BY: JACOB BLAIR and KALEIGH UNDERWOOD
Before college students leave home for the first time, it’s likely some may pick up Harlan Cohen’s book The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College.
Therefore, it’s fitting that during the week of Valentine’s Day Cohen paid a visit to Eastern’s campus to talk about how college students can improve their chances of finding a romantic mate.
“The question is if you’re single, what are you doing about it?” Cohen asked the crowd of a few dozen students who gathered Monday night in Powell Underground. He went on to discuss his “roadmap,” a series of suggestions for going outside of one’s comfort zone and meeting new people.
“We can do so much in the classroom, but they don’t teach you shit outside the classroom when it comes to emotional risk-taking,” Cohen said. “It’s all about putting yourself in a room with other people and putting yourself out there.”
Cohen offered up a strategy to help students improve their confidence, which he dubbed “training in your thong.” Cohen pulled out a purple thong, which he then swung around on his finger. Then, holding the thong up, Cohen said students should take a look at their naked selves, becoming more comfortable with who they are and how they look.
If they were comfortable in a thong — both physically and emotionally — they’d have a lot less to worry about, and they’d be far more confident in their interactions with others.
The metaphor struck a comic note with the students in attendance.
“The best part of that whole spiel was not just the topic of conversation,” said Caitlyn Cook, occupational sciences major from Glasgow. “It was Harlan walking around stage, man-handling a lacy purple thong.”
Cohen also tackled the topic of roommates. He said there were three rules that govern roommate behavior: First, if you want to get along, you can. Second, just because you’re roommates doesn’t mean you have to be friends. If you want to be, then it works out. If not, then it’s no big deal. Third, roommates need to talk about things. Being honest with your roommate and telling him or her about issues bothering you will allow for a much more open relationship, which certainly can’t hurt.
In addition, Cohen had students submit questions anonymously by email, which he then answered during the show. Students came to hear answers to their questions, tips and even current relationship support.
“My boyfriend and I got in a fight,” said Sara Chambers, undeclared from Shelby County. “So I actually came for advice.”
For more information about Cohen’s message, visit his website at www.gettingnakedexperiment.com.