Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Alpha Mail: Alpha is relative

In which the metaphorical apple strikes PA on the head, inspiring thoughts of gravity:
Let me quickly tell you how much I appreciate your thoughts at Alpha Game, and how they have profoundly influenced me since I began reading your work and realized, well, that you're spot-on correct, before I get on to personal nonsense. Over a couple of pints today I was meditating on the issue of ALPHAs and concluded (entirely anecdotally; no science involved whatsoever) that ALPHA-ism is both relative and circumstantial.

On "relative", here's what I mean: Within a limited circle of available males, the most ALPHA among them will be the "effective" ALPHA, regardless of his actual socio-sexual standing in the world at large.

An illustration: After high school (during which I was manifestly the most pedestal-worshiping gamma of gammas), I became (largely by accident) the de facto leader of a Christian/churchian youth group. Surrounded by males who were invariably gamma, delta or omega (at best), and in a proscribed circle in which everyone was pairing up and nobody was looking outside the group for partners (because partnership with unbelievers was frowned on and not many other Christian groups were in the immediate area), I was absolutely treated as ALPHA, without having to change my behaviour patterns at all. The eligible girls in the group were in competition with each other to earn my favour and I was surrounded at all times with women. It couldn't have been more different from my high school experience. I hadn't changed, but my competition had.

On "circumstantial", here's what I mean: When a natural beta or gamma is not particularly attracted to a woman and is just using her, he behaves like an ALPHA and is treated like an ALPHA.

An illustration: (I was going to get into my failed marriage here and realized, while entirely on point, talking about my experience would: (a) make me look like a heartless ass, which I was; and (b) demean somebody who was probably far less at fault than I.) Suffice to say that when a man is just looking for sex (or just adulation and an ego boost) and has no real, personal interest in the specific woman he's after apart from his own immediate gratification, he becomes an "effective" ALPHA even if it is not his natural mode. Women get that you can take or leave them at any moment, and respond to that with a willingness to please. Sad but true.
This is all correct.  Roissy has made it clear from the start in observational terms, and it is logically inevitable as well given that socio-sexual status is hierarchical.  This is why all the idea of any chest-pounding about "I am X" is pointless, because where we stand in any given hierarchy completely depends upon the particular hierarchy.

That being said, what defines us is how we rank in our normal daily work, school, and family hierarchies.


Tom said...

Is the sexual market place one where value is subjective or objective?

Daniel said...

I'm an omega! Thump-thump! Get out of my crawlspace!

Yep, it works, PA. Well put.

Southern Man said...

True. Live-long Christian beta provider here who after the end of a sixteen-year marriage finally found the red pill. I can assure you that even the tiny glimmers of alpha gained from Roissy and Roosh (et al) sets me so far apart from the other beta boys at church that it's not even funny. Game works. And if you have only a little game but your competition has none, it still works.

asdf said...


There are factors that are good in most circumstances and factors that are good in only certain circumstances. For instance being strong is always good. Not getting sick is always good. Etc.

However, certain things are only circumstantially good. Take "thugness". Thugness is great in a chaotic environment and bad in a ordered environment.

In the HBO series Rome they choose two common legionaries to follow along as out every man stand ins. They are Lucius Vorenus (beta) and Titus Pullo (alpha). These two are perfect stand ins for the alpha/beta dynamic.

In the first episode we find Vorenus as the sergent leading a cohort with Pullo the grunt. Vorenus is an officer because of his extradonary discipline. That was how Rome conquered the world. The barbarians, though often stronger and more numerous, would charge at the enemy undisciplined, while the Romans would keep tight and perfect formations. We see this in the first battle they show.

Pullo doesn't like any of this discipline shit and breaks formation to brawl. He's a powerful fighter, but this gets him thrown in the brig for insubordination by Vorenus. He is supposed to be executed, but is saved by dues ex machina this being a TV show and all.

Pullo is shown fucking anything that moves and then leaving. Who knows if the kids survive. We do know of at least one or two of Pullo's kids if I remember. Pullo pretty much always does the "alpha" thing.

