I Am the Alpha and the Beta

This is not an ode to me.  Quite the opposite, actually.  These are just observations from my life.

While I am aware that human social hierarchies are often too complex to really describe accurately in terms of a dichotomy, the Alpha v. Beta dichotomy is a useful way of looking at human mating behaviors for two very simple reasons.  First, a lot of people are familiar with it.  Second, a lot of people believe it and base their behaviors on it, reinforcing what reflection it has in our social reality.

Alpha males are typically viewed in terms of their traits of aggression, dominance, athleticism, risk acceptance, high resource acquisition, etc.  Beta males are typically viewed in terms of their traits of submission, deference, sedentism, risk aversion, mediocre or low resource acquisition, etc.  Most men have both traits which could properly be considered Alpha traits and those which could be properly considered Beta traits.  It is likely that they have a good bit more of one set of traits than the other, primarily because the traits of each are so disparate.  This is why other people can often understandably and even usefully regard a male as an Alpha or a Beta.  It might lead them to misunderstand his behavior occasionally, but not so often that it is a massive detriment.

I present what is perhaps an uncommon problem for women who try to understand me in terms of an Alpha/Beta dichotomy.  I am prone to display an unusually high amount of both alpha and beta qualities.  My resource acquisition has varied quite a bit, but my work history shows stability in that I tend to stay employed with the same company for long periods of time.  I am strongly averse to risks which are viewed by my peers as entirely acceptable (i.e. excessive consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs) and strongly accepting of risks of bodily injury (i.e. my martial arts training or my labor such as roofing) which my peers are less likely to accept.  I keep myself in good shape and I also prefer a night at home with a good book to a crazy party.  What really makes it difficult to decide whether or not I am an Alpha or a Beta male is how I present myself in the social hierarchy.  I generally respect the chain of command in terms of procedural matters, but I have been known to pick up that chain and beat someone with it quite aggressively when I think it’s called for and I take leadership roles at work where at all possible.  I genuinely regard everyone as my equal and do not try to dominate anyone simply to prove my dominance, but I am very willing to aggressively argue the point when something needs to be done.  I switch effortlessly between the deference of a Beta and the dominance of an Alpha based on my level of expertise in any particular matter or task.  If I don’t have the expertise, I defer to those who do.  If I do have the expertise, I am very willing to grab the reins.  Because most people unconsciously behave based on a pack mentality and do not intuitively see how I am making my decisions, the shifts can be quite jarring.

The result is that I attract women and then drive them away, quite unintentionally in most cases.  Some are attracted to my alpha male qualities and find my beta male qualities annoying.  Others are attracted to my beta male qualities and find my alpha male qualities annoying.  A rare few find my unusually heady mix of the two incredibly intoxicating and throw themselves at me.

I’m an Alpha and a Beta, which really means that I’m a complicated man, and no one understands me…not even and perhaps especially a woman who has learned to see men in terms of the alphabet.

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4 Responses to I Am the Alpha and the Beta

  1. AmorVomnia7 says:

    Go Zeta. We have cookies.

  2. Nous_Apeiron says:

    @AmorVomnia7 – Haha!  Well played.  It’s better than being an Omega male, I’m sure.

  3. very good.  you just helped me to understand my current relationship.  I always saw him as basically good at everything, but couldn’t pinpoint my frustration with my expectations of his personality.  it is probably most effective to be able to go between being a and b, rather than being mostly a or mostly b.

  4. Nous_Apeiron says:

    @consignedhearts111 – I’m glad it helped in some way.  It is very effective to be able to operate as both in many respects, though the price of effectiveness is often a great deal of frustration on the part of others.

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