When I first set off on my journey to improve my dating life and to understand the underlying principles of social dynamics, one concept that always seemed to come up in whatever forum, blog, article, book or video that I consumed was the concept of the “Alpha Male” and how this idealized paragon of pure testosterone and brass-balled masculinity was supposed to act. No matter who was authoring the piece or post, the general concepts were always the same; in order to be an “Alpha,” you had to both look and act the part. Appearance wise, you had to be on par with an elite level professional athlete or male model, that at least, goes without saying. Behaviorally speaking, definitions tended to vary, but the vast majority of them talk about being aggressive, domineering, almost Machiavellian in outlook, borderline narcissistic, taking things for yourself, and overall, acting like what people is most non-romantic and non-sexual interactions would call an asshole. After all, the popular narrative in online forums goes, all women love “bad boys,” the ones who don’t call, don’t text, don’t care. “Nice guys” who do not act like this are automatically relegated to the friend zone at best, and outright ignored at worst. Therefore, if you learn how to be an overbearing, loud, obnoxious prick, you too can get the girl of your dreams (or many girls at once, whatever you like), and you’ll never have to worry about being lonely or unwanted ever again. In addition to being the dominant paradigm on men’s dating forums and men’s advice articles, this is also the narrative that many of the PUA-related products will try to sell you on. Become the Alpha, the Bad Boy, and any “HB10” will be yours with the snap of your fingers.
It’s an attractive and seductive piece of marketing: Just learn a few techniques, behaviors, dress a certain way, and you’ll be sleeping with supermodels and partying with celebrities in no time at all. The only problem is: The real world doesn’t work that way. As a disclaimer, I’m not saying that working on yourself, your dress sense, your attitude, and your behavior is a waste of time or a bad idea, quite the contrary. I always encourage my clients to become the best version of themselves that they can be, they’re not going to attract their ideal women if they don’t! The two main issues I have with this paradigm are:
- The idea that there is only one, extremely narrow and exclusive view on what an “Alpha” is, and
- You will get loads of girls by learning to take on the asshole or bad boy attitude.
So, What Exactly is an “Alpha?”
As stated above, the general consensus is that an alpha is typically someone who is:
-Always getting his way
-Never “giving up value” to anyone in his group
– The most authoritative speaker
– The one who always makes the final decisions
– The one who is constantly ‘taking the lead”
While there is nothing wrong with aspiring to be the type of man described here, it would help us to at least consider the following situations:
- Is the broke, out of work musician with the bad boy persona who sleeps with many women more “alpha” than the seven-figure a year corporate executive who is completely devoted to one woman and his kids?
- If that same corporate executive loses his job and income, is he still alpha?
- A professional football player lets his wife decide where to go out to eat, and then while at the restaurant, he holds his wife’s purse for her and pulls out her chair. Is this man somehow less alpha because he’s apparently “pussywhipped?”
- If an overweight, balding, out of shape guy happens to be a powerful CEO who manages and leads 500 people, is he more alpha than a “hot” guy who works a menial job for minimum wage?
- Is the dude who looks like Comic Shop Guy from The Simpsons an alpha because he’s the highest ranking and most respected member of his social group that consists mostly of other nerds, several of whom are women he’s attracted to?
You can see that the waters can become quite a bit murky when you steer away from broad stereotypes and zoom in the proverbial microscope to start to see the real personal individual differences and idiosyncrasies that maneuver most real people away from simple broad brush labeling. The major problem here is, once again, that human beings tend to submit to binary, black and white thinking when it comes to “alpha-ness.” You are either a raging ball of pure (traditional) masculinity, pushing people out of the way, talking down to others, acting like an asshole, while taking any woman you want (up to and including the girlfriend or wife of another man), or you are otherwise a complete “beta” who is destined to be crushed under the heel of the almighty alphas, and you will never know the scent of a woman for the rest of your born days. Unfortunately, when you read online forums and commentaries, as well as listening to people offline in the “real world,” many men actually do take this view seriously.
For me, I don’t see this way of thinking being borne out in the real world. Just taking a look around a large city such as New York on a typical day, I see plenty of examples of men of all types , whether they fit the traditional “alpha” mold or not, who are often out with their girlfriends and wives. Not only that, but from my own personal observations (I love to people watch), not looking, acting or carrying yourself like the popular definition of “alpha” has little bearing on the level of attractiveness of their partners. The fact is, you can’t chalk everything up to a simple formula, because there is no formula. The hot chick in the sexy dress who you’d think would be going after the professional athlete at first glance, might actually find that cute physicist to be just her type. The pretty, yet quiet librarian might find the loud, assertive executive to really turn her on. Women are not a one-size-fits-all single-minded entity who all want exactly the same things. If they did, you wouldn’t be seeing women out with different types of men, literally every guy who had a girlfriend would have the exact same characteristics.
So, does this mean that Alpha’s don’t exist? Well, I wouldn’t be so quick to say that. I definitely think that they do exist, but the actual definition of this is much broader than people tend to think. For me, an alpha is someone who is anyone who is secure in themselves, knows what they want, and takes steps to maximize their lives, in whatever fields, interests, hobbies or jobs that give them the most pleasure. it doesn’t matter if your goal is to dominate in the corporate setting, excel on the playing field, write the next great American novel, produce the next hit platinum album, or become teacher of the year. An alpha is someone who strives for excellence in what they do. It has nothing to do with being domineering, stepping on others, treating people poorly, or any of that. Furthermore, when you are acting like a true alpha by living your purpose and doing your thing, it tends to lead you towards meeting the right kinds of women, anyway.
Do Alphas exist? Yes, but it is up to you to decide what it is and what that looks like.
Part 2 is coming soon, where I’ll discuss the common myths around “alphas” and how the misunderstandings surrounding the term spread, and what we can do to overcome them.