes, interests and common reference points. They use a kind of shorthand sussing and recognising each other without having longwinded and very personal socio/psycho-sexual self-analysis sessions. Lads aren't unemotional, they just like to keep certain feelings private.

Women on the other hand are hyper-sophisticated communicators. Bonding/meeting or getting to know new women can often be an emotionally demanding and draining experience. The more emotionally articulate the conversation is, the better the conversation as far as most women are concerned. Sitting around watching sport on telly, drinking beer and eating pizza seems dull and stupid to most women. But not to me.

The fact is that I will never get to be a lad. The big mistake is plumping for the next best thing and trying to act like one. We've all met laddish girls who genuinely want to be mistaken for a bloke. That's not my thing. My thing is part boy crush, part platonic friend envy. I fancy lads and wish some of my girlfriends would loosen up and be as silly.

Maybe this is just a feminist fantasy. Men don't like women who get blind drunk. Apparently it doesn't suit us - we get tearful, loud and messy. Men can carry it off, women can't. As long as this is the general attitude to women and alcohol, we won't loosen up and get silly for fear of putting men off. So a Catch 22 exists. Female lads don't exist for fear of being unappealing to lads. And herein lies the key. Most women would rather bonk a lad than be one. Whereas I want both. Like I said... a feminist fantasy.

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