Vorenus has a wife and 2-3 children (I forget). He has another child but its actually another mans (his wife cheated). Vorenus almost always does the "beta" thing.

So whose strategy is better? I'd say Pullo has gotten more shots at making kids, but he's also only alive due to dues ex machinas. So are Pullo's traits "alpha"? Is he more reproductively fit then Vorenus?

Does the answer change if this is near the fall of Rome rather then its height? Does Pullo do better then Vorenus when the order of society is breaking down?

Trust said...

Speaking of alpha, a great heartiste quote:

"Men use arguments to win the crowd. Women use the crowd to win arguments."

foxmarks said...

I was just poking around the androsphere trying to find an answer to this question.

SMV is subjective within an objective framework.

taterearl said...

I am Spartacus!!!

Although one of the good things about developing and becoming the masculine traits is that in any situation you can have a good shot at becoming the de facto Alpha. You can be one when you are talking to another person or in a large group of people.

Anonymous said...

So a man's alpha-ness is not based upon the women he surrounds himself with, but the men? I can see how a beta ignoring a gal may be perceived as an alpha by a woman, but whether he is a true alpha will depend on the available men in the area? (Legitimate questions...not fishing).

Tom said...

What does "subjective within an objective framework" mean?

The androsphere seems keen on labeling people as set categories when those categories aren't even really set.

Or, the androsphere is just doing the typical thing of making statistical arguments then applying them to all individuals in the group.

Giraffe said...

So a man's alpha-ness is not based upon the women he surrounds himself with, but the men? I can see how a beta ignoring a gal may be perceived as an alpha by a woman, but whether he is a true alpha will depend on the available men in the area? (Legitimate questions...not fishing).

Yes. Women want the Leader of the Pack. Alpha is the leader of men.

On the other hand, women will judge a man based on the women he can get. (Pre-selection) In the end, this is a less than perfect method by women to determine his rank.

Game is about understanding and playing the ways women guess your rank. It is not how your rank is determined.

In your example the beta is trying to act like an alpha to fool a girl. It doesn't make him one.

VD said...

So a man's alpha-ness is not based upon the women he surrounds himself with, but the men?

No. What part of "socio-sexual" is hard to understand? It's vital not to get all aspie about pedantic details of what is, by nature, always a moving target. The "socio" part is more related to men. The "sexual" aspect is more related to women.

Josh said...


Take a guy with a leading role in a cable TV show (burn notice or something like that).

Put him in a big party with a bunch of random non actor guys.

Who do the girls flock to?

Now, put him in a big party with a bunch of a list movie stars (Clooney, Pitt, Depp, Denzel, etc)

Now who do the girls flock to?

Jehu said...

If your mini-hierarchy has women who are essentially a captive SMP/MMP, then your status within that group can trump your status in the overall society. The extreme example of this is the Amish guy. He almost totally doesn't have to play in the mainstream American SMP/MMP. Most alternate status ladders don't have that feature to that degree though, but even so, they can give you a little bit of circumstantial alpha when you have apparent authority over something she cares about.

Sensei said...

I have observed exactly this phenomenon of relativity. Much to my surprise (good indication of my non-alpha-ness there), for the past few years in certain crowds I have found myself to be the clear center of female attention.

I suspect this is due to having traveled and lived overseas; this seems by itself to have greatly boosted the frequency of my becoming a situational alpha.
My guess would be that having lived in a major city overseas, I now find the majority of American women hopelessly uninteresting.

In this case it's not a matter of 'trying' to emulate alpha behavior, it happens naturally; one finds oneself simply bored by and unattracted to the majority of American women once it's become painfully obvious how much better the selection is other places.

Anonymous said...

I became.. de facto leader of a Christian/churchian youth group ... I was absolutely treated as ALPHA, without having to change my behaviour patterns at all.

Indeed. Most pastors are Alphas, some by nature, but more simply by virtue of their position. Big fish, small pond.

everyone was pairing up and nobody was looking outside the group for partners (because partnership with unbelievers was frowned on and not many other Christian groups were in the immediate area)

This is unusual. Usually "Christian" girls, forced to choose between Alpha and Christian, will date nonChristian alphas (despite "knowing better" and having been taught better), and leave the nonalpha Christian men sitting at home every weekend.

