Who’s the ideal mate for the alpha woman?
In the book What Women Want—What Men Want, author and anthropologist John Townsend writes that alpha females (he doesn’t use this term, but the women he describes are alphas) “continue to show precisely the same preferences in sexuality and mate selection that we see in more traditional women.” In other words, alpha females want the same thing beta females do: an alpha male!
But two alphas don’t typically work. And most alpha males prefer betas, which means beta females get first dibs on alpha males.
So what option is there for the alpha female who wants to get married? She either changes her preference in a mate, or she changes herself.
If she’s smart, she’ll do both.
The ideal mate for an alpha female is a beta male who’s strong in his own right but who doesn’t need to assert himself in the way an alpha does. A beta male’s strength lies in his class, his dignity and his softer approach to life. He’s fine being married to a strong-willed woman—in fact, he likes it—but he would never let her run all over him. He laughs and enjoys her feistiness, but he commands her respect. Moreover, he likes being her tamer. And she likes it, too.
The film Far from the Madding Crowd, set in Victorian England, is an excellent example of this dynamic. When Gabriel, the male protagonist, meets Bathsheba, the female protagonist, he is smitten and asks her to marry him. But Bathsheba says she’s too strong and independent to marry.
Then, as a way of testing Gabriel, to whom she is very much attracted, she says, “If I were ever to marry, I’d want somebody to tame me, and you’d never be able to do it. You’d grow to despise me.” To which Gabriel says, “I would not. Ever.”
Then, for the remainder of the film Gabriel is juxtaposed with two other men as possibilities for Bathsheba’s future. One is Mr. Boldwood, who’s the richest man in the area but who’s also 100% beta. (An odd combination, to be sure.) He effectively begs Bathsheba to marry him, going so far as to tell her he doesn’t mind if she marries him out of pity. So of course that’s not enticing to anyone.
The other man is Sergeant Troy, a reckless but sexy soldier who loves danger and drink. He’s the party boy alpha, and Bathsheba is convinced she’s found her match since Troy is equal to her in spirit and temperament. But Bathsheba learns the hard way that Troy has no substance. He throws his weight around, for one thing, and he lacks character.
In the end, Bathsheba comes to her senses just as Gabriel is headed to America for good. It is only then she realizes it is Gabriel she loves; and so this time, it is she who goes after him. In the final scene, she manages to convince Gabriel that she loves him, and they walk off into the sunset. The telling part of the exchange is that Bathsheba is forced to let down her guard and surrender her will to Gabriel.
The reason I say an alpha female will ideally do both—change her preference in a mate and change herself—is because if she just chooses a beta and doesn’t let her guard down, she will emasculate her partner. And when that happens, both are miserable. He loses his manhood, and the attraction wanes. It’s a lose lose.