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Guilty Pleasure: The Love Triangle Between the Alpha and the Beta

kawaiidaigakusei at 12:00AM, Nov. 4, 2019

While binge watching Schitt’s Creek, I started to see the emerging love story between Alexis Rose, Mutt the bad-boy, and Ted the veterinarian. That was when I wanted to discuss one of my favorite comic tropes of the alpha male versus the beta male.

In Spiderman, Harry Osbourne is the likely alpha, he has natural good looks and confidence and Peter Parker gives off friendly, boy-next-door vibes. It is no wonder Mary Jane finds herself at the center of the two men.

There was an official scientific study that did a survey on which type of man women preferred depending on the time of the month, and when women are ovulating (looking for a prime mate), the stereotypical macho man with a sharper jawline and broader shoulders is more attractive, while a man who has more caregiver traits (aka a partner that looks like he will stay for the long haul) are more attractive when a woman is menstruating. It is for this reason that the alpha male/female/beta male love triangle trope is so popular. Both men are attractive to the female during different times of the month, but it really depends what time.

The closest comparison between an alpha male and a beta male that I can think of is how the taste of dark chocolate and white chocolate are preferred at different times of the month or even red wine preferences over white wine.

Of course, in the comic book world, there will always be fandoms that want a man who looks more like Thor followed by another following of fans that want a man like Loki. There is no scientific study of why certain people are attracted to alphas or betas besides set “types”.

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Ozoneocean at 6:50PM, Nov. 5, 2019

@Marcorossi- very well thought out response!

Abt_Nihil at 10:43AM, Nov. 4, 2019

Sorry to be such a spoilsport, but actually, you can (and should) argue with that study:

dpat57 at 4:50AM, Nov. 4, 2019

Can't argue with an official scientific study, and the chocolate analogy just puts icing on that cake. I'm going to keep both white and dark bars in my pockets from now on.

Banes at 4:41AM, Nov. 4, 2019

Fascinating stuff! I've heard about this phenomenon too. I believe this keeps showing up in fiction because it's tapping into something very real and deep in humans. If we hopeful suitors could only detect when the correct time was to not buy dinner, but instead knock over a mailbox, we could get the whole month on lock!

marcorossi at 2:38AM, Nov. 4, 2019

Personally I don't think that the alpha/beta male comparison makes sense. For starters alpha/beta is a social relationship so the one who gets the girl is the aplha male by definition in the animal world, the way the terms are used in the general language is very misleading and unscientific IMHO. I think there might be something about the aggressive male/friendly male competition with the girl as an arbiter, but again it might just be that we want an antagonist who is less likeable than the protagonist so we make him look aggressive.

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