By Megan Bratton, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor
Author, speaker and syndicated advice columnist Harlan Cohen spoke at KU on Wednesday, Oct. 2 in the Student Union Building at 7 p.m. His lecture was entitled “Naked Dating,” and he spoke to KU students about the realities of relationships.
Cohen interacted with students by going through the crowd and talking to different people. He asked their relationship status, why they had made that choice and if they were looking for love.
Talking about sex and relationships can be an uncomfortable subject for a lot of people, especially college students. To prevent embarrassment, Cohen gave students his email address, and students emailed him questions they were too afraid to ask.
He also referenced information from two of his popular books, The Naked Roommate and Getting Naked.
“Look at yourself in your thong,” said Cohen. “Stare at yourself at all angles for 15 minutes. After you accept yourself physically, take off your thong and place it on your head.” He stressed the importance of having confidence with your physical appearance and personal character. “With your thong on your head, think of all of the good and bad things about yourself. Once you accept your flaws, you can accept rejection.”
Cohen thinks that accepting rejection is the key to successful relationships.
“You won’t have as many fights, be as upset with breakups or too scared to talk to your crush,” he said.
He loves talking to college students because he said he likes to help young people. When talking to a student in a troubled relationship, he asked if they would still be single if they knew 10 people would kill to date them.
Though he does not want to cause any breakups, he said that he wants to help prevent people from staying with someone only for fear of being alone.
“A lot of people (adults and teenagers) stay in relationships because they think that they don’t have options,” he said. “Once they realize that they have options they will be empowered.”
Cohen started his career by studying journalism. He started a column for his high school newspaper. His peers would write to him asking for advice and he would respond in “Help Me Harlan.” The column is still successful today at Indiana University as well as The Pittsburgh Post and NakedRoommate.com.
He became a master of love by living through it.
“I have been single longer than expected. I have been broken hearted too many times. I have been in the strongest relationships, and the worst,” said Cohen. “I have experience in different types of love and I can help people by giving them advice.”