Hey Harlan,

I’m 20 years old, and I’m already balding pretty bad. It’s my hairline and the top of my head. It’s getting worse, and I have a good feeling I’m going to lose a significant amount of hair by the time I’m done with college. I joke with a senior on my team who’s going through something similar, but he’s three years older than me and doesn’t have it as bad. I’m sure I’m not the only guy my age with this problem, but it doesn’t seem anywhere near common. It’s starting to hurt my confidence pretty bad, because it’s an obvious issue and I don’t know that I can do much to stop it. Rogaine is expensive and takes forever to help, plus I would need to use it for the rest of my life. I’m a pretty confident guy, so this struggle is new to me. Let me know if you have any advice.

Balding

Hey Balding,

No man likes losing his hair. I hate it. Anyone who tells you it’s no big deal has his hair, fake hair or is a bald liar. It’s a very big deal. And if you’re 20, it’s an even bigger deal.

I’m using a new shampoo to combat my thinning hair. It’s called Nioxin. I think it’s working. Who knows? But if I do lose the rest of my hair, I have a plan. I’m going to wear a hat, so I don’t get a sunburn, and focus on my other best qualities.

I’m going to be funnier, smarter, fitter, write more, do more and focus on my strengths. The more I focus on my strengths, the less people will focus on hair. It’s only a problem when you make it a problem. And that’s what women told me when I asked them this question on Facebook. A lot of women have a lot of love for men who don’t have a lot of hair. As one woman commented, “Hair goes away, personality lasts forever.” So come up with a plan and focus on your strengths. Get cut (six-pack), make people laugh, create a billion-dollar start up. As for the Rogaine, invest the money on spoiling smart women with a lot of love for a man with thinning hair.

Dear Harlan,

I’ve liked this guy my whole life. I’m 23 now, and he is 24. About two months ago, he sent me a message on Facebook asking for my number. We text all the time. I don’t know if he likes me or not. Should I tell him? I just don’t know what to do.

Texting

Dear Texting,

I’m like a rejection stuntman. I know how to get rejected. I’ve been getting rejected for years. I can handle the painful and ugly truth. I’ve figured out how to safely face rejection, get hurt and move forward. It’s how I found love. But you haven’t. I know you haven’t because being honest is too dangerous for you. It’s too uncomfortable for you to get hurt or rejected. I think it’s also too dangerous for you to fall in love. If this guy wants to date you, you’ll be worried that you’re doing something wrong. He’ll have all the power because you won’t feel good enough to assert yourself and risk losing him. Do yourself a big favor — talk to a therapist. Figure out why it’s so hard for you to tell a guy you’ve known most of your life how you feel. It’s time.

Harlan is author of “Getting Naked: Five Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life (While Fully Clothed and Totally Sober)” (St. Martin’s Press). Write Harlan at [email protected] or visit online: www.helpmeharlan.com. All letters submitted become property of the author. Send paper to Help Me, Harlan!, 3501 N. Southport Ave., Suite 226, Chicago, IL 60657.

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