Rational Reader Martel (who’s blog I’ve only recently become aware of) trapes into the shark infested waters of the manosphere with another attempt at defining the elusively subjective definition of Alpha. It’s almost a red pill right of passage now; become Game-aware – offer self affirming definition of what makes
himself a Man an Alpha.
Before I begin here, let me state emphatically that this is not a take-down piece. Martel’s observations here made me consider a few things I’me not sure I developed adequately when I wrote the Desire Dynamic.
Martel does make a good stab at the beast. Most anyone familiar with my reductionist approach to Alpha mojo knows I don’t mince semantics into the debate. Alpha is as Alpha does – as popular as Vox Day’s delineations of degrees of Alpha, beta, sigma, delta, omega, etc. are I’ve always held that Alpha is a mindset and not a demographic.
I do agree with Martel’s observations, I’m not sure he’s considered a few things in forming his Alpha perspective. I think one of the primary stumbling blocks Game-aware men have with regard to Alpha-ness is the disparity of defining it in male terms. When Martel uses Michael Jordan’s example as a male definition of Alpha, he’s disappointed that women don’t share that estimation. Rationally, logically, and certainly perceptively, men see and appreciate the accomplishment, status, talent and stature of Jordan. Why wouldn’t women see and appreciate the same?
Martel figures that it’s women’s innate solipsism and irrationality that makes them count Alberto Tomba as an athlete to be reckoned with (actually I was surprised it wasn’t David Beckham, but that Spice Girl in the picture ruins the fantasy I guess). However, it’s not solipsism or illogic that brings women to this, it’s that men have a different criteria amongst themselves for what makes a man an Alpha. It seems illogical, and yes I’m sure Tomba inspired tingles of imagined self-role fantasies, but the fundamental disconnect is the disparity in men’s ideal of Alpha and women’s perception of Alpha.
One of the more rage inspiring posts I’ve ever published here was Hypergamy Doesn’t Care. It’s become a manosphere meme now. It was simplistic in its measure, and it struck a nerve. I got so much enthusiastic follow up on that post (thanks red pill reddit) I had to elaborate and explain the dynamic in greater detail with Relational Equity.
It is from the male concept of relational equity that much of what men determine as Alpha characteristics for men comes into conflict with what women perceive as Alpha. Martel’s male expectation was that Michael Jordan, or even one of his peers, would be the obvious athlete that either sex would agree upon as being an elite example. As men, we understand the dedication, determination and personal investment necessary to achieve this level of accomplishment.
Jordan’s is one extreme example, but in other arenas, and by order of degrees, men have an appreciation of the achievements of other men – even if only because they have a common frame of reference. Those positive character attributes – determination, confidence, fidelity, humility, sacrifice, dedication, commitment, etc. – even in marginal degree, men believe should have Relational Equity. These virtues should be factors in attraction for a woman.
It seems logical and entirely rational that women would have the same appreciation for this equity, but time and again men’s expectations are trumped by women’s hypergamous response. From Relational Equity:
As if all of the investment, emotional, physical, financial, familial, etc. would be rationally appreciated as a buffer against hypergamy. The reason for their shock and disbelief is that their mental state originates in the assumption that women are perfectly rational agents and should take all of their efforts, all of their personal strengths, all of the involvement in their women’s lives into account before trading up to a better prospective male. There is a prevailing belief that all of their merits, if sufficient, should be proof against her hypergamous considerations.
For men, this is a logically sound idea. All of that investment adds up to their concept of relationship equity. So it’s particularly jarring for men to consider that all of that equity becomes effectively worthless to a woman presented with a sufficiently better prospect as per the dictates of her hypergamy.
That isn’t to say that women don’t take that equity into account when determining whether to trade up or in their choice of men if they’re single, but their operative point of origin is ALWAYS hypergamy. Women obviously can control their hypergamic impulses in favor of fidelity, just as men can and do keep their sexual appetites in check, but always know that it isn’t relationship equity she’s rationally considering in that moment of decision.
Women love opportunistically, men love idealistically. Much of men’s idealism is rooted in the mistaken notion that women have the capacity to appreciate their sacrifices and they’ll be loved for who they are rather than what they represent to women. As I’ve argued in the past, attraction and arousal are two separate elements for women. As Martel elucidates, a couch surfing Alpha will be arousing enough to pull tail despite his impoverished condition. He has no relational equity, and so frustrates the efforts of men who believe that the definition of Alpha ought to be based on the equity they hope women will appreciate.
