Easy Alpha Move: Sit At The Head Of The Table

Possibly the most simple Alpha move ever is to sit at the head of the table during dinner.
If you aren’t eating at the table together, start doing it. If you have the atomized family thing where people cannon all over the house with plates direct from the kitchen, just setting the table creates social inertia towards eating together. You don’t have to announce it as a thing, just set the table.
If you worry that someone will beat you to the punch and steal your seat, the easy move is to have a drink of any sort, drink some, and leave it at the head of the table where you want to sit. It’s a social no-no to touch peoples drinks and you mark your territory with your cup.
It’s a simple move, but it works by framing you as the most important person in the house. Sitting at the head of the table = Alpha Male of the Group. Everyone else at the table is de facto stating their social deference to you wittingly or not. After a few months of stating deference to someone, it tends to become internalized.
Also I love it when Jennifer sits to my immediate right. She’s close enough to touch from shoulder to waist and she can lean towards me. I’ve noticed that the last few times we’ve been out together we’ve been seated at wide tables and we’re physically far away from each other thus defeating the point of a romantic dinner. Our own dining room table is more intimate it seems. I’d much rather sit together than opposite each other any day.
Plus how the hell  can you squeeze her thigh when you’re sitting opposite her without looking completely awkward?


  1. David Collard says:

    Yes, definitely. I did this right from the start of our 25 year marriage. My young wife put me there, if I recall, so we both wanted this. She sits to my left. This also puts her nearer the kitchen, so she can serve our meals easiest.

    It is great body language, because the woman has to look up at you, while turning her head. It sends a powerful signal, and puts her in a supplicatory position.

  2. David Collard says:

    Sometimes we have our thighs touching under the table, which the children can't see. It is an unspoken bond. If I am feeling aggressive and expansive, I tend to push my dishes and cutlery into her personal space a bit, and she sort of moves away.

    All very silly, no doubt. But it works at some level.

  3. My Wife sits opposite,If I'm North of the table facing the door she is south and nearest the door,I may have to rearragne it your way.

  4. David Collard says:


    I would recommend not sitting opposite your wife. That puts you literally in opposition to her. It is better if she sits beside you, like your queen. I like having her on my left, which is traditional. She is on my left in bed, and in the car when I drive (we are in Australia). Eve was created from Adam's left rib, in the Bible story.

    Perhaps that is enough symbolism!

  5. Thanks David I will change it around one time my wife put me on the side of the table and I walked out and ate my tea in front of the TV.
    I told her don't ever do that again

  6. / which I know was childish but I did not know better at the time.
    What was the best way to handle this it was only me the wife and 2 kids should I have just moved whoever was in my spot

  7. "It's a simple move, but it works by framing you as the most important person in the house."

    Athol, I realize YOU may think you're the most important person in the house. But does your wife — the woman who bore your children and cares for them and also works a job outside the home — really believe that?

    Sorry, but I find that shocking. And demeaning too. That wouldn't fly in my house.

  8. David Collard says:

    My wife is submissive on this matter. If she is ever sitting in my place at the head of the table, I simply tell her to move. Or she moves herself. Even when we are just having a cup of tea.

    She will sit there if I am not at the table or if she is listening to the radio. She was sitting there at the head this morning, giving our son breakfast, but she later put my breakfast at the head of the table and moved to her usual spot beside me.

    I would not sit down to table if she were at the head.

    I think I am especially domineering on some points, as Western husbands go. Particularly about symbolism. I mean, my wife works, and so on, but I expect some traditional respect. She saw her mother seat her father at the head of the table and I suppose she learned from that. In fact, I had dinner at my mother-in-law's once, and she put me at the head (she is a widow). But that might have simply been politeness to a guest.

    Anonymous, don't do anything that will upset your wife. As I said, mine tends to be submissive on quite a few issues. She simply sat me at the head of the table when we first married.

    In general, we have worked together to create a fairly traditional marriage, because that is what we both prefer.

    The only thing a man should NOT tolerate is having a wife seat herself at the head of the table. That is wrong on many levels.

  9. Dana – in any social group someone is always in a leadership position. "Equal marriages" are very rare as usually either the husband or the wife is leading things. Simply because they say a relationship is equally led, doesn't mean that it is.

    As I've covered before many times I spent a great deal of my marriage trying to be equal and balanced with Jennifer and it didn't work for us. It works much better with our Captain and First Officer approach.

    This whole blog is on one level a tribute to the depth of feeling and esteem I hold my wife in. If you think I demean her at all you are simply wrong.

  10. Athol,

    I guess I have one of those rare "equal marriages" you mentioned. My husband would never say or think that he is the most important person in the house, (how insulting!), and neither would I. We both contribute, and we both have value, equal value.

    We also both share in the decision making. There may be some areas over which he is the so-called captain, but there are others over which I take the lead. On the big issues, we discuss and arrive at a consensus. Our household runs efficiently and happily.

    We certainly don't get bent over symbolic gestures like who is sitting at the head of the table. In fact, our kitchen table is round.

