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There's a Man in the Class ...

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​“Take a picture of him, so people know men take this class,” advised one of my students during a workshop. The elderly lady making the declaration had her arm fully extended, and pointed her red-tipped finger at the lone male fixing his sample plate of homemade buttermilk, sour cream and cream cheese during a Mesophilic Cheese-Making Workshop. Everyone chuckled, and he smiled along with us.

Sometimes, the only way I can get proof that men attend our workshops are through candid photographs. Our lone male student in this class was so tall that he had to stoop down, even with the height of the kitchen counter, to keep loading up his sample plate. I took a picture of him adding a dollop of red pepper jelly to the homemade cream cheese.

Whether soap-making or cheese-making -- or any other domestic-themed workshop the Collin County Farm Museum offers -- I always seem to end up with a single man in a workshop full of women. Thankfully, it does not seem to faze them, and they frequently add a bit of silliness and humor to the workshops.

Looking back over the course of the year, I have yet to have a man come to a domestic workshop by himself. What I mean is, men typically come to the workshops with their girlfriends or their wives, and in some cases with their daughters.

One of my favorite duos was a father in a soap-making workshop who signed up with his teenaged daughter. Tuesdays were his day off, so he picked up his daughter early from school and they worked as a team learning to make a variety of different soaps. They shared stories with me, such as the hours they spent together picking out scent combinations to add to their soaps.

One of the best combinations they came up with was a lemon-jasmine goats milk soap that smelled like fresh spring, and a Grapefruit-Ylang Ylang shampoo bar that reminded me of summer.  

While I am more than happy to see a man come to class with his female partner, I wish more men felt comfortable coming by themselves. I look forward to the day when I can say, “men take our domestic workshops,” instead of “A man…”

-- Jennifer Rogers

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