The notion of sex as a marketplace where deals are continuously made between human beings is in many ways as profound as it is simple. Once identified one can analyse and review actions within it as any other market, be it the grand bazaar of Istanbul or the East Asian derivatives market. Markets serve as an aggregate of everything, human philosophy, resource availability, future hopes and future dreads. They all affect the price of a product or a security. An interesting correlation is what happens when a society breaks down and goods become scarce, luxury items for instance often drop in price unless they have a practical value, and necessities soar in price and demand.
The concept of hypergamy, often misunderstood as “women marry up“, is one of the cardinal principles within the sexual market place that greatly affects price and ensures that female sexual market value is sticky downwards. Meaning that as a woman’s “performance” within the market declines as a result of aging, or other factors, her price demands are very slow to respond to changed market conditions. This can often be seen in women who are entering or well into their epiphany phase, who despite being an objectively lower value commodity, are often found demanding the same or a higher price for their intimacy. Hypergamy, thus does not refer purely to the idea that women marry up, but that women seek to maximize their sexual market value trades, balancing their long and short term strategies, attempting to secure the maximum amount of alpha genetics, while seeking to ensure long-term provisioning for themselves and their offspring.
Since the inception of the manosphere figuring out which traits signal what has been an ongoing project, with the most time being dedicated to the constructs of Alpha and Beta. Where the construct of Alpha refers to a behavior set that trigger the short term and long term mating preference in women, and Beta a behavior set that triggers the long term mating instinct in woman in certain contexts.
Alpha VS. Beta
In a case of inductive reasoning, this leads to certain premises for men. If women seek to maximize their trades between two binary choices, alpha and beta. Then it follows that men should seek to find an optimal composition of Alpha and Beta to maximize mating opportunities. This can be diagrammatically represented as two series one “alpha” series running from 1 – 10, and one “beta” series running from 1 – 10, where there are straight trade-offs between Alpha and Beta characteristics in a male.
This assumes that the traits of “Alpha” and “Beta” are mutually exclusive dichotomies, for instance “Dominant” OR “Submissive” and “Provider” OR “Protector“. For a simplified model this would perhaps serve as an example, however few men are of the type where they are “pure” alpha or beta. I’m sure most of us have met a few men that conform to straight dichotomies, but a majority does not.
Thus, it follows that these traits most likely exist on a scale, rather than as binary choices. Therefore, a man can train himself to be more alpha or less beta, or adopt more beta and less alpha traits. In fact, this is one of the cardinal principles of the manosphere, that men can become alpha through self-improvement. These tendencies appear to form a sort of reflexivity, wherein already alpha men tend to become more alpha, and already beta men tend to become more beta. This takes a form wherein their default response is in line with their existing place on the scale.
Beta males respond to challenge with doubling down on beta, and the alpha responds by becoming more alpha. Thus the differences between the two are magnified. So, assuming that alpha and beta are on a scale, rather than as a dichotomy, it follows that once we identify alpha and beta traits, it would be possible to graph these as well along similar lines.
What is Alpha?
This is the millionth time in the manosphere where someone seeks to define alpha. So, to arrive at a suitable jumping off point for the dataset, I figured I would consult the Three Rs, Rollo, Roissy and Roosh, for their observations. This is by no means an exhaustive list as all three men are quite prolific writers but the table below contains traits that I gleamed from reading a substantial part of their posts [1,2,3,4] in addition to “The Rational Male” and “Bang” and subjecting them to content analysis.
As the abstract concepts “Alpha” and “Beta” are perhaps the most discussed concepts in the manosphere, distilling them down tends to be an exercise in futility rather than fulfillment. However, from the table, one can see certain descriptors of the behaviors in question and that they overlap.
This made me wonder if there was a model that perhaps could be used to catalogue these traits. The Big 5 personality inventory outlines 5 major traits, openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.
Within this model, those who score low on extroversion tend to be loners, quiet, passive and reserved, whereas those who score high are joiners, talkative, active and affectionate. Within the constraints of the Alpha-Beta scale, one this appears to correlate less with the traits outlined in the table. A frequent lack in assertiveness with women, among Beta males is one that sticks out. On the same note, “aloofness“, frame control and decisiveness, correlate more with the outlined Alpha traits.
Openness to experience, is another category of traits that may not overly strongly correlate either way as both types of man may be open to different kinds of experience.
Where the first major difference appears to manifest is in the category of Agreeableness, which contains among others modesty, sympathy, empathy, trust, and altruism, in which beta males appear to score much higher than Alpha males. Appeasement, entering the frame of another, supplicating, asking permission, and self-depreciation all fall within this category as tools that promote in group cohesion and maintains social pleasantness. One could also argue that modesty is an antonym of “cocky“, “confident, “narcissistic”, and maintaining control of the frame.
A second category that presents major differences is that of neuroticism, which contains among others emotional reactivity and emotional affect. People who score high in neuroticism often experience feelings of anger, anxiety and depression. They also appear more self-conscious and vulnerable. This appears to fit with the beta traits listed as avoiding risk, various fears, and deference. It also appears to corelate negatively with the alpha traits aloofness, narcissism, confidence.
