Butchering the Alpha Male

Butchering the Alpha Male

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Watch-Out-It-s-Alpha-Male-T-ShirtsJack is a 40-something insurance exec. Jack hates his job. And although he would never openly admit it, he loathes his wife of 22 years, Holly. They haven’t had sex more than a few times in the last three years and have been emotionally estranged far longer than that. Jack takes out his mid-life frustrations on his insurance underlings each day. He subjects them to monotonous staff-meetings that drag on forever and expects individual briefings from employees that are mundane to the point of lobotomizing a person. The culture of fear he’s bred in his division grants him the only sense of empowerment he regularly feels anymore.

Jay is the hottest DJ in the city. He’s booked three to four nights a week and has traveled all over the Eastern seaboard doing shows. He’s partied with B-list celebrities and could suffer an aneurysm trying to recall every girl he’s slept with. He loves to surf. He’s always tan and his tattooed biceps practically tear through his tight shirts. Jay isn’t so much confident in the club scene as much as he has an emotional vice-grip on it. He owns it. He traverses Sinful Wednesdays at Hype and Sexy Lyfe Thursdays at Passion with a worldly and super-hip ennui cultivated across thousands of hedonistic nights and hundreds of VIP tables. It’s his playground. Everyone knows him and everyone loves him. Naturally, women flock to him. The shorter the skirts, the quicker.

Marissa is Jay’s girlfriend of one year. She’s arguably one of the hottest club regulars in Jay’s town. She used to model part-time, and still picks up a go-go dancing gig now and again, especially if Jay is spinning. She lavishes Jay with attention and praise and is always the first one on the dance floor and last one off during his sets. She secretly brags to other girls about him and lets him fuck her anywhere and any time he wants… which is often… and usually doesn’t last very long.

Ben is a construction worker. With only a high school education, he makes up for his lack of intelligence with his charming smile and heart of gold. He works summers for a company which builds swimming pools. Women are always attracted to his strong, stoic persona, although he rarely pursues them, they pursue him. He’s had girlfriends, but they come and go as they please, Ben remaining mostly indifferent.

In June, Jack and Holly hire Ben’s crew to construct a swimming pool behind their home. Holly conspicuously comes out on the deck and watches the men work during the day, particularly Ben. She gives the men trite rationalizations for her presence, you know, bland statements that involve phrases like “monitoring your progress” and “keeping an eye on things.” But it doesn’t take Freud to see something simmering beneath the surface. An aura of tension surrounds her. And there’s a faint scent of a caged sexuality crying to be let out, a woman who obviously hasn’t been fucked in years. She sips a drink that looks like lemonade as she watches. By noon her breath smells of vodka and she stumbles.

When Ben fucks Holly, it’s mostly to impress the other men on his construction crew — an act he purposely does about once a summer. It provides enough storytelling and banter among the boys to help get them through the hottest three months of the year. Acceptance from the guys has always been important to Ben, far more important than the haggard house wives he lets seduce him. A week later, Holly concocts an excuse for Ben to come into her bedroom again. But Ben has already lost interest and can’t get it hard. Instead he spends an hour holding Holly and listening to her sob about how she doesn’t love her husband anymore. He reassures her and counsels her the best he can, which is not very well. When he returns to the crew, he still tells them that he fucked her. They laugh and joke and smile. Ben smiles too. But he smiles only because they smile.

Marissa has a day job as Jack’s secretary. She isn’t very good at her job and Jack is uninhibited when he chastises her on her basic bureaucratic failures. Although she only admits it to herself late at night when Jay’s out playing a gig, she sometimes wishes he would yell at her more and with more force. She fantasizes about Jack getting so mad at her one day that he bends her over her desk and spanks her for fucking up the TPS reports. Sometimes she wants to purposely mess up the TPS reports so that Jack will yell at her more, maybe even call her into his office to do it alone. There’s something in his angry authority that turns her on. When she keeps notes of his meetings, she savors the way he talks down to the other men in the room — grown men, with degrees and houses and BMW’s. Though he’s old and has a gut and is balding, there’s a fire inside him that she’s seen in few men in her life. Months later she will find an excuse to stay late on a Thursday and Jack will fuck her on his desk. It will be the most exciting moment Jack will have had in the last 10 years. Then on the way home, he’ll cry.

Jay will never find out about Marissa fucking her boss. But if he ever found it, it would in a way relieve him. He’s been talking to his high school sweetheart, Jane, every afternoon on the phone for months now. He feels guilty about it viz. Marissa. He misses Jane and thinks about her constantly. Always has. He tells her this. But Jane’s married to Steve now… a US marine fighting in Iraq. Steve is deeply religious and saved his virginity until he married Jane. Jay tries to convince Jane to see him again, but she refuses. She’s religious as well and would never betray Steve’s trust in her, especially while he’s in Iraq. And even though she misses Jay a little bit, she really only savors his daily phone calls for the attention and affection she’s been missing since Steve’s been away. Later, after Steve returns home from duty, Jane will stop picking up Jay’s phone calls.

Question: Out of the four men described above, which one is the most Alpha? Are none of them Alpha? All of them?

This is not a simple question to answer… I would argue that the intertwined lives above are realistic portrayals of men and women in our society. Strong men and women, and also weak men and women… people that some would point to and call successful, if they didn’t know the secrets each harbored.

I want to talk about reality today… not the idealism or avatar that most of us conjure up in dating advice: you know, the steroidal sunglasses-clad broski, with brass balls and ice cold blood, macking on chicks left and right, because he simply DGAF (Doesn’t Give A Fuck). Forget that guy a minute, and let’s focus on realism. Which of the men above is most Alpha to you? None of them? All of them?

You could argue it’s Jack for banging his super hot secretary. But Jack is miserable, is chained to an unhappy marriage with a wife he hates and who is cheating on him as well. He’s a miserable man whose only thrill in life is inspiring fear throughout his tiny insurance fiefdom.

You could argue it’s Jay, the player, the bad ass DJ. He’s got the party lifestyle and the super hot girlfriend. But his girlfriend is cheating on him, chasing a “fire” that he doesn’t have anymore, probably because it’s still with the high school sweetheart he can’t stop calling. His unrequited love has affected most of his adult life, and his only real inspiration for the dozens of women he slept with was to seek reprieve from the quiet torture of what he’s afraid he’ll never get back.

You could argue it’s Ben. He’s a stud. Girls pick him up, and he still doesn’t give a shit. He bangs disgruntled housewives for laughs and his co-workers revere him as a hero for it. But he seems more interested in the guys’ approval than any particular woman’s. He’s fixated on positive male attention. He may even be gay and not know it.

Or is it Steve? He’s loved one woman his entire life, and he has her 100% love and dedication, despite the fact that Jane is pursued by a former lover who is extremely attractive in his own right.

So I ask again, who is the Alpha Male out of the men above? There’s a strong argument for all of them and none of them. Which, to be honest, is how real life usually pans out.

In the last year, I estimate that at least half of my major disagreements and arguments with men on the subject of attractiveness — on this site, on forums, in person — have been incited by what I see as the blind worship of the The Alpha Male ideal. Over the course of this (extra long) article, I aim to accomplish three points: 1) explain what the term Alpha Male actually means and how it became horribly misappropriated and butchered by the Pick Up Artist (PUA) community and men’s dating advice (MDA) niche at large; 2) analyze the current PUA/MDA interpretations of The Alpha Male and show that they’re not only inaccurate, but actually counter-productive for men in the long-run; and finally 3) offer an alternative theory on Alphaness that avoids the disadvantageous generalizing, stereotyping, alienating (and all sorts of other disgusting -ings) traits of The Alpha Male’s emotional baggage. Hopefully you won’t fall asleep on your keyboard or drool on yourself between now and then.