Vicomte said...


That's a terrible example.

Pretty much every male character in Rome is an alpha among his respective group.

Let's not forget that Vorenus was thought dead when his wife cuckolded him, and he nearly killed the kid (and his wife) when he found out. Then his wife killed herself out of guilt. Also he was probably the most socially mobile man in Rome, always moving up. Pullo is clearly Vorenus' lesser in the context of the show.

Marc Antony is a much better example of an alpha that goes full beta.

Minor quibble, But I really liked that series.

Jimmy said...

You can be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond. Some men just stake out their territory.

AXCrom said...

Context is everything. Your average corporate Alpha wouldn't last 2 minutes on the average prison yard. However, the majority of prison Alphas do not normally have the people skills to become Alpha in an office, rather their ferocity wins them that title while inside.
Still, I have often thought that many of the worst convicts would have made the best CEO's had their social situations growing up been different, e.g. living on the right side of the tracks. The abilities and attitudes displayed were identical only channeled very very differently.

asdf said...


What are you talking about?

Vorenuses wife cheats the second the checks stop coming. Vorenus is just a paycheck to her. Meanwhile, Vorenus has been away for seven years and has not slept with another woman. Seven! In a war where he could die tommorrow, where his wife would never know or care, were opportunities for sex come with every sacked city. That's beta to the core.

When he gets back he has massive oneitis. How many episodes does he spend whining to Pullo about how his wife won't obey him. She is disobediant and smart with him from the second he gets home. Beta.

Pullo fucks everything that moves the entire war and thinks Vorenus is crazy to committ to one woman (alpha).

When they find the Roman treasury Pullo wants to keep it for himself (alpha) while Vorenus wants to give it back (beta).

The list goes on and on.

PA said...

Usually "Christian" girls, forced to choose between Alpha and Christian, will date nonChristian alphas ...

Oh, that certainly happened too, over time. It is, sadly, extremely common.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vicomte said...


Vorenus is disciplined and has a sense of duty, as you mentioned; this does not make him beta.

Remember that Vorenus' wife's main gripe with him is that he doesn't care about her and never shows affection; he is very cold, aloof, and commanding. He murders the guy she cheated on him with (with Pullo). Vorenus is famed and feared for his skills as a soldier and leader. He starts and leads his own gang(and is again both respected and feared) for gods' sake.

Pullo fucks whores and marries a slave out of love. Vorenus is not beta(necessarily) because he chose not to rape and pillage every town he put to the sword.

Theft and impetuousness are not (again, necessarily) alpha traits. Vorenus' actions led to him becoming a Magistrate. Vorenus plays the long game like an alpha, Pullo plays the short game like one.

Honestly, I would describe them both as alpha, though you seem to be focusing on a very narrow view of sexual quantification.

I would recommend Rome for anyone who hasn't seen it. The sociosexual dynamics are very interesting and accurate, and it's a very entertaining show.

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Anonymous said...

"He murders the guy she cheated on him with (with Pullo)."

That was Octavian and Pullo, not Vorenus.

gan said...

This is useful. It's also true to a certain extent that you are what you choose to be or you are whatever character you choose to play. You can act alpha and trigger beta responses in others in situations wherein you're an unknown quantity especially, but even if you're already established in a beta role. Things can change quickly.

Vicomte said...


That's right, my mistake.

In a similar vein, one might be tempted to describe Octavian as beta, while I would argue he's a sigma.

The Scold's Bridle said...

Like real estate or politics, All Alpha is Local.

It is also situational.

An investment banker of high alpha status on wall street probably could never achieve high alpha status in a texas roadhouse environment.

Nor could a rodeo champion do so on wall street.

Alpha is not just the situation, but the environment and the skills/attributes that define dominance in that particular social arena.

To quote the Most Interesting Man in the World:

"Find something you are not good at... and do not do that thing."

asdf said...

"he is very cold, aloof, and commanding"

Aloof because he has no clue what to do (as he complains to Pullo over and over).

