When your life is in transition, major transition in my case, it only stands to reason that you’d engage in some serious self-examination and self-reflection, asking yourself some hard questions.
So today I’m asking myself the question: Am I an Omega Male?
What is an Omega Male, you ask? A most appropriate and excellent question. For an answer let us turn our attention to slate.com, which has an entire article on the subject.
The short definition is that an Omega man “is having trouble being a man,” like the Ben Still character in the Noah Baumbach film Greenberg.
The Omega male ranks below the Alpha male who wants to dominate and the Beta male who just wants to get by. Omega man has opted out or given up.
This idea is not a new one. Susan Faludi addressed it in her book Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Male in 1999, which the slate.com article references. But with the recession it is apparently this trend is becoming even more, well, trendy…
The article holds up Don Draper and character from Tom Hanks war films as examples of the Masculine Ideal.
The article goes on to define subcategories of the Omega male. If I am one of these types, it is most likely the Liberal Arts Layabout, whom “…are usually failed artists of some sort, often surrounded by more successful friends and relatives.” With my MFA in Creative Writing and not a damn thing to show for it plus the fact that I’m underemployed and underpaid, working a library job that one only needs a high school education to do, it’s difficult to refute the comparison.
I’m not really refuting the comparison.In fact, I pretty much accept it, not with any pride but hopefully not with complete resignation either. The question now is can I do anything to change my status. I know I’ll never be an Alpha male, I just don’t have it in me, unless I’m playing dodge ball then I’ll kill your ass, make you eat gymnasium floor buddy. But I could at least bump up to Beta male, that would be something. Don’t you think?
Of course, one has to wonder: is an Omega male up to such a change? Or is he, by his very nature, incapable of this sort of positive change?