Now, I realize the concept of Being Alpha is not only intellectually celebrated by just about every guy who’s improved with women in PUA/MDA, but most of said guys also have deep personal and emotional attachments to Alphaness and its effect on their own lives. I expect their reaction to be vitriolic. As a result, I will be more thorough and conscientious in this article than most. My goal is that those who begin this article as multi-year Alpha Male devotees will come out the other end converted. It won’t be easy. But hear me out…

The Definition of ‘Alpha’

The term “Alpha Male,” as it pertains to human socio-sexual dynamics, originates in anthropology/primatology, primarily in gorillas, but to a lesser extent in other apes such as bonobos and chimpanzees. The (much-simplified) idea is thus: there exists a semi-formal male hierarchy within primate cultures based on strength/fitness/power. The strongest/fittest/most-powerful is the “Alpha” and then you have second-place, third-place and so on. The lower apes on the hierarchy are “Betas.” The hierarchy functions rather simply: whoever you’re above on the hierarchy, you can tell them what to do, what to eat and what to fuck. Whoever is above you on the hierarchy tells you what to do, what to eat and who to fuck. The Alpha tells everyone what to do, what to eat and who to fuck. The lowest Beta tells no one.

The way this plays out sexually is that the Alpha literally has almost all of the sex and the lower Beta apes have none. If a Beta tries to step out of place and fuck/eat/do something he’s not allowed to, the penalty is often death.

The utilities and parallels to human sexuality on a macro-level are obvious and not entirely useful, but regardless PUA/MDA theory quickly picked up on them. The focal point was the idea that the more dominant/powerful/strong you are as a man, the higher on the male hierarchy you’ll place yourself, the more female sexual options you’ll procure, the easier life becomes. Exact definitions of what constitutes Alphaness and Betaness were ignored in favor of a broad/vague prescription of the typical “be confident; take charge; don’t let anyone fuck with you, bro” tripe that usually passes for advice on forums. The Alpha Male theory ended up just being a yet-another remix of the classic Be Confident Bro theory, except now with some sort of connection to evolutionary biology.

You may disagree with me, but I challenge you to define what “Being Alpha” really means within the PUA/MDA framework. From what I can tell, it amounts to some vague combination of being confident + assert yourself over others + lead and make decisions + social proof + a splash of testosterone for good measure. Implied somewhere in there is communicating effectively and being persuasive (after all, if you’re leading and no one follows, that’s not very Alpha). But as you can see, there are no definitive Alpha traits one can point to. It’s a nebulous concept. Kind of a one-size-fits-all prescription for any guy anywhere who is being a pussy, bitching out and/or not acting too manly at the moment.

As a result, Alphaness was one of those things that was always better understood in PUA/MDA parlance when demonstrated or shown by example, rather than explained or analyzed. Just so we’re clear, here are some classic PUA/MDA examples of Being Alpha: convincing a bouncer to let you into the club for free by sheer tenacity and charm; approaching a girl who is with a guy and intimidating/ignoring the guy until he leaves you alone with her; asserting yourself into an alien social setting and successfully taking advantage of free beverages/munchies/sexual-opportunities/couches-to-sleep-on as a result; finagling your way into getting girls/guys who don’t even know you to do favors for you and/or give you things for free; excessive high-fiving; and wearing sunglasses in a dark room and hence implying you DGAF (Don’t Give A Fuck) as girls wet their panties; I could go on, but you get the idea.

Now, understanding that most guys involved in the whole PUA/MDA shebang come from backgrounds of passivity, emasculation, ridicule, and limitless potato chips/computer games, we may be able to sympathize… a little. For these neophytes, the above activities give a helluva adrenaline/testosterone/endorphin cocktail when accomplished. Conning your way into a club for free, inching your way into a VIP table owned by someone you don’t know, stealing their drinks, then intimidating some poor girl’s boyfriend into letting you talk to her all night all can be labeled as “Life Changing” for a guy who just spent the last eight years in Mom’s basement. When the neophyte’s previous lifetime achievement involved a Lvl. 50 Warlock on the Aestimus Craekus server, doing the actions described above can make him truly feel like a man for the first time.

Unfortunately, it also makes him an Overcompensating Dick.

But being an Overcompensating Dick aside, all-in-all the neophyte’s newfound Alphaness is a beneficial transformation. It’s an important process for one to go through: from being the stepped-on to being the stepper, from being the push-over to being the pusher, from being the intimidated to the intimidator. I get that. I was there too. As a man who spent the first 22 years of his life rolling over for others to walk over him, it was nice to know I could piss people off and the world would go on. The neophyte, for the first time in his life, is expressing his masculinity, and releasing years or decades worth angst from being sidelined and inconsequential.

But what typically happens next is the neophyte’s new-found success from Being Alpha begins to cement the Alpha worldview into his mind as what defines success and failure. It makes sense, after a lifetime of being Beta and failing repeatedly, it wasn’t until he became Alpha that he ever experienced success. Therefore, the idea that Being Alpha = Success seems wholly logical. A devotee is born.

The neophyte concludes that all male behavior can be divided into two camps: Alpha and Beta. Alpha behavior gets you laid, gets you power, wins over loyalty and camaraderie. It makes you loved and feared. It attracts those around you. And it gets you what you desire. Beta behavior, on the other hand, repels people. It is weakness personified. It’s any behavior that subverts your own will to the will of others, especially women. It may make you many friends, but only friends who use you and take advantage of you. If you’re nodding your head while reading this paragraph: good, keep reading.

The Alpha worldview also dictates that women’s behavior is determined by the Alphas and Betas around them. Women will become attracted to Alphas, sometimes even against their will or better judgment. Women will walk over Betas and use them for attention, money or just an ego boost. If a woman is dating a Beta, she will cheat on him with an Alpha. Women end up settling for Betas because true Alphas never settle down, they just keep fucking more girls. She’ll settle down with her Beta provider until some strapping young Alpha comes strolling by, who she’ll then uncontrollably bang, and if she gets caught she’ll divorce the Beta and take all of his money with her. Or something. And of course, the “higher value” (translation: better-looking) the girl, the more likely this is all to take place. Only fatties actually enjoy Betas.

Admittedly, this worldview serves the neophyte well in the beginning. For many guys who have been pussy-whipped and pathetic, socially anxious and neurotic their whole lives, it’s exactly what they need to hear to get the ball rolling. It helps them own their masculinity, to assert themselves and stand up for themselves, to draw strong boundaries in their relationships and demand what they want for once. And it works. This is why Alpha Male theory has been handed down from man to man in the PUA/MDA scene for almost a decade. It’s why it’s revered — an integral part of the very fiber of current men’s dating advice.

The problem is that Alpha Male theory, while beneficial in the short-run in helping guys take action, does not reflect actual reality. It’s a means to an end. But once that end is met, once the neophyte gains that confidence and self-assurance and asserts himself, the Alpha Male ideal is not only inaccurate but can become harmful.

