Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On real life Alphas...

The last couple weeks I had the chance to work with police and military officers. I was the only woman on the team and found myself picked on from pretty much the get-go. One man especially kept making fun of my use of "I think." You see, he wanted an absolute response to his questions - something I actually couldn't give. Believe me when I say he really irked me that first day! 

Later on that week, we had meetings with some colleagues of mine, including some female members of staff. When I asked them what they'd thought of the police officers, they all said the same thing: those guys were humorless! They only thought of work and nothing else. 
Turns out I couldn't disagree more. 

You see, something happened along the way. I started playing along, answering back, making fun of their mannerisms or their lack of communication skills...and our relationship shifted. Maybe I ended up being just one of the guys, or maybe they'd been thinking I was different than how I really am (I appear nice but I'm not a push-over, especially at work). I'm not sure what really happened but it did, and boy did I start having fun after that!

When that one man, who at first I hadn't liked at all, started laughing with me, "the week from hell" suddenly became a lot more fun. It became a game actually in which I tried to make him forget his badass image (imagine a guy wearing a dark suit and an earpiece, standing at attention, a frown on his face and a stare that could kill -- seriously, I have pics!). If I hadn't tried to push past that image, I'd have missed out big time. 

I guess it's the same for everybody. If you don't take the time to get to know someone, if you only stick to their appearance or the way they portray themselves to the world, then what's the point? After all, even real life Alphas can be misunderstood. Who'd have thought?

Most of my heroes are Alphas, and yet I hadn't truly met one before (hey, I'm a writer -- I have a great imagination). It was quite a revelation, and let me tell you, these men are so going to end up in a book! Possibly a whole series, as a matter of fact. 

I'll work extra hard at describing that smirk that is unlike any I'd ever seen before (as if he knew everything about everything and wouldn't you like to know too?) or how when an Alpha to the core lets loose, you better beware. I'm happy to say that by the end of their visit, I quite happily hit them whenever they bugged me too much. After all, what's the point of being the only woman if you can't make up the rules?

X-posted with Too many ideas, not enough time


Fulani said...

When I've worked with the police and military types I've similarly found they expect things to be clear-cut, I think because so many of the situations they deal with have binary outcomes - there either is enough evidence for an arrest or there's not, etc. And of course they're used to taking charge of situations and having things their way. It's much less marked in the military though because of the kinds of negotiations that have to be done in peacekeeping roles, but that's by the way.

At the same time, there's a kind of dark humour that runs alongside a lot of police work and I've always found it really amusing.

Emma Hillman said...

@Fulani - What you said! I guess our issue at first was that he wanted absolute answers and didn't realize I couldn't give them (ie. not things we were organizing ourselves, etc.). Also, I'm a take-charge person at work, so the two of us together...well, I guess, we were bound to clash at one point or another!

And yes, they're actually very funny if you get to know them better.
I also think it's because they're so confident you can throw anything at them and it bounces back. That's a quality which is very alluring in itself.