Savage Love

I broke up with a girl because she wasn't hot enough for me. Am I a jerk?

By Dan Savage

I broke up with a girl who wasn’t hot enough for me. I tried my whole life to not be that kind of guy. I treated her carelessly because she wasn’t that important to me. I was self-indulgent and rude and disrespectful, and it made her cry. She’s perfectly attractive, but not in an obvious way, which is what I want. I don’t want to abandon her, because she is a pillar of support that I truly need. She’s the first girl I ever fucked, and I’m the first guy she ever dated. She is twenty-eight and I am twenty-four. Is it a bad idea to resume a relationship with her while I pursue other women? Would it be better to end all contact? What is a man who is pathologically worried about being an asshole to do?

— Must Remain Anonymous

So… you were a virgin at age twenty-three when you met this woman. Hm.

I’m guessing you’re not all that conventionally attractive yourself, MRA. You’re attractive, of course, just not in a conventional sense. You’re attractive in the same way that, say, your ex-girlfriend is attractive. Perfectly attractive. Just not obviously attractive. Not hot.

But you feel entitled to a woman who is attractive in obvious ways. You want a woman who’s objectively hot. And you may get one. There are lots of obviously hot women out there with guys who aren’t anywhere near as hot. Helps if the dude’s a billionaire. But a word of warning: if you had to wait until age twenty-three for a woman to come along who was willing to fuck you and put up with your shit, MRA, the wait for a hot woman who’s willing to fuck you and put up with your shit could be a long one. But you can live in hope.

What you can’t live in, MRA, is an alternate reality where you haven’t been an asshole. You emotionally abused this woman for failing to be something she wasn’t when you met her (and something that you’re not, either): conventionally, objectively, and obviously attractive. You weren’t obligated to stay with her forever just because she was kind enough to fuck you and put up with your shit for a while, of course, and you’re free to follow your dreams and pursue hot women. But you were obligated to treat this woman with kindness and consideration. Instead, you went out of your way to act like an asshole.

Under the circumstances, MRA, I think it’s best to end all contact. It’s nice that you’re willing to keep her in your life in order to get the support you need, all the while providing her with jack shit in return — no, wait. That’s just more assholery. Cut her from your life. It’s the only decent thing to do.

It may be the only decent thing you’ve ever done for her.


I’m an eighteen-year-old girl in my freshman year at university. I moved into an apartment with three roommates: awesome party girl who I really get along with, my long-term boyfriend, and a new guy who is a year older than me.

Here’s the problem: I don’t have an out-of-this-world libido. My boyfriend doesn’t mind and seems content. But I want to fuck the new guy’s brains out all the time. I don’t understand! I love my boyfriend and I find him attractive, and this other guy is not my type in any way. I am NOT going to cheat on my boyfriend, but I don’t know what to do!

— Feelings Are Not Technically Alright Sometimes, Y’know?

First potential explanation: like most eighteen-year-olds, you don’t know your hole from an ass in the ground. Part of dating, at your age, is discovering what works for you, who works for you, and what you want. Sometimes what you think you want isn’t what you actually want. So it’s possible that your long-term boyfriend is a nice guy, a good guy, and an attractive guy. But he’s not the kind of nice, good, attractive guy who turns you on. So your libido may be just fine, FANTASY, it’s just that you have yet to date a guy who cranks your libido into gear. In other words: this guy might indeed be your type. You just don’t know it yet.

Second potential explanation: women tend to be attracted to one type of guy when they’re not ovulating (nicer guys: good parents and helpful partners) and a different type of guy when they are ovulating (rougher guys: lousy parents and worse partners). Lots of women in long-term, stable relationships with nice guys enjoy manly-man-eye-candy when they’re ovulating and then fuck their nice guy’s brains out. But you’re going to complicate your life considerably if you live with both types, i.e., the nice guy you want to marry and the masculine-type guy whose brains you want to fuck out when you’re shitting eggs.

What to do? Well, if it’s explanation number one, dump your boyfriend and date your roommate. If it’s explanation number two, ogle your roommate and fuck your boyfriend.


A gay couple, friends of mine, just announced their wedding this coming summer in Vancouver. They’ve broken up and reunited countless times over the last ten years; they fight and cheat on each other. Separately they’re wonderful people, but together they’re a fucking nightmare. I suspect this will be one of those marriages that will collapse quickly. So it occurs to me: how much social pressure will there be for gay married folks not to get divorced? After all, the homophobes will soon use gay divorce rates as an argument against gay marriage, right?

