Alpha Evolution: Goodbye Rhett Butler
Scarlet O’Hara’s dashing leading man, Rhett Bulter, might not have given a damn, but I do! I want passion, I want depth… I want a flawed hero with a heart.
When it comes to entertainment and the female audience, stoic and emotionally cool alphas no longer make the grade. Got a story with a Mr. Strong and Silent type? He better be working his way through a speech impediment — in between visits to the gym. How about a Mr. Can’t-Share-his-Feelings? Emotionally stunted alphas require complexity. Like a serial killer juggling fatherhood and work (Dexter, anyone?). Or at the very least, those old-school alphas, like Rhett, need to be in therapy and working through issues in order to love again.
My point is, whether I’m reading, or writing, I want to indulge my imagination. Sure, my real life might include a boyishly-adorable alpha husband who can wield an axe, a gun, and a chainsaw with equal ease, but he’s also the guy who laughs at the same fart jokes he enjoyed in grade school. This is marriage.
By the same fantasy-vs-reality measure, I’ll add my dear husband nods along dutifully when I obsess over handbags. He also couldn’t care less if I have a bit of cellulite on my butt. This is marriage.
I don’t want my entertainment to mirror everyday life, but to enhance it. Heroes need to be captured and explored in my imagination. Snapshot scenes artfully building to something much deeper: a relationship with characters I won’t forget (like Augustus in The Fault in Our Stars).
Because life is too busy to be bored with cookie cutter male characters. Like Rhett Butler. Though if he were a fictional hero circa 2014, he would not only give a damn, he’d be the first one to sign up for couples counseling.