On two different occasions in the last few weeks, I’ve had someone say to me, “Well, you know, every woman loves the fantasy of the alpha male coming to their rescue.” Both times I felt like they were selling me the idea with their suggestive smiles, conspiratorial nods, and perky delivery.
Like the were giving the me the old “Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.” Like it’s our little guilty pleasure and you don’t have to deny it with me.
But I’m not buying into that now any more than I did when I first flipped open the cover of a classic, Fabio adorned, bodice ripper as a teen. Nothing about it struck a chord with me. I spent my childhood being told I could never do anything on my own and decided early on to prove everyone wrong.
Maybe I’m strange, but I don’t believe I need a man to be a happy and successful human. I never even wanted to get married. Didn’t dream about my perfect wedding or dress. Through most of my late teens and early twenties I was busy learning to ski and mountain bike and whitewater kayak in what little spare time I had between working three jobs. Not looking for a relationship.
Growing up in a very dysfunctional family, as I got older, all I wanted was a partner and friend who liked, loved, and respected me. Someone who’d share in my outdoor adventures and not be threatened by my abilities. Someone who’d support me and my crazy ideas and help me achieve my goals. I dated a lot of guys who would’ve made great “alphaholes” in an old school romance.
When I met my husband, we were both living in the back of our pickup trucks and kayaking as much as possible. He turned out to be everything I ever dreamed of. We’ve been together 23 very happy years.
That’s the fantasy I’m buying into. The one where you meet a nice guy who likes and respects and supports you—and isn’t at all afraid to show it. And is great in bed because he cares about making you feel good.
It’s also the fantasy I’m selling in my own books. And I think it’s one other women share.
If you like your romance with a classic alpha male lead, that’s fine. Lucky for you that’s what you’ll find in many, many romances. In traditional publishing especially, beta males are a rare breed and I want more of them.
I want more romances with the gender roles reversed—especially when it comes to jobs and sports. I’m tired of male hockey players, and firefighters, and police officers, and Navy SEALs, and whatever other traditional role you can come up with.
Ninety-nine percent of the sports romances I’ve ever read featured the man as the athlete and the woman as the cute girl who enjoyed watching. Even in books where both do a sport like skiing, he’s almost always the better athlete.
That’s not the life I live, and it’s not what I want to read about either. Give me the women who kick-ass and take names but can still be vulnerable. And the men who aren’t intimidated by them.
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