Monday, October 6, 2008

To Alpha or Not...

Alpha males are big in romance right now. Or are they? I think that the heroes we have now are very romanticized versions of the alpha. I surfed the web in search of a nice neat definition of an alpha. I wasn't surprised when I failed to find one.

The closest was the definition of the alpha mammal (humans qualify!) In the simplest terms, the alpha is the one that everyone else defers to in regard to decisions or wishes. Hmph. Isn't that the male that we used to have prior to feminism? Are we sure we want him back?

It must be hard for men to figure out what women want anymore. We read books with supposed alpha heroes. When we describe the ideal male, he's an alpha male. But the truth is if a true alpha claimed most of us, we'd beat feet the other way.

I'm not sure what we should call the ideal man. Or maybe, I should say my ideal man? What is he like?

I want a man who is capable of defending himself and his family from danger. That defense certainly includes the physical, but I want him to have the judgment and good sense to know when an issue can be settled verbally.

I want a man who can take care of himself and his family... someone who can cook, clean, do laundry, use a hair brush and a vacuum cleaner. Not because I expect him to do those things all the time, but because I want the security of knowing that our children wouldn't suffer if something happened to me.

I want a man who is secure enough within himself to deal with me helping to bring home the bacon--even if I bring home more bacon than he does at some time in our life. I don't want this because I'm anxious to go out there and hunt down that pig, but because bad things happen in life and some day we might have to switch places.

I want a man who isn't afraid to be both tender and disciplined with our children. I'm tired of always being the bad guy. And children respond really well to those deep rumbly tones of a male voice.

I want a man who is willing to put me first. If he has to make a choice between any other person in the world and me, I will come first every time. If our children play conquer and divide, they'll lose because we always stand together.

I want a man who is willing to commit for a lifetime.

You'll notice that there are no physical descriptions in any of the above. The physical changes. Age gets us all. But the important things aren't affected by age. They're things that are influenced by attitude. I think that's what women find so attractive. They find that attitude of self-confidence and competence very, very attractive. They fall in love with the man who has the confidence to admit that he doesn't know a darn thing about a car engine, but he can discuss the merits of three different types of crochet hooks. The man who is equally capable of changing a diaper and undressing his slightly tipsy wife demonstrates that he's a true man for all seasons and reasons.

Where is this ideal man?

I think I left him in the bedroom...



  1. AMEN! I had to laugh when my sis called me and said she'd gone out with her 'ideal man'...and couldn't stand him! She married a man totally opposite of what she thought she was looking for in a mate.

    I think maybe we all do that. I know I did!

  2. I'm personally really tired of alpha male heroes in romance stories--the huge guy who's always taking control, telling her what to do, and seems to never, ever respect her abilities, except when it comes to giving head (so inexperienced, but soooo good at it! Gag).

    My natural reaction to the typical alpha domineering bossing around is to do the exact opposite. I'm contrary by nature. Just ask my ideal man--he loves my contrariness, expects and encourages it. It becomes a method of flirting.

    My ideal man sees me for who I am and doesn't try to coddle me, command me, or protect me. He makes me laugh, makes it hard to get up in the morning, and makes a wonderful breakfast. He cuts my sandwiches in funny shapes so I'll remember that he loves me (not that there's any danger of that). He is my partner, not my boss.

  3. What are you doing with my husband in your bedroom? Bad Anny! Seriously, I think you're right. The real guy wins out over the imaginary alpha with me every time.

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  5. And I thought that was the man in my bedroom. OMG! Don't tell me, he's traveling the circuit! Great Post!

  6. Anny,

    Alpha is what we call a man who is strong, confident without being "too" cocky and intelligent. We call a man Alpha when he is in control without being controlling. When his hygenie is important to him, when he is important to him. We call a man Alpha when he does the right thing. When he shoots from the gut/heart.

    That's "my" definition of Alpha. as a male romance writer, I damn well better know! Good post!

    Sascha Illyvich

  7. Thank you to all of you that responded. After forty years together, I'm pretty happy with my "alpha"...

  8. Hey, you didn't leave room for me to comment. Your descriptions are great. I'm sure you said "intelligent" and "humorous" - they are absolute imperative in a hero and in my personal life. We may be getting older but being alive and reasonably well keeps the wheels turning and life interesting.


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