The Secret Lives of Alpha Males
From my book How to Be Cross Eyed: Thriving Despite Your Physical Imperfection — a mémoire and lifehacking manifesto
If you spend much time around the red pill sphere on the internet you hear A LOT about Alpha Males and being alpha instead of beta. I’m not going to delve deeply into the theoretical discussion of alpha vs beta males, I don’t totally understand the subject and I suspect most of the people arguing so virulently about it online don’t either. I suspect real alpha males don’t spend much time arguing with strangers online. What I will do is tell you what I’ve learned from alpha males…
This is a guy I’ve known for about 7 years — he’s consistently been really alpha and he pays a high price for it.
Steven was one of the first clients that ever hired me as I began my career as a web developer. He was like 29 or 30, he paid me $500 to start working on a website, a few days later I met him downtown, he picked me up in this beautiful black Range Rover with giant stylish rims and we drove to his mansion to work together for the day in his home office designing a new website he envisioned adding to his online empire. He had one of the coolest big houses I’ve ever been in. It had a great room of a living room that opened up onto a spacious deck with views of the mountains. It had this awesome movie theater in the basement with a cool fireplace. I think he told me that he was paying like $6000 a month for it.
He mentioned that his girlfriend was coming over. Apparently she was a cocktail waitress at one of the hot nightclubs in town, they had met when he was getting bottle service there and started dating. A cute young lady arrived, bringing a potted plant that she thought would add to the majesty of Steven’s castle. As the working day drew to a close Steven suggested that we get dinner so I packed up my laptop and the three of us rolled out in Steven’s black chariot. As we were driving his girlfriend started complaining and bitching about some trivial matter, which escalated into quite the lover’s quarrel. Steven was not apologizing and not conceding an inch as his lady grew more hysterical about… I don’t really know. Their argument reached a crescendo when she cried Steven I’m pregnant! as an excuse for her dramatic behavior. Wow. He acknowledged it but she continued to being dramatic, so he pulled that regal SUV over to the side of the street and tersely commanded Get out. She responded, Steven I’m pregnant with your child and you’re going to leave me here on the side of the street! He wasn't putting up with her dramatic antics. After a few more minutes. They seemed to reach a truce there that he wouldn’t abandon her by the side of the road and she would be a bit more pleasant. But after not long she started to whine and nag again. This time he announced that he was dropping her off at her parents’ house, she had lost her dining privileges. We made a bit of a detour from our dinner destination and deposited her in front of her parents’ place. Clearly Steven had unbending standards and wouldn’t accept bad behavior from his woman, even if she was pregnant and it meant leaving her by the side of the road. I asked about the pregnancy and he responded that he intended to get it aborted and his frustration about having to spend $900 on an abortion, AGAIN — apparently this wasn't the first time Steven had to spend $900 this way. And that’s one of the things I’ve learned about alpha males, real alpha males have to deal pregnancies more often than they would like. Fertile young women seek real alpha males and try to get pregnant. Then the alphas have to deal with the pregnancies one way or another.
A few years later Steven’s fortunes seemed to be waning. His Range Rover broke down and he lost that house, he had some drama with his landlord and moved out. A few years later the IT business that had initially made him so much money had declined and Steven got into a totally different business, a shadier business but not anything really illegal or criminal. One night some really bad guys came into his operation and beat him up badly and robbed them. They broke Steven’s leg and he lost so much blood that he almost died. For the next 6 months Steven was hobbling around on crutches. He got out of that shady business, the entrepreneurial glint returned to his eyes and he hired me to start build another website for another big idea he had. But this too would fail, Steven’s partner was this kind of dodgy character, that to me seemed to belong in a gangster movie, apparently he stole a car and screwed Steven over royally.
On a losing streak in Denver Steven decided that a major change of scenery was due and headed to tropical Costa Rica. Though nowhere near as disastrous, things were not going great for me either, everything about my life was pretty stagnant there in Denver. I skyped with Steven, he was livin’ la vida Pura Vida down there, speaking Spanish, surfing, socializing, and of course engrossed in a new entrepreneurial project. It didn’t take much convincing, I bought a flight to join Steven in Costa Rica.
