Biologically down through the ages, heterosexual women have leant towards certain men in the tribe. Certain barrel chested, brawny, wide shouldered, rugged looking men. Yeah. Well. Fact is, if another tribe was coming at you with spears? You’d want Conan to hide behind too (Jason Mamoa that is, not Arnie). You’d want a man who can hunt and throw spears and beat his chest and sh*t. A man who is going to make other men think twice before asking you what you’ve got on underneath your furs, babe. Breed with a big strong guy and you’re more likely to have big strong baby’s who are in turn more likely to survive. So that’s the sheer body type side of things. But what about leadership and a bunch of those traits? That steely look in his eye. The ability to think clearly and quickly in emergencies. His ability to make others trust him with his low gravelly commanding tone of voice. Human beings survive or not in societies and leadership traits establish the pecking order in said societies (duly noted that in said tribe, if you’re mated to the Kennedy of the tribe then that makes you the Jacki, doesn’t it?).
So that’s size and pecking order in the tribe covered but there’s also a third element to the alpha male’s allure. And that is the random elusive something special that is found to be desirable in that society at that point in time. Something that makes other people envious. Money? Access to resources? The size of his tackle? Body hair? Back then in the tribal days body hair was certainly important(ever heard of the Silverback Guerilla?). Is a beard attractive? The classic picture of the alpha male is a bearded male in both of the above circumstances (give or take the Guerilla). In tests done, women give more respect to a bearded man and yet our society does not prize beards. Conundrum indeed.
So why doesn’t it just work that way in real life? We don’t all desire the Alpha male. He can be a stubborn, over-opinionated, interfering type of guy when it comes right down to it. There is documented proof that men with more upper body strength are more likely to believe that force is the way to solve dilemmas and also have a greater sense of self-entitlement. And yet we continue to moon over them in Romancelandia. I know I do. Love a masterful male. Tell me what to do you sexy beast. No - wait - stop! Respect my rights and make me coffee and cup cakes! And drop the kids at school while you're at it! Hurry on you big hairy thing! Damn it. It's all so confusing.
The other interesting thing to notice is that it looks like human beings are wired to fall in love with diversity as well. So some particular traits just don’t do it for some people and there is no deeper reason except that we are predisposed to fall for the girl with the green eyes or the guy with the smexy times voice. And that is one of the features that normally presses back in real life against our desire for the alpha male or the perfecto girlfriend. She actually just doesn’t have those special traits that make that one person stop dead in their tracks. Survival of the species maybe?
While the overwhelming amount of romance novels offer the audience an alpha male, do you need to give them something more? That secretive third element again our reader is hopefully pining for. A tortured hero with a complicated past? A man willing to put others before himself? A brave soul who can love with his whole heart and isn’t adverse to the odd bit of kinky f**kery behind closed doors? A long coat and a cheeky smile (you know I'm thinking Tardis but not mentioning it, right)? What sexy trait draws you in? Come on, share with me. I won’t judge. Much.
P.S. This has been part of another inebriated discussion with my Husband. If I choose to deny any and all parts of it in the morning then that is my legally wedded right.