Many years ago my boyfriend at the time and I went to see the movie Jeremiah Johnson with Robert Redford. I loved it, he hated it. We had quite a discussion about it afterward. He said he hated super-hero type characters because all they did was make women think that all guys were like that and that was totally unrealistic. He said movies of that sort made him feel inadequate. I countered by saying that movies with super gorgeous, fabulously built, ultra-sexy women were equally unrealistic. He countered with exactly what you would expect “But that's different!” Oh really? Why?
I thought about this yesterday because I learned that my character Baptiste in The Old Mermaid's Tale was #9 on an Amazon list called Alpha Males Galore. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this! The list contains 15 novels and all of them sound pretty smokin' hot. The list author said: My favorite hero's in romance novels are the HOT SEXY CHEST POUNDING Alpha's! Here is a list I've compiled of some Alpha Male candy! Take your pick! She also quoted one of the reviewers for my book who wrote, Baptiste is the most hypnotic, sexy, unforgettable male character I've seen in a long time. I remember when I read that review I thought, Yup, he sure is.
Not long ago I got into a discussion on another board about what Jungians refer to as the Warrior archetype – you can't get much more Alpha than a Warrior archetype and within the traditions of both classical romance and contemporary romance Warriors/Alphas are some of the most drooled-over heroes. Whether they are Navy SEALS, Scottish war lords, white boys raised by Native American fathers (had to get that in since my ultimate Warrior/Alpha/hero is Hawkeye in Last of the Mohicans) or a seasoned seaman-turned-musician (my Baptiste), women love these guys and for good reason – they represent the essence of maleness.
Anyone who knows anything about psychology knows that archetypes are extremes – ultimate examples – of whatever they represent. The primitive part of ourselves naturally respond to these archetypes for the simple reason that we are hard-wired to do so. It defies logic and flies in the face of experience but for the majority of people that primal response is there and the trigger is easy to trip.
I've been reading about the controversy going on right now about violence and the NFL. Being a football fan (OK, Steelers fan) I've always considered sports, especially football, to be a natural, healthy outlet for the Warriors, and the Warrior-lovers, among us. But these days there is so much political correctness about violence that even football is coming under fire. I agree that violence in our society is entirely out of control but, if we learned anything from Prohibition, it should be that when a culture is denied a certain level of release, it erupts in very bad ways. When I lived in Texas I had a friend who was a rugby player and had a bumper sticker on his car that read “Rugby: Elegant Violence”.
In my experience it is as natural for women to be drawn to “hot, sexy, chest-pounding alphas” as it is for men to be drawn to the Bunny of the Month. It is just who we are. More than a couple men have told me that Clair in The Old Mermaid's Tale is their idea of the perfect woman – she is pretty, loving, nurturing, yet, fiercely independent. It is no wonder that Baptiste would love her – and that she would be attracted to him.
Here's my opinion: the world is getting crowded and experiment after experiment has taught us that the more crowded are the conditions in which people live, the more tense and volatile they become. We are living in an age when we all need to learn compromise, restraint, patience, and to nurture. But we also need to be permitted our primal selves and if those primal selves can be fulfilled through watching sports, admiring pretty women, or reading about Alpha males and their mates, it seems like a healthy thing.
So, if you haven't alread, visit Alpha Males Galore and get a “fix” – I'm hoping you'll pick #9.
Thanks for reading.