Beta Male. Beta what?

I'm browsing around just looking at things when I run across this expression: beta male. What's that? Alpha I know, but beta? I go to Google and type in, "define beta male". Well, well, well, this turns out to be a bit of a surprise. The first definition I look at comes from Urban Dictionary.

An unremarkable, careful man who avoids risk and confrontation. Beta males lack the physical presence, charisma and confidence of the Alpha male.

Hmmm, that doesn't seem too remarkable now, does it? But there's more. Definition number two reads:

In the animal kingdom, the alpha male is the dominant member of the community. He’s like a cartoon caveman, commanding deference. The betas are wingmen, collaborative and conciliatory. In human terms, betas make the best mates. They do more in the house, and probably in the bedroom, because they know how to hasten the greater good. The beta has poetry in him, and a touch of youthful idealism. He’s sure of who he is, and not constantly trying to prove his value in materialistic terms. (Alpha: Your expensive car doesn’t make you interesting.) The beta can earn a lot of money, or a little, but the money’s not the thing; he profits because he works well with others.

There’s something rebellious about the beta male; he challenges the social order rather than succumbing to it. The beta male doesn’t buy in to the basest stereotypes about male behavior, and that’s hugely sexy.

What? As Alice said, curiouser and curiouser. I have worked with a number of alpha males and they forever seem to be running around doing the D for dominant thing: challenging everybody in the room and locking antlers with anybody perceived as a contender. I sit there rolling my eyes as I watch the displays of macho bravado wishing I had a dart gun. Instead of having a reasonable discussion to arrive the best answer, I end up with Mr. King Shit of Turd Island going off on a rant about he's the leader and we have to do what he says. Shuddup.

Definition number three from Urban Dictionary:

A man who is content with nontraditional gender roles; i.e., he is not threatened by intelligent and/or powerful women, and he does not have to be in control of every situation to maintain his sense of self. (Frequently, he does manifest a quiet kind of confidence and control over his surroundings, but it's not important to him that this is noticed by others.)

A beta male is often introverted, intelligent, and introspective. Though he may have been branded a "nerd" growing up, the adult beta is frequently a thoughtful, capable, and fascinating individual whom many women find appealing.

Alpha males, especially those of lesser intelligence and abilities, tend to feel threatened by beta males, who are increasingly preferred by women in modern times.

Wait. Who wrote this? It seems kind of complimentary, doesn't it? Is this true? The article "10 Reasons to Date a Beta Male" paints an attractive portrait of this not at the top of the heap man. Are alphas so caught up in being number one they have little or no time left for anybody else?

Then again, with anything, there are pros and cons. An alpha on the positive can be "dominant, confident, and take charge" but on the negative can be "intimidating while creating fear and stifling disagreement." A beta on the positive is "not threatened by intelligent and powerful women" but on the negative is perceived as weak. There are pros and cons with everything? I can't help thinking that in any relationships, nobody is perfect and you take the good with the bad. Let's hope that the good outweighs the bad.

By the way, I see a few people have taken to defining a beta male as a wuss. Is beta as opposed to alpha clearly defined? Everybody has their own definition for these terms. If you're not James Bond and can beat up five bad guys plus get the girl, are you a wuss? Wait, isn't that about 99.9999% of the men on the planet?

Final Word
I have watched a few YouTube videos supposedly dealing with descriptions of alpha and beta males and oddly enough, the premise was based on who picks up women more easily. One gentleman pointed out that the female persuasion is very taken by confidence and alphas have an extraordinary amount of confidence as opposed to betas. Okay, I concur with the idea that confidence trumps everything: looks, money, even brains; but wait a second. Is success measured by picking up chicks? Ha, ha. Now that really seems alpha: the measure of success is who you dominate or control. I find that a bit curious but then again, I'm going to admit to being more beta than alpha. However is anybody truly one or the other? Are we a mixture of the two? Do we learn behaviours over the course of our lifetime which leaves us a modified alpha or a modified beta? We may have a natural tendency to one or the other but we learn to be a bit more alpha or beta as the case may be because the situation calls for it.

When I walk into the room, my first thought isn't whether I can beat up every other guy in the place. That's me the beta. I don't think of things in terms of being in competition with every other man. Besides, I do bring to the table my charm, sense of humour, and intelligence. So take that all you true alpha dogs! Oh yeah, did I mention I have a dart gun?

 
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References

Wikipedia: Alpha (ethology)
Beta animals often act as second-in-command to the reigning alpha or alphas and will act as new alpha animals if an alpha dies or is otherwise no longer considered an alpha. In some species of birds, males pair up in twos when courting, the beta male aiding the alpha male. The beta male is not generally allowed to mate with the female birds, but if the old alpha is removed or dies, he takes over the alpha's females, becoming the new alpha. It has been found that the social context of the animals has a significant impact on courtship behaviour and the overall reproductive success of that animal.

Hooking Up Smart – May 16/2012
10 Reasons to Date a Beta Male by Susan Walsh
In the current era, the men at the very top of the dominance hierarchy – the most alpha of all alpha descendants, are highly problematic as husbands and fathers, as reflected in rates of marriage, infidelity, fatherhood and divorce. Proceed with extreme caution.

If you harbor dreams of marriage and family, I encourage you to give the beta male traits the utmost consideration. Since betas represent more than 75% of the population, there’s a large pool of men with a potentially optimal mix of alpha and beta traits. It is also possible for men to learn alpha behaviors, raising their own testosterone levels in the process. I believe it is far more difficult to teach natural alphas, or cads, how to empathize, cooperate and share. They are not designed for marriage or fatherhood.

Elite Daily – Mar 1/2013
The Alpha Male & Beta Male by Preston Waters
The Alpha and Beta-principle categorizes men into two distinct groups depending on their social traits not only in a group, but also towards the opposite sex. Just like their names suggest, taken from the Greek alphabet, they illustrate a certain hierarchy. For a long time, Alpha has been said to be better than Beta, as he is supposedly physically superior and possesses higher Testosterone levels.

YouTube: Alpha and Beta Male

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