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With her reputation for ambition, determination and success, she can be seen by men as intriguing but intimidating; attractive yet aloof.Some of the world’s most inspiring Alphas (Oprah Winfrey, Condoleezza Rice) have yet to settle down; while many of their predecessors (Coco Chanel, Jane Austen) never did.Richard, a former journalist, is a Buddhist and artist who works from home.Denis Thatcher was arguably another Beta – though a successful businessman, he was happy to spend much of his life in Margaret’s shadow.The problem with such labels is that they are often stereotyped.Alpha females are seen as bitches; Alpha males as Lamborghini-driving James Bonds, while their Beta counterparts are weak, lily-livered wimps. Alpha women don’t have to be career women (“You might be the head of the PTA, a genius at connecting people or the organiser of a group for new mums”); nor are Beta men the type you have to settle for.Dr Sonya Rhodes, author of The Alpha Woman Meets Her Match, due out in Britain next month, says Alpha women are so unlucky in love because they’re looking in the wrong place.Instead of seeking out a testosterone-driven Alpha man to share their life, she argues, they should try pairing up with his responsible, supportive opposite: Mr Beta.
From Beyoncé to Hillary Clinton, Sheryl Sandberg to Dame Sally Davis, public life is full of strong, independent women making their mark on the worlds of entertainment, politics, business and health.“They were worried that they would have to settle for someone. In the US, women between 30 and 45 are getting married at a higher rate than women in any other age group.They’re now leaving it until they are more mature, until their career has developed and they’re in a better place to choose their partners.” There is a caveat.Rather, she warns of another group of “Omega” men – dreamers, allergic to work, needy – whom empowered women should avoid at all cost.
“None of you should have to be your boyfriend’s caretaker,” insists Dr Rhodes. Indeed, it goes against a recent study of American census data by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which found a marked rise in “like marrying like”, with 48 per cent of graduates wedding graduates in 2005, up from 25 per cent in 1960.
Alpha males, the Don Drapers and Gordon Gekkos, are a centuries-old phenomenon; whereas the Alpha female – who, crucially, embraces her Alpha status – is a relatively new breed, typified by intelligent, self-assured women at the top of their profession: think Angelina Jolie, Anna Wintour and Angela Merkel.