Then I am probably not the person to ask.
Chances are, if you want to be an Alpha Male, then you are thinking about Christian Grey or any of the other “Alpha Male” Billionaire books that are available on the market.
Now, there are a few “Alpha Billionaire” books that are not bad. The men are actually well rounded and can even – I know I am going to stir the waves when I say this – respect women. They can do this while still being Dominant men that women want to bow to, serve, and service.
Unfortunately, this is not the picture that I see when someone talks to me about the Alpha Male.
What is the Alpha Male?
The Alpha Male is the man whom,
- Other men look up to. He is a leader of men in some way, setting the tone professionally or sexually for what makes up “male prowess.”
- Women cannot resist. This statement can be taken two ways, usually at the same time. On one hand, he is so irresistible that women do not want to say no to him. On the other, he has a bearing and personality that women cannot say no to him, even when they want to.
- Is forceful. He is Han Solo, Rhet Butler, (or any other male romantic lead) taking the kiss (or whatever else) he wants from the woman he desires. He is not violent, threatening, or deceitful (usually). He is more like the lead from the old “Bodice Ripper” stories.
- Is confident and self-assured. He does not doubt his own abilities. More importantly, though, he never lets anyone else call his abilities into question. He is always right because he can make no mistakes.
- Never takes no for an answer. It does not matter if it is a business dealing or romance, no is not in his receptive vocabulary. The only answer you can give him when he wants something is “yes” or better, “yes, Sir.”
What is Wrong with the Alpha Male?
The Alpha Male is usually a boss, not a leader. Leaders listen to those who follow them. They accept criticism and advice, whether from those above them, peers, or those they lead. No is, in fact, in a leader’s vocabulary, though a leader might, in a business atmosphere, want a good and reasoned explanation about the “no.” A leader understands the need to be flexible and that while he or she might want a specific person to take on a task, that person may not be able to for a variety of reasons.
This vision of the Alpha Male as a lover saps his partner of her agency. Consent is fuzzy at best and ignored at worst. While women swooned when Rhet Butler took Scarlett or Han took hold of Leia’s hand and continued to massage it even after she told him to stop, those are idealized scenarios. As the audience, we understand that both Scarlett and Leia wanted their respective men, they just had issues of pride or prejudice to keep themselves blocked off from them.
In real life, simply taking hold of a woman and/or refusing to release her upon request, is assault. To negate someone’s ability to consent is a terrible and traumatic thing. Yes, negotiated scenes can take place within a BDSM dynamic to create those scenarios as role-play. The key there is negotiation, and the one giving up his/her consent does so in a fully-informed manner and still with a way to stop the scene if it becomes too intense.
The Alpha Male is also not as confident as he seems. The traits that we see in many “Alpha” romance scenarios would, in real life, belong to men who are not confident in their own abilities. They force people to follow them not by their magnetic personality, but my manipulation. They do this because whether consciously or subconsciously, they believe this is the only way anyone would follow them. The reality of the Alpha Male is not confidence. It is bluster and self-doubt that he cannot or will not address.
How to Be a Real Man
The idea of someone wanting to be an Alpha Male is the misguided idea of what makes a “real man.” Someone approached me once, wanting me to make them an Alpha Male because he thought it would make him more attractive to women. What he would become, though, would not be someone healthy to any woman he attracted. He would also not be likely to find satisfaction in the kind of relationships that he would form this way.
Why? Because he is inauthentic. He is taking on a caricature of a person and trying to make that his personality. You cannot be an invested partner in a relationship if you are not real. If you are not an invested partner, the other person will not be able to invest what you need in order for you to be fulfilled. Relationships are two-way streets that require honesty, integrity, openness, communication, and compromise.
Compromise is something, by the way, that the Alpha Male never does. Compromise means accepting no and finding a way still work towards an end goal that is needed and/or adjusting the end goal so that partners can work together. Not really an Alpha Male thing to do.
To be a real man, one does not have to take on these Alpha qualities. Being a real man is not about being assertive. Some men are assertive. Some women are assertive. Some of each gender are not or lie somewhere between. Each person is unique. Understanding our unique personalities, recognizing our own strengths and weaknesses, and learning to improve upon ourselves and use both our strengths and weaknesses to our advantage – these are the things that make “real men” and “real women.”
The idea of a “real man” is not an illusion per se. It is just that men have been sold a stereotype that is unrealistic and unhealthy for too long. It is time that men own their own manhood and be proud of who they are, not of who they or “society” thinks they should be.