Friday, January 24, 2003

How To Become An Alpha Male: Lesson 9: Do The Right Thing

My Poor Alpha Male. He seems to be getting the shit kicked out of him around here. So many people are telling me he's just a selfish, egotistical, sex-obsessed, narcissistic cad. Not so, I say! Not so! You think my Alpha Male spends his day with a front-row seat at Pussy Galore's Flying Circus, saving the world from nuclear annililation, racing around in his Aston Martin, BMW and Q Boat, when he's not ducking Odd Job's razor-sharp steel-rimmed hat? No, he's got more heroic work to do -- like paying the mortgage and making sure to take out the garbage. My Alpha Male knows how to do the right thing.

Watch our hero in action. At dawn, he's waking next to his wife, or maybe not. He's endowed with that most unusual gift -- an erection -- but chances are, no matter who he's next to in bed, unless he's 17 years old, he'll get little chance to enjoy it. He's just got to get up -- not get it up, or keep it up, or get off -- his mistress is the Sony Clock Radio next to the bed and if it's anything past 7:00 am, he's already late. If he's a new dad, he's got a toddler already jumping on top of him and the slightly melancholy thought "hey, I remember when this bed wasn't a kid's trampoline!" races through his head. If he's an old dad, he's got enough worries with college bills, refinancing the house, running a meeting or making some flight to some damned place in the next hour, that it would make anyone want to crawl back under the covers. So what's he do ... don't forget he's a hero ... he drags himself out of bed and faces the day. Gotta love that guy.

At breakfast, he's doing 2nd grade math with his daughter who's braiding Barbie's hair and doesn't care much about carrying. She does light up when he scribbles the answers next to the problems and lets her copy them in her scrunchy writing in the right place. His coffee isn't the way he likes it since they've run out of half-and-half. Watch what our hero does -- does he think, SHE forgot to get half-and-half and adds one more disappointment to his list of wifely misdeeds -- NO! He looks over at her and sees she's up to her ass in alligators as well, packing lunches, writing notes to teachers, dashing for school buses. She's half dressed and not the sexy girl he married by a long shot. No, she's not Dr. Holly Goodhead, but he goes over and gives her a hug and says something terrific like, "what's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?" and tells her how great she is. Wow! This guy knows how to do the right thing. When he gets to work, he mysteriously finds three pieces of Oreo O's breakfast cereal in his briefcase.

At work he spends a good part of his day trying to dodge the bullets of getting fired, trying to climb the ladder to a promotion -- only now it's an escalator that used to go up but looks more like those endless automatic walkways in airports -- stretching flat for miles with occasional rises -- and when he's not losing heart over his own circumstances, he's called on to help other guys and gals deal with the same disturbing business terrain, which he does with good humor, courage and generosity. He's a hero after all. He gets a call from his brother-in-law mid-morning who's really in dire financial straits and against all better judgment, sends him money. He gets word of an ex-colleague who's drinking problems have taken him out -- or taken whatever life he had left after his ex-wife took everything first. It's a grizzly story, best counterbalanced by a quick trip to the Starbuck's counter to see if the blonde from Michigan is serving today. Ah, she's there. Okay, shoot him -- he likes to flirt with her -- but look at her, especially in that way too tight buttons-might-just-bust-if's-he's-lucky blouse. For goodness sakes, he IS an Alpha Male, let him think about her that way as she offers him "Whipped cream?" for his mocha.

The sunset out his office window isn't so bad. He's got a view at least. Days near an end and he's not looking forward to the evening his wife's arranged with some people he doesn't like who do nothing but put his wife down (how can she NOT notice?), tell them how much smarter THEIR kids are, and always manages to steer the conversation around to how much less they paid for their house down the street which is identical to Alpha Male's humble abode. The office seems a much more welcome place right now than home. He watches a few last guys heading out. And then that crazy new kid, Jones, comes flying in. He's such a kid, so young, but look at him. He did it. He's back with a contract from that son-of-a-bitch client -- he actually got the deal! jones is nearly falling across his desk with a high five. The rest of the guys come out of the woodwork. It's great. High fives all around and they all grab their coats. That contract deserves at least one beer at the joint down the street.

Jones is really thrilled to get his attention. And in that moment, our Alpha Male suddenly sees what power he holds. His life flashes before him -- his wife at breakfast with a sly sexy smile after he was nice to her, the mocha girl, that last turn to smile goodbye to him -- he got under her skin, he saw it, -- his brother-in-law's tone of true gratitude -- his daughter's happy smile to see him help her cheat on her homework while she braided her doll's hair -- his older, tired-out boss rolling his eyes up as Alpha Male heads out with all the young Turks to celebrate, as if to say, thanks, someone needs to do it and I'm just too beat -- and me, did you see me as you led the gang over to the bar on 6th, you passed me on the sidewalk, I gave you a quick smile and look of gratitude, because you make this world a much better place. "My hero" I whispered as you walked by, "You always do the right thing."