Spotting an alpha male

I’ve noticed a lot of tv shows recently with at least one alpha male in them (or maybe I naturally gravitate towards watching shows with alpha males in them because, you know, they do it for me…lol.)

These characters are usually the ‘bad-but-good guys’ who boss the adoring females around and make the ‘hard’ decisions. They’re stoic and not above being involved in a bit of biffo when the situation requires it, but also manage to squeeze out a mandatory amount of ‘touchie-feely’ stuff when the women in their lives start becoming too whiney (and every alpha male seems to have a very whiney female…it’s like a burger and fries, they just come in sets like that).

Other than wishing that the women were a bit less whiney, I thoroughly enjoy watching an alpha male blaze a trail across my tv. And even the women, well, I understand the need for drama and conflict in a story and I realise that the easiest way to do that is with opposite character types so I’m okay with that. In fact, the whiney rants of the women-folk give me an opportunity to go and check my email so it’s a win-win situation for me.

I’m not sure what it is exactly that attracts me to alpha males. It’s probably a mix of Disney princess syndrome and some evolutionary pheromone thing that makes us want to seek out a partner who may very well drag you back to his cave by your hair, but will also wrestle – with his bare hands – that hungry sabre-toothed tiger threatening to rip your throat out. Whatever it is, the sense of protection and direction I get from alpha males is yummy.

I was thinking about the alpha male in my life yesterday when I read an article about how the way you write reveals your relationship with the receiver of the email. Being a little bit of a grammar nazi myself, I’m horrified if I send an email off and later discover there was a typo or a grammar mistake in it. I also can’t cope with not writing in full sentences and all my pronouns need to be in place. M is very, very different and will send off emails that make me want to claw my eyes out when I read them. Apparently though, that’s an alpha male thing.

While M is highly articulate and has a memory that borders on the eidetic, he couldn’t care less about starting a sentence in an email with a capital letter or putting an apostrophe where it needs to be. And this, according to the study done in the article I was reading, seems to show his social dominance:

Unlike ‘etiquette problems’ such as the shouty all caps and the sneaky cc-ing of superiors, the abrupt, typo-ridden email is perceived to be a sign of social dominance – the implication being, “I’m too busy to fix typos and spell words in full and you’re not important enough for me to make an effort.”

Another thing he does is leave question marks off requests. I’m not sure whether he realises that he does it or not, but apparently writing “Can you send me a copy.” ‘signals power’. And while I pepper my emails with phrases that are full of personal pronouns (I, we, you etc.) M will often leave them out all together. I sat there reading the article and nodding my head off. It all made perfect sense. Perhaps though, rather than reading between the lines, I should simply look at the biggest indicator of the difference in our social status – the fact that he will often start an email to me with ‘bitch’.

Ahhh…alpha males…gotta love ‘em.

(Read the article here)

alpha male


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