Tangent — I Like You, Chris Ryan

I know recent articles on Chris Ryan are all part of the Strike Back hype, but the effect on me is not producing a liking for more Strike Back (I already like it plenty) but rather a liking for more information on Chris Ryan. He’s just one likable fellow. I wasn’t kidding when earlier I said he feels like a buddy. Oh, I realize the press may not give an accurate account of him, but he seems to be honest. He doesn’t seem to think he’s superman nor seem to be hot on himself. My understanding is that John Porter is a somewhat autobiographical character, and in the book I don’t see him as all prettied up for our consumption, and if he comes out the hero, could that be Chris Ryan wanting a redo — even if it may only be in his head?

What’s interesting about this article and others I’ve read is that although Chris Ryan is a decided Alpha, as he gets older he’s learning to appreciate his Beta. I just hope he never has contempt for Alpha but puts it in perspective and really learns to appreciate it in a way that maybe no young man can ever do. Any man who gets that right is about as sexy as they come.

Maybe I need to break down and read more of his books to see if he’s already there. Not sure which one to begin. Perhaps his first, The One That Got Away.

I challenge you to read this article and come away not liking Chris Ryan or worse just dismissing him.

SAS author Chris Ryan: I fear for mental health of veterans of Afghanistan

May 12 2010

CHRIS RYAN is enjoying the spoils of war – the former SAS soldier has used his frontline expertise to become a best-selling author.

Decorated with a Military Medal for his exploits in the first Gulf War, which he survived against the odds, he has also appeared in testosterone-fuelled TV shows, including the aptly titled How Not To Die.

One of his books, Strike Back, has just been turned into a major new drama by Sky One, starring Richard Armitage as John Porter, a burned-out special forces soldier haunted by the past.

Like much of Ryan’s fiction, it’s something he writes about from first-hand experience. And for all the success he’s had as a writer since leaving the SAS in 1994, the memories of battles fought and fallen comrades remain with him.

He said: “There are always regrets. Usually when somebody was killed, wishing you’d done something differently. But that’s the gift of hindsight, which is invariably right.

“It’s always there but you can’t undo time and you just have to live with the decisions you made.

“As you get older, you look at it differently. You look at yourself and you are greyer, wrinklier and a bit heavier.

“The guys you lost never get older. You think of them as you last saw them and, as time goes on, as you push through the years, the reality of that is sadder.

“You just think, ‘What a waste of life’.”

Born near Newcastle in 1961, Ryan now spends most of his time in America, where he has interests in the security business.

But during his 10 years in the SAS – or “the regiment”, to those who have been part of it – he became part of its legend.

He took part in the disastrous Bravo Two Zero mission to Iraq in 1991, led by his fellow soldier turned author Andy McNab.

Four members were captured by the Iraqis and three died – two from hypothermia as temperatures plummeted to below zero.

Ryan was the one who got away, enduring the longest escape and evasion exercise in SAS history.

He trekked 200 miles to Syria over eight tortuous days with no food and little water. He lost 36lbs in body weight, his toenails fell off and he had sores all over his body.

Ryan puts his survival down to many things – SAS training, the thought of his then two-year-old daughter, Sarah, and that basic human instinct, fear.

He said: “An SAS soldier is trained in escape and evasion. I knew the process of getting out by hiding during the day and walking at night, but it was fear which got me home.

“It wasn’t just fear of bumping into the Iraqis, it was fear of the winter they were having – two of my colleagues had died through hypothermia – and of not seeing my daughter again.

“She was just two and I desperately wanted to see her. In fact, in the latter stages of my escape, I was hallucinating and I saw visions of her.

“Fear is a great motivator, especially if you think you are going to die. I had never pushed myself the way I did in Iraq – and that was only due to the fear and adrenaline which drives you on and keeps you going.

“It’s coming up for 20 years now. I can remember every day but there are bits that are hazy.

“It’s like toothache. It feels like the worst pain you’ve ever felt at the time, then a week later you can’t remember it.”

Although he remained in the SAS for a few years after Iraq, Ryan suffered from post-traumatic stress, which manifested itself in sudden bouts of rage.

It’s a condition he afflicted on Porter in Strike Back, and one which he is convinced will be a problem for many of the soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

He said: “I don’t think we have seen anything like what we have witnessed over the last 10 years, the amount of stress our young men are being put through.

“My brother is in the Parachute Regiment and tells me stories about guys who are out on foot patrol and see their colleagues vapourised. Over the period of a six-month tour, they are losing 20-odd men.

“Think about it. You go to your office and know that, out of a couple of hundred of colleagues, in six months about 27 of you are going to die. You are going to see a few of them go and a lot of you are going to come back without arms and legs. It would freak you out.

