The problem we’ve all spent many sleepless nights wrestling with is the hierarchy of the cad. The journey from little rascal to a likeable rogue is easy to trace but the downward spiral from scoundrel to cad is more difficult to understand.

The journey into darkness often starts with particularly bothersome children. Typical behaviour would be refusing to get ready for bed then getting up and climbing out of the window as soon as the bedroom door is closed. If this is considered a minor hiccup on the path to adulthood the other extreme of the condition would be feeding laxatives to next door’s dog. These spirited children are commonly referred to as little rascals who although displaying many enduring characteristics would benefit from a firmer hand at the tiller.

The lovable rogue is just like a little rascal but older and more polished. Many young women like the challenge of taming a lovable rogue and consider them as raw material. The steadying influence of a confident girl will often manage to stifle and ultimately correct the more exuberant excesses of the lovable rogue. Before we go any further let us clear something up. Most teenage boys and young men display characteristics which could be considered as roguish or raffish. This usually plays itself out as the poor creature’s more flamboyant qualities become smoothed out with his passage to adulthood, so anxious parents need not worry.

This colourful behaviour is quite necessary to attract a girlfriend and is probably essential for the survival of the human race. The stronger-willed rogue will deftly sidestep the firm hand of feminine guidance and develop into what is commonly known as the scoundrel. Rascals, rogues, raffs and scoundrels are usually likeable and have a reservoir brimming with charisma. Scoundrels and bounders are essentially the same thing but there are subtle differences that distinguish the two. I won’t confuse the reader with insignificant differences as it would be like trying to identify two different species of similar moths by candlelight.

 Although scoundrels can display roguish behaviour it will always be delivered with panache. Those who willingly fall through society’s safety net descend into the abyss to the charmless state of the cad and rotter. As a rule, the scoundrel has more of a sense of humour, is generally more socially acceptable and probably necessary to help society move along. Most importantly they provide a tremendous service to the nation by keeping the Sunday papers full of interesting stories.

 “Of course, he’s an absolute scoundrel” is often heard at parties but the comment is usually tempered with a wry smile and perhaps a hint of envy and almost certainly a less than healthy interest from bored partners who hadn’t the opportunity to tame a rogue when they were younger.

If we listen carefully to the same comments when discussing the cad they won’t have the same warmth. Loveable rogues, scoundrels and bounders who might have created havoc in their most productive years usually become enormously popular after a suitably respectable period of time has passed between their best and most creative work to their rediscovered celebrity.

 A scoundrel can be the life and soul of a party but usually knows when he has worn out his welcome. A cad is incapable of recognising when his presence at a social event has lost its lustre and enters into the territory of the bore. When younger our proto cad can be recognised as he is prone to temper tantrums which left unchecked can only lead to a life of crafty petulance. He will always let you down. The mature cad is altogether a different species. He is genuinely nasty and never spoken about with the same warmth and is even shunned by other rogues and bounders.

Thankfully he is a rare breed and although everyone loves a rogue nobody loves a cad.