I wish I had a picture for this one, but the reason for the post is the reason for not having the picture...
Romance books are littered with alpha heroes, the men who fight off the bad guys with amazing skill, stopping only to kiss the heroine into a swooning puddle of mush. They've never been tied to just one woman. Beta heroes are out there too. They're the guys more inclined to use brain power to win their battles, attracting women almost by accident with their quiet competence. Think Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. (Who knew watching Star Trek would be more useful to my future career than that English degree?)
I have an alpha male living in my barn. Not the human kind - but wouldn't that be handy? Freddie is a cat, named for Freddie Mercury. Remember Queen's song, "Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy?" That's Freddie in his swoonable, loving mode. A shameless lover boy. Intact, as they say; Freddie never took that life-altering trip to the vet. He came to me that way, and since there are no un-spayed females on the farm, I put off that little traumatizing vet visit (along with the tramatizing bill.) Meanwhile, in between all the stroking and cooing he begged for, he would disappear for a few days of debauchery with some other woman, and indulge his testosterone-driven side by fighting with the stray tom cat who sneaks into the barn. (A true alpha has to keep the Klingons at bay.) But last week Gray must have landed a lucky punch, because Freddie had a few scratches and a badly inflamed inner eye lid, swollen and oozing blood. He was miserable, and I couldn't put off a vet visit any longer. They pumped him full of antibiotics, pain killers, and steroids, plus a broad-spectrum wormer to boot. No neutering - he was too sick for surgery. Freddie purred at the nice vet techs through his pain, because that's what alpha males do. (Did injury ever hamper Capt. Kirk's desire? Heck no!) And he purred again when I deposited him back in the barn, his condition greatly improved.
Then he left me!
The little so-and-so disappeared that afternoon on one of his secret "trips" and hasn't been back since. Since Gray moved in to fill the vacancy, I suspect another woman. That's the loyalty you get from your typical alpha male - love 'em and leave 'em. If this were a romance book, Freddie would finally find the one female who can tame his wild side. Guess that's not me. And it's not the two other barn cats, Sophie and Zoe.
Is there a moral here? Not really. Just the thought that I'm glad most human males are neither alpha nor beta, but a mix of both. They can defend home and hearth and do good deeds without continually fighting and tom-catting around. These are the stable, wonderful guys we marry. But just like the romance readers who understand the attraction of the "bad boy" hero, I have a soft spot in my heart for Freddie. And when he shows up at the barn - as he undoubedly will - I'll love him until he leaves me again.
But next time I'll get a picture of his handsome, studly self. Until then, you can look at my book cover for THIEVES LIKE US in the sidebar, because that guy has a lot of drool-worthy alpha goin' on!