Genre Talk

The Alphas vs the Betas revisited

HBN_FB5aI hate to bludgeon a dead horse. No, honest. But it was my day to do the genre talk post, and this is the subject I’ve been kicking around in my head. I am working on some projects that have me mulling over the alpha vs beta question again. I think I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s just aaalll sexy. 

What do you guys think?

I mean the alphas are easy, right? They’re big. They’re commanding. They pursue their romantic interest with fiery passion, and for women in particular (which, statistically, most romance readers are) the pursuit can be as sexy as the sex itself. They make standing around look good. I remember meeting a motorcycle cop all decked out in the boots and the uniform, and while the guy didn’t come across as a super nice person (let’s face it, some police officers aren’t–it isn’t exactly their job to be) I couldn’t deny I found him extremely attractive. Not simply because of his looks, but because of his presence. He held himself with clear confidence and authority, and I think that confidence drills into the caveman brain part of us all that tells us “That person right there will keep you safe. Go mate with them right now.”

Anton_Image Quote 1Or perhaps I’m drinking wine before noon too often these days.

The betas, on the other hand, well they don’t exactly slouch. Many of them, like my husband, have discovered that P90x thing. They can fix damn near anything. They can do math without a calculator (I sooo can’t). They organize stuff while we’re busy being flighty. They can argue and debate circles around almost anyone, because they’re smarter and faster in the gray matter department. Chances are excellent that evolution is going to favor those with higher intelligence. Not to mention, they take care of those they love in their own way. I once took the door off my car while pregnant (because you DO insane stuff like that while you’re pregnant), and in under an hour my husband had the entire situation handled, from the insurance company to the tow truck, to getting the dog into her crate so I could focus on making sure I was okay after having launched myself into a moving car while pregnant (somehow I had put the car in gear and then gotten out. didn’t I tell you it was insane)? So while I typically, take fine care of myself, and while I wouldn’t call my husband an alpha male, that day, and many other days, he has been my hero. I think I’ll keep him.

So he likes to listen to cheesy love ballads on the radio. Maybe Lee from Hunter by Night secretly does too, and he just hasn’t told us yet. 😉 I do love my husband – but I think when it comes to book boyfriends, if they’re sexy, anything goes.  Book boyfriends. Collect them all. *ding!*

So what about you? Do you prefer alphas over betas? An alpha in the street but a beta in the sheets? All of the above?


6 thoughts on “The Alphas vs the Betas revisited

  1. Truly, I prefer betas. At least you can usually have a decent conversation with them. However, I’ve recently met an alpha who has it all – looks, intelligence, sense of humor, kindness, and still strong, weapon-savvy and protective.

    i may have to rethink my position.

  2. Elisabeth, I love this rhapsody to betas! Yes!

    The feminist in me sort of feels sorry for men that we keep asking this questions. As women, we don’t want to have to be caught up in the virgin/whore paradox, or the queen bee/nice girl one. And I suspect that all the best male characters are really both alpha and beta at times, just like in real life. Like your husband, mine husband knows how to take the lead and follow, to be a warrior and do the dishes! It’s that he can be both, and knows how to be just what I need, or our kids need, or the people at his office need, and how to get what he needs too–it’s all of that which makes him my hero!

    • It’s so funny. I ran across this fascinating article on the virgin/whore paradox recently and you were the first person I thought of. One of these days we’ll have to get on the phone (or in front of a couple of glasses of wine) and talk that one to death because I find it fascinating to no end. But yes, I agree, I think the best guys have both. Our obsession with military romance comes to mind – we love to read about these special ops guys who are often the epitome of alpha male, but they started out as shaven-headed grunts, getting shouted at and doing endless push-ups when they got out of line. They had to learn to follow before they could be in charge. That versatility helps make them sexy. And your husband sounds like quite a catch!!

  3. I feel like I pursued alphas all my life and married a beta (although he works in a an alpha field). I found the alpha characteristics to be so frustrating at times. My husband can’t fix much and he’s constantly losing his keys, but he is the kind of person you want in a crisis because he’s “all-in”…and he does dishes.

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