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August 01, 2007

The Real Alpha Male

The Real Alpha Male

By Elaine Viets

A divorced woman I know is going through an ugly custody fight started by her ex. He wants more time with their child. He claims she sheltered their son and made him into a "sissy." The woman is a real fighter, so I was surprised when she didn’t jump into battle against her ex.

"What’s wrong?" I asked her.

"My son needs to be around an alpha male," she said.

My definition of an alpha male isn’t someone who cheats on his wife, quits his job and falls behind in his child support payments. An alpha male takes care of his family, even after the divorce.

"But that’s what warriors are like," my friend said, defending the man she couldn’t live with.

Her ex served in the military, but that doesn’t necessarily make him a warrior. I know one "warrior" who spent the Vietnam War drinking beer in Germany. He never failed to bore anyone with his tales of the Army. I also knew real warriors who fought the worst battles of World War II. These men didn’t beat their chests and brag. They were reluctant to discuss their heroic deeds. They were too private and painful.

The dictionary says an alpha male is "the dominant member of a group of males."

But the definition seems to have been expanded. Now any rude jerk is considered an alpha male. I’ve seen the NFL’s Mike "dog killer" Vick called an "alpha male."

Ditto for Barry Bonds, who courageously dissed 150-pound Bob Costas for being a "midget." (Uh, Mr. Bonds, Costas was born short. Rudeness is something you have to work to achieve.)

Frank Sinatra has been called an alpha male. Yes, he headed a bunch of sycophantic drunks rightly known as the Rat Pack. It’s also said he knocked around his wife, Mia Farrow. That’s real tough guy behavior.

No one will deny that Sinatra was a splendid crooner. But an alpha male? I don’t think so.

A real alpha male is a gentleman. One of the finest examples is baseball great Stan "the Man" Musial. Stan supports charities in St. Louis and around the country. There’s a story that Stan even used to cut his own lawn at his home in St. Louis Hills, until the sight stopped traffic in his neighborhood. People lined up to see a real baseball hero doing ordinary things, like they did.

St. Louisans love Stan, and rightly so. I met him at a charity dinner to benefit a children’s home. A lesser man would have been bored by the long evening and showed it. Not Stan. He shook hands and signed baseballs for kids and grownups until after midnight – that’s major league class.

Another alpha male, at least on the screen, is Daniel Craig, Harley Jane’s beloved "blond Bond."

There are lots more alpha males out there. But that title should be bestowed only on those who deserve it.


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An alpha male also takes care of those weaker than he. He will do anything to protect and defend those for whom he feels responsible. (is that right? I am trying so hard to get my grammar back into shape, lol) A true alpha male doesn't beat on his family or do drugs or quit his job. He will do anything to make sure his family has a home & food on the table. The kids may not have an Ipod, but at least they will eat. He will also find a strong, alpha female to help him go through life and do the things he knows he must.

I am proud and grateful that my Dear Hubby is such a man.

Well, at least until the next time I get really PO'd at him!

Oh, I forgot. Stan is really a great guy. Dear Hubby is not a sports fan and didn't know who Stan was when he met him. He couldn't understand why all of these people wanted his autograph. I could have killed him! Since Stan & Red Schoendienst didn't go to the Hall of Fame weekend, I hope Stan is ok. I know he hasn't been that well lately.

Beautifully said, Elaine. Had a similar discussion just the other day with a friend and we got to talking about how the strong have a responsibility to protect those weaker than themselves, not take advantage or exploit them.

"Alpha Male" is a term that's been corrupted by amateurs. Like "Type A" personality being used as an excuse for rude behavior. Someone explained to me once that he was a "Type A" personality and that's why we clashed; it was obvious I was NOT a "Type A". I nodded, and said I could only think of one word that started with the letter "A" to describe his behavior. He didn't get it....

Thanks for clarifying something that's been floating around the edges of my mind for a little while: I've never understood how "rude" came to mean "alpha." It seems to me that rudeness is a social weakness, not a strength.

I think that a person with consistently rude behavior can dominate a group. But, it's usually because everyones time is taken up with figuring out how to work around him. NOT because everyone's bowled over by his power.

It sounds to me like your definition fits my definition of the Yiddish word "mensch."

Good - no great - point Elaine.

I think the rude form of "Alpha Male" or "Alpha Bitch" is some sort of social retardation from high and middle school culture.

It comes from glorying young talent who have not learned to read, write or develop a moral core being. Yet so many of these retarded social illiterates are given a free pass from high school thru college with atheletics and the arts.

Indiscretions are covered up by coaches. When academia is through with them, we see the true behavior of these sports superstars when they are off the leash and have some money to burn.

A culture of Narcissim that finds a way to feed itself until it becomes ugly.

Great blog, Elaine.

I think the term Alpha Male did originate as the title of the most intimidating male of the pack - the one who was able - primarily in a physical way - to maintain his position as the leader.

Needless to say, success in our society today has little to do with physical strength and intimidation. On the other hand, there is still a message in our culture that might makes right. I am staying away from politics, but the point is still valid.

And obviously, just because a man or woman has physical strength or athletic gifts doesn't make them a person who is not qualified to be a role model or a person to be admired - like all segments of people, there are good and bad.

Perhaps it's not the term - it's our odd desire to continue to use the term even though it is no longer applicable.

With all of the writers here, surely we can come up with a better way to describe a man of worth?

I'm just worried about Ramona, once she sees that Blond Bond is "my" Bond this morning.

Isn't the whole Alpha thing taken from the designation of wolves in the pack? The Alpha male is the leader of the pack, eats first, gets his pick of the females, and so on. Why would a human want the designation?

Really interesting blog, Elaine. Why *do* we still value the alpha male? In Latin culture, it's even more true. Machismo rules, and women have to be pretty. You'd think we'd be more eveolved by now.

Aw, Harley, don't fret. I'm cool with sharing. He can be yours this morning. Tomorrow, however....

Michele, that "eveolved"--was that a typo or a new word? Either way, I like it.

Oh, that is a good word. Eve-olved. Let's keep it.

And don't hex me, Ramona, but I must point out that Clive is masculine without resorting to alpha-maleness.

Actually, Michele, I'm beginning to think that Clive has slipped a love hex on you. How else could you be so enamoured of his alpha-dullness?

Still waters run deep, Ramona.

Hmmm. This is a remarkably agreeble group. Harley and Ramona have even decided to share Clive amicably. I'm so impressed. Definitely alpha females and males on this blog.
Elaine Viets

Bea's right -- the "alpha male" thing arose as an easy way to designate the dominant male in a non-human animal social group (don't know if it was wolves first or primates). Alpha male wolves are the ones who get to breed, but they also help protect the younger pack members (who are usually their kids). Interestingly, a "lone wolf" is not a sort of strong, silent iconoclast in wolf society; rather, it's the wolf at the bottom of the dominance hierarchy who gets kicked out of his/her pack and spends his/her time wandering around trying not to get killed by other packs. Go figure.

I love "eve-olution" and promise to share it far and wide.

Oh -- and about that "warrior" thing . . . I just spent a long weekend with 200 of the most awesome warriors (members of the National Women's Martial Arts Federation) you'd care to meet. I'm pretty sure most of them would disagree with Eileen's friend's assessment . . .

As Bea and Kerry mention, "alpha" comes from the animal kingdom. And as anyone who's trained a dominant dog knows, becoming "alpha" in a pack has as much to do with *caring* for the other members of the pack as it does with disciplining them. If you brutalize your dog and it runs around afraid, you're not alpha. If your dog defers to you, but is happy, playful and well-adjusted, then you're alpha.

The Dog Whisperer could teach these rude "Alpha Males" what it actually means to be the dominant one in the pack!

An old, and very true, Rule of Thumb is:

The guy standing at the bar telling one and all he's the Baddest Cat in the Joint is not the one to worry about. The one to keep an eye on is the guy quietly sitting in the corner, watching to see what happens....

The alpha male is respected by the rest of the pack. Nobody respects a deadbeat.

Alpha Males. Where do I start?

Alpha Males are the dominant males in the pack. They take care of those that are in the group and they are strong enough to fight off any of the competition.

In terms of the human alpha male. Well he pretty much does the same thing. He is the protector. He looks after everyone and makes sure that there is order to the family.

In terms of characteristics .... well he's confident, competent, capable and always remains in control.

He is usually found to be exceptionally attractive to most women. He has a strong sense of self and will defend those things that he believes in.

If the alpha male wanted to settle down .. many girls would jump at the opportunity to grab him first.

The thing is .. most don’t .. some do .. those are the ones that are worth keeping if you can ...

Hot Alpha Female


All I can say is where do I find one? There are lots of the other type, wandering aimlessly through the wilderness putting up with their lot and not doing a damned thing to change their situation other than to complain.

The word I would use is strong.....strength of character, mind and spirit.
Like I said, where can I find one....

signed off from one very frustrated Alpha Female - who is kind, considerate, compassionate but tenacious, determined, steadfast and focused. Oh yes did I mention confident too lol

Written li,ek a typical female who wants a supplicating male. WHo are you to qualify males?

More likely you need to qualify fo ra male.

Afgterall they have what you try to get from them--money, social standing, security, goods, and material goods.

Who cares if a woman like you judges males--you are a prostitue in the real sense as you look for good sand money and in this case for nothing.

Haha stick it to her Fred! Side Note: Alpha male relative to humans is nonsense

I nactually agree with Fred, women who hold these views disgust me. Where is your sense of honor?

Wow Impressive! Your blog is very informative. However, it is pretty hard task but your post and experience serve and teach me how to handle and make it more simple and manageable.Thanks for the tips… Best regards.

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