To Alpha or not to Alpha?

The most common character in romance novels is the "alpha male." He's tall, brooding, muscular, dominant, and most of the times, arrogant. I have a love-hate type of relationship with this character, as I love the idea of a "manly-man," but I hate the idea of an "arrogant, abusive, asshole." There are benefits to having an alpha-male in a story (main one being what I coin the "yummy" factor), but there are also some disadvantages of including him. Here are a few. If I miss some, comment below with your pros and cons list.

o   He fulfills fantasies of women (and men) being taken care of by a capable man.
o   He has an excuse for his dominating behavior.
o   An author can add depth to his character by giving a backstory of him being defenseless and growing into his “alpha status.”
o   Shows that he’s more than just a hot-body, but has a brain to be calculating.
o   When he does care about something, he’s all in.
o   He’s set in his ways so there’s no guessing about his motives or interests.
o   It takes a long time to break through his shell (she’s worth it).
o   Shows how strong the love-interest is if she/he can get him to open up and not be so closed-off.
o   Being a giant teddy bear (AWWW).
o   He’s protective of those he considers his family.
o   He can be arrogant to the point of annoyance.
o   His need to control his love interest can be stalker-ish.
o   His control can be abusive and degrading.
o   He doesn’t value the opinion or input from his love interest because he is always right.
o   He is closed-minded to anyone else’s point of view.
o   He is too jealous of other men talking to his love-interest.
o   Sometimes, he is just a meat-head.
o   He’s set in his ways, so there’s no reasoning with him.
o   It takes a long time to break through his shell (is it worth it?)
o   No soft side to his personality, so he’s not relate-able.


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