THE ALPHA MALE

The sad plight of the Alpha-Male

Why are we vain? What inbuilt psychosomatic process propagates this Adonis like need? As we flog ourselves to the very edge of reflective need, it is becoming clearer and clearer that the alpha-male branch of the evolutionary tree is withering and dying. That is not to say that men cannot be physically fit for the sake of it. Plenty of us need the gym to stay fit, to feel healthy and to generally extricate ourselves from the humdrum of everyday living.

So, where do we draw the line between vanity and health? The problem is deeper than you may think. As women have become increasingly empowered, the male, who for so long sat upon his jungle throne is now confused about his place. His position has been questioned; he faces not only the potential of being usurped by the younger more agile male but also by the new breed of super-powered ego-toting female. Between Sex and the City and David Beckham, we have lost our way.

What Women Want? The three W’s, aside from being an awful film starring Mel Gibson, is an extremely pertinent question for the modern male. Ronaldo and Beckham have made us increasingly self-aware. Body Dysmorphia is now a huge problem for us blokes. Hearing women swoon over Beckham’s carefully cultivated stubble and expensive clothes gives us a complex. But is this what women want? We are supposed to now fit the bill of a) eye-candy b) protector and so on. Simply put expectation and reality have smashed together leaving an undefined hole that desperately needs filling. Unfortunately women are no closer to defining what they want from a modern man which only adds to the uncertainty. Suddenly looking down in the shower seems a much simpler problem.

Darwin said that only the strong survive. He used this term to describe a species’ ability to survive. It also perfectly described the role of the alpha-male-survival of the strongest, the most confident. Our modern male does not exist in such a well structured, organised world. All you have to do is watch an episode of monkey planet to realise the importance of such a figure-head. Disputes are resolved, trouble makers are cast out. Society trundles along as easily and smoothly as a Diesel Golf.

Society has done a good job of ostracizing the alpha-male. We didn’t want him, we didn’t need him. Yet never has society been in such a precarious position. We are desperate for control, for discipline, for organisation. We are crying out for the triumphant return of the king.

Last year I joined a gym of considerable commercial reputation, a multi-million pound franchise with almost god-like cogency. The sight that hit me on my first visit was harrowing. Everywhere I looked I was greeted with the distinct brands of Top Man and AllSaints. Preening young men pumped full of creatine jostled for mirror space. Sweat was deemed a weakness, not because it indicated exhaustion or a quality workout but instead because it ruined the appearance. People wore woolly hats in the summer simply for the sake of looking trendy. I was sucked in…big time!

The turning point came two months and £70 later. After being subjected to a discussion about self-tanning products while I sat angrily waiting to use a bench, I realised that I had never had this problem at my old gym. I was out of pocket and had in fact, spent a fortune on vests and lifting gloves in a vain attempt to keep up with the trends. I yearned for my old gym and my ‘knuckle head’ buddies. The smell of hard work, effort and achievement is lost in these new gyms. Your hard earned cash is swallowed up and the dizzying array of lycra, spandex and sandles puts you into a nose-dive of confusion and disillusion. As well as this my work-outs had decreased by a staggering thirty minutes because I simply could not cope with having to fight over equipment.

So give me the alpha-male gym every time. As I walked back through the crumbling doors and paid my £75 yearly membership I can breathe a huge sigh of relief. There is no need to pretend in places like this. I work to build my strength and endurance and am supported by like-minded people who happily offer to spot me and give me advice on lifting techniques and fat burning. Sure it’s not perfect and the whiff of steroids may not be far away. But give me a spit and sawdust gym anytime. I find the alpha male a far more affable kind of chap than one who knows what discount brands of fake tan are available at Boots.

Love, peace and testosterone

hungry4fitness@hotmail.co.uk

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