Alpha male goes the way of the dodo?

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this here before, but Trinity and I first met when he was a freelance reporter coming in to my college student newspaper get a story edited by a news editor — me. He’s also younger than me. Does this intimidate him? Not so much — he mostly thinks I’m goofy.

But he also understands that I’m assertive, confident, successful and ambitious and this is not a problem for him. But according to this UK news article, women want a beta male. What the heck is a beta male, you ask? At first it confused me — I thought they meant test edition, kind of like how Flickr or Gmail is released in beta. But no — beta, as in second, rather than alpha male.

The widespread view is that accomplished women are at a disadvantage in the marriage market because men start out by saying they want a strong, powerful woman and then end up running off with the secretary. I should know. A few years ago my Swiss banker found my conversation too arty and cast his attentions on a lovely Spanish girl who worked in his office.

Should women pander to male insecurities? Self-help guides exhort us to flatter the male ego; don’t talk too much and let him make all the jokes if you want him to like you. Well I would rather skewer my eyes out than change my personality.

I don’t know what it is; I’ve just never had a problem finding a date despite my aforementioned qualities. Maybe its because I didn’t care as much for finding a date as I did looking for a job or trying to get through school. (And let me tell you, when I plan on how to get a job or how to get through school, I strategize and obsess.) Obsess over guys? Not so much — not to say that I didn’t ever do that, but I mostly did it with guys I’d already met and there was already something there. Of course, I no longer need to worry about that! ;)

But is this really the case? Women are so successful now that they want a man who’s not at the top of his game? I really can’t see that being the case — one of the reasons why Trin and I work as a couple is because I have so much respect for him. Plus, when I mentioned this article to him earlier, he said, and I quote, “I know I’m a great catch.” I think that’s the problem — not that women are getting too successful, but that men are losing their confidence.

Why is this? It could be a result of the breakdown in families — too many families that are headed by only a mother or only a father, too much TV time, too many children left alone during those important afternoon hours. It could be drugs and alcohol warping our sense of self. It could simply be too much focus on success being measured by the amount and cost of our possessions.

Whatever the reasons, I’m not entirely sure that the writer’s idea of the new paradigm is really the best way to deal with things.

So what is the answer? Someone has to surrender in the sex war. Should women soften their image if they want to marry an alpha? Since the beginning of time anthropologists have told us women are programmed to seek a mate who can provide for her.

We all witnessed the implosion of the 1980s power couple. As women flexed their shoulder pads all you got were stressed couples who were battling for the same role and trying to find a slot in their diaries for dinner.

But now there is a third way. The second-generation feminists – that is, women in their twenties and thirties – have found a new way to solve the alpha-beta paradox. The 21st century sisters have a terrifyingly clear agenda when it comes to finding a mate. They map out their life plans early: rise to the top of their chosen career, get the smart house, the cute kids and curl up in bed with a loving beta male. The alpha girl doesn’t need Mr Alpha to sweep her off her feet and buy her a condo in town; she has enough money to do that herself. She is successful, confident and she wants a caring man who can pick up some of the domestic slack.

Of course, I can only speak for myself, and I recognize that there are things that Trinity does much better than I do — like keep track of our bank account, so I check with him before I make an impulse buy like a purse or an expensive lunch. I know there are professional women who would be horrified at the thought of this, like it means they’re being submissive. I don’t believe its being submissive — I believe its being cooperative. It would be hard to go home to peace and quiet if you just drained the bank account of the $50 earmarked for the light bill. But at the same time, Trin understands that I need a new purse for the fall/winter and knows that it’s against my nature to buy one that’s an exorbitant $50 — so no problem.

Both of us have our careers, and only by the grace of God, our career paths are aligned. Trinity loves to bake, I love to learn how to cook Filipino food. I am obsessive about cleaning the house, while Trinity is very focused on the type of furniture and decor he wants for our home. I think it all works out.

I don’t need to buy my own smart house or condo. When it comes time, Trinity and I will save our money to buy one — together. That sort of thing really unites two people, you know?