When Good Ideas Go Bad

The first problem with the Alpha worldview is that it creates a binary proposition; all men and behavior can be viewed in black-and-white terms. If the opening story showed you anything, hopefully it showed you that most male behavior CANNOT be analyzed in a simple “He’s Alpha” or “He’s Beta” behavior. Human behavior and motivations are more complex than that. Our intentions are inextricably linked to our emotions, some of which are totally irrational or even self-destructive. Unlike Gorillas and Hippos and Baboons, we’re really complicated creatures. Our hierarchy is not in plain view, and is often not there at all. For instance, is cheating on the mother of your children with your super hot secretary Being Alpha? Is sleeping with 100 hot girls because you’re still not over your ex Being Alpha? Is barging into some guy’s birthday party and stealing his booze Being Alpha?

No, it’s being an Overcompensating Dick.

Everything described above requires confidence, power, persuasiveness, and all of the things mentioned previously. But they’re all actions borne out of deep insecurities, moral faults and anxieties. Our society is more complicated than a Gorilla’s. We have things called trust, empathy, fairness, ethics, emotional attachment, sacrifice and love. Pure sexual gratification is only a small piece of our biological pie.

As a general guideline, it’s useful to be able to point at a guy who’s being a pussy and not standing up for himself and call him Beta. But beyond that, the dichotomy breaks down. And it breaks down horribly.

The Alpha/Beta worldview leads to misogynistic thinking as well, since female behavior is interpreted not through their own thoughts and feelings, but through their reactions to the Alphas/Betas around them. The idea is that women are indelibly attracted and drawn to Alpha’s and repelled by Beta’s, regardless of circumstance, situation, personality, conscience, morals, or preferences. This is simply not true at all.

Just as a man can Be Alpha at his insurance job and be a total Beta socially, a woman may value men with professional Alpha traits more than social Alpha traits. Some women want an intellectual giant but a physical teddy bear. Others have unique psychological profiles that may attract them specifically to musicians with long hair and wrist tattoos, or to guys in skinny jeans and horn-rimmed glasses, or transsexuals pre-hormone treatment, or to 50-year-old men who resemble their father who died in a car accident.

Emotionally speaking, women may be the most complicated creatures on the entire planet. To claim their motivations exist solely to chase some ephemeral notion of The Alpha sells them (and us) way short. It leads to a dark and narrow and lonely purview of human sexuality. It’s a sad place to be.

If you don’t believe me, scientific research has shown that women’s attraction to men with high testosterone (the ultimate indicator of Alphaness) not only changes with age, locations, and situation, but it even changes within their menstruation cycle. If science has shown us one thing, it’s that the desires and attractions of women are, believe it or not, even more complicated than we originally thought.

But the Alpha worldview pigeonholes women into two simple, robotic drives: pursue the Alpha, use the Beta. This is fantasy. A role that’s purely an extension of the guy’s Alpha/Beta fixation in himself, a broken record playing inside his own mind. And not to mention it gives women little to no credit to both their nuanced preferences, as well as their ability to act on their own free will. When I see a man judging female behavior in these terms, my first reaction is always to think: this guy has spent way too much time chasing the wrong kinds of women.

And finally, perceiving the world in these terms sabotages real relationships and strong emotional connections. If the definition of Being Alpha is somewhere in the vicinity of holding your personal drives above others, and the definition of an emotional connection with a woman is to empathize with her and literally see and feel the world through her eyes, then we have a major conflict of interest. The two are mutually exclusive. Genuine emotional connection, by definition, requires one to experience and relate to the drives, motivations and will of a woman. This is simply impossible if you’re enmeshed in a self-serving and social-bulldozing mindset.

And once you begin to date a girl you really like, other issues begin to crop up: i.e., commitment, sacrifice, compromise, boundaries, etc. These are anathema to the classic PUA/MDA dogma of Alphaness. And if you hold onto it, you’re going to get hurt and screwed again… and it’s not going to be her fault this time either.

Establishing Boundaries

Here’s what I think is the crux of the entire Be Alpha movement without blanketing our worldview with black-and-white perspectives: establishing and asserting our individual boundaries.

When the neophyte is experiencing his first Alpha awakenings, it’s not that he’s getting free drinks that is making him successful, and it’s not that he’s able to intimidate another guy away from talking to a girl. It’s not even that he’s acting confidently. For the first time in his life, he’s establishing boundaries around who he is and what he wants, and he asserts control within those boundaries. That’s all. Everything else was just a mirage to get him to work up the nerve to take action.

A new-definition Alpha Male has complete control over his boundaries, so if he CHOOSES to act selflessly, to act compassionately, to sacrifice himself, or even to take a backseat and let others shine, he can. That’s the mark of the True Alpha Male, the man who has utter control over his boundaries and how he enmeshes himself into any social situation. He feels no NEED to overcompensate or to dominate or to intimidate, although he CAN if he wishes. He feels no NEED to sacrifice or lay down for anyone, but if the appropriate situation arises, he can do that if he wishes as well.

And most of all, he recognizes that women are unique and their desires and needs are complex, shifting and changing with the place, time and the even moons. He recognizes that not every woman will always be attracted to who he is or how he represents himself…

…and that’s fine.

 

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141 Comments

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  • Reply

    Jon Tyler DiPrince

    5 months ago

    Dude. Fucking brilliant. I can honestly say that no other philosophies have molded my thinking more than yours. I’ve been studying/practicing for about ten months, and getting kind of sick of it. I’ve been dancing around on top of a more zen approach and philosophy of my own, and you’re putting it into words. AND THEN offering up more insight that kicks the old way in the teeth.

    • Reply

      Jon Tyler DiPrince

      5 months ago

      I meant to also make a point that this article explains in long form, and which is something borrowed from NLP.

      RE: Flexibility.

      Our brains are running programs we’ve designed ourselves since birth, influenced by observation, the teaching of others, and many other subfactors. For those of us with problems in “pickup” or any area of our life, it could be argued that the source of the matter is inelastic programming. We don’t know how to operate any other way.

      I changed my programming overnight, after learning that flexibility reigns king, especially in the The Alpha Male Paradox. ;-) The person who is the most flexible, has the advantage. ALWAYS.

      Now, every man most would identify as the Alpha Male in any situation, is my friend. Even before I’ve met him. And I don’t necessarily go introduce myself. If for some reason I find myself in an interaction with him, I just act as if he is my friend.

      In the cases where testosterone and complete lack of intelligence overpower the “Alpha Male’s” ability to recognize a no-win situation, I do the unexpected: act completely neutral. Often times, this is saying nothing at all, without expression.

      • Reply

        Jon Tyler DiPrince

        5 months ago

        … And of course, at any other time, I’m doing what I MYSELF AND MYSELF ALONE want to do (i.e. go to this club as oppose to that club, pursue my own gratification or entertainment, eat at this restaurant as oppose to that restaurant, decide whether to follow THIS group of girls, that group of guy friends, or go it alone).

        If I don’t know what it is that I want to do, I pull back and try to figure it out. Right now, I’m spending a lot of time figuring that out–going out alone, and deciding if offers from people such as friends are how I want to spend my time.

        • Reply

          Brent

          2 months ago

          Exactly. If you want self-respect, you gotta do things YOU respect.

      • Reply

        PW

        2 months ago

        -> “I changed my programming overnight” <-

        isn't 'programming' just your brain's wiring of neurons and synapses? To significantly change (other than trauma like getting stabbed in the head) surely needs weeks??

