Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 8:00 pm
Dear Annie: A few years ago, I was ready to begin a new job pending a drug test and was told to call a few days after for my start date. I live cleanly and don’t touch drugs or alcohol.
I contacted the company and left a voicemail. I called again the next day. This went on for a week until I finally managed to get a real person on the phone. She said my drug test was positive and I was ineligible for employment. I protested and asked for a re-test. She said they wouldn’t do that and the job had already been given to someone else.
Now I am in the job market again and rightly am concerned about drug testing. I still don’t know what caused my false positive. I’ve researched the issue and found that cold medicines, pain relievers, prescription medication and even an individual’s normal body chemistry could cause a false positive.
So here’s my dilemma: If I should be offered a job contingent upon a drug test and I decline to take the test, I won’t get the job. But if I take the test and get a false positive, I risk losing the job and also losing my unemployment benefits. What should I do? — Innocent While “Proven” Guilty
Dear Innocent: Drug tests generally produce false-positive results in 5 to 10 percent of cases. Some perfectly legal substances, including certain foods and prescription medications, can produce false positives (e.g., poppy seed bagels, some cold medications, antidepressants, antibiotics and pain meds). The National Institutes of Health encourages anyone who may require a drug screening to ask your pharmacist or health provider about specific medications that might give a false-positive result. Inform your potential employer in advance, and request that they confirm the results through gas-chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS).
Dear Annie: I am a 14-year-old boy and have always wanted really long hair, but my parents won’t let me grow it out. My two sisters are allowed to have long hair, but not me.
So my question is, why can girls have their hair any length they want, but boys have to cut it short? I don’t think that’s fair. — Dreaming of Long Hair
Dear Dreaming: Like it or not, people judge others by their appearance, and for some, long hair on a boy can seem effeminate, unprofessional or the sign of a slacker. It also is an unconventional look, and this may be why your parents object. You could ask for a compromise — perhaps grow it a little longer. But otherwise, you simply will have to wait until you are out of the house and can grow your hair as long as you wish. But regardless of length, please keep it clean and well-groomed.
Dear Annie: As a regular reader, I am chagrined that you have bought into the myth that women lose interest in sex once they’ve gone through menopause.
Yes, some women do. But it is not a given. Older women are fearful to talk about their strong libido because there seems to be a taboo against it. If women have less libido at any age, they can be given testosterone by their doctors and again enjoy a full sex life.
Most often, the partners do not take each other’s sexual needs into consideration. Men can be sexual klutzes for years, and wives may use menopause as an excuse to deny them sex.
Please revise your thinking before saying that menopause causes women to lose interest in sex. — Sex Therapist
Dear Therapist: You need a refresher course. The vast majority of post-menopausal women DO lose interest in sex. The very idea that they would require hormone replacement therapy indicates that the hormones are lacking. And many women cannot safely take hormones, so your “solution” isn’t so simple. But we do agree that each spouse should take the other’s sexual needs into consideration.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 1.10.12