Alpha Male: Working Definition

I’ve received quite a bit of interest in my posts on the alpha male. I’ve now realized, in talking with my daughter, her alpha male fiancee , and his artistic brother, that a working definition would be nice for any further discussion. To start with, we all agree that the alpha male is a “man’s man”.  Always a leader, confident, some might say arrogant. Not interested in the creative arts and doesn’t care if you think he should be. This is the guy you’d want with you if you were lost in the jungle because he would keep you safe and get you out of there.

I think its important to note that I see two types of alpha males. One is the type who is high on his own testosterone. He gets road rage, abuses women and children, and fights with guys in bars.  This is clearly the undesireable alpha. The other type is an evolved alpha. He is a leader in business, a commander in combat, the strength of his family, and a loving partner. He loves very feminine women, “girly girls” but also wants intelligence and independance in a woman because he wants an equal, not a subordinate. A true alpha is not threatened by strong women. He admires them.

I would love to get my readers more involved in this discussion.  What do you think?

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14 Responses to “Alpha Male: Working Definition”

  1. venagozar Says:

    My wife says I can agree with you completely.

    I agree with you about nthe differences. Men of the type you describe with problems are dysfunctional men. Once you take them away from talking about some form of violence, be it war, sports, or everyday aggression, they have little to contribute to a conversation.

    It is my opinion that men such as these have stunted emotional growth, and are confused about the difference between being a man, and being a bully.

    However, it is usually the case they were never allowed to be anything on their own growing up, as the main male role model in their world was a bully. They were only allowed to express a few emotions, such as anger. Now it is their turn….

  2. amberfireinus Says:

    Sorry, I dont agree with you at all.

    When one would look at my Alpha Male… one wouldnt see any of those things. None. They would see a very calm gentle spirit. Never would they guess what lurks beneath the surface.

    My husband is a Geek through and through. Most people are shocked to hear that he is so interested in Manly things like cars and sports. He simply doesnt look the type. In fact, my husbands knowledge of such things is astounding. He puts his huge brain into understanding that stuff as much as he does physics, litterature, computers, science or whatever else catches his attention. I would say that David is a true Rennasance individual.

    My husband doesnt lack any kind of Alpha Male tendancies in our marriage really. He puts his foot right down and lets me know how it is going to be. Our agreement in our marriage is to be equals, but the last and final decision is his. Someone has to have that role in my opinion. I trust that he will make good decisions, and I also trust that my wishes are taken into consideration when making them.

    Where my husband is a true man is that he steps up to the plate when he’s needed. He will come in and handle stuff when I cant. He never hides when the going gets tough. He’s the first one there and the last one to leave. He remains firm on his beliefs and he isnt shy on stating them when called for. He supports me fully and encourages me to be the best me I can. He is never critical of me, nor does he ever abuse me in any way. He leads by example. He always listens to me no matter what. He doesnt try to solve my problems for me. He is sympathetic only and he has confidence that I will find my way on my own and dont need his help to fix it.

    He is always a gentleman with me and every woman. He is always thoughtful. He thinks ahead and anticipates my needs.

    Do I miss having a great big manly man who makes me feel like a scared little girl who wants to be protected by his strength alone? There is the fleeting moment of that. Im sure for every woman of a Manly man they wish sometimes that he could be a little softer too.

    I hope Im making sense here ….

  3. psychscribe Says:

    Hi amberfireinus…I just re-read my post and yours…and I’m not sure that we disagree…it seem that you’re saying your husband has alpha male qualities of leadership and protection, they’re just not so obvious as in other r males…I certainly don’t have or want a big manly man who makes me feel like a scared little girl! As I said in my post, true alpha males are not threatened by strong women, they admire them…

  4. psychscribe Says:

    Thank you, venagozar, for your witty first line and thoughtful response. You can see how few responses, male or female, that I got…Yet these alpha male posts have the most amount of hits. Go figure! 🙂

  5. Deltaman Says:

    Hi psychscribe,

    I do agree with your views on this, there are certainly two types of so called alpha males and maybe the first type is not really an alpha just one who exhibits some alpha male traits and seems to benefit from it. It seems to me that any male can be an alpha in a peer group where he holds respect and so really it is purely a relative thing. It would be good to know the conventional wisdom on whether the alpha personality is genetic or a product of upbringing. If it is genetic them presumably the alpha gene would be dominant and they would become the majority. But I suspect it is really a product of environment and so can be learned. Certainly the pseudo alpha male behaviour is all over the media and is probably partly responsible for inspiring the agressive type 1 alphas to behave as they do. Having said that it is hard to learn physical beauty and attractiveness.

    Given that women do seem to favour men who exhibit alpha male behaviour on an evolutionary level at least it begs the question; is it still a good model for mate selection in the 21st century since the rapid change in human development seems to have outstripped evolution?

    It would also be interesting to ask women in their 60s or 70s about whether the alpha male is indeed the best mate over the lifetime – I wonder if they would go for a hybrid model?

    One last thought occurs to me. 🙂 When a woman has got her alpha mate and the kids are born and growing up will she seek to erase the alpha traits that first caused her to select the male? I only ask this because it seems to be something that happens in a lot of long term relationships. Either she wants to make him less attractive to other females or she has realised that whilst the alpha traits were good for evolutionary purporses they dont really deliver that happy ever after life we all want.

    Great topic psychscribe

    Diarmuid

  6. psychscribe Says:

    Hi Diarmuid,
    What a great post! Thank you for the thought that went into it. Your points are well taken. It is my opinion (and I am not a scientist) that alpha males do have some kind of alpha gene and come into the world this way. I would imagine its the same as animals, in a litter. The biggest, strongest, get the most milk, as opposed to the tiniest (formerly known, politically incorrectly, as the runt) who may not get enough to survive…. I could be way off here just my own thoughts.

