November 27, 2020

‘Naked Dating’

Harlan Cohen held up a brown thong to his audience in the Winifred-Moore Auditorium. Laughter filled the room when Cohen said being comfortable in your “thong” is a way to find and stay in a great relationship. It’s all part of the five steps to finding the love of your life in his newest book, “Getting Naked.”

Cohen says you must learn to be comfortable in your thong to attract attention. Being comfortable in your thong means being comfortable with who you are. Cohen said a great relationship occurs when two people encourage each other to be comfortable in their thongs. He said there are three types of thongs: spiritual, emotional and physical.

“I think it’s amazing that we learn so many things in higher education,” Cohen said. “It is about helping you find a career. We retire from our careers but the relationships last beyond that. We spend very little time on, and there are no classes on, dating and relationships. It’s astounding to me that that is how it is presented.”

Cohen is an author, guest speaker and advice columnist.  At the age of 22, his advice column “Helping Harlan” ran regularly in the New York Daily News. Cohen has also appeared on television and radio programs.

He visited Webster Thursday, April 12 to speak about dating and relationships. It wasn’t Cohen’s first time at Webster — he had also visited during new student orientation in fall 2011 and spoke about his New York Times Best-seller, “The Naked Roommate”.

Sarah Tetley, director of first year experience, said she appreciates Cohen because he is so comfortable with himself.

“He is just honest and willing to put himself out there, and willing to say weird, crazy and sometimes awkward things,” Tetley said.

Cohen talked to audience members about their struggles with relationships.

“Every person needs to give the world permission to want or not want them,” Cohen said.

Cohen has spoken at more than 400 colleges. He has observed one common problem college students have with relationships.

“There’s an epidemic of fear when it comes to taking risks,” Cohen said. “Everyone is so afraid of not getting what they want. It is the seed that grows into all the drama and confusion.”

Cohen finished his presentation by answering questions from the audience.

Afterwards, audience members formed a line and talked to Cohen about their personal issues.

Steven Lerman, senior psychology major, said he will take Cohen’s advice.

“I think (as college students) we’re stuck in a certain mindset that prevents us from speaking our minds,” Lerman said. “Instead we play this game and we don’t know how to be expressive with our feelings.”

Cohen will be back at Webster in fall 2012. He will speak to new students at orientation.

“Clothes don’t sell books,” Cohen said. “Nobody cares. Getting dressed is boring. Naked exposes the truth, it’s honest and it’s candid. There’s no hiding and that’s really what I am about, uncovering the truth.”

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