November 30, 2014 / Dealing with Alpha Females
They do exist. Here's how you handle them.
But have you ever met an "alpha female?" I have. And I remember my first encounter with one very vividly. Her name was Vanessa, and this is her story.
Let me take you back to 2007. Young Trent is toiling away at a cubicle at his first job after college. He’s been there for two years, and his actual job mostly sucks, but he likes his co-workers. They’re mostly guys, but there are a few females in his department.
One of those female co-workers wanted to set me up with one of her friends — the aforementioned Vanessa. My co-worker showed me pictures of Vanessa on Facebook. Vanessa would have easily been the most attractive girl I had ever dated.
Of course, I wasn’t just going to blurt that out to my co-worker. "Yeah, she’s cute."
"She’ll be at my birthday party this weekend. You coming? You can meet her then."
"Cool. I’ll be there." I wasn’t getting my hopes up. I appreciated my co-workers attempt to set me up, but in my experience girls were usually pretty bad about matching up their friends. And although Josh would have smacked me if I admitted it, I doubted girls that attractive wanted anything to do with me anyway.
Later on that week I got an IM from my co-worker. "Hey Trent — just showed Vanessa your Facebook page. She thinks you are SUPER CUTE and is excited to meet you! You better be there tomorrow!"
Okay, maybe I’d get my hopes up a little bit.
So Far, So Good…
I went to my co-worker’s party with a swagger. I was gonna meet Vanessa, and I already knew she was attracted to me. All I had to do was not screw it up.
As soon as I walked in, my co-worker shrieked and nearly jumped me. "Josh, you’re here! Let me introduce you!"
Vanessa was at the bar talking to some guy. I noticed her talking very animatedly and then laughing, while the guy just sort of nodded. Normally when you see something like that, you assume the girl is babbling about something boring, and the guy is just pretending to pay attention and tolerate that boredom. Except this guy didn’t look bored at all. He wasn’t talking much, but he definitely wasn’t bored.
Our co-worker launched into their conversation and introduced me to Vanessa. Vanessa turned to me and smiled and we greeted each other. She had a great smile.
I looked over at the guy she was talking to, except he was gone. I had been expecting to battle him over Vanessa’s attention, but he had used the interruption to excuse himself from the conversation. Man, this was going to be easier than I thought.
After introducing us, my co-worker disappeared. It was just us. I noticed Vanessa already had a drink, so I asked what she ordered.
"It’s a Laphroaig. You should get one!"
Laphroaig: Gaelic for "You’re Overcompensating"
Well, this was a first. I had barely heard of the word "Laphroaig" before. Remember, this is 2007. We’re in a pre-Don Draper era. Hell, we’re in a pre-Ron Swanson era. The only Ron I had ever seen drink scotch was Ron Burgundy.
So the idea that a girl in her mid-20s would order a single-malt scotch at a bar blew my mind. It also made me reconsider the drink I was about to order. How lame was I going to look if I order a vodka tonic while she’s drinking some motherfucking scotch?
I flagged down the bartender, who seemed like an older guy. I gestured to Vanessa’s drink and said, "I’ll have what she’s having." You can guess why I wanted to try avoiding pronouncing "Laphroaig."
Unfortunately, the conversation only went downhill from there.
- Bartender: "What was that again? Laphroaig?"
- Me: "Um. Yes."
- Bartender: "10 or 18?"
- Me: "What? I just want one drink."
- Bartender: "No, Laphroaig aged TEN years or EIGHTEEN years. We have both."
- Me: "Oh. Um. Ten."
- Bartender: "Neat?"
- Me: "Yep."
- Bartender: "You want it neat?"
- Me: "Oh. Yes."
No, I didn’t want it neat, but I didn’t know "neat" meant "with no ice" and I was too scared of looking stupid in front of Vanessa to ask. If you’re drinking scotch for the first time, and it’s a Laphroaig, do not get it neat. Laphroaig’s taste is described as "smoky" and "bold," which means most first-time scotch drinkers will think it tastes like someone grinded up cigar ash into a glass and added a splash of gasoline.
I tried my best not to wince every time I took a sip of that drink. I hoped Vanessa didn’t notice, but she probably did.
That’s Quite a Resume, Young Lady
So, Vanessa knew more about scotch than most guys. That was impressive. As we got to talking, I realized that wasn’t the only thing impressive about her. As I recall, her life accomplishments included but were not limited to the following:
- She had gotten a joint undergrad-MBA degree at her very selective college.
- She was an associate at a private equity firm.
- She spoke both Spanish and Italian.
- She owned a condo in the city we lived in.
