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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Alphas vs. betas

Just came across the Roissy blog for the first time today:

I spent over an hour reading it, and it's quite good. Roissy's main subject is the subtle psychological ploys involved in womanizing. He makes brief forays into politics (he is extremely conservative/libertarian) and movies. He's an excellent writer, and brutally honest about every subject he writes on. There is a lot of talk on his blog about how alpha males get more women than beta males.

True enough.

The first time I heard the terms alpha and beta used in that context, I figured that being alpha was a matter of hormones. If you were built like a silverback gorilla, and perhaps vaguely resembled one, then you were an alpha. Some men are genetically gifted that way, some aren't. But in fact, in our society, being alpha has more to do with money than muscles. (Compare the beauty of billionaires' wives to that of bodybuilders' wives.)

According to Roissy, it has even more to do with the way one behaves. He advocates subtlely advertising your alpha status. One example would be to not act at all defensive about your lack of social status. Another would be to pretend not to be concerned about whether your target will go to bed with you.

But he got me to thinking about alpha vs. beta males. Much of what is described as alpha behavior (not by Roissy, but elsewhere) is generally synonymous with boorishness. Alpha males are selfish, presumptuous, inconsiderate, and have a great sense of entitlement. Beta males, on the other hand, are self-effacing, forgiving, eager to please, and yes, sappy. Despite female protests to the contrary, in fact alpha males are what they go for. Hence the old saw about girl loving bad boys.

Personally, I've disliked every guy I've ever known who has prided himself on being an alpha male -- and must constantly assert himself as one. (This, by the way, is not Roissy-recommended behavior.) I can't imagine any woman being able to stand them in the long run, either. I'm not denying that acting alpha -- in a non-aggressive way -- can pay off. But, for the most part, they are not pleasant company.

Spoken like a true beta, I guess.


Anonymous said...



John Craig said...

Interesting, an entire blog (well, all of 14 posts) named after that concept.

I'm not sure I like this classification system. I wouldn't want to act like an alpha because alphas = a$$holes. I wouldn't want to be a beta because betas = losers. And the suspicion lingers that gammas are just betas who want to call themselves something else.