    As for learned behavior, that’s where I believe the aggressive, abusive type alpha comes from. This male is never, in my opinon, a true leader. Usually they’re insecure and thus the term “Napolean complex”.

    I do think that biologically women do tend to be attracted to the alpha male. But I also agree that in the long run, the woman will begin to long for more nurturing, gentle traits in her man.

  7. Zeke Says:

    Very interesting views. I see some truth in all of your responses. I think Alpha males come in all sizes and noise levels.
    Abusive loud males usually are not alpha’s, but really are beta pack dogs who are asking for a leader. The louder they bark the more they want to follow.
    Very quiet alpha’s are probably the more dangerous due to their unpredictability.
    That being said, many true Alpha’s know each other almost by sight. I have walked into an unknown bar, scanned the room and known who the big dog was almost immediately. It is his turf and usually it is wise for a visiting alpha to give him the “nod,” thus acknowledging him and saying I’m not here to take over.
    True Alpha’s, like I say, come in all shapes and sizes, but they almost all will do the decisive thing when the chips are down.
    That is the truly defining moment.

  8. KinnyBear Says:

    I think you’re extremely wrong. The man who beats his women into subordination are subordinate men; they feel the need to prove themselves to people who they think as their equals. A TRUE alpha male… does not. He doesn’t need to resort to violence. He has the support of females as well as males around him.
    A wife of an alpha male, supports their man, repulses potential rivals, and provides sex. It’s a pretty sweet deal for the Alpha Male. The relationship will eventually break down if the male or female are not providing any of the following.

    ANTHROPOLOGISTS have already pegged what a definite alpha male is.
    A TRUE ALPHA MALE:
    – IS AN ALPHA MALE BY MUTUAL AGREEMENT!!! (For example, a boss, a husband, a policeman etc).
    – Provides food, clothing and shelter (basic needs);
    – Provides protection for those who cannot provide it for themselves, therefore making life better for the people who surround him.
    – Redistributes wealth
    – Provides gifts
    – Provides a way for self-actualization.
    – Does not feel the need to win EVERY battle, but probably will win most, whether it be verbal, or physical.
    — By winning most of the battles, he gains the needed support from females.
    – Usually has sexual access to any female, but in most times goes back to his mate.

    Everyone… the smaller siblings, his children, his wife, his co-workers.. are better because he is around.

    You can tell who is an alpha male by watching other males around him.
    -they will act submissively towards him. (ex: A basketball coach, and his team).

    But!! The alpha male hierarchy is liquid. It changes everywhere they go.

    Being arrogant has nothing to do with being an alpha male; you cannot relate that to being a “man’s man;” and as far as being able to survive in the jungle, Bill Gates couldn’t survive in the jungle any more than Obama could, as much as they are alpha males.
    That’s the whole point of the political conventions coming up; they are by mutual agreement, to see who can redistribute wealth well, to provide food, clothing and shelter to those who cannot provide it for themselves… etc.

    As for being more EVOLVED, they are not. Men have been doing this for a very long time. It’s a simple equation that takes many shapes and sizes. There is no exception.
    Franz De Wall talks about it in more detail, and has articles at Discovery.com; he has also written a book called Chimpanzee Politics just on what our biology makes us do. He has an actual definition for the Alpha Male. Joseph Campbell also has a definition on it.

    Respectfully, I think Psychologists should not mislead women into what they THINK are alpha males. It causes confusion, as well as frustration in finding mates. Psychologists should just stick to what psychologists do best.

    … What DO psychologists do best?

  9. psychscribe Says:

    Zeke:

    Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I do agree with you! I appreciate your comment.

    KinnyBear:

    I also appreciate comments from people with different points of view, so I thank you for visiting and thank you for your thoughts. You did have my interest until the end of your post, when you “respectfully” began to sound…well…disrespectful…

    I have no idea what psychologists do best. That is not my discipline so I would not venture to speak for them. Therapists can have many different credentials. I do not share mine here because I prefer to assure that I remain anonymous.

    May I ask what your discipline is?

  10. KinnyBear Says:

    I didn’t mean to sound disrespectful. In fact, I value what psychologists and therapists bring to the world of studies and statistics.
    Although, when there is already a definition set by people who have studied humans and other primates for their entire life, and when the majority of the people confuse and distort what is so crucial to biology, it seems frustrating to people.
    Especially to people my age, looking for someone to spend the rest of their life with, they simply don’t know what to look for.

    I’m not sure what you mean by discipline, though…

  11. Kebo Drew Says:

    I actually think that the first type of “alpha” male is NOT really an alpha, he’s actually a beta trying to improve his position or rank. I think that a true alpha male is the evolved alpha who respects women and other men. He doesn’t need to prove himself by abusing others, he just is himself, and that is what other people respond to. The other kind of man is just a bully, not an alpha.

  12. Dana Koogler Says:

    Love the blog. It is dead on. I am thankful to be paired with an alpha male. He understands me perfectly.

    Thanks for sharing these thoughts. I’ve bookmarked your blog.
    It helps me to trade ideas with strong women.

    It makes me a better person.
    DK

  13. psychscribe Says:

    Well thanks Dana:) And welcome! I will come visit your blog tonight.

  14. paulneedzafriend Says:

    There’s some really interesting points made here, but everyone needs to go check out ” The Female Ego (Impress yourself NOT the Girl) ” and “Humans Belong in Harems (Finally the Truth is Out) ” if you really wanna know what being an Alpha is all about and what it takes for a Beta to become one.

    I think this will help give everyone some great insight on Alpha males.

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