- She had been all-state high school or something in basketball.
- She was the lead singer in an 80s cover band.
She wasn’t arrogant or conceited when she told me these things. She actually seemed very humble and down-to-earth. A humble and down-to-earth, gorgeous, intelligent, and accomplished woman in her mid-twenties.
My mind wandered back to that guy who was talking to her before I showed up. And then it hit me. The expression on his face wasn’t boredom. The expression was intimidated. He was intimidated by Vanessa. Which is why he took the interruption as an opportunity to vanish.
And I realized I felt like doing the same thing.
Alpha Females: They’re Better Than You
This was a new feeling to me. I knew what it was like to deal with "this girl is out of my league" feelings. But this was literally, I am an inferior homo sapien to this person. I could not think of a single way to DHV. Vanessa was smarter, made more money, was more wordly, and was more creative and talented. I was just some guy who couldn’t even pronounce the goddamn word Laphroaig.
Vanessa was a High Value Female, also known as an "alpha girl." So they’re immune to DHV, which means whatever methods you typically use to build attraction are useless. And if you’re like Young Trent, you basically just talk to them, alternately feeling in awe of them and self-loathing of yourself, and end the night making no moves or anything suggestive of sexual interest. Which is exactly what happened.
However, the reason why I’m telling this story is because I was fortunate enough to get some insight from my co-worker. She sent me an IM that next week.
- Her: "So, you have some explaining to do."
- Me: "What do you mean?"
- Her: "You spent all that time talking to Vanessa and you didn’t even get her number?"
- Me: "I mean, don’t be offended, she’s really cool, I just didn’t think she was that into me."
- Her: "Jesus. You’re an idiot."
- Me: "What?"
- Her: "Do you really think someone like her would waste her time talking to you if she wasn’t interested?"
- Me: "Well. I guess not. But seriously, what the hell do I have to offer her? She needs to date, like, Bruce Wayne or something, not me."
- Her: "Well, she liked you. And I thought you’d be a good match because you’re the only guy I knew who I thought may have been confident enough to date her. Why do you think I even suggested this?"
- Me: "Oh."
You Have Competition, and It’s Not Her
Yes, Vanessa was basically better at everything than me. That made me think I was incapable of DHV. How can I demonstrate value when it’s inferior to her own accomplishments?
But high value is not relative to the woman, but relative to the men who you’re competing against for her attraction.
I was confident enough to feel like a woman would be attracted to me over most other guys. So why should Vanessa make me feel any different? I’m still competing against those same guys! She’ll be judging my value compared to their value, not her own.
Once I realized this, these other observations fell into place:
She’s Insecure In Her Own Way
Vanessa made it very clear before we even met that she was interested in me. As my co-worker said, why would she waste her time talking to guys she’s not interested in? She doesn’t need the attention or validation from guys. She’s got shit to do.
Which is why any IOIs these alpha females give will probably be very direct and to the point. They’re not unaware they intimidate guys, but this isn’t something they consider a good thing. So they’ll get straight to the point, like Vanessa did. A lot of girls would say to my co-worker, "no, don’t tell him I think he’s cute, that’s so embarrassing!" They’re worried about putting themselves out there, and having a guy not reciprocate the feeling. But this isn’t something alpha females are worried about, because the alternative to "not putting yourself out there" is "guys assuming you’re out of their league" and never talking to anyone.
You Can Still Disqualify
There are men who meet alpha females and overcompensate with the negging. Don’t do this. It’s going to be grossly transparent, and anything you say will probably be something she’s heard before from other insecure boyfriends in her past.
But that doesn’t mean just stand there in awe of her. Alpha females aren’t common, which means there are several things you can still point out to keep her on her toes. In Vanessa’s case, here were a couple examples:
- "Well, you definitely don’t look like any other scotch drinkers I know."
- "Can you dunk? Dammit. That’s really a deal-breaker for me, sorry."
- "If your band doesn’t play at least two Guns ‘N Roses songs every gig, you’re fired."
Fake It Till You… Become Bruce Wayne
Attracting and escalating with an alpha female is only the beginning. If you hit it off, you may be in the position of dating her or even developing an LTR.
This will probably lead to an inversion of some gender dynamics that you may not be used to. And this will possibly make you feel even more insecure. In the short-term, the only thing you can do is fake feeling secure. Because otherwise the relationship will evolve into a shitty one where you either withdraw or put her down because you can’t deal.
In the long-term, if you’re dating an alpha female, it’s still critically important to carve your own space as an alpha male in the relationship. This still doesn’t mean "competing" with her, but it does mean establishing your own strengths in your life and in the relationship.