(And, I suppose, Romantica and Erotica authors, too.)
What is wrong with you?!
Alright, I realize that sounds a bit harsh, but it's an honest question. What on this floating ball of rock possessed you to pick all (or at least most) of your leading men out of a catalog from Assholes-R-Us? Bad boys are fine. Alphas are fine. Dominant is fine. These traits are not the problem. They all make for quite good reading, thank you. My preference, even.
No, the problem is that you are depicting all three by writing the kind of men who should rightly be kicked in the groin and left in an alley somewhere!
Look. I know there are sources out there who have created this myth that alpha males are all man-whores who treat women like disposable tissues, and furthermore women love them for it. I'm not what you would call experienced in such matters, but I still call bullshit.
Let's take for a moment Captain Kirk. The original Captain Kirk, not the crass, reimagined "boobies are fun" version. (Sorry. nu!Trek is fun, but in many ways nu!Kirk is an exaggerated caricature comprising all of TOS!Kirk's worst features. Distilled and concentrated, you might say.) Sure, he had a different woman practically every week, which on the surface doesn't do much for the man-whore part of my argument. However, he didn't treat the girl of the week like she was a girl of the week. Come on, the man tended to fall in love with the her more often than not. He certainly didn't treat her like a disposable commodity he needed to hustle off the ship at the end of the episode, nor did he leave her in tears. (Also, personally I forgive him for those times when he romanced the girl in order to escape slavery, torture, death, or to save his ship. No, playing on her attraction wasn't the nicest thing to do, but neither is being subjected to slavery, torture, death, or the destruction of a ship housing some 400 people.)
Anyway... my point is that Kirk was dashing and charming and flirtatious, and yet was always still the alpha male. Whether or not a woman wanted him didn't change that. On those rare occasions when one of the other cast got the girl, he was still the alpha.
You get that? Being the alpha is not dependent upon whether or not one gets laid. While we're at it, it doesn't depend upon having a harsh exterior. It doesn't require being selfish. It doesn't require being a barbarian. It doesn't mean you're not allowed to show emotion. It doesn't mean you can't have a softer side.
In fact, it's the other way around: being the alpha male means he's a desirable partner. He's not alpha because he gets laid, he gets laid because he's an alpha.
And yet, "modern" depictions of alpha men would have us believe that his status as alpha is somehow in jeopardy if a woman is resistant. If she doesn't perform like a trained seal. Hence, modern alpha males can't accept no for an answer. Which, IMO, puts them squarely on the pages of the aforementioned Assholes-R-Us. An alpha male doesn't need to crush a woman's will in order to be alpha. She can be as assertive as she likes, and the fact that he is alpha means it doesn't faze him in the least. He doesn't have to change who she is (or, alternatively, prove she's really a submissive behind all the assertiveness) in order to be "the man".
Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe I'm alone here in wanting to read a hero who is both alpha and likable. In wanting a hero who is both protective and dominant and yet not a bossy jerk. Who doesn't override what a woman wants just because he can, or to save face in front of his buddies. Because you know what? If he's really the alpha, he doesn't need to save face. Being turned down doesn't emasculate him, even if she's rude about it. What emasculates him is acting like a spoiled brat because of it.
So... I guess what I'm saying is: please to be writing a real alpha male, and quit all this mucking about with wannabes.
P.S. I'd happily entertain suggestions if anyone has them. =)
[Reblogged from the Amazing Three R's]