On Being the Alpha Female in a Man Pack

I was recently asked what my spirit animal is, to which I replied, “cat.” This is mostly true because I like sleeping and stretching and eating meat. However, it occurred to me only moments later that I should have said, “wolf.”

If you are unfamiliar with the social behaviors of wolves, know that there is an alpha male and female and the rest of the pack falls in line behind them. When challenged, the alpha male and/or female will fight to defend his or her position.

I am an alpha female.

I have a carefully chosen pack of fine, bearded gentlemen that I (in my mind) reign over. They are mine; they are not yours. (You can find your own at the local brewpub.)

I, unlike wolves, allow my pack members to date and mate and eat before me and chase the occasional cougar (pun intended) and do whatever else they want to do (wrestle, rub their bodies in dirt). However, when a female challenges my position, there are problems.

I don’t enjoy saying that “girls suck,” and I most certainly don’t brag that “most of my friends are guys.” I like girls. I like talking to them about clothes and shoes and chick flicks and cute boys. I like when they join my pack for food and frolicking. I simply can’t stand it when they try to take my place.

It took years of sitting through fantasy football drafts and drunken campfires and weird kitchen concoctions to get to my current position. Y’all can’t just strut up in there like youknow what kind of beer they drink. (Coors Light for drinking games, Hamm’s when they’re already drunk yet still drinking, PBR when they’re trying to look ironically hip.)

These are my boys. I have seen them at their sweatiest and stinkiest. I have helped them through heartbreak (by taking their ex’s DVDs). I have let them poke and kick me when I fall asleep too early. I have made them eat my charred baked goods. What have you done besides (possibly) shown them a good time in one of their messy bedrooms?

When a new girl enters the pack, I display my position by telling as many hilarious inside jokes as I can. When she starts reciprocating with horrible puns or ridiculous facts about athletes I know she knows nothing about, I smile politely and give an awkward half-laugh. Instead of starting a cat fight (because I’m a wolf, not a cat), I just sit back on the couch, nestled between some warm, flannel-covered beer bellies and stare uncomfortably into her eyes. If I sense my pack is interested, I keep quiet and write about it in my diary later that night. (Which, coincidentally, has a wolf on it.)

I encourage girls to join my pack. (More members, more territory.) I just need them to understand that the best they will ever be is beta.

-Heidi Thomasoni’s position has not been challenged in awhile.