Sunday, August 24, 2008

Do Women Really Want Alpha Males?

Do Women Really Want Alpha Males?

When I think of strong alphas, I picture Conan the Barbarian. Been there, done that, have the T-shirt to prove I survived it. As I grow older and wiser (I hope), I picture the perfect hero as a nice, intelligent man, who is respected by others. He isn’t afraid to love the heroine and actually communicates his feelings. I also don’t care if he’s ever seen the inside of a gym. If a Navy Seal was flexing his muscles in one corner and a cute computer geek was smiling at me from another corner, I would choose the man paying attention to ME. LOL

This changing viewpoint has created a problem in my writing. In the first drafts of Liquid Hypnosis, the hero was more beta than alpha. I received some negative feedback. I keep hearing women want to read about alpha males. Luckily, I fixed my hero with minor changes, but I’m struggling with this next one. I have to fall in love with him if I’m going to write the romantic subplot convincingly.

Once again, I turned to romance readers and writers to find out how alpha he really needs to be. I also began to wonder if the romance novel alpha male was just a fantasy?

I love Kris’s answer.

“In real life, it seems that alpha males are so focused on their own agendas that they struggle with relationships. Obviously, they marry. Multiple times. Think Donald Trump!The beauty of our alpha heroes is that they are vulnerable somehow. And that lets us "in" and we are able to complete them. THAT is the best fantasy of all: the big strong warrior who cannot win all without me by his side.”
Kris Tualla
Desert Rose Chapter of
Romance Writers of America

“I personally love Roarke. In fact, he is the reason I read the JD Robb books. I tend to think of him as all Alpha. He'll do anything for Eve, even kill. And has. To me, that screams Alpha. He's very attentive of her, very sweet to her, and very in tune to her feelings. I believe that's a strong Alpha - one who can kick ass, take names, and still know how to love his heroine. In regard to Suz's Seals. Sam Starrett is as Alpha as you can get, but he falls to pieces when it comes to Alyssa. Same as with all the other ones. They are hard-asses, until they meet the woman of their dreams.
In case you haven't figured it out - I LOVE Alpha males. I come from a line of law enforcement, so the men in my family were Alphas.”

“Alpha males with big guns make my day.
--Don't know if you can use this, Tina, but it's true. Lol”

Melanie Atkins
Chilling Suspense…Steamy Romance

“I actually don't care for males who are too alpha. I like enlightened alphas or alphas with heart, but I think I like to have betas too. It's good to have a man in a romance that
can be counted on in standing up against a villain or bad circumstances, but it's also nice to think of them being able to relax together, after the end of the story, with the heroine not having to worry about repeatedly bumping heads with him over some issues. So both alphas and betas can be successful or annoying, depending on how you write them.”
Desert Rose Chapter of RWA

Thanks, ladies.
After reading the posts here and on my writing loops, I realized I like an Alpha/Beta mix. I want a man who will stand up for himself, especially with me, but not a guy who acts like Conan. Now I have direction for my poor hero who is only a shell of a man right now. I guess I better get back to the keyboard and bring him to life.


Nightingale said...

In theory, I love alpha men. In practice I'm not so sure. Interesting topic for a blog post. Got my attention!

Linda LaRoque said...

Hi Tina,
I agree with the majority of the comment, though I bet even Conan with the right woman could be tender and loving. I too love Roarke. He's one of a kind.

Elaine Cantrell said...

I read a Harlequin years ago about this alpha male who was lost in the jungle for years. While he was gone his wife ran his company and did very well for herself. He was rescued, and when he came home he booted her out and told her she could decorate the house. Give me a beta who can stand up for himself any day.

Elaine Cantrell

Rebekah (the_littleminx) said...

I love a good man who encompasses enough alpha to not be a total weenie, but who isn't so self serviant that he recognizes others besides himself. Your example of a computer geek on one corner and a alpha stud on the opposite sounds exactly like what I'd agree with. I don't mind a good body, hey all the better, but physique isn't everything. Strong in mind doesn't necessarily equate to being a weenie, and being strong in body doesn't necessarily equate to being a gorgeous stud muffin who'd rather see himself in the mirror than check out a sweet girl. So, yah, I like an alpha who's got the best of both worlds mixed in. He can be caring and compassionate, strong in body and mind, and is an all around likeable guy.


littleminx at cox dot net

Tina LaVon said...

