A running theme on this blog is the frightful sight of herbs and betas performing slow motion self-emasculations. While the herb and the beta are closely related, there are some notable differences between them.
In this post, I defined the herb:
*herb, noun – a schlumpy, nondescript white guy with no fashion sense, chin, or sexual gravitas, who has managed to hook up with a cute chick. Herbs usually wear satchels to nightclubs and button down collar shirts with the Hanes undershirt peaking through at the neck. They love anything khaki and are not embarrassed to be seen wearing fanny packs or sandals. A super herb takes it up a notch with white athletic socks and an extra-large t-shirt to hide his man boobs. They have a walk that can be best described as looking like they are carrying a load in their pants. They will annoy you just by being there. The fact that a herb will have usually managed to score a cute yuppie chick will fill you with violent feelings toward him.
How does a beta differ from a herb? In this post there is a photo of a beta revealing his true nature with an awkwardly placed hand on a cute girl’s shoulder. The biggest difference is that the herb usually has better *conventionally defined* success with women. The herb is not necessarily beta, though he often is. Many herbs in the city can be seen taking long romantic walks with decent looking girlfriends, defying all logic and universal laws. Herbs, therefore, have some preternatural ability to squeak out a semblance of a normal life, despite their shortcomings. Perhaps it is that they are oblivious to their self-defeating behavior, and so attract the type of women for whom dating an oblivious man suits their agenda.
Betas (and omegas), in contrast, struggle to achieve the societally-approved provider chump role to a sexless, ungrateful, Entitled American Princess. They are a more pitiable creature than the herb because their fruitless struggle often results in the stink of desperation trailing them wherever they go. The herb, to his credit, rarely reeks of desperation (until he is dumped), probably owing to the aforementioned obliviousness. Betas are more apt to look like they’re trying too hard, which is why you’ll often see better-dressed betas roaming the streets alone while schleppy herbs shuffle contentedly holding hands with their girlfriends.
In short, betas are the type of guys to spend years with internet porn and video games, while herbs are the type of guys to dutifully push strollers for kids that, unbeknownst to them, aren’t theirs. In the end, though, both betas and herbs wind up fulfilling their role as soulsucked providers to harridan wives, ensuring that the cogs of society remain greased with the sweat of their brows and the tithe of their taxes.
A few more differences between betas and herbs:
beta – dog
herb – dog in a stroller
beta – worries that wife is cheating on him
herb – has no idea wife is cheating on him
beta – wants to be alpha
herb – has no concept of the better life
beta – envious of men with hotter girfriends
herb – chastises himself for admiring classic beauty of older susan sarandon
beta – resigned
herb – compliant
beta – stymied sex drive
herb – borderline androgynous
beta – brain loaded with lies
herb – pants loaded
Reader Carol (a self-described Amazon alpha female) sent me a pic of what she termed a “beta boy”, shopping in Chicago with his girlfriend.
She wrote this about the pic:
My sister is an avid reader of your blog and she introduced me to it. I check it out from time to time.
I see Beta Boys all over the city of Chicago. Since I got my new iphone…it only makes sense to try and snap pics of these betas. Unfortunately the iphone does not zoom. But I’m working on this. [ed: if you're a beta or herb, now you have more to worry about -- chicks taking your photo for mockery on this blog.]
Check out this beta cubs fan wearing his girlfriend’s purse. I had to do a freaking triple take to be sure he was not gay. No, he was wearing her purse. Following her all around the store as she flipped through racks of clothes. Mind you, this was post Cubs game…so they were probably drunk as well.
Jesus. I would never ask a man to hold my purse. Let alone a sparkly shining number that announces to everyone your man is carrying your purse.
Yeah, this is pretty bad. For this man’s sake, let’s hope drunkenness was his excuse. It’s not even OK to hold your woman’s purse for a second so she can grab at something (let it drop to the floor or put it on a shelf if she tries to shove her purse in your hands); it’s leagues worse to take her purse and then wear it around like it’s your own, while following her like a puppy dog as she rifles through racks of discount panties. This guy looks very comfortable wearing her purse slung over his shoulder like that, as if he’s done it before.
I would classify this guy as a herb if he sees nothing wrong with this picture. Otherwise, he’s a garden variety beta asking “how high” when his girlfriend tells him to jump.