Saturday, July 26, 2014
Saturday Discussion: Alpha, Beta, Gamma: Who's Your Hero?
Anyone who's read more than one romance novel knows that heroes come in an endless array of varieties. Hot cops, rugged cowboys and soldiers from the ancient past to far future share shelf space with cultured aristocrats, suave billionaires, and brooding antiheroes, and that's only the introductory sampler pack. Sorting these gents can get tricky, but thankfully, we have a pretty decent classification in place.
Alpha: Leaders of the pack, alpha males are in charge, and everybody knows it. Women want them, men want to be them. The alpha male favors action over words, is confident, maybe cocky, but never abusive or a jerk. He's well aware of his own appeal. He's used to getting what he wants, and when he gets the heroine of his choice in his sights, there's no stopping him until she feels the same way. If she leads him a merry chase, he's more than up to it, and she'll never doubt he's her man. Alphas are on the front lines of romance, and they (and we) wouldn't have it any other way.
Beta: The beta male prefers brains over brawn. He's the nice guy, dependable, nurturing, but never wimpy or ineffective. He's solid, there for his heroine and patient enough to wait for her, no matter how long it takes. He probably doesn't think about his own appearance much, as long as he doesn't scare small children and his heroine has no strong objections. The beta male is content to let the alphas take the first hit, and are always there to lend support however it's needed. Often found in friends to lovers stories, this guy may strike heroines and readers as nonthreatening, but don't be fooled, he's all man where and when it counts.
Gamma: The gamma male can be seen as the best of both worlds. Tough and tender by turns, this guy adapts to the needs of the moment. He may tote a weapon by day, and walk the floor with a sick baby by night. Whether the love of his life needs a strong defender or a listening ear, he's there for her, and expects the same treatment in return. He's a tricky one to pin down, strategic and clever, but able to charge into the fray when that's the most expedient thing to do. The lucky heroine who captures the gamma's heart will never be bored, always up for something new.
So, dear readers, which one of these fine fellows floats your reading boat? Introduce us to your favorite types and feel free to give examples. We can always use a few good fictional men to add to our TBR mountains.