        • Reply

          NEO

          14 weeks ago

          actually you just described the hardware side of the brain… The programming is actually the code presented to brain for interpretation and execution… If for instance you are unhappy with all or part of your life then for some reason your brain has gotten bad programming… Bad Results equal Bad Code… We are not the only ones programming our brains everything in everyday life is ” input “… We must however become better “Re-Programmers” in order to improve our results…

  • Reply

    Ronin

    5 months ago

    Delta

  • Reply

    CaptainAIDS

    4 months ago

    This is a much needed observation. The whole “alphs/beta” and most other classifications in the Pick Up Artist community are meaningless.

  • Reply

    Wearin'the pants

    4 months ago

    It’s amazing how the act of finding a mate(temporary or permanent) has become so over complicated and exasperating. I am 42 yrs old, and would probably be considered an omega in that I don’t lead or follow, and have now grown so jaded with women,that I no longer pursue or woo them,though I still desire them greatly.
    I don’t bear no ill will towards them(anymore,that is). I just try and be nonchalant and creative with my flirtations, with no objective to get them into the sack or even get their number. Since I have ALWAYS been good at getting the latter,but have had a nearly 90% flake out rate from this so called “success”,I have figured out the cold,hard,and cruel truth…That you either have it or you don’t. I am at a point of my life Where I am in the process of accepting my impending lonely existence,with the hope of the occasional “kindness from strangers)OR not so strangers.
    One just has to accept their status in life,no matter how lowly and undesirable it may be. Either that or suicide,since to not have EVEN have a measly mediocre relationship with a woman that you are some what attracted to,is detrimental to ANY heterosexual male,is a very good reason to commit it.
    But to a somewhat lesser extent I am intermittently quite good at flirting and teasing women. I totally appear like a semi alpha who has at the very least the occasional LTR,and have learned to terminate said interactions at their peak(because I,indeed HAVE peaked) before my below beta instincts takeover and ruin it for me. It’s like in spite of every thing I know and Learned,I can’t control the Pussy inside ME,when it should(frequently)be the other way around.

  • Reply

    Terry

    4 months ago

    Great article

  • Reply

    Mr mind

    4 months ago

    The (not so) funny thing is that MDA industry even got primate’s Alpha role wrong. Beta males usually have sex more often than Alphas, because being Alpha is a full time job, controlling the territory, battling young Alpha wannabes, etc. Also females mate with Alpha not because they’re attracted but because they have less choice. It’s known and frequent that female chimps betray the alpha male by literally hiding in the bushes with other more pleasant betas (or even males from other tribes!).
    Now take that nuanced dynamics and apply it to humans, a species not only with the highest encephalization, but also the only primate species in which females hide their fertile period (homo sapiens is a *very* promiscous species).
    My opinion is that the Alpha male is a tale of concpet poorly understood in the first place and carelessly made even more wrong.

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      4 months ago

      That’s interesting. I didn’t know some of that. The other thing they completely miss is that betas often align with each other to overthrow the alpha, so the alpha, to remain successful has to learn to placate some of the stronger betas.

      As usual, this stuff is more complex.

      • Reply

        Martin Morales

        13 weeks ago

        Hey Mark, I’m interested in learning more about the alpha/beta hierarchy in animal species, specifically in regards to the points you and Mr Mind described with respect to females of the tribe “cheating” with betas and the necessity for the alpha to align with betas. I’ve been searching online, but couldn’t find much initially that isn’t referencing the PUA perspective. Can you point me in the right direction?

  • Reply

    Emily

    4 months ago

    Great stuff! This reminds me of a quote I heard recently: The opposite of “man” isn’t “woman,” it’s “boy.” Being a “real man” isn’t about avoiding any appearance of “womanly”/”beta” things like emotional intimacy, vulnerability, empathy, care for others, etc. It’s about being a grown-up who has his shit together, who supports himself, who doesn’t crave validation or need care-taking from girlfriends-standing-in-for-mommy’s-love, who doesn’t act out in childish displays of selfishness and stubborn withholding. It’s about knowing who you are and being that man. The more authentically yourself you are, the more attractive you become.

    • Reply

      Linda

      4 months ago

      Amen! Exactly!

  • Reply

    g.L.

    4 months ago

    I think that understanding what “alphaness” is for every individual (because like you said, it can vary) is perhaps the most important element in the path of self-improvement which probably leads to better success with women as well.

    Your article demonstrates exactly the difficulty of finding what alpha is. I think every man needs to spend time on that and perhaps go through a period of trial and error to figure out how he becomes the best version of himself, the alpha.

    The idea that I have in my head is that alpha is a man who is simply in control. But not in the sense of trying to control everything, manipulating, fighting for it. In the sense that nothing takes him by surprise, he’s collected, calm and has an inherent charm that stems from his self-assurance because he lives life like he wants and enjoys it. No need to impress, win over or chase something.

  • Reply

    Mastercoach

    4 months ago

    There are smart alphas and dumb alphas, who do smart things and/or dumb things. However, they are still alphas. Do not confuse the two issues!

  • Reply

    Cyrus

    4 months ago

    We that’s a pretty sweeping generalization of what the PUA community considers an alpha male. You are wrong.

    I follow Roissy’s definition of an alpha – your alphaness is only determined by how many women you attract and how attractive those women are.

    That’s it. Being an executive or boss is just foreplay, even serial killers are alphas – have you seen the women who chase after the incarcerated? Its more likely than you could ever imagine.

    With this being said, Ben from your story is not an alpha male. Sure he’s the bull in a cheating relationship, but it’s with a frumpy old unattractive woman.

    The DJ is the only alpha in your story. The other two men could have been but they squandered their alpha capital by not hooking up.

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      4 months ago

      That’s some serious circular logic.

      “An alpha male is anyone who attracts a lot of women.”
      “To attract women, you have to be an alpha male.”

      I thought Roissy was smarter than that.

      • Reply

        Cyrus

        4 months ago

        Where are you getting circular logic from?

        Are you confused about your sociosexual rank?

        http://heartiste.wordpress.com/2007/09/19/defining-the-alpha-male/

        The argument is that your alphaness is defined by the women you attract, because really, that’s all that matters – who cares if you run a company if you can’t mate with anyone desirable? As an aside, Alpha males today can thwart the baby problem by birth control, but they still lay with many attractive women, as alphas have for millennia.

        I can see why youd want to create a chicken-and-egg argument to disagree, but that’s straw man at best.

        You can still attract women as a beta. Just not any women that an alpha would want for more than a night lol!!

        • Reply

          Mark Manson

          4 months ago

          According to his scale, I’m an 8 or 9.

          I wasn’t aware of that post. I do find the reduction of alphaness to merely how much attention and attraction you get from women to be pretty shallow and meaningless. There are more important and fulfilling things in life than sticking your dick in 100 holes.

          • Cyrus

            4 months ago

            Does saying your a 8 or 9 on his scale provide disqualification for his entire definition?

            A key point he makes is *how attractive* those holes are. Not all holes are created equal.

            A man who has brought home 100 generic bar girls (5-7s), while doing better than chubby chasers, is STILL not really an alpha by the chateau’s scale.

            The key point is that all of the “alpha traits” prevalent in other PUA communities are ONLY a means to an end.

            To that extent, I agree with you that te mainstream-ified “alpha” IS wrong….and I like your piece I that extent

            …but tell me, what is the purpose, the end-result, if you will, for having this website in the first place? In the end of day we want to attract hotter women, and that aligns perfectly with Roissy’s defn.

