Love, sex, and relationships follow really basic economic principles; the most important of which is supply and demand. If you understand the basic motives of men and the basic motives of women (and they are different), and you get the idea of supply and demand, you can predict people's behavior with shocking accuracy.
That's basically my modus operandi here at the San Diego Man Camp project. We don't do anything fancy, we just keep our eyes open to human behavior, interpret what we see based on the simple framework we use to "know" men and women, make a decisive plan, then set the plan in motion. All of our plans, unsurprisingly, revolve around the idea of learning to be better at being a masculine man. Why?
It's a good time to be Alpha!
Here in the United States, decades of naturally changing social trends have been augmented by idealism that, unfortunately, isn't based on reality. The net result is a seriously fucked-up society where inter-gender relations produce a ridiculous amount of anxiety. I don't want to dwell on the causes or even the minute details of our present day inter-gender landscape, but a few points are worth mentioning:
- Women have been told they can "have it all" by focusing on a career until their mid-thirties, then find Mr. Right, settle down, and start a family. The problem - nobody told women their value on the dating market starts dropping by their mid-twenties, and the "Mr. Right" they can attract when they DO decide to settle down is, well, not at all what they hoped for.
- Men have been told and internalized the idea women want sensitive, vulnerable, emotional, nonsexual guys that won't objectify them and treat them like a princess. The problem - that type of man is a great provider, but simply doesn't arouse women. These men can expect years of being friendzoned, then hooking up with a desperate women (see above bullet), only to lose her when she gets bored (and taking the house, kids, alimony, etc.)
- We glorify premarital sex, which means most women have had a fair amount of sex during their highest value years (college, usually) with high value males (alphas.) When they do settle down with their good provider beta, she experiences a strong contrast effect - she's spent years fucking dudes that are incredibly arousing, now she's settling for the "nice guy" that doesn't cause the same arousal. As such, she has a lot more inhibitions and eventually settles on maintenance sex as the norm. They both end up with lame sex. The problem - he's always had pretty lame sex so he doesn't know what he's missing. She does.
- We make it really easy to get divorced these days. I never quite understood why the religious right is so against gay marriage because it weakens the institution of marriage when they've seemingly accepted no-fault easy divorces. Nothing is a greater threat to marriages than a culture that supports "starter marriages" as a norm. This is good for the women that grow bored in their relationship (except for the fact that the divorced woman probably has the same problems as the women from the first bullet), but it's especially bad for the man. He'll likely lose primary custody of his kids, a lot of his possessions, and a chunk of his income.
Here's a rough graph of our social trends over the last few decades:
As you can see, the number of "perfect husband material" men used to comprise the majority of the male population. These were men that exhibited masculine traits (they were alphas) but also had the desire and skillset to manage a long-term relationship. Beta males used to be a bit of a rarity. Today, they're a decided majority and growing. In my generation (the border between Gen X and Gen Y), males were trained to be betas by default, but many saw through the bullshit. Today, the Millennials seem to be a bit more naive. And their kids? Well, the graph speaks volumes.
So Why is Being an Alpha Such a Good Thing?
A lot of men, once they start objectively looking at the landscape that is our cultural reality, get bitter. It's seemingly unfair. They've probably spent their whole lives listening to the folks that want to "redefine" masculinity and make beta males the norm. It seems logical. It seems virtuous. Most importantly, it seems like a good strategy to acquire female attention, affection, and the real clincher - sex. Because of intermittent reinforcement, betas have a "frog in boiling water" situation. They don't realize their folly until it's too late. Then they go on shooting rampages.
Me? I look for the silver lining. In Sam Sheridan's excellent "A Fighter's Heart", mma legend Pat Miletich was quoted as saying he (as a fighter) would walk through the mall and feel like a shark swimming among seals. That's kind of how I feel.
As a former beta that's been on a path towards alpha-ness for a while now, I can unequivocally say the difference in subjective life experience is night and day. That effect is even more amplified by the fact that there are so many damn betas out there, alpha males that populate that purple section of the graph have basically become unicorns. It's like getting the golden ticket to life. Everything gets easier. You get more respect from everyone, people are nicer to you (counter-intuitive but true), employers, clients, and customers love you, people give you free shit, nobody harasses or bullies you, and women adore you.