— The Straight Best Man


Half of all opposite-sex marriages end in divorce, TSBM, which makes it pretty easy to deflect arguments about a gay divorce somehow proving that same-sexers aren’t worthy. And divorce — access to the courts to divide up joint property, work out custody arrangements, determine spousal support, etc. — is one of the important rights that comes with marriage.

And did you know that the first same-sex couple to legally wed in Canada wound up divorcing? And that the first same-sex couple to legally marry in the United States also wound up divorcing? No and no, TSBM, because evangelical Christians — those rabid opponents of marriage equality — haven’t made it an issue. And why haven’t they? Oh, probably because the divorce rate among conservative evangelical Christians is higher than the divorce rate among less batshit Christians, nonbelievers, and Americans who live in Massachusetts. The haters don’t want to make divorce an issue because it makes them look bad, not us.

As for your friends…

Some people love  conflict and drama, and it’s for the best when two drama-seeking conflictophiles pair off and marry each other. It can be hard on friends and family at first, TSBM, but once you realize that a couple is a pair of perfectly matched conflictophiles — both parties are equally awful, neither is being abused, two innocent people were spared when these two fuckers found each other — you don’t have to pretend you give a flying fuck about their drama anymore.

So when asshole Adam goes, “Steve cheated on me!” You go, “He’s cheated on you before, Adam. And it’s only a matter of time before you cheat on him. Again. Now, how about Occupy Wall Street? About fucking time, huh?”

Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at

Commentarium (60 Comments)

Oct 19 11 - 12:29am

"I don’t want to abandon her, because she is a pillar of support that I truly need."

Very telling. You don't want to "abandon" her for completely selfish reasons.

Oct 19 11 - 1:46am

I find the desire for conventional attractiveness to be fascinating (among other things), because I've been told that I continually see and am attracted to unconventionally beautiful women. Conventional beauty generally does nothing for me. It's the unconventional that seems to draw me every time. I doubt I'm alone in that.

Oct 19 11 - 7:32am

Well said, I'm with you on this!

Oct 19 11 - 6:51pm

I mention this as a point of interest and not merely to be a douche, as I don't know what you look like and wouldn't presume to, but there was an interesting study that indicated that men who are less traditionally attractive tend to find less traditionally attractive women more attractive. Or, in a less convoluted sense, if you're less hot you're into less hot people.

Oct 19 11 - 2:39am

I have trouble believing #1 is real. It's just so obviously douchey.

Oct 19 11 - 10:05am


Oct 19 11 - 10:31am

Yeah, Dan got trolled.

Oct 20 11 - 4:48pm

you never know

Oct 21 11 - 11:13am

Even if fake, an answer to a hypothetical question is still useful.

Oct 19 11 - 5:29am

Your advice to #1 is perfectly appropriate, but where did you get the information about him having met his gf when he was 23 ?

Oct 19 11 - 9:23am

Sometimes he edits letters. There was probably something about how they'd been dating a year in the original.

Oct 19 11 - 2:40pm

It actually seems like Nerve edited out the "we've known each other for a year" part, which is the one that ended up in rss feed (it's included in the Onion AV Club version)

Oct 19 11 - 8:22am

I've got no trouble believing #1. A large chunk of the male population seems to think that they deserve supermodels based on the... on the... well, I've never been able to figure out what makes them think they deserve said supermodels, as most of the guys who think that aren't exactly "catches" themselves. I've seen the attitude in that letter more than once.

Oct 19 11 - 4:39pm

Why do both you and Savage find it necessary to claim the guy thinks he's "entitled to" or deserves" someone hot? Nowhere in the letter does it say that. There may be guys out there who think that, but wanting something doesn't equate to thinking you're entitled to it. There's enough that's potentially douchey about this guy's letter without putting words in his mouth to make him seem worse.

Oct 19 11 - 6:05pm

You've got a point. I think I was just assuming the entitlement, based on the overall douche factor... entitlement is often found in douches, as it were

Oct 22 11 - 9:43pm

I have a friend that thinks he's entitled to super hot chicks... he spends a lot of time not getting laid.

Oct 19 11 - 8:51am

Shitting eggs? Gold medal for being hella crude.

