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Why Wanting to Be an “Alpha Male” is Problematic


This week’s installment of our advice column ¡Hola Papi! tackles one eager reader’s questions on dominance and power.

Welcome to !Hola Papi!, the advice column where John Paul Brammer helps people work through their anxieties, fears, and life's queerest questions. If you need advice, send him a question at

!Hola Papi!

Here are my queer questions. I'm a top, but I would like to become a more dominant top, an alpha male. What should I do to become one? My second question: When I'm In a place to meet new guys, they rarely make the first move. I usually have to do it myself. I don't know why. Please answer my two questions!


Sent from Samsung tablet

Hi Vince,

OK, I love everything about this.

I love that you signed off on this letter as "Vince." I love that you drafted and sent these questions from a Samsung tablet. I love that you sent two questions instead of one, and punctuated them with "please answer my two questions!" I love that your two questions are only vaguely related. I read them in a Tommy Wiseau voice.

Ordinarily, I'd strongly disapprove of the language you've employed here. This whole "alpha male" vs. "beta male" thing is so... Trumpy to me. What, do you want to talk about cucks next? You do know you're gay, right? Like, equal rights or whatever, but I've never understood the point of gay men trying so hard to be "alpha males" when the straight men you want to be so badly will never see you that way, no matter how Chad-adjacent you manage to become.

But I'm not going to lie. Your prose has disarmed me, Vince, and I find myself rooting for you and your Samsung tablet in your quest to become the most dominant top that ever topped. I think I'd watch an anime starring you and your robot sidekick (the tablet) on your journey towards becoming king of the alphas. Who are the tops you'll have to defeat on your way there? Christopher Meloni? Rachel Weisz? I'm invested.

As for why guys rarely make the first move with you: I mean, why does that matter? Does this not kind of directly contradict your goals? Shouldn't you, as the Alpha(tm), be the one making all the first moves? Are you a Dom Top that wants to be wooed? There are so many layers to you, Vince. I always knew I'd meet my husband off this column from a letter he wrote me. I'm starting to believe you're him.

Our nuptials aside, I do have a job to do here, and I'm sorry to report that your desire for alpha-hood might indicate some deep-seated issues on your part that you should probably take seriously if you want to lead a more fulfilling life. Studies have shown that men who internalize hypermasculine ideals are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, body issues, substance abuse, and difficulty in forming meaningful relationships. It makes sense, considering the ridiculous standards it asks you to reach.

As for this beta's cents, I think the desire to be "alpha" is just expressing a desire for control over an inherently uncontrollable reality. You want to control the women (or, in your case, men) around you. You want to command respect and you want the world to bow to your whims because of your innate superiority. I guess that'd be nice, but it doesn't work that way. The truth is you can't control other people or their reactions to you any more than you can control the passing of time or the fact that your body is decomposing or the grim reality that Mel and Sue are no longer co-hostingThe Great British Bake Off. It's all beyond you.

To sum it up, I think you and other aspiring alpha males are scared, Vince. Which is OK. That's the existential norm. But dude, this is a weird, unhealthy way to deal with it. I've found this helpful list of apps you can download for your Samsung tablet that might provide you with better outlets for your angst. There's a couple artistic apps in there that let you draw, as well as WordPress which is a great place to start a blog and put your feelings out there.

We're rooting for you, Vince! Be safe out there.


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