It’s 2014! Time To Grow Your Game With ROGAINE®! #gotitfree #ROGAINE

piclabI participated in an Influencer Program on behalf of Dad Central for ROGAINE®. I received a product sample and promotional item to thank me for participating.” To read more about Dad Central, please click here.

Hereditary hair loss affects up to 40% of all men and more than 15 million men (myself included) admit to being concerned about the condition. Luckily, Men’s ROGAINE® Foam is the first easy to use foam FDA approved to help regrow hair containing 5% minoxidil, the ONLY topical ingredient FDA approved to help regrow hair. In clinical testing Men’s ROGAINE® Foam regrew hair in nearly 9 out of 10 men when used twice daily over 16 weeks. I am one of these of these millions.

I can’t remember when I started using ROGAINE® Foam, but I do know that is has rapidly slowed my hair loss over the years. My wife has told me on numerous occasions that my hair looks very similar to what it did 4, 5, 6 years ago. I can thank ROGAINE® for that because losing my hair was just another thing damaging my confidence.

Hair loss doesn’t just affect us normal schlubs. As you can see by all the crazy toupees (see Burt Reynolds, William Shatner, et al) and hair weaves (Elton John), people in the public eye are just as affected. Bill Rancic, the first winner of Donald Trump’s successful reality program, The Apprentice, is one such person. Mr. Rancic, currently a motivational speaker, real estate developer, restaurant owner and author of a New York Times best-selling book on business, joined with ROGAINE® and Men’s Health in May 2012 as a “Growth Coach” to form an initiative dubbed “GROW YOUR GAME™“. The program, which has Mr. Rancic mentoring 5 regular guys dealing with hair loss and tackling life, is designed to inspire men struggling with hair loss to regain confidence in their appearance and lives, a must in this image-obsessed world. Using interactive social media platforms that, much like a successful reality program, GROW YOUR GAME™ will show these particular 5 men experience results over time via daily updates, barbershop check-ins and even bar meetups.

According to Mr. Rancic: “When you GROW YOUR GAME™, you’re taking life to the next level. I’ve spent time with these 5 guys and they’re sharp. Now, they have access to the top experts in the country in work, fitness, love and life. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. Men’s Health and the ROGAINE® brand are working with 5 guys, like you, to grow their game.”

It’s nice to know that someone like Mr. Rancic is indeed like me – worried about hair loss, appearance and the associated loss of confidence. I’m just a regular person, a stay-at-home dad struggling with similar issues as an entrepreneur such as Mr. Rancic. There’s a comfort in that…a bond, if you will. I appreciate that he’s taking the time to motivate these 5 men and head the GROW YOUR GAME™ initiative.

I remember being a little kid and wanting to explore my dad’s face and hair with my hands…something all toddlers like to do. Any time I came close to my dad’s hair, he’d pull his head away or move my hands because he was afraid my touching would contribute to his hair loss. I don’t want that for Sienna. I want her to be run her fingers through my hair at will as a means to bring us even closer together. Father and daughter. I know my using ROGAINE®  has helped me overcome those same fears that ran through my father’s mind thereby letting my daughter tug at my hair and giggle. I want her to feel free and unafraid.

When I agreed to take part in this program on behalf of Dad Central, I was given a question: “As a father, what advice can you offer your readers to help them be the best Dad possible in 2014?”

The answer to me is simple: bonding. Dads need to give their children tons of physical and emotional affection, hugs and compliments and reassurances by the zillion. A successful dad is a loving and caring dad, and my Sienna will never lack for love.