There ARE downsides to being more alpha. Okay, actually there's just one. Beta males tend not to like you very much. As a former beta, I totally get that. I'll use the example of attracting women. I not-so-fondly remember spending countless hours trying to figure out how to get girls in general and, as I relayed in my linked story above, specific crushes in particular. I played the "nice guy" routine to the tee, to the point where I became a "Nice Guy™."
I got plenty of female attention... when they needed help moving. Or a shoulder to cry on when their asshole boyfriends cheated on them. Or they needed a compliment to boost their ego. Or they needed someone to run to the store to buy them some tampons. Or worse, condoms for their date later that night. What I never got was sex. Or even a chance to be in a relationship.
Yeah... being a beta sucks. A lot.
I remember seeing the natural alphas effortlessly getting everything I worked so hard to get. I experienced one feeling more than any other - envy. I despised the fact that they could coast through life getting everything handed to them on a silver platter. It just wasn't fair.
The weirdest part - at no point did I realize I had the power to become like them. Most were just natural alphas, but at least a few had been just like me, saw their lot in life, and decided to improve.
And they did.
I didn't see that at the time, though. I used other rationalizations. All these people deferring to the alphas and giving them shit and treating them like kings must be stupid. Or maybe they're afraid of the alphas. They did seem rather cocky. And women? Why on earth do they like these douchebags?!? Can't they see they have a perfect gentleman right here? Can't they see their dream man WANTS to make all their dreams come true?
That thought process led me to a very, very dangerous place. I started to assume those women were somehow flawed humans. That's the only possible explanation. That only amplified my search for my perfect soulmate.
It never occurred to me that my entire world view was wrong. It never occurred to me that people actually liked the alphas. It never occurred to me the women were insanely aroused by the alphas. Most significantly, it never occurred to me that the alphas weren't douchebags at all. Sure a few were, but most were actually great human beings that deeply cared for the world in general and the people surrounding them in particular. My judgment was clouded by my white-hot envy. The real kicker - I never made the connection that the males I most admired were alphas. I was too busy vilifying those alphas that stole "my" crushes.
Fast-forward to today. Since I've started this journey (painfully late in life, I might add), I've realized all the benefits I've witnessed for years. And I was wrong - the vast majority of alphas aren't horrible people. They're actually pretty damn awesome.
The most amusing part of my journey has come from the rebuttals from beta males. They respond to my blog posts and social media posts with the exact same comments I lobbed years ago. Their behavior is expected. Their thought process is transparent. Their self-rationalizations are painfully predictable. They cling to the very few times they "won" at life and use that as evidence that their outlook on life is succeeding. I know them better than they know themselves. They write off my attempts to convince them there's a better way as me "shaming" them for their beta ways. And I know they NEED to engage in these rebuttals because the beta mind needs to rationalize their lack of success relative to the alphas they despise.
This is where I'm really torn - how much effort to I exert to "convert" betas? I've nailed down a pretty simple process to turn willing betas into alphas, but most desperately cling to their sinking ship. I like helping people lead a better life. But I also have little desire to help people that refuse to be helped. I'm a libertarian that way.
This is even more difficult because the more beta males there are, the more perks alphas get. Look at that graph again. The more blue there is, the more rare alphas become. This is another place where supply and demand comes into play. Just in the realm of ladies, being an alpha dramatically increases the pool of women that are available regardless of what the alpha is looking for.
Want to score with a bunch of willing women that are just looking for casual sex? Hard as a beta. Ridiculously easy as an alpha. Looking for a high-value woman for a long-term relationship (including marriage and a family)? Betas get the leftover women that can't land higher-value alphas. Alphas have access to the best women on the market. Already in a long-term relationship? Betas don't sexually-arouse their women, which results in infrequent inhibited sex (ow many times have you heard guys complain their wives stopped giving blowjobs? Those dudes are betas... and they tend to blame their wives.) Alphas get all the freaky sex they can handle.
As a reformed married beta that's experienced being a beta and alpha with the same woman, I can personally attest to that last point. ;-)
So I'm torn. When I see betas doing their beta behaviors, I want to hug them. Tell them there's a better way. I'll patiently explain my story as a beta and how I made simple changes that made dramatic and immediate improvements. At the same time, my patience to tolerate their bullshit rationalizations has limits. If they have a chance to see how the world really works and choose to ignore it and remain a beta, I'm okay with letting them remain a seal. After all, the more seals there are in the sea, the better life gets for us sharks. Even us sharks that used to be seals.
Ready to give up your chump beta life? Go here.