We became roommates more or less for several months at this lodge that an older American guy operated. Our ostensible purpose for being there in Costa Rica was to save money over the high cost of living in Denver and focus on building our online businesses but honestly we were just partying; partaking of all the intoxicating cheap thrills on offer at a lively surf town. Every Friday night we would go to this rowdy beach bar for boozy nights spent mingling with other foreigners, tourists and the assortment of shady local characters, I remember one time Steven picked up this American girl, they spent the night together fucking and doing blow but after a few days Steven was bored with her. It turned out she was homeless more or less, one of the those gringos that just wanders aimlessly through latin america making questionable decisions. After a few days we dropped her back off at the bar we found her.
But Steven was not unproductive, he continued building a vacation rental website that would first compete with, then partner with and eventually be acquired by AirBNB. Hard work and persistence through all those ups and downs finally paid off; a few years ago he became a bonafide millionaire.
For the entire time I’ve known Steven he’s been an adrenalin and extreme sports junkie; Surfing in Bali, snow boarding in Vail, fast cars and motorcycles — you get the idea. The women, the booze, the drugs, the travel and even the 7 figure paydays aren’t enough to keep Steven entertained. His risk prone nature inspires him to recreationally flirt with even death.
Steven oddly chose to visit Russia during the winter time once and lived in a fabulous flat in Moscow. He seemed to be really enjoying the vodka and the devushkas. But then he had a close call with the Russian mafia, I don’t know the story completely but I think one of the girls he was messing around with stole his passport and then some criminals used it to extort him for cash and threatened him. Apparently he had to disguise himself at one point to get away from the mafia and make a rather cinematic exit from the country.
Having made a Bond-like escape of villains in Russia things were finally looking up for Steven. He was dating this gorgeous Colombian girl he had met in Miami, who he spoiled with the profits of his recent seven figure exit. They jetted off on a whirlwind global tour of fabulous destinations. He posted an obnoxious amount of Facebook photos of their celebrity-esque life together in Dubai, New York, Barcelona, Rome, etc. Then something odd happened, he and his novia returned to her native Medellín, Colombia together and she ghosted him. She blocked him on all social media. Changed her number and seemed to be totally disinterested in him. He called me a bit distraught at the unexpected breakup, I think I talked him out of this rather silly plan that he had to have a modeling agency contact her on his behalf secretly and book a modeling photo shoot. Then he’d confront her at the modeling shoot and find out why she had so heartlessly cut him off.
I guess that’s what you get for spending a small fortune fulfilling the globe trotting fantasies of a 22 year old aspiring Instagram queen. A more red pill aware man with a bit more common sense might say…
Don’t spoil a girl like that. If you treat girls that well, set their standards for stimulation that high and then return them to the mundanity of their home life, you’ve earned her disloyalty!
Steven is now doing something in the cryptocurrency business, likely enjoying the company of exotic young women and hopefully staying out of trouble.
It may sound like Steven is a total degenerate, a Wolf of Wall Street type of character BUT actually he had incredible powers of focus. He would have his hedonistic episodes but then he would work hard. And he was actually sober a lot of the time — without the intermittent 30, 60 or 90 day periods of sobriety that he would commit to he would probably still be just another gringo wasting their life away in Costa Rica chasing girls, surfing, getting sunburnt, drinking cheap beer and snorting products of Colombian origin.
He showed me that real alpha males really do live like kings but they pay a crazy high cost in stress, headaches and drama.
Dan was my best friend for 4 years, towards the end of that time it became increasingly evident that he was a non-violent, high functioning psychopath.
Dan was on the path to become a doctor, he was incredibly hard working and more devoted to his studies than any other college student I’ve ever known. Dan at any given time had at least one woman intensely in love with him, he had to pay for abortions at least 3 times that he told me about. To this day he remains the most charming person I have ever met.
Dan partied; he loved nightclubs, bottle service, cocaine and occasionally smoking crystal meth. He had a contagious ability to energize any room. Dan had a disturbing amount of confidence in his ability to drive drunk, he would, barely able to walk, drive his truck aggressively all the way across town. I remember watching Dan getting caught with cocaine in a nightclub bathroom and then proceeding to successfully convince the police that it was not his. He had an uncanny talent for getting drugs for free from gay guys, I remember several nights, going to hang out in seedy apartments so he could score drugs for free.