The final category, conscientiousness, is described as containing the traits of self-efficacy, orderliness, dutifulness, achievement striving, self-discipline and cautiousness. This is in many ways a split category, in that dutifulness, orderliness and cautiousness appear to correlate more strongly with the beta traits of avoiding risk and appeasement. While self-discipline (especially with women) and self-efficacy correlate more strongly with alpha traits. For instance, the Beta frequently lacks the self-discipline to control his emotions and reactivity around women.
Thus, one could argue that alphas would score lower than betas in agreeableness, as a result of being more self-focused and thus more aloof. Secondly, alphas would score higher than betas on extroversion, especially assertiveness, and frame control. Thirdly, their scores on neuroticism would be markedly lower than that of beta males, with scores on the final two categories being more nuanced.
The Big Five model has a significant relationship with the whole of the dark triad and each of the traits within the triad . The triad overall, is negatively related to both agreeableness and conscientiousness. Where Machiavellianism captures trusting vs suspicious views of human nature, which are also observed in the trust scale on the agreeableness trait. Extroversion captures assertiveness, dominance and self-importance, which are all parts of narcissism, which is also positively related to achievement striving and competence aspects contained within conscientiousness. Whereas psychopathy correlates most strongly with low dutifulness and low deliberation within the category of conscientiousness.
Therefore, one could make the prediction that alpha males who would score lower in agreeableness and conscientiousness than beta males, in addition to scoring higher in extroversion, would to some extend also embody narcissism and Machiavellianism. If one accepts the ultimate measure of alpha is in terms of mating opportunities, then studies have demonstrated that dark triad traits are associated with short-term mating advantages in men , however they bring no benefits for long-term mating strategies. Thus, the conclusion is that the triad traits are correlated to the construct of alpha, utilized throughout the manosphere. This is not to say that all alpha males embody the full blow arsenal of dark triad traits developed to their full potential. Rather that they have a configuration of traits that signal them as highly attractive mating prospects.
The Construct of Alpha
The construct of alpha came to be as a result of observing behavior and then working backwards. Specifically, males who had higher than average success in mating endeavors were observed by the early manosphere writers. The overall “frame” of this person was broken down into components that were then tested out in the field to arrive at a behavior set that worked. This refined behavior set is what is referred to as “Alpha” within the confines of the manosphere today. In the same manner multiple other sets of behaviors were identified and given labels such as “Beta“, “Gamma“, “Omega” and “Delta“, which to some extent complicates, but also compliments the simplicity of the two initial Alpha and Beta categories.
The goal of the manosphere is to encourage self-improvement, and thus the constructs serve a dual purpose, to identify the present situation and the goal situation. In some cases, such as those related to the physical, the advice is frequently very actionable, and measurable. For instance, dropping 10% body fat and add 10 lbs of muscle. However, when it comes to behavioral and psychological change, they are often quite abstract, with each man often interpreting alpha as relating to his foundational values. The correlation between the construct of Alpha, OCEAN traits, and thus Dark Triad traits offers more concrete actionable advice for behavioral and psychological change.
The Dark Triad Traits:
Narcissism – Grandiosity, Pride, Egotism and lack of Empathy.
Machiavellianism – Manipulation and exploitation of others, cynical disregard for morality, focus on self-interest and deception.
Psychopathy – Antisocial behavior, impulsivity, selfishness, callousness and remorselessness.
What language would one use to define a “typical” Beta male? Overly humble, not very prideful, tends to be focused on the needs of others, and often highly empathic. He rarely engages in manipulation and tends to be the target of exploitation. He often feels a very strong moral duty, and tends to compromise his own self-interest. He is often a rule-follower down to the most minuscule rules, and plans everything out carefully. He rarely engages in selfish behavior, and if he does he is often overcome by guilt and remorse.
If one compares with the language that would be used to describe an alpha, while he may not be grandiose, he is confident and prideful. He is well aware of his own needs and desires and seek to have them fulfilled. While he may not live a fully manipulative lifestyle, or disregard morality, he is not overly constrained by the opinion and values of the society in which he lives, and seeks a favorable balance between his interests and those of others. While his behavior is perhaps not consistently anti-social, it is not consistently pro-social either. His impulsivity and selfishness is balanced, and he has the capacity to be both callous and remorseless if required of him.
In many ways the Beta male is the consummate neurotic  demonstrating high reactivity and emotional instability. As outlined in an earlier essay, the beta male is one who is controlled largely by his super-ego programming without the ego and ID to back it up. The three Dark Triad Traits help correct the unhealthy imbalance between ID, Ego and Super-Ego, in the beta male. Narcissism feeds his ego, building it to a healthy level, while Machiavellianism and Psychopathy connects him to his ID through impulsivity and self-interest.
Machiavellianism, Narcissism and Psychopathy all influence the three elements of Freud’s structure. For the narcissist the ego is increased, at the cost of super-ego. For the psychopath the ID and ego are strengthened at the cost to super-ego, and for the Machiavellian the super-ego is negotiable.
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The Red Queen: Sex and the evolution of human nature by Matt Ridley
Dangerous personalities by Joe Navarro
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli