Are you an alpha or a beta male?
LIKE YOU, I WAS BROUGHT UP TO TRY MY BEST – TO AIM HIGH
I therefore spent my formative years thinking that the alpha male was the apogee of manhood and the kind of role model one should aspire to. After all, he’s the guy that gets all the money, the fast cars and pretty girls – and frankly, what else is there in life aged 16? Or 66? A beta male, by contrast, is the apology of manhood – a sorry second-class excuse of a gentleman, low on expectations, energy and self-esteem. An empty vessel of unfulfilled potential, he lacks physical presence and charisma. That ain’t me. It’s not you either, right? You’d have to be a real beta male to self-identify as a beta. But the more I think about it – it’s all but consumed me the past half hour – the more I don’t want to be an alpha either. Not anymore, because alphas are usually dicks, especially the ones we’re supposed to like and/ or envy. James Bond, Gordon Gekko, Don Draper, Christian Grey – each a hero to millions, but not a decent father, husband or friend among them. It seems the rules of masculinity have shifted these past 10 years and it’s left us all a bit clueless, confused and unsure of what we’re supposed to be doing – know what I mean, PM? The goalposts we’re aiming for have inched at a glacial creep – at least I haven’t noticed a sudden tectonic shift in the landscape – but perhaps the recent rise of next-generation feminism is responsible for the movement? Before I get lynched by the disciples of Lena Dunham, Germaine Greer, Emma Watson et al, let me be clear: this is a good thing. And I’m a fully-signedup member of the latter’s #Heforshe campaign, as of 30 seconds ago. If it’s no longer acceptable to be an out-and-out alpha, who are we meant to admire and hold on high? What are we supposed to be shooting for? As men, we’re in a tricky transitional phase (though, not of the full Bruce Jenner kind). In reality, men don’t neatly separate into two such distinct categories as alphas and betas; there’s a spectrum. At one extreme we have the alpha-alpha – the classic arrogant and aggressive prick whose
AND LEAD RATHER THAN FOLLOW.