          • Mark Manson

            4 months ago

            Quite the opposite actually, I was saying it to qualify myself… as in, I’ve reached the higher levels of his definition of “Alpha” and here’s my perspective based on this.

            Sex is nice. Sex with beautiful women is better. But this site is about more than that. I’ve come to the perspective that men who base their lives on chasing more and hotter pussy demonstrate a neediness. I’d rather help them become more comfortable and confident with themselves, develop great lives for themselves, and become happier… women are part of the equation, but not the entire equation.

            I personally think PUA misses the boat in terms of what is actually effective and what builds a life of sexual abundance. PUA teaches you how to chase pussy… but PUA doesn’t teach you how to develop yourself in a man that draws women towards you.

          • NEO

            14 weeks ago

            I would like to make one observation… The harder you work at chasing down and fucking ” hot pussy ” the less alpha you really are… True alphas don’t have to play this game the hottest Women on this planet know who true alphas are and chase them…

          • Mark

            14 weeks ago

            Amen.

            The irony with the whole alpha thing is that any man who is actually an “alpha” is going to be so confident in his own value that he would never waste his time chasing something that doesn’t want him.

    • Reply

      Law Fairy

      4 months ago

      Who gets to decide which women are more “attractive” than others? I’m not talking about easy cases (“frumpy housewives” versus, I don’t know, a Sports Illustrated model or something) — I mean, firstly, even though there’s a general range of looks that are widely considered more or less attractive, with more symmetrical faces generally tending to be considered more attractive (but as with anything, there are exceptions), within each category of attractiveness there’s a lot of variation with respect to who will be deemed most attractive by any given group of men (variation happens often even within the same group of men depending on their mood, who speaks up first, which aspect of appearance they happen to focus on, etc.) Second, attractiveness has to do with more than pure physical appearance. Who is more alpha: the guy who sleeps with dozens of undeniably gorgeous but annoying and vapid women, or the guy who sleeps with dozens of maybe-ever-so-slightly-less-conventionally-”gorgeous”-but-still-extremely-attractive women with whom he can actually have a conversation for ten minutes? What about hot-but-shit-in-bed women versus slightly-less-conventionally-hot-but-amazing-in-bed women (and if you don’t think there’s a skill factor involved in sex for women, you’re missing out)? And once you grant that “attractiveness” is an ephemeral and qualitative descriptor rather than a question of quantitative ranking (as though “attractiveness” is an objective trait any given person has some set amount of), your ranking system becomes a bit more unwieldy, particularly since there’s a wide range of preferences about both appearance and other qualities that play into attractiveness. What about cultural and racial preferences? Is a Nubian goddess more or less attractive than blonde-haired-blue-eyed knockout? A tall woman or a petite woman? A woman with larger breasts or rounder hips? Different straight men will give you different answers, and some of those answers will be accompanied by VERY strong opinions.

      So whose opinion controls? Is it a democracy? The answer, of course, can’t be that “alpha males” get to say who’s the prettiest, because then your definition of “alpha male” has been rendered completely circular.

      This system also seems to contemplate that gay men, or men who simply don’t have a great deal of interest in sex for various reasons, cannot possibly be “alpha.” Given that these are classifications imposed by human scientists based on observations filtered through their perceptions (and those scientists, like all humans raised in biased cultures, cannot completely eradicate bias from their perceptions and opinions based thereon) — rather than by some provable natural “law” of social behavior (pondering how one would go about even establishing such a law requires mental gymnastics; social experimentation by its very nature is not susceptible to the requisite step of reproducibility) — attaching normative cultural value to “alpha” status, if the definition you supply is correct, is inherently heteronormative and homophobic.

  • Reply

    Rollo Tomassi

    4 months ago

    Alpha is a state of mind, not a demographic.

    http://rationalmale.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/alpha/

    It makes guys feel good about themselves to define Alpha in their own image (leader of men, family provider, etc.), but they only get frustrated and conflicted when they see women gravitate towards the douchey-est of guys and his Alpha energy. Then they qualify the women attracted to them as “low quality” to fit with their personal Alpha narrative.

    Alpha is elemental. It’s like fire; you can use it to cook your food and keep you warm or you can use it to burn your neighbor’s house down. Alpha will always defy your personal attempts to define it. There are Alpha behaviors, cues and outward manifestations to be sure, but the death row inmate is equally as Alpha as the upstanding businessman who takes care of his responsibilities.

    • Reply

      Tim

      4 months ago

      I’m sorry; did you read the article?

  • Reply

    Bobby

    4 months ago

    Alpha male is something they made up to sell 400 dollar cds. What they need to do is teach men to be more masculine. And Stop dressing like high school students. I followed the alexander book. It’s like duck face for men. Women do the duck face, trying to be sexy. But they over compensate. I think I am being alpha when I just end up being a dick that needs everything his way. Used to work with a guy Where everything he did was right and everything i did was wrong. Nobody liked that guy. I don’t believe in alpha/beta. But even If it was real. Buying programs online and conforming to how some guy thinks you should act on the internet would be beta as fuck.

  • Reply

    Mark Manson

    4 months ago

    “I don’t believe in alpha/beta. But even If it was real. Buying programs online and conforming to how some guy thinks you should act on the internet would be beta as fuck.”

    Amen.

    • Reply

      tsei

      1 month ago

      Sry for sounding Like an a-hole, but aren’t you selling this kind of program yourself? Ps. Love the article. I think that you many good points

      • Reply

        Mark

        1 month ago

        Nope. My take is quite different. I honestly hate all of the alpha/beta type language.

  • Reply

    Benny

    4 months ago

    Hallelujah, testefie brother

    All of you is discussing what alpha or a real and attractive man is. What i got out of it was, there is no real man/attractive behaviour. He simply states you have to do what you have to do to be content and happy with life. Fuck the others its about you first and foremost, but only if that is what you want it to be. It´s your choice and i think he is just bringing awareness to the fact that a choice exist. You can act upon own desires instead of bending to others, or not. It´s a bit of a paradox really, but the important thing is that there is a choice and it is yours alone to do whatever the hell you wanna do with it. All you need is the guts and balls to make up your own damn mind.

    PS. There are no Alpha/Betamale in human society as it has nothing to do with the real defenitions you know from the animal kingdom as already stated in the article, unless you of course think there is.

  • Reply

    Lord Koos

    4 months ago

    “With only a high school education, he makes up for his lack of intelligence…”

    Didn’t you mean “lack of knowledge”? This kind of stuff irritates the shit out of me… just because someone is a blue collar worker or in the trades doesn’t mean they are stupid. There are plenty of intelligent men around that don’t happen to have college degrees, and I know plenty of college grads who are idiots.

    • Reply

      Brent

      2 months ago

      Why does it irritate the shit out of you? And then I ask “why is that?” to your answer.

    • Reply

      Alexander

      23 weeks ago

      Schools and colleges are also a great opportunity to expand one’s intelligence, not just their knowledge. You have to admit that one can cultivate their intelligence when asked to do research for an essay, solving equations and organizing projects more than when they’re asked to work at a construction site.

      People are different from each other, if a guy can be considered a genius without any kind of formal education then that’s good for him – but if he had had said formal education it’s likely that he would be at a higher level than he is now (as long as the establishment can adjust its teachings to an appropriate level for a genius).

      If educated individuals can be seen as idiots then it’s likely they would be even more ‘idiotic’ if they hadn’t been ‘educated’.

