Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Alpha Minus, Beta Plus?

We’ve all read the ‘romance’ novels where the domineering alpha man forces himself on to the weak/innocent/naïve heroine and practically rapes her, but she still falls in love with him? What???

The extreme Alpha man is sometimes portrayed in romance novels as Mr. Machismo, an abrasive, ruthless, overbearing jerk. Maybe it’s what some women fantasize about, but it leaves me cold. An ‘Alpha-plus’ man like this is more likely to be the villain in my story, not the hero.

The extreme Beta man, on the other hand, can come over as a boring ‘Mr Nice Guy’. Carried to its extreme, i.e. the ‘Beta-minus’ level, he is an unremarkable, passive, non-confrontational wimp.

Reading this week’s blogs and comments has confirmed my view that most women prefer the hybrid – what I like to call the Alpha-minus, Beta-plus man, who combines the best qualities of both and loses the worst.

So Alpha-plus loses his macho arrogance and egomaniacal behaviour to become Alpha-minus. He retains his strength, charisma and a self-confidence which is respected, not intimidating. He seeks a mate who is his equal, not one he can dominate.

At the same time, the Beta-minus loses his reticence and passiveness and climbs up the scale to Beta-plus. But he retains his sensitivity, his loyalty, his compassion.

So we get the best of both worlds - strength combined with sensitivity. Now that’s my kind of hero!


  1. Laurie Schnebly ( profiles heroes and heroines into nine types: the power of reason, the power of will, the power of ambition, of idealism, imagination, truth, and three others. Each type has similar modes of thinking, feeling, acting and reacting. It's an interesting analysis.

  2. Yes, yes, yes, I'm for the hybrid. We don't want a jerk as our hero, however, we don't want a pansy either.

  3. Hi Paula,

    Wow, you nailed the bastard: "The extreme Alpha man is sometimes portrayed in romance novels as Mr. Machismo, an abrasive, ruthless, overbearing jerk". :o

    Oh so true, and I just hate those kind of novels where the woman is portrayed as a perfumed doormat! Like hell she's gonna change this guy, and while she tends to his nurture and smiles sweetly, his eye is over her shoulder seeking thrill factor elsewhere.

  4. Oooh Debra, don't knock pansies!

    I think a date with Julian Clary or Paul O'Grady would be a bundle of laughs, and probably a darn sight more entertaining than one with Brad Pitt or George Clooney. Though I might throw over the former for the latter, his sense of humour quite appealing. ;)


  5. Interesting analysis, Ana, although a little too 'deep' for me!

    Another vote for the hybrid, Debra!

    Francine, the M&B demand for the alpha-plus type of hero in the 70's and 80's was one of the reasons I stopped writing. I couldn't write about that kind of jerk with any sincerity at all!

    And I'll join the queue for a date with George Clooney too!