Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Lifeboat Test

I've been glued to the coverage of the Costa Concordia disaster the past few days and stunned by how the details have unraveled. It seems like there were failures on so many levels, and although it's difficult at this point to make any judgment of exactly "what happened"(so many stories to sort through) it seems that the Captain abandoned ship before all of the passengers had been evacuated. This, along with the number of reports that men were pushing past women and children to get off, really took me aback.

Now maybe it's because I spend way too much time reading (and writing) romance books with Alpha heroes, and it's probably not politically correct, but this feels so wrong to me. It's one of those situations where my modern woman sensibility can't explain my gut reaction. In a situation like the one that befell the Costa Concordia, I want men who to do the chivalrous thing and step aside for the women and children.

In the almost 100 years since the Titanic disaster (ironically the centennial is only a few months away), I think that might be one of the biggest changes. 100 years ago people didn't question the rightness of it--the men stepped aside. Not so anymore. I've seen a lot of comments from people saying: why should they? Maybe they're right. I'm not sure there is an intellectual explanation or one I can justify, and I'm sure I'd be begging my husband to come along with me in that situation, but it still somehow seems "wrong" to me.

I brought up the issue earlier on Facebook and mentioned that I kept thinking about my heroes and couldn't imagine Tor or Erik (or any one of them for that matter), jumping on a lifeboat before the women and children.

I've given an Alpha hero workshop with Jami Alden and Bella Andre a few times, and ironically one of the things I use to define what an Alpha hero means to me, is the lifeboat test. To me, an Alpha hero is the guy you most want on your lifeboat when the the apocalypse hits. He's the guy who knows what to do, stays calm under pressure, is tough, resilient, and a good leader. He's physically strong (to make you feel safe), capable, and dependable. In other words, he's Superman, Rambo, and MacGuyver all rolled into one--LOL. But what the Costa disaster points out is that for me, the guy I most want on my lifeboat is actually likely to be the last one to make it on!

What do you guys think of all this? Which member of the Highland Guard do you want on your lifeboat?