  • Reply

    hurrr

    4 months ago

    I was sixteen when I started this whole PUA thing, and it wrecked me. Took me years to undo the damage it had done to the way I perceived the world, people, women but most of all, myself.
    When you judge your value on the number of women you attract, you’re no different from a ‘beta’ who gets none. Both of you have the same standards and both of you are worth only the women you attract. It’s exactly the same as a man who gets his internal worth from achievement at work, or someone who is hooked on fame.

    It’s just another way to get the validation that all of us need, and yet it’s never enough. Like stated the newly turned ‘Alpha Male’ is only expressing his deep insecurities by overcompensating.
    I’ve realized the only thing that can change us and give us what we want is unconditional love. A deep, real validation that allows us our faults, our failures and our deepest insecurities. Only when we encounter this are we able to be a true ‘alpha’ because we are no longer dependent on other people or things. We can be who we want regardless of what people think and act. We won’t need the approval of women to feel validated. Once these are in place the rest just follows; I now have an incredibly beautiful girlfriend of four years who I’m planning to propose to this year. Although I love her deeply, my worth does not come from her and she does not get her validation from me. We’re both able to love each other because we both independently experience unconditional love for ourselves.

    • Reply

      mymuse26

      3 months ago

      Good for you. The world is a better place, when we can get to this deepest truth. You have also inspired great hope in me, that someday i too  will have a mature, real, loving relationship. Thanks for posting.

    • Reply

      Brent

      2 months ago

      you are good at observing life.

  • Reply

    malvourneen

    4 months ago

    This was a very good article. But setting the social alpha-male traits aside, there is still a strong appeal some men have. It works on person to person basis, the one I see as my alpha may not be the same other women see this way. It is primal, sensual and feels very, very “right”, it has a protective and at the same time demanding twist at it. This is an alpha male for me, the same way there are alpha females there for men. I dont buy the ocasional alpha positions and dids of some so called alpha male, no need to overthink and analise it.
    (sorry, english is´nt my native language)

  • Reply

    Antifeminist

    3 months ago

    “So I ask again, who is the Alpha Male out of the men above? There’s a strong argument for all of them and none of them.”
    There aren’t different arguments; there’s different views of what makes an Alpha dude. The fact that the author perceives this ambiguity as something to do with being Alpha and not a result of his own ignorance says something about how much we should trust his reasoning.

    “analyze the current PUA/MDA interpretations of The Alpha Male and show that they’re not only inaccurate, but actually counter-productive for men in the long-run”
    But PUA isn’t about the long run; it’s about getting laid.

    “offer an alternative theory on Alphaness that avoids the disadvantageous generalizing, stereotyping, alienating (and all sorts of other disgusting -ings) traits of The Alpha Male’s emotional baggage.”
    I see where he’s going. Like typical feminist-aligned males, his own emotional reaction to PUA is negative not because of anything about it’s success, but because of its implications: that stereotyping and generalising women works.

    It’s an uncomfortable truth for him, so he denies it and disagrees with anyone who believes it. Ironically, this causes him to, since he lacks actual arguments against it, create ad hominem attacks against people who disagree, like his “emotional baggage” comment.

    “The utilities and parallels to human sexuality on a macro-level are obvious and not entirely useful, but regardless PUA/MDA theory quickly picked up on them.
    He admits humans share social dynamics with other primates, implies (without argument) that this is useless knowledge, and criticises PUA for not agreeing with his unspoken criticisms.”

    Conning your way into a club for free, … stealing their drinks, then intimidating some poor girl’s boyfriend into letting you talk to her all night
    He frames everything he disagrees with in the worst terms. Am I the only one getting a really resentful vibe from this part? He has strong feelings against people who do this.

    Interesting how he implies boyfriends have a right to choose who their girlfriends talk to.

    “it also makes him an Overcompensating Dick.”
    Ad hominem alert!

    “once you begin to date a girl you really like, other issues begin to crop up: i.e., commitment, sacrifice, compromise, boundaries, etc. These are anathema to the classic PUA/MDA dogma of Alphaness. And if you hold onto it, you’re going to get hurt and screwed again… and it’s not going to be her fault this time either.”

    Oh no, is PUA really so evil is won’t let you… compromise your values, self-sacrifice, give up your freedoms? Wait, those sound like bad things. If PUA “gets me hurt” by not letting them happen to me, I guess it must be a good pain.

    “Become an attractive man once and for all, without faking it or pretending to be someone you’re not. ”
    So he falls for the “just be yourself” thing, not recognising that who someone is is something they choose and that varies depending on what they think is best.

    • Reply

      RL

      22 weeks ago

      Your comments make the most sense on this page.

    • Reply

      Beta

      8 weeks ago

      I wish what I read here was true but unfortunately it’s not. National Geographic has a documentary which confirms that alpha male exists. If you have a big body type then you automatically qualify to be an alpha. If you are not big, there are other ways to become an alpha although it’s difficult. The other include gray hair and lower tone in voice. My experience completely conforms to these signs. I have been in a group that included a guy with gray hair and I have seen how the females were attracted to him and ignored the others. On the other hand, alpha males usually try to block other males and prevent them from engaging with girls in different ways. I have got this deep belief that we are animals that talk. We are of course more intelligent than chimps but our basic instincts have not changed. We just use our intelligence to follow our basic instincts in a more advanced way such as using contraception.
      I’m 6 ft tall with a body mass index (BMI) of 23 which means that I’m totally fit. I’m getting a Ph.D. in one year and I’ll be a professor with 100k+ salary next year, currently teaching at a university. I know a lot about different topics from computer programming to business, politics, and economics but none of them attract women. Apparently the only thing they think about is finding an alpha male and the most significant sign of being an alpha is having huge muscles. Every girl I’ve met has told me that I’m skinny and need to start building my muscles. The women that are attracted to me are at least 7 inches shorter than me. Now I have to choose between being lonely or wasting my time on building my muscles which I don’t like. I agree with the author that women have very complicated needs but unfortunately, most of them don’t consider those factors when they select partners. They are hardwired to look for alphas and that’s not what they really need. That’s why many women are not happy with their relationships and complain that they only attract jerks. This is not only hurting men but also women.
      I’m an international student in Texas and have been here for three years. The last three years have been the worst years of my life. The affluent sexism in this society has really hurt me. If you are a girl from another country you will have no problems finding a date from any race. In contrast, if you are a guy, your life sucks. Most women will stop talking to you once they recognize that you are from another country or have an accent. I’m very serious about leaving the states after I get my degree.
      I think America is so obsessed with looks and sexuality that new problems are comping up. Remember the recent shooting in UCSB. I agree that the guy was a psycho but he wasn’t born a psycho. I think he was abused in this society. I have a feeling that the problem is getting more serious and we will hear similar stories in the future.

  • Reply

    Retcofsky

    3 months ago

    I’ve only met one person that I felt was truly disconnected from everything in his life and for no really good reason other than he woke up one day and decided to be an a-hole. He’s in prison now.

  • Reply

    Nightseeker

    3 months ago

    I know I’m hella-late to the party, but after reading the comments on this article and coming across the topic about the male in the relationship needing to be stronger than the female(?!) I had to throw my 2 cents in.

    I read a book, “the gift of fear” which had a quote that comes to mind and is pertanent to this whole topic; ‘Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them.’ I know this takes a rather extremest stance, but I NEED to know that I am at least equal to my partner in any relationship. Otherwise, abusive or not, there will always be a subconscious undercurrent of fear and loss of control. I have NEVER been abused and my boyfriend has cried on my shoulder as much as I have on his and I would not have it any other way.

