Alpha & beta men is such a pile of crap

Self portrait - Do I really need to spell it out for you?

After being introduced to Mr Nerd Love following my thoughts on the ties between male and female liberation.

I read the Science of Nice Guys and Assholes.

One of the never-ending struggles for men is the dichotomy of the Nice Guys vs. the Tough Guys. The Nice Guy is sexually null, a pathetic being who can’t earn a woman’s affection through his own worth and so attempts to weasel his way into her heart (and pants). The Tough Guy though… he’s the dude to be, right? Adored by men, beloved by women. He’s the alpha, the bad boy, the one who pushes the Nice Guy aside and bangs his girlfriend, his sister and his mom.

The idea of the dominant alpha male as the superior mate has long been a trope among pick-up gurus, Red Pill advocates and the like, often pointing to studies that have shown the correlation between dominance and attraction. Clearly, being alpha is the key to getting chicks, right?

This is something which comes up again and again. If you are not alpha you are a sucker and you need to be an alpha. Dominate and control!

I call total ball to the whole thing. Like most things, this exists on a spectrum and is heavily based on context and other factors. If you were alpha all the time, you wouldn’t let your partner see people who could be potentially a rival to you. You would excise such dominance and lack of empathy, you would end up being more of psychopath and end up driving you and others nuts.

Alpha and beta are states which anybody can exist in and anything between. If you ask most women which one they prefer, they naturally go for alpha but how many would get tired of the man telling her what she can wear, who she can talk to, where she can go. That level of domance would get very tiring very quickly (the first date?). The red pill advocates are gearing men up for total failure. But on the flip side, beta men who have this passive aggressive nature are worrisome too. I mean these things tend to bubble over into something scary and nasty when you are least expecting it. Theres only so much holding down you’re feelings you can do before it bubbles over.

Now to be clear… this doesn’t necessarily apply just to heterosexual relationships but as its my reference I’ll stick to that for now.

I love the total debunking of the nature argument I have heard so many times in the past.

“alpha/beta” divides don’t actually exist in nature, The concept described the behavior of wolves in captivity, which immediately becomes like trying to base assumptions of human social behavior on reruns of Oz and Orange is the New Black.

Even among primates, the idea of the domineering alpha who leads the pack through aggression falls apart very quickly.  In fact, in one famous study of a savannah baboon troupe, the aggressive and violent males were wiped out after stumbling upon a garbage dump near a tourist lodge. This became their primary foraging site and, in keeping with “traditional” dominance, the aggressive males prevented the less-aggressive ones from eating. As a result: the aggressive males contracted tuberculosis from eating tainted meat and died, leaving the less aggressive males and females in charge. Not only did the troupe start displaying far less aggression and greater social cohesion, but stress levels (measured via hormonal testing) plummeted. Even new males who joined the troupe would adopt the more conciliatory and less aggressive behavior.

The whole idea of being alpha falls back to a time when collaboration and cooperation wasn’t so needed (although I would argue this was never). Like the example above social cohesion is so important now and into the future. This is partly why the EU Referendum is so frustrating. Lets not use our heads and work things out (that’s so beta man), no lets just run away like little children on our own little island. Lets all eat tainted meat together!

The performance of manhood plays straight into the fragility of traditional toxic masculinity – being alpha is a precarious position that can be taken from you at any time. Hence the renewed popularity of “cuck”1 as an insult; if “your” woman were to bang someone else, then clearly you aren’t alpha, bro. It’s the fear of having your masculinity stolen, distilled and weaponized and leveraged at others lest it be thrown at you. That core of insecurity takes it’s toll on you on a deep level. The stress of maintaining that front wears at you. It eats at your self-esteem and makes it harder to trust others or to work with them successfully. You have to guard your back at all times against challengers

At all times, as said previously this isn’t a sustainable state and turns you into a asshole or worst still a psychopath.

Cubicgarden

There are times when I’m thinking and quiet, there are times when I’m alpha and just rolling from one thing to another. For example in my secondary school you needed to be alpha with some people as they were actively looking for weakness to take advantage of you. But other times also at school I was beta in lessons, listening to teachers and trying to get along and help others. It’s also worth pointing out as I said, these are spectrums and I didn’t just switch from one to another because frankly that would also be a little odd.

The best men are a mix of both and can slide into one or the other when needed (they are also very good at recognizing when). They are a genuinely good men, not an alpha or a beta just good.

Men who demonstrate – not tell, show –  that they’re agreeable and friendly are also showing higher levels of social intelligence and a greater ability to work well with others. On a strictly selfish level, somebody who demonstrates greater levels of prosocial behavior is someone who will benefit the group overall. It also shows that they’re someone who can be trusted, relied upon and who values others. Being a genuinely good guy – rather than a Nice Guy – makes others feel valued, and that makes them want to spend more time with him.

I understand the frustration of seeing the centre of your attentions heading off with another person, we have all been there (fear of rejection)! But chalking up to you not being alpha enough is total bollox. Theres a million other reasons like hey maybe she’s just not into you (no matter what people say, there is no way to force someone to like you! or they would sell a ton of it).

Be true to yourself, don’t try and be someone else.

If you want to be the kind of guy women love, then don’t try to be the Alpha guy. Don’t be the “nice” guy. Just be the good guy.

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.