An interesting (because of its rarity) social hierarchy dynamic sets up when two or more established, socially proofed alpha males break bread. In this older photo, all three of the men engaged in conversation at the table are alphas. In fact, all three are super alphas when they are separated and holding court in their respective milieus.
But by the nature of male hierarchies (and the zero-sum sexual market in which such hierarchies operate), only one man in this photo can be the super alpha. The King of Kings.
Jack Nicholson. Warren Beatty. And of course The Trumpening. Two notorious womanizers, one serial monogamist with superb taste in wives. All three have been featured as topics at Le Chateau (as real life exemplars of alpha maleness, and as movie characters illustrating the behaviors of alpha males).
When one gains a view to the very highest reaches of the alpha male secret society, the distinctions that mark one alpha male as less or more alpha than another alpha male are subtle ones, indeed, but nonetheless most people will be able to perceive them, because displaying male status, and possessing the means to judge it, are universally hard-wired into humans, (the former obviously in men, the latter in both men and women).
To be sure, this photo is just a snapshot in time, but working with what we have one can make a preliminary assessment of the three men’s relative alphaness. Nicholson, cig insouciantly dangling, drink in hand, slightly disheveled, listening with a neutral expression. Beatty, speaking, pointing, head cocked jauntily, wearing sunglasses indoors, possibly looking in Jack’s direction or downwardly (hard to tell). Trump, the best-dressed of the three, turned towards Beatty and leaning into him a little, perhaps trying to hear him better, somewhat hunched posture, attentive expression, but not too emotionally invested (no smiling or raised eyebrows, etc).
Trump is not the super alpha. Not at this table, during this particular interaction. Now, today, if the three of them got back together, and given the change in their statuses from then to now, Trump would no doubt be the Kingliest of these three Kings. But not in this photo. Here he is try-hard in his efforts to not miss a word that falls from Beatty’s lips, and his body language betrays an eager earnestness to fully engage the two celebrities.
Nicholson is not the super alpha. Not during this precise moment captured in time. There’s really too little to go on to accurately assess Nicholson’s place at the table, given that he’s in a receptive pose (hearing Beatty speak) and has a mostly neutral body language and facial expression. He is leaning back in his chair, and that is usually an Indicator of Supreme Alphaness (ISA) when in the company of mere mortals, but this scenario is not a gathering of mere mortals.
Beatty, at this table at this moment, is the super alpha. Pointing while speaking is a classic alpha male tell, and doing it to two other alpha males makes it a super alpha tell. Beatty also appears not to look Nicholson or Trump in the eyes while he speaks, preferring the air in front of his face as an audience. But he points at Nicholson and sits straight in his chair, so his lack of eye contact is incongruous with his body language, which suggests an invulnerable lack of concern with either of his guests’ opinions of him.
I open the floor to competing interpretations. Spotting regular alpha males or beta males in the wild is easy; picking out the super alpha from among a crowd of alphas requires a better grasp of the contextual currents that envelop and carry along the scene.
Reader RIP Lemmy comments,
I’ll bet who was The Super Alpha went back and forth between the 3 of them.
He’s right. Check out this photo taken maybe 30 seconds before or after the photo posted above (and likely by the same photographer).
Here the reporter with the yellow legal pad is not part of the scene. None of the reporters are. The Three Alpha Men are talking among themselves. Now Trump is doing the finger pointing, while exhibiting a body language that is more self-possessed (facing forward rather than leaning in, open and dominant instead of closed and unsure). Beatty slouches a bit while watching Nicholson attentively. Jackflash flashes that panty-dropping grin he’s famous for while being obviously entertained by something Trump is saying to him.
Beatty is not the super alpha in this snapshot. Jack might be since both men are looking to him, but dat sweet sweet finger jab is the unmistakable air punctuation of the super alpha. WINNER: TRUMP.
Which is to say, when you have a Brass Supper of three apex alpha males, no one man will occupy the Lord’s lectern for long.
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