Thursday, October 25, 2007

Guest Post: Lad Lit vs. Chick Lit

Can debauchery ever be as marketable as romance?

Chick Lit
– a well established genre of writing, usually written by women for women and dealing with issues such as fashion, shopping and men. The female lead character, always good looking but she rarely knows it, stumbles from one no-good guy to another, before falling madly in love with Mr Perfect. Mr Perfect proves stubborn at first, but then comes to his senses, sweeps the girl off her feet and takes her for a romantic weekend in Paris aboard his private jet where he proposes mid-orgasm while conceiving their first set of triplets.

Lad Lit
aka Boychik Lit, Guy Lit, Dick Lit, or Fratire
– a new breed of novel, usually written by men for men and dealing with issues such as drinking, vomiting, and sex. The male lead, never good looking and he always knows it, stalks one unobtainable girl after another, before falling madly in love with a keg of beer and numbing his pain on a nightly basis. Just when all hope seems lost, he finally finds a girl who will drop her knickers in his presence and wipe the crusting vomit from his face in the morning. His life is complete.

With the definitions out of the way, we can now get down to the nitty-gritty. Let us first consider the market appeal of each of these species of book. More women read novels than men, due no doubt to their inherent capacity to multi-task. Women are freely able to read books whilst simultaneously performing activities such as bossing men around, telling men they have small penises, chatting about loser-men to their girlfriends, and boasting about how much better they are at multi-tasking than men. Being aimed at women, Chick Lit therefore clearly has the advantage in market appeal. This is particularly true as men are too busy playing video games and browsing ever more depraved pornography to even consider picking up a Lad Lit novel.

Maybe, then, we should consider the potential for multi-million dollar movie spin-offs. While gross-out comedies clearly have their place in the market, their box office pull is dwarfed by that of the chick flick. It’s not too difficult to drill down and analyse the reasons for this, which all revolve around the fact that men need sex more than women. You see, men are so desperate for a good dose of sweet lovin’ that they will happily endure another vomit-inducing Anne Hathaway movie on a Friday night. They will even put up with a tortuous 4 hour Legally Blonde DVD marathon if there is the merest sniff of some panty action to be found at the end of the night. Women, on the other hand, would much rather go without sausage for eternity than watch a Will Ferrell film or yet another sequel to American Pie.

So should Lad Lit authors resign themselves to the fact that there just isn’t the market out there to sustain a living from their smut-filled pages? Yes, we should. But in the absence of that kind of common sense, we should instead focus on making our work more chick-friendly. Love, romance and premenstrual should no longer be regarded as dirty words, and women should no longer be treated as slabs of meat to be rated, ridiculed and drooled over. Well, at least not on even and odd numbered pages. This is a new world order, where proud owners of titties and todgers are all welcome to enjoy the delights of the modern Lad Lit novel.

Craig Alan Williamson is the author of the chick-friendly Lad Lit college comedy novel ‘A Foreign Education’. He welcomes all sexes to sample the opening chapter of his book at or buy the paperback from Amazon using the links below.


1 comment:

daboychik said...

Craig, now yer talkin. OK you got your tongue in your cheek but you might as well park it there until something tastier comes along.

Your genre formulas are a bit restrictive, methinks. That's why I was ranting about boychik lit being hipper fratire, in that I'd want it to be more ambitious and less tiresome than the joys of falling down drunk. Like Maggie Ball, I keep asking "But is it literature?" That might sound stuffy, so put it this way: "Is fratire just pulp?" Need not be, I think, and certainly more interesting and worthy of discussion if it's not.

I do have more to say about where chick lit came from and where it might go. I just read Topaz Woman by Christine Candland, and I'll be posting a review here. Not strictly chick lit, but it got me thinking about a story about a woman, written by a woman, and intended mainly (IMO) for women.

Right on, Craig. Too bad you were born on the wrong side of the pond so we can run you for President!