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Hockey Day is coming to Bemidji; 13th annual event set for winter 2019

Women’s Expo: Not a place for your average man

BEMIDJI — Vendors ranging from pole dancing lessons to purse and cosmetic retailers, seminars that ranged from cooking lessons to advice on when to visit the gynecologist; that is what I walked into Saturday  when I visited the Sixth Annual Women’s Expo at the Sanford Center.

An arena floor that is much more accustomed to 10 testosterone filled men skating around trying to check opposing players through the plexiglass was instead filled with hundreds of estrogen filled women looking for advice on how to lose that extra body fat or find the perfect handbag to match their new blouse.

I knew I was going to be outnumbered at the expo, sticking out like a sore thumb, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a number men walking in the crowd or sitting behind a vendor booth.

Like me, I assume many of them would have rather been sitting in front of their television watching college football with a  cold beer or been sitting in a marsh, dressed in camouflage waiting for a duck to shoot at, but they toughed it out for their wives and I toughed it out for my job.

Walking around the expo I started thinking about what a men’s expo would look like and why it is they are not as popular as women’s expos.

The L.E. Handbag booth would have to convert to selling baseball caps, the healthy food vendors would have to be traded for protein shakes and beer kegs and the dance studio would be traded in for a power lifting studio.

If you top it off with a car show, and plenty of televisions for video games and football games, the concept of a men’s expo works.

However, there is one major flaw in the conversion; the medically related seminars on things like skin cancer and gynecology.

If you host a seminar titled “when should you visit the gynecologist?” women will attend fairly openly, with awkward giggles of immaturity, just genuine interest and concern about their health.

Now if you put on a seminar entitles “how to cope with erectile dysfunction” or “when to be checked for prostate cancer,” men are going to be far more apprehensive.

If men have an issue with their reproductive organs, they much rather do a quick web search on WebMD followed by immediately deleting their web browser’s search history. I don’t think many men would have the self confidence to walk away from the beer tent at a men’s expo telling their friends, “Hey I really want to catch this prostate cancer seminar.”

Maybe men in general are just more immature than women, or maybe I am just too immature to picture myself in a room with 100 men talking about prostate cancer.

So the concept of a men’s expo that offers seminars and vendors that equate to those offered at the women’s expo has its flaws. I guess men will just have to wait for the handbags and healthy foods to be taken off the Sanford Center’s floor, uncovering the ice in anticipation of hockey; the closest thing to a men’s expo the arena will see.