Dear Annie: I would like to respond to “A Sad Mom,” whose daughter has herpes.
A couple of years ago, I became infected by a partner who was dishonest.
Until then, I was a healthy 22-year-old single woman. My first outbreak changed all that.
I felt betrayed not only by my boyfriend, but by my own body.
How could I have been so stupid?
I felt disgusting. I thought no one would ever want to be with me unless they, too, had herpes, and I wouldn’t want to interact with “those people.”
Then one day, I broke down and cried to one of my best guy friends.
He told me he had a girlfriend with herpes and it was no big deal.
It made me realize that great guys would date someone with herpes. I realized I wasn’t alone, that people didn’t think I was worthless.
And “those people” are one out of every five people I meet.
I have been rejected, and yes, it hurts.
But I have also accepted that it is my potential partner’s right to choose for himself whether he wants to take on the risk. I wish my ex had had the same courtesy for me.
Two years ago, I met someone, and when our relationship seemed to be getting serious, I knew I had to tell him. It was one of the hardest things I have done.
Last April, we were married. He still does not have herpes, and we are trying to have a baby. Your love life does not end with herpes. Learn to love your body again, and don’t be afraid to let someone else love it, too. — Happy in My Skin
Dear Annie: What is the proper way to respond when someone phones and asks for you?
For example, when I have a phone call and the caller asks, “May I speak to Mary?” is it proper to say, “This is she”?
Is it better to say “Speaking” or “This is Mary”?
I have asked a number of people, but I get varying replies. — Confused in Riverside, Calif.
Dear Riverside: How nice that you wish to reply properly.
All of your suggested responses are perfectly fine. Feel free to give them each a turn.
Dear Annie: I completely disagree with your response to “Just Wondering in Indiana,” who was bothered by the tooth-brusher in the bowling alley restroom.
You never know someone’s personal situation. What if that young girl recently underwent oral surgery and was required to keep her teeth brushed after eating?
“Indiana” should take a bottle of hand sanitizer with her and use that to cleanse her hands because brushing one’s teeth is hardly the worst thing that happens in a public bathroom. — Pennsylvania
Dear Pennsylvania: We were surprised by the number of people who like to brush in public places. As we said, if there is a good reason to be brushing in the restroom, fine, but in general, personal hygiene should be done at home, and we are sticking with that.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.