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The Free Dictionary Online defines “challenging” as “calling for full use of one’s abilities or resources in a difficult, but stimulating effort. Ambitious.” And “challenging” is the best word for the three-fold task I have undertaken.

A number of years ago I developed a women’s history presentation I call “Women’s Liberation Through Lingerie”. The basic premise is that throughout our history, a woman’s life has been proscribed by the underpinnings she wore. Case in point: A woman of breeding in the Victorian era, corseted and hobbled by petticoats and voluminous skirts, would have found a brisk game of tennis (or even a footrace) nearly impossible. Working-class women had more leeway, as the reality of their background meant that less importance was given to being “properly dressed” than to getting the job done — whatever that job was.

So here is my current challenge: I have been asked to share this presentation with a group of professional women in two weeks. I am excited and looking forward to it, as it has been a while since I have done so. The challenge comes because, since my last presentation, I have moved twice, and my collection of vintage lingerie has been put into storage (in a rather hit-or-miss fashion, I fear). Today I spent an hour or so in said storage room, digging out boxes to bring home and go through, in order to re-discover the lingerie I wish to share with the ladies. So now the boxes are here, and I have begun searching through them. I have yet to discover my best two corsets, so I’m more than a little frustrated.

Adding to the challenge is that my current living space is already maxed out! It would be unrealistic (not to mention unfair) to expect my family to spend the next two weeks surrounded by vintage undies. I don’t think that was part of the deal for my son-in-law when I moved in here! So I can’t really get everything out at once in order to see which chemise goes with which petticoat and under which corset, with what pair of satin pumps and elbow-length kid gloves. (Some challenges are just plain fun!)

The third part of the challenge…and I hope this is the easiest part…is that the script that I have developed over the years has not yet surfaced, and I may have to reinvent the wheel (I hope not…I really like what I had created).

So that’s my challenge. I must find all the beautiful (okay, some are just down right utilitarian and homely) undies, spread them all over the house to sort them and then put them back as soon as I am done, and rediscover and fine-tune my script…and I have twelve days to do it. Is it doable? Sure. Will I be mildly panicked along the way? Probably. Watch these A-Z Challenge pages as April continues to see a progress report.

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