Hat Tricks

If you’ve seen a photo of me, odds are I’m wearing a beat-up old Yankees cap. If you’ve met me in person, I probably was wearing either that hat or a NY Giants cap. Maybe a University of Michigan hat or one advertising my love for Breaking Bad. Maybe you think I’m a die-hard Yankee fan (I was, but not since 2001 when the dynasty broke up and the front office started making all the wrong moves…again). Maybe you think I’m losing my hair (I am a bit). Maybe you think I’m uncouth, unstylish or lazy. Maybe you haven’t noticed or thought about it at all even if I feel you have. Now that I’ve been chosen as a Blog Spotlight Reader at this year’s Dad 2.0 Summit, I’ve been thinking about it a lot because the fact is, I don’t know if I can get on that stage without it. My hat is my security blanket.



I normally feel uncomfortable in front of people, have felt that way for as long as I can remember, but I feel completely exposed if I’m not wearing a hat, as if someone, anyone can directly see the chaos, self-loathing and anxiety constantly cannoning through my mind. When my head’s covered, I feel less naked. Not in control – not by a long shot – but somehow more protected.

I started wearing a hat during day camp when I was free from school and family rules. I was able to slide the brim low so other kids couldn’t see my fear, especially when I developed severely emasculating gynecomastia (male breast enlargement that was finally corrected 10 years ago) at age 11 followed by a massive thatch of thick, black back hair (95% of which was zapped away over the past 3 years). I was already being bullied by kids and authority figures and already feeling unloved, cast out and like a failure by the time I started wearing my hat religiously (sometimes carrying it in my backpack and putting it on after school, for instance), but the onset of those two physical conditions forced me to be of aware of my body at all times coupled with a desperate need to hide it. My hat, I felt at the time, made me a little less conspicuous, though the irony is that it became just more bait for camp bullies (cruel games of keep-away, for instance). Even today it giveth and it taketh away. I feel a nagging need to wear my hat to feel better, but I also wonder who’s looking at me, who’s talking about the freak who always wears that damn battered Yankee cap as people sometimes did in college when I almost never took it off. Sometimes I wonder if my hat’s actually keeping me prisoner.

When I first started seeing my current therapist (my 4th and best by far), she asked me to take my hat off during session; I think she recognized instantly that I cling to it. It’s been around 6 years and my therapist says I’ve made enough progress that it’s completely my choice regarding wearing it, but still, one of the first things I do when I sit down with her is take off my hat. Sometimes I glance at it longingly and when things get very intense I’ll unconsciously reach out to touch the brim that normally shadows my face only to settle for nervously combing my fingers through my hair.

Sienna has no idea why Daddy’s always wearing a hat at family functions or when people are visiting or when we’re out in public, but she loves to play with it. She grabs it off my head, eyes and mouth all smiles and laughs, and tries to put it back on myself or Elaine. I don’t wear it when we’re alone in the apartment, but if she sees it she starts yelling, “Hat! Hat! Hat!” and clamors for me to put it on.  My heart aches when she does this. Sometimes with love, but other times with uneasiness because I don’t want her to think of me of weak (and yes I know that’s irrational).


Sienna tries to uncover the mysterious within Daddy’s hat

So will I wear it on stage at Dad 2.0? I have no idea. Can I? That’s one of things I’ve been fretting about. How do I have to dress? I know I’m going be nervous as hell and as I wrote earlier, I’m not sure I can handle going up there without it. When asked his advice on dress, Jason Greene of One Good Dad wrote me that I shouldn’t feel scared people will judge me for wearing it because this is a community that doesn’t scrutinize. But then I also think about what it might symbolically mean for Sienna should I not wear the hat, should I display that extra courage. Is it enough that Daddy’s confronting his overwhelming anxieties by not just going to this conference, but speaking at it? She’ll be 22 months at the time. She could care less. And yet I feel like I shouldn’t wear it because I’d be setting an example. I want my daughter to look at me as a strong person and father. I never want her to feel the need to carry around a security blanket, particularly when she’s nearing 40.

Even if I don’t wear it at the podium, I’m sure I’ll be wearing it most of the time. If anything it’ll be an easy way for you guys to recognize me. Just look for the terrified guy in the old, threadbare Yankee cap.