Oct 19 11 - 11:08am

yeah, i was all "mhm, mhm, good advice, yes that happens, wait who is shitting eggs??" then my brain went off on an egg-shitting adventure on my head. damn! there go my manly man man fantasies. who shits eggs?

Oct 19 11 - 11:40am

so so wrong...

Oct 19 11 - 12:46pm

I agree JK, I laughed so hard, and egg came out of my nose.

Oct 19 11 - 7:50pm

Ugh. I just shit a coconut.

Oct 20 11 - 12:22am

I think crudeness provides a nice counterweight to the so-called miracle of procreation. See also: "So-and-so just farted out a baby last week."

Oct 19 11 - 1:46pm

50% of marriages ending in divorce is a myth. Please stop perpetuating it.

Oct 19 11 - 4:29pm

Right. Maybe the statistic is closer to 60 PERCENT now!

Oct 19 11 - 6:51pm

Actually, Gee, it's not. "More reliable statistics are available that measure the percentage of marriages that end in divorce within 10 years. One data set based on age of the bride indicates that the rate is 48% for people under 18, 40% for ages 18–19, 29% for 20-24, and 24% for 25 and older.[15]"

Oct 20 11 - 3:10pm

show me your source.

Oct 24 11 - 12:24am

It's so refreshing to see someone on the internet who's never heard of search engines!

Oct 19 11 - 4:32pm

It's pretty close though:

Do you have a source for your claim, or do you just say things?

Oct 19 11 - 7:51pm

In general, I just say things. It's considerably simpler than having to go look through books and facts and messy things like that. Say - you don't think that there's a problem with that, do you? What are you, a communist or something????

Oct 19 11 - 11:46pm

I like that wikipedia is the reliable source cited here.

Oct 20 11 - 3:22pm

Wikipedia often cites other sources. In fact if you go make yourself a Wikipedia entry without quoting any verifiable sources, you will quickly find it's been flagged as lacking in credibility for that very reason.

Oct 19 11 - 5:07pm

1. MRA is his own worst nightmare. Rest assured, he will die alone (or at least miserable)
2. The egg/ovulating/attraction thing. I'm big on that.
3. Dan Savage - you are a boss.

Oct 21 11 - 4:21pm

And the fertility/attraction thing is a huge reason why I think taking hormonal birth control is a shitty idea.

Nov 03 11 - 11:37am

I know. I take it because having a baby would be an even shittier idea at this point in my life, but I'm genuinely afraid of the potential consequences. I have a rule that I'm going off it for a solid 6 months before getting married to guarantee I don't get myself into a horrible situation.

Oct 19 11 - 6:11pm

You nailed it on the first letter. Who the fuck are these fugly guys who want hot babes? Go out and make your millions, otherwise, keep living in your parents basement's and jerking off. Alone.

Oct 27 11 - 6:39pm
Le Dude

Yeah. I love those 6-8s on the hotness scale. Everyone is after the 10s and there is a whole freakin' herd left alone grazing.

Oct 19 11 - 10:10pm

YES, you're a jerk! But you also sound like a pretty typical early-20s male with little dating experience, and in my experience they can be supremely jerky. You need to dump this girl, profusely apologize for being such a huge fucking jerk to her, and sincerely wish her a happy and beautiful life. And then you need to date other girls. And try not to be such a massive freaking jerk next time.

Oct 19 11 - 10:18pm


Oct 19 11 - 10:55pm

FANTASY: It's also common to just simply want something different. When you have been with your boyfriend long enough to be considered "long term," a new guy seems spicy and wild. Feel free to look but not touch the new guy, and then try to spice up your love life with your old boyfriend by trying new things. Novelty keeps things going when you're young.

Also, are you on birth control? I had major problems with birth control and libido, same sort of thing. I didn't want my boyfriend but wanted other men. I started using different birth control then the pill.

Oct 20 11 - 12:58am

I like Miss Information better than Dan.

