I'm on hiatus while working on a manuscript for a new book. In the meantime, please enjoy these classic Savage Love letters pulled from previous columns. I will be back when the book is finished. —Dan
Originally published July 24, 2008:
I'm a 22-year-old female, and the older I get, the more often I am ridiculed by straight men for being ugly. Just last night, a man asked me if I was jealous of my pretty friends and if I wished I could look like them. I know I'm unattractive, but I've met wonderful girls who I think are at least as physically unattractive as me who have managed to find someone to love them. I need to know if I should even bother anymore—it's hard to find a job, make friends, and basically just find people who will treat me like a human being. I shower every day, try to dress well, and wear makeup, but none of it seems to help. It appears that my only options are plastic surgery or suicide, and the older I get, the more appealing the latter becomes. And no, I don't have body dysmorphic disorder, I am absolutely sure.
P.S. I can't trust my friends to tell me the truth, because they love me, which either (a) clouds their judgment, or (b) makes them reluctant to hurt my feelings. The only commentary I have to go on comes from people I don't know who feel a need to inform me that I'm ugly. But I'm not sure. Should I send you a picture?
My response after the jump...
You can send me a picture if you like, Anonymous, preferably one taken by the brand-new therapist that you're going to get. Because you may or may not have body dysmorphic disorder, and you may or may not be ugly, and your friends may or may not be shining you on, but you clearly need more help than I can give you in this space. But I'll accept your self-diagnosis and say this much...
Things will get better as you get older. Not your looks, Anonymous, if your looks are truly the problem, but your peers. People are assholes in their 20s, and pouring alcohol into assholes doesn't make 'em stink less. Straight boys raised to believe that women exist for their pleasure will sometimes feel personally affronted by unattractive women, and alcohol makes them feel entitled to comment. But the passage of time makes monsters of us all, Anonymous, and the young, relatively hot straight guys tormenting you today are the bald, paunchy, and if there is a God, burn victims of tomorrow.
So the numbers of guys who can appreciate what you bring to the table—your humanity, your compassion, your ability to love—will grow over time, kiddo, and you may find in middle age what your girlfriends found as young adults. Unless you off yourself in the meantime, Anonymous, in which case you won't be around to watch those cruel, drunken boys deteriorate, wither, and die. And why would you want to cheat yourself out of that?