Miss Alpha married Mister Gama. Gama then tried to destroy Alpha — for her alpha-ness showed up his gamma-ness. Alpha relented; turned Beta even as Gama turned Charlie, the bully. And wherever Beta would go, Charlie would not be far behind. Beta had a loathsome lamb that fleeced her of all she was. Until the scales fell down, and Charlie broke his crown, and Beta never came tumbling after...
Well, she regained her Alpha.
The alpha woman, Scarlet, in her mind is a man. Don’t go by the gender, I imply, merely the societal connotation. Scarlet’s a doer, a provider, a problem-solver, a rock. All black and white with no shades of gray. And yet she’s soft and feminine and homey and warm and beguiling. She’s woman all right but her stereotype is, Scarlet, not woman.
Illustration / Amit Bandre
Scarlet over-simplifies everything. Has a penchant for the difficult. And “can deal with it” — whatever it is that life throws her way. That womanly refuge in guile? Scarlet passes the opportunity. Ironically, her sparkle, more often than not, evokes baser emotions. Alpha men view her as a challenge. Weak men as conquest. Women? Can’t quite decide what it is they find most spiteful. The body. The sangfroid. The success. The men?
I call it the curse of the confident woman. Whether that means that one attracts not alpha but gamma males. This at play. At work it implies war. Alpha, beta, gamma and zeta men despise you. Your corner cabin, your leadership, your can-do, your deliverability and your boss’s assessment of you. You are a threat. And you aren’t a man.
Meanwhile, at play… Alpha men are so (in)secure in their alphadom they merely want a trim, a pink lace, and no more. It’s not that they seek a bimbette. No. They only don’t seek an equal. Hercules as they see themselves — to share their burden is sacrilege. They’d rather add to it.
Men love dependents. It makes them feel relevant. Needed? They’ll applaud Scarlet but take home Savitri. The surprise comes much later when Scarlet, who they dismissed a challenge, pati-devs her man (most often a Charlie) even as Savitri gives them the Johnny-come-lately.
I love Savitris — they manipulate their men so supremely he goes through life believing he is the manipulator. Tch-tching her dependence. Rescuing her even as Savitri lives in an I-world. Masking her self-indulgent existence behind her lost-lamb façade. Not the preserve of Scarlet. Her swan song is the contrarian. No womanly subterfuge to have you man the post. If Scarlet’s your woman you desire her. Lean on her. And her independence only endears her.
For to bat those eyelids and whine, “I can’t” is not her wont. She cannot, I can’t. Rather, throw anything her way and she’ll take it. Fix it. Run with it. A tough year? A tough situation? A tough marriage? A tough boss ... a somebody who’d rather that she’s a nobody? Wrap ‘em up. She’ll take ‘em home. Not because she’s a martyr. No! Because her sparkle is not partial to good tidings. Because she embraces life’s duality. With equanimity. With grace. With triumph.
Also, wherewithal. For even as she takes it all in, she knows when to throw it out. For when the cup brimmeth it’s a shake of the feathers. And flight... Never pouting never demanding never blaming. But then, ask and you shall get is the way of the world. Simply, as when asked, then duly noted and a favour bestowed. And relationships are all transactional... But not for Scarlet. Let Savitri pip her to the post every time Scarlet wont abandon Scarlet.
Is she not like the Alpha man then? Seeking but a fancy frill, a trophy, to further her legend. Arrogance and need for control condemning her alone? I would’ve deemed this the curse had a certain Scarlet not confided in me lately ... “Give me a man,” said she, “and I wont man-up.”
Scarlet’s in love. Finally, as she puts it, with a man. A Hercules who does not seek relevance in dependence. An Alpha who basks in his woman’s individuality. A man best described as … man. For isn’t that the ultimate adjective? “Dump the Charlies,” said Scarlet with trademark ebullience. “Opposites do not attract. They stagnate if not separate. Like blooms like.” And here she paused, a warm glow overtaking her flutter. “With him, I’m woman for the first time.”
PS: Pip a Savitri. Get yourself an Alpha. Be woman.
Nupur Mahajan is a sum of many parts. Ideas are her business even as her creative streak sees her straddle television, advertising, publishing, radio and brands. Reach her at email@example.com.
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.