Arts Entertainments

For true love, choose a beta male

Last week we had a variety of family and friends who had not previously met. Girls in their 20s started talking about their favorite friends, referring to these guys by pet names like Precious Delight, Pure Sweetness, and Totally Dorbs (for adorable). A 28-year-old boy who overheard this conversation stated that he would drop dead if he thought any woman was describing him as a Precious Delight. He insisted that women want the alpha male, the superhero, the dominant and strong leader of the pack. In his opinion, these silly girls were describing sissies, weak, effeminate losers. But what he missed was the fact that the girls were laughing and pining for Betas. Those affectionate, demonstrative, communicative, carefree, gentle, friendly boys.

When I was in college, there was a guy whose nickname was Trog, short for Trogladyte. One day for Halloween he dressed up as a caveman, and it was the most appropriate outfit I’ve ever seen him wear. I thought he was gross, but I guess he had a thing, if you fantasize about being dragged by your hair and raped near the campfire. (Actually, that sounds appealing.) But that was the late ’70s and alpha males were out of fashion. The countercultural ’60s had glorified what I called Sensitive Ponytail Man, that is, the Beta male. I dream of poets and singer-songwriters, not athletes. Of course, the pendulum always swings back, and eventually those guys grew up, went to graduate school, got a haircut, and joined the Establishment. Their sounds aspired to Alpha status.

When it comes to connecting, Alpha, Beta, and even Omega males are all trying to get a piece. They are competing with each other to prove who is the biggest stallion. But they should pay more attention. The girls are getting restless and something is stirring in the status quo. Beta males, those sweet, sincere guys who speak the female language, are emerging as heroes in popular culture. Girls want boyfriends who have a bit of a woman emotionally. They want boyfriends who are best friends. And women have the power to elevate Beta’s position in life by making him the new romantic ideal.

Jim Halpert, played by Perfectly Dorbs John Krasinski in The Office, is the best living example of the perfect Beta. Sign. (In fact, he grew up next door, and I’ve seen him attend church with his parents when he was home visiting. So gorgeous.) Jim Halpert isn’t insanely handsome, but his appeal comes from of unadulterated purity. love he feels (and shows) for Pam. You just know that she loves hours of pillow talk (which of course follows hours and hours of putting Pam’s sexual satisfaction first).

Seth Rogan doesn’t do it for me personally, but he has shown that he is capable of playing the lead convincingly. Before seeing Knocked Up, you can’t imagine how Katherine Heigl’s character would ever go for it. And when you walk out of the theater, you’re not buying it. But during the movie you suspend disbelief. He doesn’t have the acting of him together, but he has a good heart. The raw material is there. Ultimately, he becomes a better man because of his love for a woman. Now, that’s a boy that women can put their arms around.

My personal crush right now is the Free Credit Report guy. He is so kind, so modest, so funny. Okay, maybe I don’t want my daughter to marry him, with her lousy credit rating and all. But I bet he would make a really good boyfriend. And in the midst of all this connection, awkwardness, and bullshit treatment from the Alphas, doesn’t a visit to Beta territory sound refreshing? Perfectly wonderful.