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In Punjabi, ‘layla’ means a young male goat. It is also a euphemism for handsome teenage boys on the verge of puberty who have sparse visible facial or body hair.

The word comes from rural Punjab. In rural areas, people can be candid in expressing their sexuality and desire without fearing judgment from those with high or middle-class urban morality.

Usually, laylay (plural) are in their late teens, exhibiting certain features attractive to male adults around them. Koola Laila (soft teen) is another way the word is put out. Pederasty has a deep and troubling history worldwide and, more acutely, in the region. Although the term often implies that there’s a deep sexual desire aroused by laylay, that is not necessarily always the case. Sometimes boys are called laylay by those who genuinely appreciate their physical beauty. Furthermore, some men prefer to witness a layla circumnavigate life to adulthood playing a spiritual mentor or often a sugar daddy's role.

There's a Seraiki song, "Honda," by Arshad Hussain and Fiaz Hussain Sanjrani, sung from the viewpoint of a sugar daddy seducing a layla with the promise of getting him a new Honda bike. It goes like this: ‘yaari tu laa, navaan honda tayaar desun, kay shay di kammi taiku asloo na yaar desun’ (Be my buddy, and I will give you a new Honda as a gift. I will meet your every need).

Note: Words like Layla do not make it to official dictionaries, not just because of what they imply, but because they almost hide as intangibles of culture (or language), with no sense of universality attached to them. They are only used and felt, and known in certain subcultures. They are as local as they come. That doesn’t mean they aren’t significant enough to be recorded.


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