Disclaimer: We do not encourage drinking alcohol, especially in excess. It is illegal to purchase ANY alcohol under the age of 16. Drinking on school property at any age is strictly prohibited.
We all know that one famous person who may be a bit more laddish than others. The UK has Prince Harry, the USA has George R. R. Martin and North Korea has Kim Jong Un. While we may think of such people as being modern, if one looks back on our history, they will see countless examples of shenanigans made by lads of all walks of life. Here is our compilation of some of the most banterous lads of history.
Jack Churchill, Officer in WWII
Lieutenant Colonel Jack Churchill was a British Officer in World War II. Known for his motto, “Any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed.”, Churchill would go into battle carrying a Scottish broadsword, Longbow and bagpipes. One of his most famous examples of laddism was in former Yugoslavia, when he was knocked unconscious by grenade fire during an attack against German troops. The reason he was unable to retaliate was because, rather than fighting the battle, he was playing “Will Ye No Come Back Again?” on the bagpipes. The Germans decided not to kill him, stating that, “He was too ridiculous to kill.” Churchill, somewhat miraculously, lived to be 89.
Ogodei Khan, Khan of the Mongol Empire
Ogodei Khan was the third son and successor to the far more famous Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan. When Ogodei was coroneted in 1229, he was, without a doubt, the most powerful man on earth. He had the largest empire, stretching from China to the borders of Poland. He also had the largest, most well disciplined and technologically advanced army on earth. He was also a raging alcoholic. Historical texts claim he would go on day long drinking binges, trashing the place while he was at it. Naturally, this isn’t good for leadership, so his siblings held an intervention, the outcome of which was a promise that Ogodei would be limited to one cup of any alcoholic beverage per day. Ogodei agreed. He was a principled ruler, but also a complete lad. To get around the ‘one cup per day’ rule, Ogodei got himself a cup that was nearly the size of his torso, and drank from that throughout the day. What we can learn from this lad is that if you’re going to ruin your life, you might as well do it with style.
Vladimir the Great, Prince of Kievan Rus
No, we aren’t referring to Putin, but Vladimir the Great of the Kievan Rus. The Kievan Rus was a medieval state that formed the foundation for modern day Russia. Vlad was pagan, but decided that paganism was on the way out, and decided to convert to a major organized religion. He sent emissaries to nearby Christian, Muslim and Jewish rulers to decide which religion to convert to. In the end, he was torn between Islam and Orthodox Christianity. Vlad the Lad chose Christianity over Islam, due to Islam’s prohibition on alcohol, stating “Drinking is the joy of all [Russians]. We cannot exist without that pleasure.” When you are one of the central pillars that forms one of the most powerful nations in the world, you may as well be a lad about it.
Boris Yeltsin, President of Russia
Both our second Russian and alcoholic on this list, Boris Yeltsin was the first president of Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He was known for his infamous drinking antics, including one time when he was so drunk on a flight to meet the President of Ireland, his flight intentionally delayed itself in an attempt to sober him up before the meeting. But his best example of laddism has to be in a state dinner with the new president of Kyrgyzstan. The latter wanted to ease relations between the two former Soviet states, a move which Boris did not contribute to whatsoever. The Kyrgyzstani president was incredibly bald and, in a moment of drunkenness, Boris proceeded to take two spoons and play them like a drum on the president’s head. Kyrgyzstan may claim that Boris destroyed relations between the two nations, but to be fair, it was just a bit of banter.
Oscar Wilde, playwright
Oscar Wilde is quite the figure. He was openly gay at a time when it was illegal to be, but he was such a lad (or a ‘glad’, if you will) that people didn’t care. He is best known for his laddish quotes and comebacks, which are what bring him to this list. Some are philosophical; “It is absurd to divide people between good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.” Some are political; “Always forgive your enemies, nothing annoys them so much.” But his two best have to be his right-off-the-cuff moments. First was when he was asked about how he managed to sustain himself through his prison time; “The only thing that sustains one through life is the consciousness of the immense inferiority of everybody else, and this is a feeling that I have always cultivated.” and finally, when he immigrated to France, the customs officer asked if he had anything to declare. Oscar, the glad he is, claimed “Only my genius.”
Baudouin de Boulogne, Count of Edessa and King of Jerusalem
Baudouin de Boulogne, or Baldwin I, was the youngest son of the Count of Boulogne. When the First Crusade was called in 1096, Baldwin and his brother, Godfrey the Ambitiously Named, became generals for the French forces marching into Jerusalem. He was leading armies in the Holy Land and took over the city of Tarsus. He didn’t take it over from a Muslim ruler though, rather from his supposed ally Tancred, who was also leading Crusaders. Baudouin was ordered to give up the city, which he did. Rather than go on fighting, Baldwin, being a lad, quit the crusade and headed east with his friend, Bagrat. Bagrat introduced Baudouin to an Armenian king without children. Baldwin then convinced the king to name him his adopted son and heir, which the king did. Baldwin then, being a lad, allowed the king to be assassinated, had his friend Bagrat tortured and assassinated as well, then proclaimed himself the “Count of Edessa”. While Count, he married an Armenian woman, Arda. While Baldwin was off being a lad in Armenia, his brother, Godfrey the Ambitiously Named, won the Crusade and crowned himself the King of Jerusalem. Godfrey later died, which meant that Baudouin, who shall henceforth be known as ‘The Lad King’, became King of Jerusalem. When the Lad King moved to Jerusalem, he married an Italian woman called Adelaide del Vastro. He married Adelaide, however, without divorcing his living wife Arda, meaning he had technically committed the sin of bigamy (one man, two wives). For that whole story, The Lad King deserves a place on our list of the lads of history.
Andrew Jackson, President of the USA
If Baudouin was the Lad King, then Jackson would be his slightly less psychopathic cousin, the Lad President. Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of America, and perhaps its most controversial. Besides possibly causing financial collapse and wiping out entire regions of Native Americans, Andrew Jackson was otherwise an absolute lad. When he won the election in 1828, he invited a drunken mob into the White House for one massive party, which featured the Lad President engaging in several drunken brawls. While some may claim Presidents like Kennedy or Johnson (who once complained about the size of his massive testicles) could be lads in their own right, none of them ever partied like one like Andrew Jackson.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily endorsed by The Update. We encourage anyone who would like to send an opinion piece to sign up in the join us section of the website.