Last week, I raved about my friend Teddy Wayne's new novel, Kapitoil. (Which, incidentally has been getting rave reviews all over the place. I hope he still hangs out with me when he is a major literary star.) As I was reading the book, it occurred to me that the three main male characters might just be representative of the three main types of male characters we brush up against in life: one guy was a cocky-aplha, another was an insecure beta, and a third--the creme de la creme--was a sensitive yet confident man.
Let's take a look at these three types, as embodied in Teddy's novel, shall we?
#1: The Cocky Alpha-Male: In the novel, this kind of guy is one Jefferson Smithfield. He's extremely sure of himself, and his cockiness means most women don't notice that he's got a few physical shortcomings. At an early scene in a nightclub, he delivers his philosophy: "At the end of the day, it's all about confidence. ... So what if [a chick] rejects you? If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.'"
We hate to love guys like this, but sometimes, their arrogance dupes us into thinking they're more awesome than they are.
#2: The Insecure Beta-Male: Tall and gawky, dressed in ill-fitting suits, Dan Wulf suffers from low self-esteem in general and especially with women. He often avoids looking people in the eye, shakes hands weakly and speaks quietly. His insecurity means he's not much of a professional success; it's inextricably linked to his inability to be sure of himself around women.
We sometimes fall for guys like this because we think we can help them, or save them, but really, maybe they should grow some cahones. Because a lot of times, these dudes just drag us down.
#3: The Sensitive, Humble, Yet Quietly Confident Male: The books's hero--a computer programmer--is the kind of guy we'd all like to meet. Karim Issar never boasts about himself, despite the fact that he's so brilliant he quickly becomes a star at the equities firm that has recently hired him. He's also professionally confident, and speaks impressively whenever the situation calls for it--in an office setting, anyway. But because he doesn't have tons of experience with women--and because he respects them as complicated human beings, rather than simply seeing them as competitors in the sexual game the way Jefferson does--he is not always perfectly suave when it comes to girls.
For instance, after Karim and his co-worker Rebecca hang out a few times--and he's unsure about whether they're becoming friends or more than that--they're riding the subway home together when Karim sees a woman with her head on her boyfriend's shoulder. Karim wishes he and Rebecca could be in the same position. But, as he says: "Although no one was looking, I was too afraid to do anything." He almost goes for ... and then chickens out at the last minute, studying the subway map instead. He almost does it again right before she gets off at her stop: "I continued thinking I should kiss her ... but the doors dinged and opened and she said good night and stepped out and the doors closed. I watched her on the other side of he doors with her back to me, and I also saw myself in the window. I looked foolish standing there. And then the doors dinged again and reopened, as they sometimes do, and I thought this was a golden opportunity and not a random accident, and without thinking I said Rebecca ...."
And then--finally--they kiss!
Anyway, peeps, what do you think? Can we group men into these three basic categories? Should we always be on the look-out for Type #3?
(Is it silly to even bother with such categorizations?)
More importantly, how cute is that kiss?