Oct 20 11 - 1:47am

Letter number 1, don't worry about it. You may be delusional, but probably like most men you have a pretty good innate sense of your objective position in the sexual market, and you're probably realising that that position is rising because (a) you have been awkward and under performing until now (you are writing to a website for sex advice after all) and (b) you're getting older. Now in my early thirties, after more than a decade of awkwardness I find that I have to beat the hot young girls off with a stick, the same girls who of course I got nowhere with a decade ago. Perhaps not coincidentally, the older I get the more I find myself valuing physical attractiveness in a women relative to her other qualities. so I'm sure I'll be vilified here, but embrace the reality of things, my friend. the reality is that the two genders are on separate trajectories (which Dan great as he is, is not in a position to understand) and regretful is the man who takes himself out of circulation prematurely. At 28 and 24 respectively, your gf and you are heading in completely opposite directions in terms of the sexual marketplace.

Oct 20 11 - 4:49pm

wait...are you sticking up for this asshole?!

Oct 24 11 - 10:46am

Not vilified, more pitied. Hope you and LW1 enjoy your empty, lonely lives.

Nov 03 11 - 11:39am

Amen to that (... that being well and jules, not this delusional jb character)

Oct 20 11 - 2:09pm

First guy is a piece of shit. Dan is spot on here.

Oct 20 11 - 3:26pm

LW #1 - you're a total asshole. Grow up.
LW #2 - I knew it! I saw the way you look at me. I'll be waiting in my room when your bf leaves.
LW #3 - what Dan said.

Oct 20 11 - 5:14pm
Carlos Cabrera

"I broke up with a girl because she wasn't hot enough for me. Am I a jerk?"

Short answer - "yes" with an "if"
long answer - "No" with a "but"

Oct 23 11 - 3:31pm

So what are they?

Oct 21 11 - 12:02am

first of all, anyone who didn't have sex until he was 23 and didn't know that this letter made him sound terrible is hopeless and needs to be as nice as possible to ever girl he meets.

now time for my tangent: I'll be much more in favor of the group instinct that attacks 'douches' for pursuing thin, blonde, young, 'commercially' hot women the moment the women of the world stop being even more obvious about going after only tall guys.

Oct 21 11 - 9:52am

I don't like 'em tall. Just taller than me.

Short girls, unite!

Oct 22 11 - 12:08pm

This is completely based on assumptions and experience...but could it be that a lot of the time taller men have more confidence and are better leaders because they are taller, and have been groomed to think of themselves differently since childhood? I'm not saying it's fair, but I've found this to be the case.

Oct 22 11 - 6:49pm

@LD -
You could make the same pseudo-psychology argument about traditionally beautiful women just being raised to be more confident and socially assertive. But to the original comment - I think that the reaction of "oh, this guy is a douche" is less from wanted to date only beautiful women, and more for treating a girl who cared about him like shit.

Oct 21 11 - 11:46am

YESERY you Sure ARE a JERK YOU always give it three years if you both get along and enjoy each other @L@ see you have A winner:) DONT blame If the only one who comes to you is Very Ugly And hasint Cleaned up for a year :$(yuck ha pay backs can be deadly HAHAHA

Oct 21 11 - 2:19pm

I really want this guy to get his own advice column.

Oct 23 11 - 12:51pm

Look, I'm in no way condoning MRA's behavior, but two points: 1. People delay sexual activity for a lot of reasons, not just because they "can't" get any (maybe he had crippling insecurities, maybe he was obese until he was 22, maybe he was an evangelical Christian until he was 22) and 2. I know this kid, or at least several boys like him - the kids who desperately want to be the "good guys" but can't stop analyzing their internal struggles with sexual desires to the point that they intellectually justify superficial and selfish behavior. ***Kid, get thee to a therapist.***

Oct 24 11 - 5:09pm

well put

Oct 24 11 - 5:09pm

Ummm, I take offense to calling someone unattractive, and saying that they must definitely be unattractive, if they didn't have sex until 23, there can be many reasons for that ie I didn't have sex until I was 25, not because I was unattractive (I've been told I'm definitely above average,) but due to upbringing, guilt etc

Oct 25 11 - 4:24pm

"Is it a bad idea to resume a relationship with her while I pursue other women?"

Seriously?! How can someone write this and not think its chock full of douche

Oct 27 11 - 6:44pm
Le Dude

Be serious - this shit happens all the time. I know many men and women who go from partner to partner with barely 24 hours of being single in between. I'm not saying its smart or grown up but people do it all the time.

Oct 27 11 - 6:44pm
Le Dude

Be serious - this shit happens all the time. I know many men and women who go from partner to partner with barely 24 hours of being single in between. I'm not saying its smart or grown up but people do it all the time.