My teen daughter and I often have conversations about boys and men. I instruct and she laughs at me. But taking craft classes at writer’s conferences about the dynamics between the sexes and how they interact, and writing books about relationships has really made me give it some serious thought.
When I was a much younger woman, I dated. I know; it was eons ago, and none of us should bring up those days. But daughters ask. Explaining this period in my life can be tricky, because how much do you share enough without blowing your superior example-setting adult power over your teen? Tricky, tricky, tricky.
But I realized that drawing on experiences as a young woman have carried over a into my writing of characters. Not the people so much as the personality types. So, if we ever dated, don’t worry.
I shared with my daughter that alpha males are often the athletes as young men. They are usually in good physical shape and are surrounded by a group of other alphas–like a pack. Alphas often care a great deal about their reputation or prowess. They aren’t bad people, they just have that sort of ego thing going on. They often are known as “ladies’ men” within their social circle. It’s likely they won’t want to discuss a lot of light chatty stuff, and will send you straight to your girlfriends for that. When they’re younger, tough guys will usually hang out with their buddies and drink beer and watch or play sports while you shop with your girlfriends. They might do that when they’re older too. (heh)
The betas are wonderful in their own ways, especially as they age. They might not be the big sexies when they’re younger, but are often avid listeners, offer to help with the dishes without a fuss, split the chores 50/50, show their sensitive sides, and demonstrate a willingness to be a partner and friend more than a protector.
Why would we be drawn to one or the other? Maybe it’s our relationships with our fathers, our personalities, or our childhoods in general. Could be that we get crushed by one or the other and swear off a type. Having been married a really long time, I notice women married to one type staring at the greener grass over the fence of the marriage of the other type all too often. The grass is hardly ever greener on the whole lawn, folks. Usually just in patches.
My disclaimer: These are generalizations. You can find far more specific information on male archetypes if you research them. This is a non-scientific conversational description of alpha/beta guys within my own understanding and experience. People get really fired up about this topic, so go easy!
Oh, there are exceptions to every rule, and there are certainly mixes between alpha and beta men. So, how does this work in a novel, when our heroine gets the hunky, built, but sensitive guy? It’s fiction, y’all. If you have one of those rare and beautiful creatures who enjoys talking about your feelings as he rubs your feet, then you feast your eyes on his masculine beauty as he works the back forty and he prefers your constant company to that of the guys, you may brag in the comments below. I’d love to hear about him!!
Have a fantastic weekend!