His and Hers

Once in a while, men need to be men, and women need to get away from them. Sometimes, this separation is as simple as the stereotypical boys' night at the sports bar or a girlie shopping spree. But other times, it takes the form of entire gender-skewed weekends. Such is the case with this weekend's coincidence of the Silk Patchwork Workshop (SPW) and the Texas State Tomahawk and Knife Championship and Mountain Man Rendezvous (MMR). If you can't tell from the titles, the following rundown should help you decide which to attend:

Activities
SPW: Emoting, journal-writing, talking, celebrating life, developing a soulful camaraderie with other women and converting "scraps of soul" into images on silk.

MMR: Tomahawk-throwing, powder rifle-shooting, campfire-making, flint-knapping, craft-selling, Native American dancing, primitive archery, guitar-strumming, buffalo fat-chewing and tall tale-telling.

Key Players
SPW: Jan Janas is a silk artist; Dr. Lynne Parsons is a clinical psychologist whose goal is "helping women honor their lives."

MMR: Balladeer Bobby Bridger, great-grand-nephew of famous fur trapper and government scout Jim Bridger, performs epic songs of remedial Texas history. Dale Myres spends the weekend as buckskinner-entertainer extraordinaire "Sourdough"; he also plays the Indian love flute. Dayton Denton is the Traders Village director of marketing and himself a longtime Mountain Man.

Best P.R. Quote
SPW: "My body and soul were being nurtured from the land and the feminine energy around me."

MMR: "Think Daniel Boone, Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett or even Robert Redford in Jeremiah Johnson."

Attire
SPW: Judging from promotional photos, we'd suggest breezy, flowing, perfect-for-walking-and-talking pastels, but you might also see a plaid flannel shirt or two. Don't bother to shave your legs.

MMR: "You don't see these guys wearing tennis shoes," says Denton. "They have to be in pre-1840 costume." Yep, that means buckskin pants and coonskin caps. Oh, and in case there was any question: "You don't have to shave the day you go."

Food
SPW: Home-cooked meals will be prepared by the women, for the women, in a communal kitchen. Rest assured that accommodations can be made for vegetarians.

MMR: The $10 per plate Pelt and Plew Buffalo Feast. "Buffalo or 'Buffler' as the Mountain Man would say was a stable [sic] for the always hungry Mountain Man and Trapper," explains the press release. "A healthy backwoodsman could eat nine pounds of meat a day. The Mountain Man's favorite was the buffalo hump, with the tongue always considered a delicacy."

Accommodations
SPW: A beach house on Galveston's drowsy second cousin, Bolivar Peninsula.
MMR: If you're a stealthy Mountain Man, you might be able to sneak into one of the "tipis" for shuteye. Otherwise, try the special Cubs, Boys and Girls Scout camp next door. It's got free water and firewood.

Cost
SPW: Like shoes, clothes, haircuts and health care, women's workshops cost more than men's. Tuition is $325, food costs are estimated at $35, and you've got to bring your own painting supplies.

MMR: Free as the wind. Oh, but bring $2 for parking and $10 if you want to eat buffalo.

Tolerance for the
Opposite Sex
SPW: No boys allowed. "Women are great caretakers," says Dr. Parsons, "and it's only when they get together with other women in a creative outlet that they can focus on themselves."

MMR: This year, the members of the so-called gentler sex will be competing in their own division of the tomahawk- and knife-throw championship. "Mountain men," grunts Denton, "liiiike mountain women."

And thus, dear friends, our species will survive.

-- Jennifer Mathieu and Lauren Kern

The Mountain Man Rendezvous is Sat. and Sun., Feb. 27 and 28, at Traders Village, 7979 N. Eldridge Rd., beginning at 10 a.m. each day. Call (281)890-5500 for details.

For information on Silk Patchwork Workshops, contact Morning Glory Farm at P.O. Box 435, Mill Spring, NC, 28756 or call Lynne Parsons at (800)216-9825.

 
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