October 8th, 2007
Audience Participation Time

This one’s cross-posted to the Bradford Bunch Blog — but the contest is for here too.

The term “alpha male” is bandied about quite a bit when we’re talking about the romance genre. When I use the term I mean a man who prefers to be in charge of others and will fight to gain or retain that authority. A man who is strong both physically and mentally and doesn’t take merde from others. I mean a man who is protective and can be domineering.

In romance, at least in my opinion, sometimes characters go a step beyond this. I term these guys a**hole alpha males. Mostly I can’t read them. They’re too much of the above. Just too, too. However I’m fully aware that’s an opinion not shared by many.

I like to read a good beta. I don’t tend to write them, though my male leads will sometimes show some beta characteristics.

Most women, as far as I can tell, would rather read an alpha or an a**hole alpha. They want the domineering, over-protective barbarian whose unruly self must be brought to heel by the strong, gentle love of the heroine.

But I’m here to tell you that living with one in real life is no picnic. My husband is one, though I’m not saying he’s all muscular, big, brutish, ect. He’s a regular guy, but his personality is pretty domineering, pretty bossy. He’s a manager and likes that kind of role the best. Thing is, sometimes he tries to manage me and that doesn’t work so well. He tends to think he knows best, his way or nothing. You know the type.

I’m grateful to him in a way, since he keeps me strong. I have to always stand up to him or he’ll just steamroll right over me. I love him, of course, and have spent thirteen very happy years with him, but we all have our (at times) unlikable personality quirks.

So, having lived so long with guy who shares some personality characteristics with the heroes I write (soooo not telling him that. It’ll go right to his head), I have to say that in Real Life they can be a trial.

Tell me about the alpha in your life. Or tell me why or why not you’d want to date/marry one. Finally, tell me about the sort of base personality you like to see in your romance novel heroes. Do you prefer the alpha, the a**hole alpha (s’okay, you can admit it), or the beta? Why?

There will a winner drawn from the participants and the prize will be a surprise.

7 comments to “Audience Participation Time”

  1. I love reading about alpha males, but I think living with one would be totally exhausting. My match in real life is a beta guy and we make a great team. My favorite heroes tend to be more of a blend of alpha and beta characteristics. I like the strength of an alpha, both physical and mental, mixed with humor, compassion, and the ability to compromise, that I think a beta personality tends to bring to the relationship.

  2. Actually it depends on my mood. I grew up reading the a**hole alpha in romances and then as I ventured more into the genre I learned that alpha was cool but sometimes they became over ran by the females. I want a man who is alpha but can pull out the a**hole alpha side of himself if need be. Beta’s I don’t mind, they are good side kicks but for a hero, I would rather be introduced to them in the alpha’s story then if I like them well enough let them have their own story.

  3. Here you go. All about Alpha.


  4. I’m not interested in the a**hole alphas, but I can enjoy reading about an alpha. For me, though, it’s more about how the man and the woman in the story fit together than whether the man is an alpha or not. He can be alpha or beta, but if I don’t feel as if he and the woman are compatible in their power dynamics (or any other way) then I’m less interested in the book.

    As for me personally, I’m not sure if a true alpha would work for me, but I do like to date people who are confident in themselves, who won’t let me call ALL the shots, and who know who they are. You don’t have to be an alpha to have those characteristics.

  5. Generally, I like to read a guy who is in control of himself – not the situation and not the heroine. Alpha males – to my experience – are disrespectful of what I want and crass. I prefer a man with “softer” attributes when it comes to considering what I want or need to do with my life.

    A man in control of himself naturally commands respect. A man who is domineering or who swaggers around does not – generally. I have no problem with confidence, but arrogance…that’s another story. 🙂 I prefer an alpha, but an alpha who is human and considerate.

  6. mmmm….alpha….

    I’ve only read one beta male story and it just felt boring. I kept thinking that I would totally bowl over a guy like that. I’m afraid I’ve got bossy tendencies and can be a bit domineering, so to feel like I’ve got an equal I need a strong personality on the other side of the bed. The Man is quietly alpha, but distinctly alpha. He’s not gregarious, but holy crap is he the boss. (shiver)

    Yeah, I don’t mind if the hero ventures into a**hole territory once in a while; he usually has a decent reason for it – in his head at least.

  7. i’m totally torn over the issue. i live with an Alpha who makes me nuts whenever he goes into alpha mode – probably because i have a touch of alpher meself. I enjoy stories with the aggressive, take charge alphas alot – but my closest male friends that i connect to intellectually are definitely more Beta than Alpha. So i like both – they fullfill different aspects of relationship needs i guess. or i could just be babbling because i’m still sucking down coffee.