While the article was almost certainly written with an agenda, I found it an enjoyable read not so much for any new information it imparted, but more because of a feeling of justification. For my own beta-male status, and for the status of nearly every hero Willsin Rowe has ever written.
(I phrase it that way because, as Abi Aiken, I've co-written a few Alpha males. And as a whole other pen-name, I've solo written several others.)
My story "Playing House" features a male lead who is quite simply too even-tempered and understanding a guy to be the quintessential Romance Alpha Male. I wasn't trying anything smarty-pants, like "breaking the genre" with him, I was simply writing a dude who I'd like to be friends with. I did actually expect to get marked down in reviews for making him a beta-male. Turns out the blisteringly-negative reviews all came from a hatred of my heroine. I don't think Mark even got noticed in those cases, but then that might simply be more evidence of his non-Alpha status. If he didn't annoy any of the readers who disliked the story, then he definitely wasn't Alpha enough!
I am, in fact, planning to release several other stories which are unrelated to Playing House but which will also feature a more measured and adaptable hero than Alpha Males tend to be. They'll all be under a loose heading of something like Beautiful Betas.
I do believe my attraction to beta-males is more than just the fact I can see myself in them. It also has a basis in the fact I don't particularly enjoy the company of most men. I didn't form good relationships with other males in childhood, due to moving around a lot and having only a sister as a constant companion, among other things. I find myself too globally-logical to make the usual macho assertions about my place at the top of every single food chain I've ever seen. While male relationships are far more complex than just that, it seems they all have to pass through that stage in order to become complex. I simply don't have the stamina to get through the metaphorical cock-measuring.
I'd rather spend my time with women, and a quick check of my Facebook friends list would add weight to that concept. I don't know the numbers but I'd be surprised if dudes made up more than 10% of that list.
One of my other little bug-bears about it all is actually an odd complaint. From late primary school onward, people have seen in me the qualities of Alpha. As soon as they possibly could, they'd install me as captain of whatever team I was in. I say it's an odd complaint because surely one of the elements of being an Alpha is that people recognise you as one. Of course, an even more important element is seeing that trait within yourself. If you need to be TOLD you're an Alpha...you ain't one, in my opinion.
I've always seen in myself the qualities of being an excellent vice-captain, deputy, lieutenant...essentially, I'm a brilliant 2IC.
Anyway, back to the article.
Finding that piece was interesting in and of itself, but it inspired me to go searching for something more scientific. After all, it was more of a human interest thayng than hard evidence or data.
The first thing I found was a website which took a drastically different approach.
It's actually rather difficult to sum up, but essentially, it revolved around how the Alpha Male gets it all. Lands all the jobs. Drives all the cars. Fucks all the pussies (or all the asses AS LONG AS THEY'RE WOMEN'S ASSES, BECAUSE GAYS ARE, LIKE, TOTES NOT ALPHAS AND SHIT AND YOUS DON'T WANNA BE ASSOCIATED WITH THE NON-ALPHA HOMOS AND SHIT LIKE THAT, RIGHT, YA PUSSY! AND NOTICE HOW IT WASN'T A QUESTION! AND NEITHER WAS THAT...IT WAS AN ORDER TO NOTICE IT WASN'T A QUESTION!)
That second site was not content to simply define in the narrowest sense exactly what an Alpha Male is, it also took the time to point out in strong, derogatory terms, exactly why it was that beta-males were just no damn good. I don't recall it mentioning gammas or omegas or...uh...lambda males. The overall tone of the website was haranguing at the very least. Urging all men to get on board and learn the traits and behaviours of Alpha Males (I'm starting to feel I should put a ™ on that).
I digress, though, so let me bring it back around to where I started.
That article I first mentioned was written by a woman, about her husband. About the many and varied ways his beta-male behaviour complemented her own needs and wants, and how they were a team working toward a similar goal. Paying their bills, feeding their children, striving for a fulfilling life. Each of them taking turns being strong because the other needs time to be weak. It's not the stuff of Romance novels, but it certainly doesn't go astray in real life.
The website I mentioned later? Well, there would be no prizes for guessing it was not only written by a man...it was the website for his Alpha Male Training Course. The ol' "give me tons o' cash and I'll show you how not to be sucked in by people like me telling you you're no damn good" trick. Do Exactly As I Say, Every Day For The Rest Of Your Life And You'll Never Have To Take Orders Again!
Alpha Males definitely have their place. And despite my own tone throughout this blog, I do respect the true Alphas in our world. They're not always likable, and that's part of the point.
But my heart will always be with the betas. We're the world's vice-captains...and we're often excellent captains of vice! Fnarr fnarr...