    If I didn’t think that I was reguarded as an equal in the relationship, it would not stand up for very long because if I could not separate from him and stand alone at the end of the day, I couldn’t face myself in the mirror either.

    PS–This is NOT an impossible dynamic; my boyfriend and I have now been together for almost 9 years. We nurture each other emotionally but keep separate finances, friends, spaces, etc but will never shy away from asking for assistance. We’re the ultimate ‘friends with benefits’ scenerio.

    • Reply

      Sam

      2 months ago

      I’m so jealous.

  • Reply

    rose isabella

    3 months ago

    All this Alpha Beta stuff is starting to bore me because if dominance has to do with self control and boundaries which to me is the most appealing type of proposed dominance as the rest sounds very speculative and subjective then the most appealing male would be the religious military man because he is this only courageous one the rest are just pompous peacocks who are probably infested with STDs. Any intelligent and attractive woman would better serve her higher self by joining a convent than associating with the other three creeps. An Army officer in Special Forces with a college degree is most like the Knight in shining armor archetype that females dream of the rest are infected douchebags. Love and sex can be deeper than mere sport!

    • Reply

      Neoprime

      2 months ago

      Except the religious military is not honorable(especially if he’s Christian) cause Bible tells him to not kill and he joins the military(where you get paid to kill) anyway, the guy in my eyes isn’t that redeeming similar to the other guys in the scenario.

  • Reply

    fjod/10199

    3 months ago

    “Conning your way into a club for free, inching your way into a VIP table owned by someone you don’t know, stealing their drinks, then intimidating some poor girl’s boyfriend into letting you talk to her all night all can be labeled as “Life Changing” for a guy who just spent the last eight years in Mom’s basement.”
    in Russia such behaviour usually leads to being repeatedly kicked in the face. Sometimes, with a chair.

  • Reply

    james_and_giant_peach

    3 months ago

    Great article Mark. You have a good writing ability as well. It makes the reading both enjoyable as it is informative. I agree that there is a definite connection with the amount a man is able to express himself and with his being “Alpha”. Experience and intelligence can guide you to expressing yourself and understanding yourself more clearly and purely. But there is no substitute for raw courage to express your heart and be vulnerable. 
     
    I look forward to reading more from you.

  • Reply

    E Z E

    3 months ago

    The idea of Alpha-maleness has no basis in real science. It is pseudo-science that is an assault on evolutionary biology. In nature, social interactions are also not so simple. We’ve recently disproved the myth of the Alpha wolf. Look at the bonobo ape, a very close ancestor to humans, with it’s matriarchy and oodles of orgies. Where is the alpha in that scenario? Even in Chimps the alpha male scenario is more complex. Females go with them because they have no choice, but when given the chance they pick ‘betas’. It doesn’t matter anyway because we aren’t bonobos, and we aren’t chimps. We still have no idea how humans were in paleolithic times, these people claiming anything else are merely armchair psychologists.  Most women reject the Alpha idea although shallow and insecure men continue to push it because they bought a 400 dollar CD. No human is that simplistic. We have willpower. I would love to see these boys push this ‘Alpha’ attitude on the people on the East Coast, Canada. They would become social pariahs after having their ass handed to them because lets face it, they aren’t being manly, they’re being douchebags.  I see it every time foreign men bring their jerkass attitude up our way. I remember one guy from New York I used to hang around with. He bought into this ‘Alpha-Beta’ mentality and used to treat everyone like lapdogs. He’s still secretly a virgin and on his 19th birthday (drinking age in Canada) only 2 people went out with him to celebrate. The only reason they went is because they felt bad for him. Of course his cognitive dissonance led him to rationalizing it with all sorts of nonsense. TL;DR: If your validation comes solely from your sex prowess or from other men, than you are nothing but sad and insecure. You are no better than the men you label ‘Beta’ and you look like a fool to everyone else.

    • Reply

      JonFriedmann

      2 months ago

      @E Z E This is in reply to both EZE and the author:
       
      I don’t think you two are truly describing an “Alpha.” This below is a true Alpha male:
      -He is confident, but compassionate and caring. These are not contradictory!
      -He treats others well, NOT to gain approval, but because he truly cares about others.
      -He is not an asshole, but not a pushover either.
      -He is strong enough to LEAD, but sensitive enough to LISTEN to others. He doesn’t lead just to feel in control (he requires no validation). He leads simply to take ACTION towards what he wants, while also taking into account what others want.
      -He can admit mistakes and apologize, NOT as an attempt to win approval, but because it’s the honest thing to do.
      -He will agree if he truly agrees (not just to win approval). He will disagree if he truly disagrees (not just to be a jerk and feel dominant).
       
      You get the idea. The Alpha male is a BALANCE. He embodies all the positive characteristics of the jerk (confidence, ability to act, etc.) and the beta (compassion, caring, etc.), both on the surface and on the inside.
       
      This article is not really butchering the Alpha male, but rather: clarifying a misconception about the Alpha male. PUA isn’t about being “badass,” wearing sunglasses, and being a jerk to everybody. If it was that simple, then there’d never be a PUA industry (you don’t need “PUA experts” to tell you how to wear sunglasses and act badass).
      PUA is difficult because it’s about fine-tuning a balance: being both kind (but not needy) and strong (but not mean), both superficially and internally. Try watching a video of a good PUA: it’s not some dude with tattoos trying to act badass. Rather, the guy is usually friendly and non-judgmental, yet confident and calm, with an inviting laid-back attitude. It’s a difficult balance to manage, but that’s why PUA is such a big industry.

      • Reply

        postmasculine

        2 months ago

        @JonFriedmann  @E Z E Yes, a “real” alpha male is not described in this piece (that was intentional). Check out this article: http://postmasculine.com/the-fake-alpha-males

        • Reply

          JonFriedmann

          2 months ago

          @postmasculine  @E Z E 
          I agree with your view, but I do think you are giving PUA too little credit by dumbing down their Alpha male into a jerk, then discrediting this distorted version of PUA.
           
          IMO, just a little unfair to portray PUAs as such simplistic creatures, lol. Perhaps degrading PUA adds some contrast and impact to your article, but I think your content is excellent even without all that PUA-bashing.

      • Reply

        Barkan

        1 month ago

        @JonFriedmann What is that definition of alpha male based on?

  • Reply

    Julia

    2 months ago

    Thank you Mark for this post. I am pretty aghast by much of the PUA “alpha-male” stuff on the internet and very happy to have found a man whose never even been exposed to it. I think everyone should strive to be the best person they can be and for us to realize our best is not the same as everyone else’s best. Men are complex, women are complex, the way we interact with one another in many different contexts is complex.

    But I digress, I really respect that you are putting stuff like this out there. Its a needed response to the garbage read by too many men.

  • Reply

    George Karalis

    2 months ago

    Mark as I mentioned to you via email (before reading this), I think you could take this a good bit further. Help to give true parameters to what it means to be “alpha”(come up with a different term to capture it if need be). Having set the foundation through vulnerability, have vulnerability serve as the springboard towards a higher order. Because it is not simply to no longer be needy, it is to rise to a higher order. I suspect you have a good bit to say about it.

