Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Blessed Return of the Alpha Male

by Suzanne Eovaldi, staff writer

Thank heaven for the return of the Alpha Male.  What a relief!  I'm so sick and tired of the feminization of our country that I must take a moment here to tell you of my thoughts.  Watching President Elect Donald Trump in calm, non-shouting modulation handle the very hot mess of his first news conference made me wonder how the women I've known over the years, myself included, would have handled that wood chopper.  He knew beforehand he would be in for it and he did his homework.  He had his background preps well reviewed, had his support documentation (incidentally in the presence of his very competent female tax attorney) took to his new podium and made it his own.

The abject abomination of the "dossier" event was about the worst case of journalism fail I have ever witnessed.  Mr. Trump was the epitome of America's Alpha Male, now thankfully returned to his rightful place of leadership in America. Early one morning I began to think back about how my male students vs. my female students handled confrontations.  Many years ago, one of my beginning composition students was fulfilling his English composition requirement before applying for admission to the University of Illinois' prestigious Engineering School.  He very much needed an A from me to complete his transcripts.  

Then came the Thanksgiving Holiday break when I always graded my final essays and research papers.  My pre engineering student had turned in very heavy pagination full of numbers, formulas, math fright equations that he had to know I would be in over my head trying to grade.  I set his paper aside and finished my large stack.  Then, after rereading his paper one more time, I decided form here carried over substance simply because a pre-engineering student needed to acquire and appreciate precision, first of all.  Well, I down-graded his paper from an A to a B, because he failed to put a "page 2" up in the upper left hand corner.  Had a crusty downstate Prof gotten this page mixed in with other pages of student work, this man's deft formulas would have been unintelligible.

Well, comes Monday morning, I returned their papers, and wow Volcano Krakatoa II erupted.  This man came up after class and exploded on me.  I wouldn't budge and said your grade remains.  Many weeks go by and later, in another semester, I noticed a familiar face waiting outside my classroom for dismissal.  He came in, said, "I want to apologize.  You were right about giving me the grade you did.  Thank you." He went on to say how tough, how rough the competition, how hard were his engineering studies. Why am I taking so much time to tell you readers all of this? Because a woman, IMHO, would never have had the grace to come back and speak to me as did this Alpha Male.

Over and over I told my Business English students that if females want to succeed in what was then a very dominant male environment, they had to learn the male model.  I infuriated them one day when I said women will have trouble because they won't work as a team, they take everything personally and "you have to be able to take instruction." I may have given the example of the female's work model:  the "one butt kitchen" approach to preparing a Thanksgiving Day meal.

I recall watching my beloved third cousin Nathan Eovaldi being schooled by his pitching coach, Chuck Hernandez, when Nathan played for the Miami Marlins.  Over and over, Coach Hernandez would correct Nathan on the most minute motions of his arm, his entire body. Do it again and again and again.  This male to male instruction was of an in your face intensity that I marveled at. Walking back to my car after the Spring Training practice session ended, all I could think about was, "A woman could never stand that pressure." Nathan was magnificent.  No back talk.  No mouthing off, no ego displays.  His stoic work ethic, to me, exemplifies the same type of Alpha Male greatness we just saw in Mr. Trump's presser performance.

To close this journey into why I'm glad a supreme Alpha Male now is in charge, let me cite one last example of why I believe men make better leaders.  I had just written and sent to my editor, male albeit, my essay in which I had misspelled the name of Colombia as Columbia.  When I read the comments at our website, one guy called us out for the two different spellings.  What did my editor do?  He owned the error for his team, in this case, myself.  When I checked my rough draft, I saw that it was I who originally had misspelled the country's name.  My editor took the hit for one of his team members, just as any great commander does.  Would a woman have apologized to me for the engineering student's blow up? No, of course not.  Would a male editor have gone into orbit when I corrected a female editor for her 48 I, Me, My, Mine words in a 400 word essay? I doubt it.  The guy would have put on a calm face, conducted himself with grace, and moved on.  Just as we saw Mr. Trump do this week.  Thank heaven!


  1. great piece I enjoyed reading it, Thank you

  2. Thank you for a strong and clear post about something that has been a problem in America for quite some time. We not only need to reclaim our country, as Americans, to get back to the ideals this nation was founded on, we each need to have the sense and courage to express our true selves. If we keep tiptoeing around just to avoid offending someone who is being irrational, we will never get anything done.

    I'm not in agreement with EVERYTHING you say here, and since your post is clear that we shouldn't retreat from a disagreement, I thought I'd mention that I know many women who are quite good at taking constructive criticism, and even apologizing for reacting badly in the moment. I myself have done so, and as a musician I've watched many woman take correction and improve because of it. I've seen women, and men as well, object to instruction and criticism when it's not helpful, and there's more than one way to instruct. Men and women often DO have different teaching and learning methods, and it's in our best interests to respond well to both rather than limit instruction and learning to a single method, so I'm always open to a man being blunt and simply delivering the assessment with logic, rather than softening the blow by also pointing out what was done well, as the Toastmasters critique is designed to do. I'm wondering if you might be seeing some women object to the method rather than the critique? While it's certainly important for any student to accept criticism regardless of the manner it's delivered, it's also helpful for teachers to learn there's more than one way to deliver criticism. In academia, being straight and blunt is very effective in most cases, but I find, particularly in music, it's as important to place emphasis on the good to encourage more of it, and I find men often neglect this part of the instruction. This is why I try to seek out both men and women as teachers, to get a broad spectrum of input to improve as quickly as possible.

    Great post! I hope it's okay to point that out? Okay, okay, I'm kidding! You sound like a really good instructor. I'm not sure where you're getting the polarized perspective on the capacity of women to accept criticism gracefully, but the fact that it doesn't match my own experiences suggests that we simply live in different environments. And I'm glad you won't let that keep you from continuing to be clear with your students on how to do things right. We need more of that.

  3. @Larkhaven on the Web

    Thank you so much for your comment, Larkhaven. I passed it along to Suzanne, the author of the piece.