The Alpha, The Man’s Man – The Hero

We’ve all read about the perfect alpha male, the guy who can stand up to the world, take care of his woman, be the doting husband, loving father, and steamy lover. We want it all. That is a tall order to fill in the real world (oh, I forgot, he should be tall and strong too ;] ) It’s part of the appeal of books that we can have exactly what we are looking for and cannot find anywhere else. A woman will read such a book and think, “This is my hero.” A man will read it and scoff.

Conclusion: They don’t understand.

Articles and blogs on the topic abound out there, mostly men telling other men what women want and look for. It’s amazing how communication can break down so completely between genders that it becomes impossible to get an idea across.

What women respond to: Strength, integrity, honor, protectiveness, and backbone.
What men translate this as: Posturing, strutting, aggression, and possessiveness.
What women reply: It’s not about fighting, it’s about resolving conflict without violence.
What men hear: Backing out of a confrontation and avoiding conflict is more desirable.

What?? How did we make that leap? A man and woman, talking at cross purposes, and neither can see the other side. So here is my paltry attempt at explaining both sides and try to bring them together in understanding.

In my experience (being one myself) women respond to confidence and inner strength. A man who doesn’t need to show off because he knows who and what he is. Someone who will step up when necessary but not before – and definitely not simply because he can. A man like that doesn’t need to walk into a five-star restaurant with two bombshell airheads on his arms to show he’s the big stuff. He will walk into the neghborhood cafe where they serve the best something or other with just one. And she will be beautiful because he thinks so, and she will be even more radiant because it’s there in his eyes every time he looks at her. That’s the kind of man others envy and the woman who gets him is very lucky indeed.

From what I have been seeing, men look at things differently. That’s probably because they operate from a different part of the brain – the one that dictates men are territorial and need to protect what’s theirs. Not a bad thing, in and of itself, but the execution is misguided. The tough guy routine, getting in someone’s face, shouting, flexing, basically strutting their stuff is mainly for the men’s benefit. Both to warn off others and to make themselves feel better about themselves. Again, not bad in and of itself, but probably not the best way to get the girl (if she’s got half a brain she will see through it). There’s also a societal double standard imposed on them. Men are told to be strong providers and protectors, yet sensitive and intuitive too. Men should be able to fight off an attacker, but be open enough to cry when they’re upset. No wonder they’re confused!

On the other hand, that confusion applies to women too. We dress up, slather on make up, bind ourselves in corsets and form shaping under garments to please our men, and then we hear them say, “What did you do that for? I liked you the way you were.” We hear, we need to be pretty to attract a man, but be natural. Look nice, but don’t try too hard. These days, the rules of social interaction are all up in the air. Should the man make the first move, does he expect the woman to do it? Should they be bold and risk rejection? Should we try it and risk being seen as too forward (read: slutty)? It’s all enough to give you a headache just thinking about it.

Why can’t life be more like books? At least then we’d know what to expect. If something bad happens, well, it’s all part of the plot. It will work out in the end. If we don’t know what to do, something will come to us and even if it doesn’t seem like it at first it will be brilliant. And most importantly, when that hero shows up, you will know that he is The One, even if you aren’t sure.

Thoughts? Ideas? Opinions?

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3 thoughts on “The Alpha, The Man’s Man – The Hero

  1. perkyamber

    I feel like there is more pressure from society for men to confirm to a certain ideal from both men and women.

    There is pressure on women to be beautiful, sure, and many take that to mean nice clothes, make up, etc, but I think it's equally common to see the praise or a natural beauty or a sporty type.

    You never really hear anyone sing the praises of a more effiminate male.

    I don't think men or women apply as much pressure to the female gender to conform to one standard of beauty or one personality type. We have our own struggles, of course, but this is one area that I've always felt for men. It's much less ok to be against the norm for men in our society.

  2. Libby Ann S.

    Well put Alianne, couldn't have said it better myself.

    I also agree with perkyamber that society is much tougher on men in SOME regards. Like how “easier” it is for lesbians to come out then gay men, especially if you consider their ethnic background. It's “hot and cool” when women get bi-curious and experiment, but men aren't allowed the same?

    Then there's the other side of things. In modern society women are treated more equally, or so we think. There's still a double standard. No matter how “equal” we are in intelligence many men will still see us as the weaker sex, that we need to be protected, and many women we'll still see men as the provider and protector. Humans are complicated creatures.

  3. Alianne

    I agree with both of you to some extent. I think the rigid definitions of gender roles have gotten more lax for both genders but they still exist. Women are still in large part the “preferred” mothers and care givers so to me it would make sense that the men be the “preferred” providers/protectors. The change is the extent. The roles tend to be shared, which is great, but women's roles changed because we demanded it. It sometimes seems like men's changed out of necessity because of that. I can understand why men would look at it as women not knowing what they want lol first we want equality, then we want to be taken care of, but not too much… It would be so much easier if we could just evolve to be mind readers. Of course, then we wouldn't want men to snoop… It's a wonder they put up with us at all LOL

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