  • Reply

    Elisabeth

    1 month ago

    Thank you so much for writing this article. I’ve heard so many men talk about being ‘alpha’ like this while missing the whole point. More than anything else, a real woman will appreciate and respect a man who is comfortable with his feelings and sets his boundaries without feeling the need to step all over other people – all the real ‘alpha males’ I know are usually the most quiet and gentle men in the room. Assertiveness before aggressiveness. Keep converting them!

  • Reply

    Dohn Joe

    1 month ago

    This article.is mostly nonsense, especially about women being “complicated”. The spoiled brats bred into western culture are nothing short of primal.

    Also the chick whose man is overseas fighting is contrived nonsense.

    • Reply

      Kae

      28 weeks ago

      This comment reeks of bitterness and lack of success. If all women are spoiled brats, what, sir, are you?

  • Reply

    Two Cents

    1 month ago

    An Alpha determines his own destiny, creates his own reality, and ultimately realizes that the reasons for both his successes and for his failures are his alone. A Beta is controlled by external forces, lives his life molded by the realities of others, and blames external circumstances for his failures. There is a lot of overlap between this definition of Alpha and the PUA one, particularly with regard to outcome independence, but it does a disservice to dismiss the PUA/manosphere Aplha/Beta distinction out of hand; it is a useful generalization. But an Alpha is not necessarily moral, immoral, amoral, compassionate or a douchey asshole; he is simply someone who lives his life according to his own internal standards and desires.

  • Reply

    LittleWolf

    21 weeks ago

    God, Thankyou for being honest as a guy, particularly as one who has ‘been there, done that’s himself. Exactlythe same thing can happen with women, with an overcompensating bitch/slut mentality. I nearly went down that road having been friend’s ones by guys who weren’t interested in relationships, only flings with bitchy women. My mother was a victim of domestic violence but got beat down when she retaliated so I was caught between being a wallflower and ‘assertting myself’ inappropriately. I was that sweet girl with fantasies of baking cale and giving my man backrubs. My boyfriend could have ended up a monster too as he was very sensitive and withdrawn saying he already thought all women were snakes when I met him as a 24 year old virgin. I see nice guys turn into these monsters and nice girls turn into cold bitchy golddiggers and it makes me sad that the success of the overcompensating alpha male or female further makes the underdog think they should radically modify their behaviour and change into something awful…

    We ll I think we just got lucky and I’m glad I persisted in being forward with him, glad that I didn’t turn into that bitch and just use him for a one night stand (I did the crying-about-mean-guys thing to him) All Incan say is that people will hurt you in life and you become stronger for it, but DON’T do a complete 180 and become everything you hate, or you perpetuate the cycle of flawed and emotionally damaged people taking out their shit on others, then making everyone else feel they most overcompensate and forsake their better selves.

  • Reply

    Crumist

    20 weeks ago

    Glad to finally see an intelligent response to the whole PUA scene and alpha-beta theory. One runs into the PUA-faithful (admittedly, only ever online, never in meatspace) and thinks to himself that it is all obviously bullshit. But the lack of people calling out this whole PUA ideology for the screwed up assholery that it is easily puts one into this screwed up sense of skeptical dissonance.

  • Reply

    Saravanan V

    17 weeks ago

    Dude,

    You started out so well. I was really thinking you were going to say something. In the end this was mostly a political preaching. Soothing maybe, for people who are trying and getting tired of being an alpha.

    Dont get me wrong. I dont disagree with you. But its just that you havent given anything in terms of explanation or providing an alternative. All this article seems to do is repeatedly say that the modern version of aplha-ness is wrong.

    Well. Maybe yeah you are right. It might be wrong. But why ? what are the after effects ? what is the problem in the long run ? What could be corrected. And how do I develop it ? etc etc..

    You have butchered him yes. Because you believed he was wrong. Nothing more than a religious killing, I would say.

  • Reply

    Tom

    12 weeks ago

    Interesting article. I do feel that there is a definite standard an alpha male can be held to and that what people perceive as alpha has been misrepresented by today’s society. If women find you attractive but you never cheat and are loyal. You don’t let people walk over you yet you never walk over others. You are a decisive person and always accept the consequences of your actions. You aren’t aggressive by nature but you aren’t a pushover. Does that not make one alpha?

  • Reply

    Abby

    11 weeks ago

    Curious about the Alpha male perspective and whether it is applicable to guys who do not want to be bread winners and perhaps seek out highky intelligent women who make good enough money so that they can coast. I don’t have an answer. I pose this question.

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    Kim

    9 weeks ago

    I’m sick to death of the abuse of the term “alpha male”. It’s not a personality type, or a way of acting or anything along those lines……. It’s a position in a primate social hierarchy and most that call themselves “alpha male” don’t actually hold that position even in their own social group. You have a group of male friends who all call themselves “alpha males”…? NO. just no. *one* of them is the alpha (and probably not the alpha anywhere else outside of his little social clique) but the rest are not, by definition. And due to the complexity of human societies, you can be the alpha among one group and not among others, e.g. you may be the alpha of your team at work because you’re their manager, but in a meeting with company directors you’re not the alpha, not even close. And the alpha can be male or female. “alpha male” might work with some primate species because their social system is divided into separate male and female hierarchies (and there’s an alpha female as well when this happens)… but in humans usually there’s one hierachy of individuals of both sexes and either a male or a female can be the alpha. It depends on the group and on the individual.

    I did not right this paragraph but someone else did who did anthropology

    What you are describing is someone who might be fit for a position of leadership (or being an good adult member of society) but not necessarily is in every situation.
    Plus being Alpha is not exclusive to males as people like to describe.
    Also the simplified idea of being alpha is really primitive to the complex hierarchies of humanity.

  • Reply

    John Zapps

    8 weeks ago

    Hey man, Ben is obviously the alpha in this story.

    You construct a pretty weak argument by suggesting he’s gay.

    Also, even if he was gay, it is entirely possible to be gay AND be alpha, so, you’re wrong.

    Alpha Fucks (Ben), Beta (Jack) provides the Bucks, Holly gets to have her fucks and her bucks.

    • Reply

      Mark

      8 weeks ago

      Wow, so all I have to do is stick my penis inside a bunch of people and then I can be alpha? Sweet, that was easy!

      What an over-simplified way to look at the world. To believe that a man’s value is worth nothing more than how many people he has sex with is, well, very beta of you. I hope you grow out of it.

  • Reply

    Ricardo

    8 weeks ago

    “A great man is always willing to be little” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Great article Mark. Personally I think the idea of an “alpha male” is really just too humanly social based on perspective…and not on actual context. Let alone reality.

    Hell I would imagine figures like Caesar, Napoleon, Kennedy, etc…to be held as “alpha males”. But even they all had weaknesses that were exposed and exploited by men of “lesser power”. Napoleon for example was the most powerful man in Europe….yet he always deep down had a psychological low self-esteem in knowing that he originated from a weak noble family in Corsica (instead of the power house nobility of mainland Europe). I can’t remember his name but sometype of business men or ambassador for another country once exploited this to its fullest and Napoleon eventually lost his temper knowing he had been played for a fool. I think its clear that in this case Napoleon was far from an Alpha male….even if he was the man with higher authority.

    Basically what I’m saying is that I think a fundamental attribute of an alpha dog is being in control and dominant, but this by definition implies one can never have an equal (in the same context). But that is pretty much impossible for 1 human to be above all in pretty much all situations from what I know.

    • Reply

      wolfgang

      3 days ago

      I believe it was Talleyrand, discussed in The 48 Laws of Power

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