In honor of our Blogiversary, Alexandra Richland (author of Starlight, Gilded Cage and Frontline) has drafted two guest posts related to a subject near and dear to a reader’s heart – the Alpha Male.
This first installment discusses the traits that make the Alpha Male such an attractive and desirable character.
Many thanks to Alexandra for her insights and for providing a well-developed example in the gorgeous form of Trenton Merrick, the Alpha Male in her novel, Frontline.
You can find Alex on twitter here,
Alpha Males Part 1:
A friend of mine said the following over dinner a few nights ago:
“It’s great when my boyfriend expresses his feelings to me and we communicate that way. But sometimes, it’s even better when he rips off my clothes and just totally owns me.”
It seems after years of getting in touch with their feelings, exploring their feminine sides, going metro, and doing just about anything else to win the eye of the modern woman, all men really had to do was just be more like themselves—their alpha selves.
My friend hit one of the key points of why we’re attracted to alpha males right from the outset: Women like to be taken care of. She spoke of the need for someone to satisfy her physical desires with an authoritative masculine know-how. A man who speaks to you through his touch, who responds in just the right way without direction, and who puts your needs and desires first is a keeper.
Another key point that my friend touched on later in the conversation is finances. The world is a lean, mean place today, and unemployment lines stretch further than the ones to see the latest Clooney or Gosling flick. But tough times or not, there’s comfort for a woman in knowing that the armload of bills in the mailbox isn’t all up to her to sort out.
These two “alpha assets” ignite Sara Peters’ initial attraction to Trenton Merrick in Frontline. Though she initially resents the VIP treatment his billionaire status affords him, lingering beneath the resentment in Sara’s mind is the realization that being wealthy would do a lot of good in terms of helping others. As a registered nurse, that’s a cause she’s dedicated her life to.
The attraction, as well, ignites from the moment Sara sees Trenton. And during their lip-to-lip rendezvous in the examination room a short time later, Trenton responds to her physical needs immediately, and awakens a whole slew more she didn’t even know she had.
Two for two for the alpha male.
This is all fine for an opening chapter, but most would dismiss Sara’s attraction as shallow and superficial. Looks and money? Those are not the building blocks of true, lasting love, much less the plot of an entire novel.
The point I try to make early in Frontline is that these two alpha assets, superficial as they might be, still provide enough intrigue to inspire Sara to take a closer look at Trenton. Their first interactions indicate that he can hold his own financially, reach Sara on a physical level, and be present with her emotionally. Cornerstones they aren’t, but taken together, they add up to a tantalizing invitation.
As Sara gets to know Trenton, she finds he possesses even more characteristics of the alpha sort: independence, ambition, respect for others, comfort in who he is as a person, a disregard for what others may think of him. Sure he slips in and out of dominance, dishonesty, and a few other irksome traits that repel her, and for the sake of not spoiling anything for a reader who hasn’t picked up the book yet, we’ll leave it there for now.
But there’s a third reason alpha males are so darn attractive from the outset.
Our world glamorizes looks, money, and status above all, and these things attract the masses. Sara’s early musings on Trenton assume he could have any woman he wants, and these thoughts expose a deep insecurity Sara feels about her own status. Why would rich, gorgeous Manhattan playboy, Trenton Merrick, want little rookie nurse Sara who lives in a dingy, one-room flat in Brooklyn?
All of the fame, riches, and good physique Trenton is blessed with aside, his attraction to Sara is strong and instant. That attraction is what draws Sara into him for good. She doesn’t understand it, but she feels it, too. It reaches through the crowd of Merrick groupies all vying for Trenton’s attention, takes Sara by the hand and says, “You’re the one I want. Come here.”
Trenton could have anything and anyone. But he wants Sara. She’s his muse, his quest, his weakness, his redemption.
To desire such a specimen, yet feel desired just as much in return. What girl wouldn’t want to be the cherry on top of that alpha male layer cake?
Perhaps that’s why we have to read and write about it—what else could it be but just a fantasy?
You can read part 2 tomorrow 🙂