  11. Dana have you not considered that she likes it?

  12. David Collard says:

    So does my wife.

  13. Sorry, Athol, I just have a hard time believing anyone would appreciate being thought of as "the less important person in the house."

    Be honest, forgetting about all the alpha stuff for a minute, would YOU want to be thought of that way?

  14. Jennifer edits my posts before I publish them Dana. She has a voice and if I was offending her we would have talked about it before it was published. After she edited the post we published it at 10:38pm. After that we went to bed and had quite fabulous sex.

    No I wouldn't want to be thought of as the submissive in the relationship, but then I'm more naturally dominant than Jennifer is so it's a pointless question. It's unnatural to both of us.

    You're offended simply because I'm willing to say that I'm the dominant one in the relationship and that we enjoy it. Are you sure you aren't simply bigoted about it? As I've said before, we tried for years to have an equal relationship and it didn't work as well as this one does.

  15. David Collard says:

    Sorry to interject again, but I like dominating my wife (in some ways). It is traditional in our religion for the man to be the Head, and my wife has a sexually submissive side. Why shouldn't we do what we like and live as we please?

    We have faced some major difficulties and survived as a couple and a family. We have our 25th wedding anniversary next month. I have sat at the head of the table for 25 years, and my wife has never objected.

  16. Miles Anderson says:

    Athol and Dana: I wonder if ya'all are getting hung on the word "important". Leadership is important, but all the parts of the hierarchy are important and many members of the crew have specific abilities that surpass the captain. Personally I don't think having multiple leaders ever works. I have seen many well oiled groups (marriages and others) where the decision making control was dynamic and probably hard to understand from the outside but very clear from the inside. That might be what people think of as equal but I don't think of it as that way.

    On a side note… Athol, at those romantic dinners out with your wife if they are at a restaurant they should seat you in a side by side (across a corner usu.) configuration. I get seated that way if I'm out with a women that isn't my wife. I don't wear a ring so that might send out a "date vibe". But if they seated my wife and I differently I would change the configuration.

  17. Dana, I have a similar relationship to yours. While I can't imagine being in a marriage like David's or Athol's (or rather, can imagine it all too vividly), I still read this blog regularly and find it fascinating as a glimpse into a view of relationships that's somewhat foreign to my own sensibilities.

    You know how, for some people, women wanting to wear high heels is a complete headscratcher, because they're painful and slow you down and are bad for your feet in the long run, and basically make you look prettier whilst rendering you partially disabled? And yet, whether it's for reasons of personal taste or cultural acclimatisation (my money's on the latter), lots of women do love high heels, and continue to wear them. And even if it doesn't make sense to you, you can still fathom that they like them, right? I think that's the best way for us to try to understand this whole thing.

    Or, for an easier version, you know how millions of girls and women buy and enjoy the Twilight novels? Even if it makes no sense to us, even if it looks damaging and restrictive (borderline abusive sometimes – not you, Athol, other bloggers on the topic, naming no names right now) to people who think like we do, never doubt that there are women who sincerely believe in it, who revel in it, as much as men.

  18. David Collard says:

    Sam, quite well put. Although I suspect you are a Samantha rather than a Samuel.

    I would only add that there are a lot of us about. I think we are actually the majority. To take your analogy, lots of women wear high heels and read "Twilight" books. And lots of men, me included, find that being dominant with one's wife pays off in the bedroom and in real life.

  19. (Whether I would ever advise people having marital troubles to adopt this system when it feels wrong to them or their spouse is quite another matter. I never could, nor could I advise anyone to adopt a system where the woman is dominant. And I'll tell anyone who asks that high heels will murder your feet and Twilight will skew your sense of what's romantic and what's sick if you don't go into it with eyes open.

    In negligence cases, when evaluating whether the behaviour of a professional is negligent, a court will look at what's common practice, but won't hesitate to say that common practice for an industry is in fact negligent. Just because a practice is common and lots of people approve of it doesn't mean it can't do a great deal of harm to people who don't freely choose it and have it thrust upon them – like women forced to wear heels as part of their dress codes for work, or women who find themselves married to a man who has suddenly decided he WILL be the head of the household, even if she detests the idea.)

  20. I knew someone who wore high heels so much that she was honestly more comfortable in them than in flats. She had atrophied the ligaments on the back of her legs so much that they were uncomfortable when stretched out by flats. Honest.

  21. That's amazing Elhaf. Wow. I'm not into foot binding myself…

  22. What the hell. None of us had the audacity to use my dad's dinner bowl or spoon, let alone take his seat. When we were children if we 'decided' to eat 'our' dinner in 'our' room he'd bellow until we came back or come after us and beat our ass. Pussy Americans.

  23. One of the biggest fights in my 20 year marriage was when my wife "rotated" my place to the side of the table and put herself at the head. I handled it very badly, but I handled it. It was one of the big clues that something was very wrong in our marriage. Life and sex are better the new way.

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