The only other passion that matched his appetite for intoxicants was his religiosity. He came from a deeply religious Mormon family (who I knew well, they were some of the classiest, most generous people I’ve ever known). Sometimes in a drunken fervor he would explain to me how he was one day going to become a god of his own earth (this is part of the Mormon religion).
When I decided to enter the entertainment business at age 21 by organizing my first concert Dan was my partner. The last time I saw Dan he actually walked in on me having sex with a woman I had just met who had been admiring the brand new Maserati I was driving.
Most Insane Moment
Dan once stole and took on a joyride a tuner fast and furious sports car during a house party. When he returned the car’s owner, drunk on tequila, ripped him out of the drivers seat and beat him up. Dan then hid in a room in the house with some girls while I tried to convince the car’s owner not to kill him.
A friend of mine lived fast and died young. Patrick was a real dichotomy of inner demons, vices, insanity and redeeming features, work ethic, competitiveness, creativity, masterful persuasive ability and ambition.
We were business partners, roommates and at times rivals. I learned a lot from him.
His body was found in his vehicle in Florida, it was a non-violent death. He was not in imminent danger of death from a chronic illness so when it happened everyone was really surprised — but not me. I saw this day coming for him over half a decade ago and I became even more certain of it just a few years ago.
About 10 years ago we were doing what everyone who knew us will probably remember us for: partying at a nightclub. That night we were rolling in a brand new Maserati (that the company we worked for had insanely bought) as the ladies night crowd was spilling out of the entrance of the lounge, Patrick illegally parked the Italian beast of a car in front. An attractive older woman posed with the car and Patrick invited her to sit in the red leather racing seats for a photo. The car was idling and Patrick encouraged the woman to rev the engine, the exhaust snarled like an angry cat, making quite the scene. At that moment a cop approached, assumed the car was the woman’s, closed the car door for her and ordered her to move the car, which she promptly did. Me and Patrick were dismayed to see this woman who’s name we didn’t even know drive off into the night with the $125,000 car. Luckily she just drove around the corner and parked the car, we ran after her and got our car back. Patrick invited her to after party with us and 3 other totally random girls in a yellow car followed us back to our friend’s apartment nearby — these sorts of things happen with a car that costs as much as a house. Back at the apartment me and the woman ended up in a bedroom and started having sex. I kept hearing the others rudely peaking in at us, finally balls deep Patrick and my other friend burst into the bedroom, cheering me on. I promptly withdrew and kicked my friends out.
Another crazy night with Patrick did not result in such a desirable climax. We had been drinking vodka all night from a friend’s bottle service table in a nightclub. Patrick had foolishly driven his pimped out Honda Accord to the club. Leaving the clubbing district Patrick decided to get cigarettes and pulled into a yellow-taped off gas station. As he pulled into a parking spot, several security guards (or cops, I’m not sure) approached our car. Patrick freaked out and screeched out of the spot, as he did the men broke out three windows of our car with batons. As he peeled out of the gas station he clipped a girl’s Jetta’s bumper. A couple of guys in a white Jeep took up hot pursuit of us, we raced around downtown running red lights trying to get away from them. The two vigilantes pursued us on the freeway for about 25 minutes. Eventually we lost them by taking an off ramp and killing our lights.
He had serious legal troubles the entire time I knew him. I remember once when we were business partners receiving a frantic phone call from him that he was being pulled over by the cops and expected to be thrown in jail for an uncertain period of time. Imagine my surprise when he walked in the front door of our apartment that evening with a cute black girl, it had turned out he convinced the judge to let him out of jail and had managed to pull this girl who was being released at the same time. Who picks up a girl from jail?
After too many episodes of his insanity and impulsiveness, I made the decision to end our business partnership.
He was very cruel to me. He was just ruthless about pointing out and mocking my faults and weaknesses during our business partnership and time as roommates. Which by the way is super bad idea, never move-in with your business partners, as convenient as it may seem, it’s not worth the ongoing disturbance in domestic tranquility.
Whenever people ask me about business partners, my response is that it’s almost never worth it, giving another person 50% of the earnings of your business forever. I wouldn’t even consider it unless the business partner was going to 10X the earnings of the business and even then there’s probably some way to structure it as a strategic or affiliate partnership instead of a marriage of business.
