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Saturday, May 22, 2010
The Perils of Being the Alpha Male
Since my family's recent move and all the trauma surrounding it, I have made up my mind that what this pack of hound dogs needs is a genuine, certifiable Alpha Male. Our move was a wonder of indecision, much of it caused by people deferring to other people's opinions, waiting for someone to decide and a distinct lack of leadership from the top. My son, God bless him, stepped up and made it all happen, tentatively assuming the alpha male role. I actually thought he was going to bite someone a couple of times there.
Ah, but now we're settling back into our pre-moving roles and once again the alpha male role is being assumed by a gaggle of nest-builders and diplomats. The crowd at my house act like they were raised by a pack of therapists. The next person answered a yes/no question with "What do YOU think?" was going to find out what I think. Things were deteriorating rapidly till my granddaughter showed up with her boyfriend who firmly believes he is not AN alpha male, but apparently is convinced he is THE alpha male. Poor thing walked into my back yard and decided to challenge me on my own turf.
I bit him!
I didn't actually chomp his jugular, but things got a bit warm. We had one of those old fashioned young buck/old buck confrontations in my back yard with the whole in your face, chest bowed out, good eye contact going, fist clenched body language. The retirees next door gleefully brought their chairs out onto the patio to watch the fun. I thought for a minute the boy was going to take a swing at me and find out how long his lean, muscular 155 pounds would last against a cranky old dude twice his body mass. We stood nose to nose for a long time. I'm glad the moment finally passed for him and he took two steps back to a more respectful distance. I am, by nature a peaceful man. And I know the neighbors have 911 on speed dial!
As with most young buck/old buck confrontations, age and sheer bluff won out over youth and energy. We came to an understanding over the issue at hand and we get along fine now. The issue of who's backyard it is has been settled - at least till I get senile and my kids have that meeting down at the I-Hop to decide what to "do with Dad".
In the aftermath, I find that I may have fallen prey to my own hormones. I really liked being the alpha dog. I did. I find myself making decisions without permission, telling people clearly what I want and do not want. I am, of course, prepared to be fair and reasonable, but I'm also just as prepared to argue firmly for my own point and to use the power of leverage to get my way if I think I am right. It's downright liberating!
This move has had an unexpected effect on the men in this estrogen-soaked household. We are building a man cave in the garage complete with pool-table, tool room, dart board and garage band sound equipment. My son, this afternoon said, "I don't care what 'they' say about having space or what ought to go where. This is my space! She can put her exercise equipment in here somewhere and use it all she wants, but the rest is mine."
Good boy, son!
You make an old dog proud!
Besides, what man cave would be complete without a corner where skinny women in tights come to work out? Hey, bring your friends, girls. And hand me a root beer while you're up!
That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoe-making and fetched up in journalism on their way to the poorhouse. -Mark Twain