Are you the one who aggressively pursues and gets the girls, or the one who watches quietly from the side-lines, secretly hoping the girl will take notice and make the first move instead? If you’re the former, then you are an alpha male. If you’re the latter, then you’re a beta. The alpha-beta principle puts men in two distinct categories based on how they interact socially, especially with the opposite sex.
The nerd/jock, brain/brawn dichotomy may look fairly clear cut, but it is actually more complex. The reality is that the alpha-beta distinction, which was based on the behaviour of social animals such as wolves and chimpanzees, is not black and white or exclusive, but actually rather open-ended. Being an alpha or a beta can be situational; you can act alpha one minute and switch to beta as the situation arises.
The Royal Alphaness
What makes alpha males’ alpha? Bold, charismatic, competitive and marching to the beat of his own drum, he’s a man’s man. He is gifted with physical prowess and good looks and has a commanding presence in both the boardroom and the bedroom. Results-driven, he knows what he wants and goes for it wholeheartedly. His fighting spirit is legendary. He doesn’t go out of his way to please people; he wants to be accepted and respected for who he is. Resplendent in his sexiness, he can easily charm the pants off women, but make no mistake about it: He may be chivalrous but he’s not a pushover. Women who try to be jealous control freaks around him realise how stubborn he can be. The alpha male won’t necessarily instigate trouble but try to get the better of him and he’ll make you regret it in no uncertain terms.
His royal alphaness, however, is not without flaws. He should guard against being overconfident to the point of arrogance and conceit. Also, his eye-on-the-prize, laser-like focus and no-nonsense attitude can make him somewhat insensitive. Some famous examples of alpha males are James Bond, Gerard Butler, Tiger Woods and Idris Elba.
The Betas: Power Behind the Scenes
The opposite of the alpha male is the beta. He tends to be smart, quiet, creative—poetic even, sensitive, and nonconfrontational. He is usually the shy boy next door with a reputation for being Mr. Nice Guy. He may be highly capable, but he lacks the confidence that alpha males ooze. He puts the needs of others ahead of his own.
Easily flustered, the beta male hates being in the spotlight; he doesn’t want to rock the boat. When hurt, he prefers to sulk instead of letting his feelings known. Fearful of rejection, the dating game is not very easy for him, and he is secretly jealous of the alpha male’s skill at sweeping women off their feet. However, while women are drawn to alpha males like moths to a flame, once they do decide to settle down, they usually prefer to ride off into the sunset with beta males. Famous beta males include Woody Allen, Dr. Phil and Bill Gates.
Getting the Best of Both Worlds
Years ago, at the height of the controversy surrounding the breakup of Hollywood golden couple Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, she supposedly said, “Brad has a missing sensitivity chip” as the reason why the marriage fell apart. I thought, well, what can you expect? Brad was the quintessential alpha male.
Fast forward 10 years and Brad, who is now happily married to the beauteous Angelina Jolie, has stood by her through double mastectomies and removal of her ovaries as preventive measures against cancer. Brad has often spoken about the joys of fatherhood and making sure the couple’s brood of six and his wife always come first. Has true love made Brad shed his alpha? Needless to say, the beta Brad is getting more public admiration than the alpha Brad.
Neither beta nor alpha male is better than the other. But if you are an alpha male who wants to have more beta male qualities, or a beta male yearning to have a shade of alpha, it’s possible. Learn to cultivate certain qualities that may be lying dormant in you and combine the positive alpha and beta traits. After all, there’s nothing more liberating and satisfying than busting stereotypes because well, it’s just unfair and plain boring to be pigeonholed.