He was better at almost everything that mattered in the business than me, and he let me know it with yelling and constant pressure which was super stressful but at the same time gave me serious impetus to improve.
Being on the receiving end of the Steve Jobs style of constant negative feedback management, for my personality at least, made me better.
It became an increasingly abusive relationship (the one genuinely abusive relationship I’ve had in my life) and one night I had a dream that I killed him with a knife and that was a clear sign that I needed to move on whatever the cost.
We were kind of going in different directions anyways with the business so I just signed over my ownership of the company to him. Making sure to spill no ink on a non-compete agreement.
He ended up being more successful than me, going on to own a nightclub and live in a nicer condo than me. While my competitive side was naturally a bit bitter that my ex-business partner was so successful, mostly I was happy for him and we got along pretty well for being ex-business partners. We actually hung out from time to time, the last time I saw him in person he was test driving a brand new BMW sports sedan, which we raced through the winding roads of the Colorado Rockies.
From the moment we split up, I had the odd thought that… I would ultimately end up more successful because I would outlive him.
Stress vs Vice.
This guy was a case study of exactly how a high performance Entrepreneur should not manage their stress.
- He drank A LOT. About once a week he would get really drunk.
- He smoked cigarettes voraciously.
- He had a pretty consistent cocaine habit that was moderate most of the time but occasionally he would get really crazy. Nose bleeds would ensue.
- His diet was just whatever was convenient and easy.
- He would yoyo between intense workaholism interspersed with periods of over the top hedonism.
- He would yell quite a bit. A lot of great Entrepreneurs seem to channel their anger into productivity, which he definitely did but he also just had a lot of excess rage.
A few years ago I wrote a letter of recommendation to a judge who was presiding over one of his cases urging that Patrick do a mindfulness practice. I don’t think he ever took my advice.
The Desirability of Insanity.
He was a natural seducer who almost always had a main girlfriend and a side chick (or two or three!)
In pop psychology you hear these platitudes about women being naturally attracted to bad boys just because they are confident. Spending so much time around Patrick disabused me of this notion; (many) women deeply crave insanity, they masochistically desire the emotional roller coaster. He dated a lot of strippers and nightclub cocktail waitresses but also some pretty classy, more professional women who were equally indulgent of his bad behavior.
Patrick proved that you can get away with doing the most depraved things to a woman, as long as you do not bore her.
He was very conscious of the tremendous liability that his vices were to his success in business; he would quit booze and cigarettes for weeks at a time but they would call him back.
Like many naturally attractive men his real weakness was women; his self destructive benders were almost always a result of his chasing the skirts that really wanted to party. Hard to stay sober when you’re surrounded by women who want to party.
On Male Invincibility.
There’s a self destructive certainty with the male personality type that is highly competent and really impulsively hedonistic. He’ll get himself into a world of trouble and pain because of bad decisions made pursuing momentary pleasure but at the same time he’s so competent at making money and has the social capital that he can always pay the cost for his bad decisions. Despite their bad decisions, life keeps rewarding them; which is insidiously deceptive to the male ego; he will convince himself that he’s bulletproof and that the regular rules of society don’t apply to him.
A less competent man will eventually hit rock bottom because of bad decisions, recognize their inability to make good decisions in a crucial life area and get help; figure out how to outsource their decision making in a particular domain.
For example; I smoked for about 5 years, a very attractive woman gave me the initial motivation to quit; not by supporting me but by rejecting me. A mutual lady friend of mine had for weeks been telling her friend, a very attractive Korean-American girl all about me and she was, according to my friend, quite interested.
Our mutual friend set up a night out at a club for all of us; we hit it off royally and had really sexy chemistry on the dance floor.
Unfortunately she saw me sneaking a few puffs of a cigarette outside. I remember this really disappointed look in her face and the night ended with a kiss on the cheek and she was pretty unresponsive to my follow up calls and texts.
If I were a more attractive man — a more competent seducer — maybe she would have put up with my nasty habit, as many women do, but I wasn’t.
Because of my incompetence, in my mind I framed it that my bad habit of smoking had cost me the opportunity of having a super cute Korean girlfriend. Which was all the motivation I needed to quit smoking; come to think of it that was really the turning point in my mid 20’s that led to me developing a real passion for healthy living.
When I became more certain that he was going to die was when he started spending time in Latin America. He had a nice place in San Jose, Costa Rica.
