Society has this preconceived notion that single women are quintessentially going for the Alpha Male. Both in the natural and social sciences, the “alpha male” refers to someone who seems to have been born to be the leader of the pack. In singles bars, this alludes to that eligible bachelor with the alleged top 3’s in women’s must-have lists: power, charm, and physical superiority.
An alpha dog asserts his status by staring the rest of the pack down. Among gorillas, the alpha male intimidates his troop to maintain that status. The human animal is no different. In teen flicks, it’s easy to spot the alpha male. Chances are that he’d be a top jock dating the alpha female: the head cheerleader or the rich bitch stereotype with the fabulous clothes and glorious hair.
Apparently, alpha males across species
get the choicest pick of females for their mates. This explains why Googling “alpha male” would point you to sites that tell guys how to become an alpha male–or at least how to fake it. The basic assumption is that we, women, would fawn over them and be at their heels 24/7.
True, there’s something strangely attractive about the alpha male, whether he’s playing the role of the popular jock or the bad boy. Let me illustrate. Like other pinays, I adored Asia’s most favorite alphas: Dao Ming Si (Taiwan’s Meteor Garden) and Gu Jun Pyo (South Korea’s Boys Over Flowers), characters playing the Doumyouji Tsukasa counterparts in their live versions of the Japanese manga, Hana Yori Dango. He is the leader of the elite group F4 and the classic bully–rude, obnoxious, overbearing, outrageously rich, and gorgeous. The public’s phenomenal response to the character reinforced most men’s belief that an insult is actually a backhanded compliment and a miracle method to getting their dream girls.
By contrast, Hanazawa Rui, Hua Ze Lei, or Yoon Ji Hoo (of Hana Yori Dango, Meteor Garden, and BOF, respectively) is the classic beta male. In some species, the males choose a mate in pairs. The beta males help alphas court their mates, BUT they get to take over only if the alpha dies. This is the good guy who doesn’t get the girl in the end. He listens–and understands–and he’s always the one who gets things fixed every time the girl he secretly cares about is in trouble or heartbroken. For other men, though, he would seem to be the omega–the weakest of the pack, the “feminine male,” or “emotional male.” His sensitivity often makes him appear weak in the eyes of his peers.
Some men think that nice guys finish last, and they sometimes do. In the Taiwanese sequel (Meteor Garden II), Shan Cai was originally supposed to end up with Lei. The fans were outraged, so the story had to be rewritten to accommodate a Dao Ming Si-Shan Cai happily ever after. Still, it would be poor logic to take the fans’ preference to Dao Ming Si as proof to the claim that women would always choose the alpha male. In fact, I must say that what made the character most lovable was his conscious effort to transform gradually into someone who treats others with respect. That’s what women really find irresistible: the ultimate fantasy–the possibility of a man deciding to change to keep a relationship and make it grow. Not the alpha image by itself.
I believe that in real life, women are better off with the beta male. It’s difficult enough to imagine men being monogamous without them having to be alpha males, born with piercing eyes and roguish smirks. Even in the animal kingdom, the alpha male almost always has multiple mates. With the way the typical alpha male treats women, you must have a very poor self-image to want to subject yourself to emotional–if not physical–abuse. Either that or you’d have to be seriously deranged. Besides, being in the company of someone with enough braggadocio to drive away the much-needed rain clouds in this global-warmed world will make you want to throw yourself into a dried up dam.
The alpha male may catch a woman’s fancy for a short while, although it will probably be long enough to get her to bed. However, if it is a fulfilling relationship that you’re after, going alpha may not be a wise choice. I used to think that women make wrong choices in men because we don’t look more closely into personality. Now, I understand that what we really need to evaluate is compatibility in values instead of personal attributes and interests. And in my book, the beta man is the better man.