The letter A, dedicated to the alpha male.
A to Z entries: My post for each letter of the alphabet will be anecdotes or musings based on an element from the previous letter’s post. Names always changed, events always real.
~ Letter A is first, and first is…alpha. ~
A few months ago…
If you watch the film Adore, about two beach dwelling, Australian women in their late forties, mothers to twenty-year-old sons, you’d mumble, yeah right. Most people wouldn’t buy the portrayal of moms to grown men by such striking, yoga-perfect, sun-kissed blondes like Naomi Watts and Robin Wright. But one of those exact women exists. And she is my darling friend whom we will name…Naomi, because why not.
Naomi is remarkably tall and thin. She’s Australian, mother to not one, but two men in their twenties, and I can describe her perpetually tan, surfer body as definitively killer. She has a blonde beachy mane, and ice-blue wildcat eyes into which I gaze endlessly when she speaks. While I stare, the sensation is vaguely like a long, peaceful swim.
We’re seated at a wood-paneled bar in Hollywood. I order a drink called Stockholm Syndrome, because I can’t resist the name or the irony.
Naomi is soothing and kind as I relay my latest reason to swear off men.
“You need a challenge,” she says. “After all, you’re used to dating assholes. I get it.” She pronounces it ahs-holes and purrs a little.
I’m a bit offended; I’ve never dated an asshole. Maybe one. But chalk that up to variety.
“Scarcity of assholes is hardly the problem,” I say, a little despairingly. Lately, I’m done with any guy within a dinner or two. But the subject is boring to me, so I change it.
“What about you,” I ask. “What happened with the kid surfer?”
“I let him go.”
“But,” I say with surprise, “I thought you had fun with him!” The “surfer boy” was twenty or so years younger than Naomi.
The alluring, nearly-fifty women in Adore have a scene in which they lie on the sands of a dream-like ocean watching their sons surf. They’re like gods, one of them says. Later, each mother ends up having an affair with the other’s son.
“Forget that he doesn’t have a real job. Or any thoughts about his future,” Naomi shrugs. Then she sighs and says, “He just wasn’t alpha enough.”
I tilt my head sharply. My eyebrows raise. All on their own. It’s like someone just removed cotton balls from my ears. I look around. The world seems larger and better-lit than a moment ago. He wasn’t alpha enough.
“You just explained away years of underlying confusion for me!” I tell Naomi. Bam. It all falls into place: The effect some guys have on me. The ones that make me feel like a helpless kitten. Happily helpless. The ones that aren’t afraid of me. The ones I’d follow right off the edge of the earth.
“So that’s your trigger too,” Naomi says, looking pleased with herself.
Alpha-ness. I’ve called it so many things over the years. Manly man. Caveman. Brute, even.
When it comes to that basic, primal instinct for “choosing a mate,” all feminist and philosophical enlightenment goes out the window. At least for me. And normally, I’m one independent thinker who fiercely guards her space – I’ve repeatedly picked near-abject poverty over the “security” a “decent” man could provide. But put me in helpless kitten mode, and I’m the willing little woman nestled in the arms of a big protective man.
Not that being alpha has to do with size or stature; “big” man, “little” woman is perception. It has nothing to do with real brutes or caveman types.
“So this is why I’ve always had a thing for my professors!” I exclaim.
Or my bosses, or film directors – men in a position of authority over me. Although, I’m sure the bit of conquering involved on my part figures into it too, in the way of Naomi’s so-called challenge. Maybe a strong woman simply wants a strong man.
A super strong alpha man.
It’s not that any alpha would do. It would have to be the guy you’re attracted to anyway because you like something about his smile, and the way his mind works.
But throw the alpha quality into the mix, and you insure my glorious doom.
Naomi squeezes herself and nuzzles the air. We’re too cool to let out kitty sounds in public, otherwise we would.
Unluckily or luckily, by virtue of their nature, true alpha males are scarce.
This may be a good thing because I’d hate to see myself as all geisha. And no gunmetal.
(Part 1 of 2. Concluded in the Letter B post)
~ Part of the A to Z Challenge ~
A post a day except Sunday for the month of April to cover topics beginning with each letter of the alphabet.
Cathartic Monkeyism returns in May.
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