I lived in Latin America for about 3 years and I have great love for that culture but those countries are very bad places for those with impulsive personalities…
Latin American cultures are all about the hedonistic imperative; you’re expected to party with total abandon and all bad decisions made while under the influence are forgivable. If you have a normal social life in a Latin American country you will be a functional alcoholic.
In my time in Latin America I knew a couple of people that simply partied so hard they ended up in the ground. So when I saw Patrick traveling there frequently, I thought to myself; he’s probably going to die.
Now we all have influences which are like people whose books we read or gurus whose who teachings we follow but this is just scratching the surface. For comparison:
If you are really interested in a country…
- You can read its entire Wikipedia page
- You can watch a bunch of Youtube videos about it
- You could study its language
- You could even use social networking websites to meet and chat with people there.
But you really won’t know the country the way you would if you actually went there. Not even close.
- Living in the country you’ll discover that the headlines about it misrepresent it.
- You’ll stumble upon cultural idiosyncrasies.
- You’ll identify the modicum of truth in the stereotypes.
- You’ll observe very subtle ways that things are done there that are profoundly foolish or wise.
Similarly, in personal development, I think there’s great instructional value in having people in our lives that really get results by doing things counter intuitively and that’s what Patrick was for me. He broke all the pop psychology and self help rules yet still got laid and got paid like crazy because he was what’s called a dark triad man and he was unapologetically self interested.
The educational institutions…
And the self help books…
Don’t tell you that being self interested gets results; especially brazen, declared self interest. You really don’t want to be shy about it. In modern society where we are so smothered with fake altruism, moral self aggrandizement and virtue signaling, honest self interest is very attractive.
However, looking at his wake of destruction — business partnerships torn asunder, heart broken women, wrecked cars, broken bottles, aborted pregnancies, breached contracts and legal cases — he obviously took it to far. He pushed self interest well over the line of what’s ethical and decent into the territory of predation and brutality.
I don’t know specifically how he died. His parents have not yet released those details, I don’t know if they ever will but I think it’s pretty safe to assume that his propensity for vice is mostly to blame.
Your 30’s is when your habits start catching up with you. Throughout your 20’s can succumb to vice daily, you can drink and chase girls all night long, every night and you’ll look and feel about the same.
Or you can choose the hustle, channel all that youthful vigor into your work, spending your nights and weekends slaving away on the computer or telephone building something meaningful and (unless you get really lucky) you won’t be that much more well off than your peers who work 40 hour weeks and spend their weekends blowing their paychecks at the bar.
But in the fourth decade is when our decisions really start adding up. That fun, party guy who didn’t practice ethical hedonism, is really starting to look like a loser compared to the person who has some savings, financial freedom and a thriving career or business.
That hot girl who used her sexual market value to ride the carousel of cosmopolitan fabulousness through her 20’s is in her 30’s really starting to wonder where all the good guys went and is profoundly discontent compared to that plain religious girl who got married at 22 and has 3 kids now.
And Patrick, he died at just about 30 years old.
In a weird way his death was satisfying to me, I’m obviously not happy he died but it relieves some cognitive dissonance I had; seeing how life rewarded him so handsomely for bad behavior. His premature expiration hints at karmic justice.
Some people’s lives are merely meant to serve as warnings to others.
Emulate the Alphas
Given my experience, if I had the choice I’d rather be reincarnated as an intelligent beta than a natural alpha because real alpha males are basically slaves to our selfish genes and often our worst and most animalistic impulses. It’s much better to observe, learn from and emulate what they do that actually works.
If you’re a natural alpha male…
Realize that you have this demon within you that you must wrangle. You can yield all that masculine energy and aggressiveness to create an amazing life for yourself or you can let your genes run your life into the ground. You can’t be lazy or cavalier, you’ll need to practice all the habits that build discipline and enable temperance.
- Alpha males do live like kings but there’s some real downside to being an alpha male; the unplanned pregnancies, the stress, the impulsive decisions and resulting drama.
- Alpha males have this penchant for risk; they love risk and they pay a high price for it.
- If alpha males can control their predilection for booze and vice they can become very successful. Consider the two sober super alpha males running the world right now; Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.
- It’s better to emulate the good qualities of alpha males than being a natural alpha male.