Monday, 13 June 2011

What Lay People Should Know about Men – The Alpha Men (personal; humour)

by Zurina Ismail (with permision)
originally published at
original title: What We Need to Know about Men

A lone bull swaggered towards a small pack of musk oxen. The fight of intimidation had begun. They glared. The younger one pacing back and forth, swinging its head, testing his chances. The old bull feeling threatened pawed the ground. His position as the alpha male was at stake. But he would fight to the end.

Like men. Like alpha men. And it was only when I married, ate and slept with a man and had more sons than daughters did I begin to grasp a deeper understanding of the beast mentality. I found it wondrous in its primitiveness, its wildness, its beastliness and most of the time I would be flabbergasted. At times I would be stunned into a subservient silence.

My early introduction to men's minds was of course gleaned from my father. He loved cars that looked masculine. Like the Valiant. Or the Ford Cortina. Being overtaken was one of his pet peeves. He would turn dark and fume silently. And I knew exactly what would happen next. He would step on the accelerator, the car would speed up and finally he would be Overtaker. I could almost feel the vibrating strings of satisfaction drifting in the air. As a teenager I was mostly bewildered by such a display of childish competitiveness by my father. The working of men’s minds was completely beyond me. They were alien.

Then I watched my sons fight opponents in the ring – their karate keikogi snapping sharply with each kick and punch. Sweating, soaked, each intimidating the other, each psyching the other, each glaring, occasionally stamping their feet or pawing with their fists, each strategising their next move. Like musk oxen bulls. But when the final score was on their side my heart swelled. "Them, my friends, are my alpha sons!" my mind would shout, my head would nod and my fist would punch an imaginary sand bag. Short of thumping a hairy chest I was for that very moment quite the man. My alpha husband would be close to the ring. Stamping and roaring like a triumphant bull.  But in the secret pocket of my woman heart I am thankful that theirs is a fighting sport that is controlled, where full contact is not allowed.

When they emerge from the ring with their keikogi unravelled, their black belts loose and pendulous, their hair dishevelled, strands of it glued to their foreheads with sweat, skins glistening, eyes shining, bodies a little bruised and their breaths coming fast and heavy I would feel primitively and beastly proud. Like a man. Like a beast.

So it is only now I know that a tattered keikogi is macho in men's eyes. I've always wondered why Zad treasured his and was taken aback when asked if he was going to throw it away. Quite the contrary he wants it framed, hung and displayed. It is only now I know why some young alpha men have their hair closely cropped. It makes them look intimidating to their peers. It is only now I know why some alpha men have their hair longer than usual. It makes them look rugged and rough. It is only now I know why alpha men sit at the head of a table facing the entrance. So they will be the first to sight an enemy when he enters. It is only now I know why alpha men make every littlest thing they do appear important. They regard everything as a contest. To get the upper hand. To prevent others from pushing them around. It is only now I know why my alpha men love Swiss knives. It makes them feel like a MacGyver. And it is only now I know why alpha men never ask for directions. It makes them feel incompetent. And literally lost. Sometimes, exasperatingly and alpha-ingly, lost. Like little boys. Forever.

Now let me there anything else I need to know about alpha men?

Uh-uh I don't think so. That about covers it all, don't you think?

*SIGH* We women. Therefore we are............More complicated.
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