The girls and I have agreed for ages that Growler's husband, BC, is an über-Alpha male. In any given situation or room of people, he will quietly take control and direct almost everything that happens. I'm sure he has moments when he can be an utter ass about it, but I've never really seen that aspect of him. Granted, I don't live with the man. However, I have spent a lot of time with him and in their home.
"Alpha Male Traits" on AskMen.com outlines some basics, from the book Men 2.0 Engineering the Alpha: A Real World Guide to an Unreal Life by Adam Bornstein and John Romaniello:
"You see, to be an Alpha male in the traditional sense simply means the most dominant within a group, or the strongest in a group or the most confident in a group. Not a person who is necessarily strong or confident in the absolute sense; just someone who, in a given group of people, most outwardly projects strength or confidence. In other words, the problem with the definition of Alpha isn’t really the assumed aggression or implied cockiness; it’s the fact that the entire foundational principle for self-value is comparative analysis."
They outline seven characteristics of the new Alpha:
1) helpful but not condescending
2) confident but not cocky
3) vain but not conceited
4) prideful but not arrogant
5) humble but not self-loathing
6) tolerant but not weak
7) dedicated but not obsessed
After Bounder and I broke up, Growler finally confided that BC never quite thought Bounder was the right match for me. I trust BC's instincts for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that he's a Fragile Cat. Like Bounder. And like me.
"I don't date by committee," I said to him, meaning the girls (a.k.a. The Castration Committee), "but I'm not dating anyone from now on until they get your stamp of approval."
He laughed and agreed.
And then it hit me: BC is the Lion King. We are part of his pride.
Let me be very, very clear that there is absolutely nothing untoward or lascivious in my relationship with BC. He and Growler and I all know this. Where she is part of my girlie heart, he is an extension of that and has become a very good friend to me over the last few months. I can only hope I am responsibly reciprocal in that friendship.
Growler laughed when I called him Mufasa, but we talked at length about this concept of his protecting the women (and even some of the men) in his life and how they all care for him in return.
I need that in my ideal mate, I thought. Those are the traits I'm seeking.
But then it hit me again: I have those traits.
Even though I wasn't always cultivating or fully utilizing them, they're part of my make-up.
And then I wrote on a piece of paper, which I showed to Growler:
I am an Alpha Female looking for an Alpha Male.
"Of course you're looking for an alpha male," she laughed. "Did you not know this?"
I shook my head, eyes wide. "I knew that. I didn't know—"
"You didn't know you're an Alpha female?? Honey, do you hear this?"
BC and Growler laughed and laughed, watching me enveloped by this epiphany. I called Hot Pocket that afternoon and told her; she laughed uproariously.
"Tank [her husband] and I have talked about that a hundred times. Did you really not know?"
1) incredibly loyal but sometimes self-sacrificing
2) well-aware of my abilities but sometimes disabled by my weaknesses
3) knowing I had damn good hair but absolutely no concept that I was pretty
4) proud of my accomplishments though I rarely see that they amount to anything
5) jokingly self-deprecating, sometimes to the point of dire self-criticism
6) intensely interested in people and how they work but incredibly impatient
7) dogged and obsessive but only about the things that are important to me
I am loud and boisterous and full-on energy, most of the time. I am relentless but with dimples instead of a grimace. I am a glittery ball of blond batshit who can be so insecure that she ends up fetal and crying on her own floor because no one would talk to her when she went out. I complain that men don't talk to me in public but know damn well that I can be aloof. They tell me I'm intimidating, but I never really understood why.
Now I get it.
In that competition of love and sex, it's all about who's better than whom. Who's stronger, prettier, sexier, smarter, blahblahblah. Women compete against each other and themselves, just as men do. The genders also compete against each other for placement in the immediate pack. It's not always this way, certainly, but watch what happens in a crowded bar on any given weekend night.
I am an Alpha.
I tend to attract strong personalities. Even Bounder once said that any man who was going to even try to approach me had better bring the big stones. When I am approached, I tend to shoot men down pretty quickly. It doesn't take me long to size them up and know which ones could never be enough for me and my exacting standards.
All of my talk this year of what I wanted in a relationship points to this über-Alpha male. All of my work for the last three years has brought me the realization that I am looking for the biggest of the Cats. My insecurities have source in my not seeing the plain truth of myself, yet again.
All of the monument-worthy men in my past have been Fragile Cats, certainly. They were possibly higher ranked than I was at some point. The moment when that shifted is the tension point that ultimately led to the demise of those relationships. When there was no other option but subjugating my own power to please them, the relationships fell the fuck apart.
And the ones who said they didn't deserve me, that I was too good for them, they were right. I lowered myself to their standards in order to compete with them, hence the turmoil. (It really was you and not me.)
Being who I am, I could see their potential. Even if they weren't living up to what I saw, I would remind them that they could be better and more special and that I would support that in any way I could, sometimes to my own detriment. What I realize now is that I don't just need huge potential in a partner; I need a partner who is achieving his potential.
This also means that I have to work toward my own potential. It may not be what anyone else sees in me, but I have to be very honest with myself about both what I want to do and what I really can do. The last year of life on my own has shown me an enormous amount of untapped possibility, and now it's time to work that.
But I won't do it to make anyone else happy or comfortable. I won't spend my time fighting with someone else about why and how it could be better. I will be who I am, who I can be in my own, huge heart, and that will be exactly right for me. If it also happens to be right for them, so be it.
Either way, it's not my problem.