Yesterday I took a workout at the local pool with a guy named George, who is 6'2" and 220 pounds of solid muscle. His brother, also a former swimmer, was staying with him for Christmas, and worked out with us. At one point while chatting with his brother, I pointed at George and said, "Alpha male." Then I gestured at myself and said, "Beta male."
I realized later that saying this had actually made me feel good, not because it was the right (diplomatic) thing to say, but because it was....liberating. Such an admission is in fact a free pass not to have to constantly live up to some ridiculous macho standard.
Fellows: Try it, you may find it works that way for you, too. What I sometimes say is, "Hey, you're the alpha male around here, I'm just happy to be your sidekick." When I say that, I never feel as if I've put actually myself in a subservient position. I feel as if all I've done is establish that I have all the upside and whoever I've said it to has all the downside. Plus it allows the luxury of an inward chuckle ("Think what you will, my friend, but the truth is I'm about twice as tough as you and I've had about four times as many babes.")
Honestly, that was the feeling my comment instilled in me. Don't be surprised if that's the feeling you get afterwards, too.
I also thought some more about that recent post about how I'm a beta male, and it occurred to me that admitting you're a beta male is actually sorta.....alpha.
I'm so alpha I don't even care about being alpha.
(Those are the kinds of thoughts that endorphins give you.)
Then again, maybe I'm like that little boy my son used to play with when he was nine. They would play a lot of games, as kids that age do, but whenever this boy would lose at anything, he would inevitably announce that that was a stupid game, and insist they play something else.
I think I prefer the first interpretation though.