You all make great points.
I'm glad I didn't read the book about the guy booting the woman out of the company and then telling her to decorate the house. That book would have hit the wall hard.

Kiss Carson said...

I agree with Linda's comment that Conan with the right woman would be good. I think an alpha hero definitely needs an alpha heroine so that he does't seem too aggressive and burly. In my book Illusions of Destiny, my hero is alpha/beta. He's a little on the slow side when it comes to sex and "human" relationships, which makes him seem a little beta. However, when the heroine is kidnapped, his alpha side attacks with a vengence. I think a hero who can be caring, loving and decent, have a wide chest to cry on and even wider shoulders to engulf you would be great!

Kiss Carson

Dee Ann W said...

I like alpha males with heart. My husband is not an alpha male by any means but he is good marriage material. That's why I read and write novels with alpha males. A girl can always dream! LOL

melissa said...

Surprisingly enough, this post actually helped me understand what I have been trying to figure out about myself. To make a long story short, I have a very beta husband and a rocky marriage. I know that I want someone more assertive and dependable, without having someone who controls me or ignores me. So, I think the mix of alpha and beta would be perfect for me.

CrystalGB said...

In real life, I like a combination of alpha/beta. In books, I love the alpha male.

Terry Odell said...

In real life, I don't think people fit into nice, neat boxes, and it's not just the 'right woman' that shows a predominantly alpha male's tender side. If you read Suzanne Brockmann's book where you see Sam's childhood, you know he's got a lot more depth. Also, he throws up after he kills someone.

I'd rather read (and write) about characters who are forced OUT of their comfort zone. Let that computer geek be forced to find a skill set he doesn't know he has (same for heroines), and I'm there.

Linda Banche said...

I don't like alpha heroes. At work I've seen too much male posturing and chest pounding to find that type of behavior attractive. These guys were exactly what they seemed, arrogant and overbearing with no redeeming qualities. There is no way I will spend my money to read about them. Especially since the women in the novels about alpha males tend to be the timid doormat type.

I might read about an alpha male who's been kicked around and it's changed him into a better man. But he had better be paired with an alpha female who gives as good as she gets.

Judith Leger said...

I love alpha men (heck, I married one) but when I write I want the hero to have more sensitivity than what I receive in real life. Perhaps a melding of the two would be the key and at times it happens.

Great blog, Tina!

Judith Leger

Vijaya Schartz said...

As an Alpha female, I couldn't really deal with a strong Alpha male. My heroes have to complement my heroines. If she is Beta, he is Alpha. If she is Alpha, he has to be at least less of an Alpha, or more of an Alpha. They can't both be on the same level.

Kim Watters said...

I totally agree with what Nightingale said. I love to read about alphas, but being part alpha myself--no snickering Tina--I think I'm better off with a beta, but would like him to hav a few more alpha qualitites. Hmm. Makes me wonder why I have some problems with my males characters being too beta? Will have to work on that. Great blog, Tina.

tigger9 said...

I do like alpha males but they can't be over the top. Someone who can take control but isn't excessive with the orders. Someone that pays attention to you and would do anything to make and see you happy. You want the protection and the attention.

TinaLaVon said...

I only snickered for a brief moment, Kim. LOL

I think it's interesting that some of you have decided you are alpha females. I think I'm an alpha/beta mix. It depends on the situation. At work I try to be rational and diplomatic and hear the needs of others. I was too alpha for a long time. I think that came from raising a child on my own.

BTW that child is turning 20 this week. She's a grown up! I can think about me sometimes now. I'm doing the happy dance. I feel like I am reconnecting with Tina again. I'm not just mommy, teacher, writer. I'm a real woman. Who knew?

Mary Marvella said...

Good job with the article and great comments.

I love a combination of alpha and beta. Give me a man who thinks I hung the moon and will move it wherever I want it!

Edie said...

I like the alpha/beta mix too, and that's what most of my heroes are. I think they're more rounded that way, more real.