I never see him commanding. She ignores him and is flippant. There is a scene where he is talking about her disobedience and witholding sex and Pullo just up and says he should hit her (alpha) instead of whining (beta).

I didn't watch much of season 2, so I don't know about his gang or being a magistrate. In season 1 he gets hired to be an enforcer in a gang and won't go through with it.

"Vorenus plays the long game like an alpha, Pullo plays the short game like one."

The long game is BETA. That's the definition of beta. High resource investment, long time horizon, lower risk. How much more r selection strategy embodiment do you get.

The short game is ALPHA. You spray and prey. You don't get much more k selection then that.

You seem to think that Alpha > Beta. They are just strategies. Whether one strategy is better then the other depends on the environment. As I pointed out in my post Vorenus's beta strategy is well suited to ordered Rome at its height. Pullo should have died in episode 1 (and plenty after that) if it wasn't a TV show. However, in 400 AD when Rome was falling and barbarians were everywhere Pullo's strategy would be better.

the league of baldheaded men said...


"...However, the majority of prison Alphas do not normally have the people skills to become Alpha in an office, rather their ferocity wins them that title while inside...."

Dominance in a prison setting is all about "people skills", manipulation, politicking and mastery of the social environment, in short, game. It's just backed by a different sort of capital than dominance in a boardroom.

Joe Blow said...

>>"It's also true to a certain extent that you are what you choose to be or you are whatever character you choose to play. "

I think life can be really satisfying, better than full time alpha status, if you can pull it off. You have to either have some natural alpha tendencies, or be able to fake it well, or have some other way of plopping yourself down at the top of a group's hierarchy to do this.

It has some benefits if you can pull it off. The perpetual status-seeking of a full time alpha role is tiresome and a lot of it is garbage work. Among other alphas, all the alphas but one are just nervous, status-checking greater betas. That is some tiresome shit right there. Some other guy always has a bigger car, more money, hotter wife, more power... so great, you're the lead dog of one pack, but your pack sucks compared to the next pack over...

If you can pull it off, I think it's more rewarding to step up occasionally, take charge, then go your own own way as it suits you. You need to have the goods to be able to do this. Being able to ratchet your way up or down in group hierarchy implies that you have the ability to ratchet up to the top to begin with.

This is how I try to live. I hate budgets, meetings with more than three people, and corporate ass-kissing, I don't lust for power and while I may lust for women occasionally, I don't screw around on my wife. So really, I fail the full time alpha job interview, don't make it past HR. I will put up with some of that crap - I'm in local, part time politics in a small way - but don't want the hassle on a full time basis.

That doesn't mean I am a neuter though. I took a senior "of counsel" job that allows me to pick and choose major projects to lead, when it suits me, giving me a very nice career and a lot of independence, and a position well up the ladder but not really beholden to it. I generally keep the girl game in the bag most of the time, as long as my wife isn't being a pain in the ass, though I do whip it out and make some neighbor MILFs blush & sweat a little, just to keep my wife a bit jealous and on her toes. But mostly the professional climber sociopath guy and the PUA game guy inside me are rarely deployed.

Putting on the alpha mantle effectively makes you permanently an alpha of some type in a lot of people's eyes (wives/gfs notwithstanding...) You aren't the alpha they expect, a guy who wants to run everything all the time, but as long as they know you can step it up whenever you want, you can get a lot of respect from a social group without needing continuous effort to maintain your status. The amusing thing about this approach (and I do this over and over again) is going into a new setting in an unassuming way, then stepping up to lead the group for a while, or to get a hot girl blushing - and then seeing the look of surprise on some of people around you, who clearly didn't expect *that*. You only have to put on a really good display of leadership once or twice, then after that you get to set the terms of engagement with the group - go into full time management, or participate as a member, stepping up to lead from time-to-time. You have to remain confident and assertive at all times (no cringing, right?) but other than that the cost of maintaining this particular status isn't very high. Looking back on it, I've been a full time alpha in the past and didn't find it that rewarding - it's a lot of work and the payout isn't proportional to the effort. As long as I'm happy and getting what I want, why bother trying harder?

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