Friday, September 30, 2005

Long Live Alpha Man

First, credits: the inspiration for this came via PBW who led me to Jayne Anne Krentz's blog entry, and here we are.

Ahhh, the demise of the Alpha male hero. Totally agree with JAK when she says that Alpha males aren't dead. They've simply been redirected via a new genre where the sensitive, PC hero isn't a requirement because, let's face it, usually he's dead. I mean, what's a little aggressiveness or hard-headedness when the hero isn't even room temperature and drinks blood cocktails? Heck, a guy who totes a gun and isn't afraid to shoot first and ask questions later is nothing compared to one who turns into a four-legged beastie when the moon is just right.

But isn't it interesting that the paranormal/vampire subgenre is on the rise? Isn't it interesting that vampires and werewolves and changlings and aliens and time-travelers from distant dimensions - all guys known to be, um, not exactly the sensitive type - are popular heroes these days?

Mayhap we all protested a bit much? Got exactly what it was we asked for and now have to go elsewhere for our fixes?

And when I say "we", I don't mean me. I've never complained about an Alpha male hero. At least, I've never complained about a hero because he was an Alpha male. I might have complained because he was an asshat in any form, beta, omega, or Phi Delta Epsilon, but not because he was un-PC or too rough around the edges. I love me a manly man's man. I want to be swept up off my feet, rescued from the clutches of danger and death, and made love to by someone who knows his way around the female body. I want to see that guy fall flat on his face when he realizes how he can't live without the heroine. I want to see that taming.

But, really, if there is any truth in the rumor that the Alpha Male hero has become an endangered species in non-paranormal subgenres, that is really a damn shame. It's an example of someone thinking that fiction needs to conform to real life; that what we see in our day to day must be reflected in our escapism. Certainly we'd never accept that hyper-dominant man in our work place or as someone we'd be willing to bring home to Mom and Dad. Therefore, we cannot tolerate his appearance in our fantasies.

Except, isn't the point of fiction and escapism and fantasy to take us away from the real world? Maybe I'm just not getting it.

Not that sensitive guys aren't great. Not that they can't make wonderful romance heroes. I'm all for having sensitive guys and gay guys and intelligent guys and geeky guys and, yes, alpha male guys as heroes. Just like I'm in favor of Baskin Robbins 31 flavors.

Sometimes it's nice to have mocha almond fudge. But my favorite will always be mint chocolate chip. It would be a dang shame if someone out there decided I can't have it any more because, I don't know, green is just not an acceptable color for ice cream.

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