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Savage Love: Pannies and Forties 

Dear Dan,

I'm a 24-year-old straight male and I'm unattractive. Physically I'm not bad (not hot, but not ugly), but sadly, I've suffered from extreme depression all my life. I've gotten help, and it's made me a little better, to the point where I'm functional. Now here's my issue: Low self-esteem and lethargy aren't exactly the best things for attracting the opposite sex. My sex life is poor, and my love life is nonexistent. I've never felt romantic chemistry with a woman ever, and I'm honestly losing any faith that it will ever happen. I've always tried to respect women, but my inability to attract them sometimes leaves me feeling resentful. I don't want to become a bitter men's rights activist, so I'm wondering if you have any advice.Unattractive Guy Longingly Yearns

Did you see Louis C.K.'s most recent comedy special? He does this bit about schlumpy guys—guys like him—who don't have much luck with women when they're young. "I like getting older," he says, "because for me, the kind of guy I am, getting older makes my life better. My sex life? Way better at 45... I'd like to make one of those 'It Gets Better' ads for dumpy young guys. We could use a little help, a little encouragement."

My advice for you: Keep working on your depression, throw yourself into nonsexual pursuits that you enjoy, find a job you like and build a career, locate and patronize (and overtip) an independent sex worker (which can help you learn to interact with women), and don't allow bitterness to ruin you for all those women you're gonna get with in your 40s.

Dear Dan,

Love you, Dan, but I expected a little bit more from you in your response to ERR, a restaurant manager who was attempting to advise a "Mexican" employee who was having romantic problems. Unless the word Mexican was used to describe a hardworking, loyal, honest, eager worker, I'm not sure how it was in any way germane to the story. When reading your response, I was surprised you didn't address this with ERR. I'm not sure what being Mexican has to do with this issue at all. On some levels, ERR including it, or you not addressing it, seems to underlie, and subliminally support, some people's predisposed—okay, prejudicial—views. Here's a fun exercise. Replace the word Mexican with the word "black" in ERR's question. Now try Jew. Now try Russian... French... Italian... Thousand Islands? (Kidding, but this is a restaurant we're talking about.) See how the descriptor of the person can change the feel of the story, without it actually being in any way part of it? Care to comment? ¿Por favor? Tim In Toronto

A lot of immigrants from Mexico—documented and undocumented—work in restaurants in the United States, TIT. Having worked in restaurants myself, and having worked with a lot of Mexican immigrants, I thought the detail was germane for this reason: New or relatively new residents are often baffled by our strange sexual mores, which can include married ladies sleeping with restaurant workers who aren't their husbands. And during my years in the restaurant industry, TIT, I witnessed many decent and kind restaurant managers help their Mexican employees—some of whom were struggling not just with cultural barriers but also with language barriers—navigate the strange and unfamiliar social, political, and sexual mores, norms, and expectations they were encountering in the United States. So the detail struck me as both relevant and benign.

Find the Savage Lovecats (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage

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