And then I realized we might not be talking about the same thing.
The alpha hero you can keep, thank you
My old idea of “alpha male”:
- Is accustomed to being obeyed
- Interrupts his lessers when they speak (and we’re all his lessers)
- Considers apologies a sign of weakness
- Takes control because he “knows what’s best for you”
In other words, a self-righteous jerk. In real life, I prefer to walk away from these types. If they appear in my writing, they’re secondary characters or antagonists, not the hero.
I like a hero who respects other people, even when he disagrees with them. I want him to make an attempt at seeing things from his adversary’s perspective, even if compromise proves impossible.
Do we need alphabetical labels?
Is respect an “alpha” or a “beta” characteristic? What about kindness? Are all nice guys “beta?” If I don’t know the difference, how do I choose romances I’m likely to enjoy reading? How do I tell readers what to expect from my books?
Before my brain explodes with questions, how ‘bout we accept “alpha” as a synonym for “prime,” as in first choice, or ideal. That way, there’s room for every preference.
The alpha hero I love
Here then, is my new idea of “alpha”:
- Lives his values, leads by example
- A knowledge seeker
- Doesn’t give up in the face of setbacks
- Admits his faults and overcomes his failures
- Fights to defend, not destroy
- Willing to grow and change
I have men like this in my life. I admire and adore them. Small wonder I seek similarly wonderful book boyfriends.
Your list may be different. I respect that. A wonderful thing about the romance genre is its diversity. And if you’re inclined to share, I’d love to hear about the type of hero that wins your heart.
Photo: Tambako the Jaguar