“I don’t know how these young lads are bottling it up. It’s got to come out somewhere.

The rest here.

Oh, and I would put up a picture, but I don’t have permission (didn’t take the time to get it). I’m just enjoying this picture. Hopefully, the owner will not pull it since it appears to be for public viewing. If the owner happens to stumble on this blog, I would love to embed this picture, but sometimes WordPress is a bully. :D

Let the Cogitation of John Porter Begin — SPOILERS

WARNING: Spoilers in this post especially including the video!

I would have said thoughts, but I have to use words like cogitation occasionally. Then I don’t feel guilty about how I’m using that expensive education my parents paid for (oops, another sentence ending in a preposition; good thing this blog’s anonymous).

So I’m watching Strike Back, and it gets to this scene (SPOILERS AHEAD!):

and I remember what I like about most action flicks. They have Alpha males! Oh, I know what you’re thinking. Alpha is the guy who smashes beer cans on his head and has little or no respect for women. No, no. You’re wrong. Alpha is not just the guy who needs a shag and likes to handle guns and is good at handling guns, and wants to do damage to someone with the guns. He’s also the guy who kicks the door in and saves the damsel, and the damsel loves him for it and thinks about following him to the ends of the earth. When John Porter says trust me, I do.

I’m so glad RA is getting to play an Alpha again. My first introduction to him was as an Alpha male — John Thornton. The character I’m most fond of is an Alpha male — Guy of Gisborne (when he’s not kissing the Sheriff’s ass). But Alpha isn’t enough, and those characters are not successful just being Alphas. What women want and most men have not figured out is that we want Beta too. John Thornton and Guy proved they had some Beta, and it only made them more attractive. Conversely, of RA’s characters who are primarily Betas, they are even more attractive when Alpha emerges: Harry Kennedy when he wants Geraldine to pay up on her “debt,” John Standring when he runs off Andrew, Paul Andrews when he’s manifesting Alpha in the most elemental way, Lucas North when he’s taking the rich guy down in the pool. Imagine how dull these Betas would be without Alpha.

I’m not so sure we’ve really seen John Porter’s Beta. Maybe just a little peek in the beginning when he’s interacting with his 10 year old daughter, and of course when he spares the Iraqi boy. But that’s not enough for an RA character. RA likes to balance these enough to make things really interesting. We don’t have enough of Porter’s Beta yet. We need a little more, but oh, don’t slack on the Alpha while you’re at it.

I stumbled on a blog that gets the importance of the Alpha/Beta mix. The blogger gets it so well that I had a fleeting thought it’s really a woman writing the blog. His name even sounds like a woman’s when you say it really fast (ducking in case he reads any of the links to his blog). He is so dead on that it’s scary. Oh, I don’t think he’s dead on about everything, but he’s got women figured out fairly well — at least what turns most of them on. Yes, it’s just my opinion. Feel free to disagree, and I know some women do. LOL!

Here’s what he says about Alpha/Beta mix:

I generally disagree with the entire Alpha = good, Beta = bad mindset. You really need to have both Alpha Traits and Beta Traits in a marriage to really hit the sweet spot of happiness and sex. The blog is still new, but believe me I’m going to sound like a broken record on this point as the years play out.

If you’re a decent Beta, the solution is to add Alpha traits, not reduce Beta Traits and add Alpha. It’s not a zero-sum game where you can be either Alpha or Beta, but not both. You can and must be both. You still hold a job down, play with the kids, listen to how your wife spent her day, do housework etc. That’s all vital comfort building goodness. She likes and needs that to feel comfortable, like you’re invested in the relationship and family. These things are not “turn ons”, but lacking them makes them “turn offs”.

Read the rest here.

(emphasis mine)

Preach it, Athol!

I sometimes hear that Alpha females do not want Alpha males:

The alpha girl doesn’t need Mr Alpha to sweep her off her feet and buy her a condo in town; she has enough money to do that herself. She is successful, confident and she wants a caring man who can pick up some of the domestic slack.

Read the rest here.

Oh, a caring Beta is great, and I may not need an Alpha to sweep me off my feet, but I WANT ONE! and SO delivers. He flexes his Alpha enough that I know it’s not eclipsed by his wonderful Beta. I have several little SOs running around to prove that.

Speaking of SO, I think he’s going to love this show. Especially if it doesn’t make Alphas look like morons. Actually, to SO there is no such thing as Alpha/Beta. He thinks all of that is crap. To him it just means being a man who has the usual wants and needs of a man and of course the usual responsibilities. Okay, maybe there is no Alpha, but it’s fun to think about it, and certainly fun to watch it!

P.S. If Porter and Layla are not going to have some Alpha fun at some point, then I wasn’t watching the right show. Can’t wait to see how that plays out.