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Ladult

It’s tough being young and male these days. People keep reinventing you or keep trying to fit you into ever-changing stereotypes. In the 1990s, there was the Loaded type, all “greed is good” brashness and conspicuous consumption; then came the caring, sensitive, and non-aggressive New Man; the style- and appearance-obsessed, high-earning young urban Metrosexual, deeply in touch with his feminine side; and last year the confident, unashamedly masculine, stylish Übersexual, politically aware and passionate about world causes. Some pundits are predicting 2006 will be the year of the Ladult. As the name suggests, he is of a laddish persuasion but can be adult when it matters. (Lad and laddish here are British and Commonwealth slang for a boisterously macho or high-spirited young man.) He was noted last summer — perhaps more correctly invented — by the crystal ball-gazing experts at the Future Laboratory, who suggested that he might turn out to be the partner of another of their creations, the young woman whom they acronymised as HEIDI (highly educated, independent, degree-carrying individual).

Ladult: This is the Loaded lad who has grown up now he’s reached his thirties — though he still rides a 50cc Vespa. In a settled relationship, he’s just had his first child, and is a keen, enthusiastic and careful father. Old habits die hard and occasionally he still likes to “get bladdered” but he’s always up first thing for the morning feed. He read About A Boy and cried at the sad bits.

Independent on Sunday, 31 Oct. 2005

Long live the Ladult. He is single, assured, solvent and secure in his new-found masculinity. Aged between 25 and thirtysomething, the Ladult works moderately hard at middle management. ... He spends a lot on gadgets and DVDs, and enjoys poker, online gambling and even fly fishing. He irons his own shirts and can cook simple meals. He has no problem with the notion that women are his equals, but secretly thinks they are different.

Observer, 1 Jan. 2006

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 21 Jan. 2006

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The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

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Last modified: 21 January 2006.