Women will return (even if just mentally) to the callous or cavalier Alpha because he arouses her, but she will stay faithful to her husband because what he offers is attractive to her. This is why I say, by and large, women love most men for what they represent – once they cease to represent that, once they stumble in maintaining that, hypergamy is free to run. On a personal level this may be you losing a job or how you failed a shit test, on a meta scale it may be women’s social capacity to provide for themselves.
House of Cards
From Martie Hasslton on Sexual Pluralism and Mating Strategies:
According to strategic pluralism theory (Gangestad & Simpson, 2000), men have evolved to pursue reproductive strategies that are contingent on their value on the mating market. More attractive men accrue reproductive benefits from spending more time seeking multiple mating partners and relatively less time investing in offspring. In contrast, the reproductive effort of less attractive men, who do not have the same mating opportunities, is better allocated to investing heavily in their mates and offspring and spending relatively less time seeking additional mates.
The vast majority of men (i.e. betas) fall into this latter category. One of the reasons the scattershot sexual strategy of more Alpha men is considered a social deviance (Playa’s) is because it’s in direct conflict with the socially normalized, investive mating efforts of beta men – as well as the maternalistic, security side of women’s sexual pluralism. Betas are invested in relational equity as a sexual strategy.
The problem inherent in this mental model is that it is entirely dependent upon maintaining that singular, personalized investment in their mate. The root of male providership, the personal sacrifices men endlessly expect themselves to make, are all contingencies against feminine hypergamy. Once those provisions and sacrifices falter, the house of cards risks collapse.
In the words of Chris Rock, “Men, if you lose your job, your woman will leave you. It might not be right then, she might tell you, ‘It’s OK baby we’re gonna get through this’, but just know, the clock is ticking.” This is the time you will hear “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” or “You’ve changed, you’re not the man I fell in love with.”
Men’s idealistic love expectations being to conflict with women’s opportunistic love expectations. His idealism predisposes him to believe the strength of his relationship is dependent upon his intrinsic qualities – fidelity, compassion, empathy, sacrifice, humor, determination, etc. – qualities he’s convinced make him Alpha and up to this point his wife or girlfriend claimed were appreciated. It’s only under conditions where he’s unable or less able to provide extrinsic resources, or conditions in which she (or women in general) can provide for themselves that feminine hypergamy takes mental precedence.
It’s at this point of disillusionment that these men realize that his self-perceived Alpha status, based on what he believed women, his woman, would appreciate, has no equity for her.
Even if reliable beta-boy wasn’t as exciting as the greaser, there was a chance the reliable guy could get the girl. The tingle had to compete with her reputation, the chance of unwanted pregnancy, advice from her elders, her own moral code, and curfews.
She might want to bang the butler, but there was a chance she’d be faithful to her husband instead. There’s more at stake than women deciding who they want to boink, there’s also who they actually boink.
Genuine desire is a very difficult trail for most guys to follow. I emphasize the want part of Martel’s quote here because while hypergamy is often mitigated by personal and social elements, the underlying, ambient desire for a hypergamously optimal mate (or mating) is always the operative for women.
The problem with Martel’s assessment here is that it’s founded on a definition of Alpha rooted in an expectation of Relational Equity on a woman’s part. Intrinsic attributes, invested effort and extrinsic rewards will never be enough to make a woman desire to bang you. In various combinations they may be a sufficient buffer against her hypergamy, they may be endearing qualities she loves about you, but they aren’t sexy in and of themselves. She may not fuck the pool boy due to moral convictions, fear of loss, or simply because she lacks the capacity to attract him, but it wont stop her from wanting to.
There will come a point when a woman’s conditions will make her more dependent on a man’s intrinsic qualities. His empathy, love, loyalty and compassion makes a world of difference once she’s past the Wall. As her ability to remain a sexual competitor diminishes, her dependency on her husband’s emotional and security provisioning takes precedence. This may even be a genuine appreciation for a woman, but it’s important to understand that this new appreciation is the result of her opportunistic understanding of love. At some point she will need to love these intrinsic qualities.