The alpha male, the top dawg, leader of the pack, the go to guy, whatever you want to call him, we’ve all heard about him. You know… he’s the guy that draws the attention of everyone in the room the moment he enters. He’s the kind of man that men want to be and women… well, women just want him. Yadda yadda yadda. I’m sure there are dozens of definitions and/or clichés I could throw out here to make my point, but I’m sure you all already have a predetermined idea of what an alpha male means to you. The question is, do you enjoy reading about him?
For me, I prefer the broken hero, a guy that seems to be constantly dodging the curve balls life throws his way (and more often than not, catching it right on the chin for his efforts), but still manages to come through each little adventure a better man than when he went in. I want to see a character grow, share in his transformation and give him a mental pat on the back when he manages to pull the situation together. I like to root for the underdog.
I don’t want to read about a guy who has all the answers and knows just what to do in any given situation. Where’s the fun in that? Of course, everything is going to turn out rosy. How could it not with Sir Studly swooping in to save the day? No, I’d much rather see Joe Nobody stumble into a situation he is totally unprepared for and watch him squirm, wiggle and flail and accidentally coming up with the right answer or at least a close enough to right answer that everyone can go home happy at the end of the story.
So, what does it for you in a good tale? Would you rather be whisked away on a grand adventure with a night in shining armor or would you rather read about his not quite so debonair brother who gets caught up in the aftermath of one of his brother’s exploits and surprises everyone (including himself) when he rises to the occasion?