VILLA PARK (CBS) – Guys can now attend a formerly female-only discussion about women’s underwear at the Villa Park library later this month.

The Lake Villa District Library had scheduled a discussion, to be led by Ellie Carlson, titled, “Unmentionables: the Rise and Fall of Ladies’ Underwear,” at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 20.  

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According to the library’s website, the “novel and sometimes naughty presentation” promises to be “an entertaining and intriguing look at underclothes,” and how women’s fashions have been shaped, literally and figuratively, by their underwear. Participants also will view examples of historic underwear.

The program was limited only to women, but as of Monday, the library had opened it to men, as well, with a caveat. A note on the library’s website now says, “This program is designed for ladies only. Men may attend (but that may put a damper on the discussion!”)

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On her wesbite, Carlson, a historic interpreter and lecturer on historic clothing and domestic arts, says the “unmentionables” program is intended for women only because it is “often presented for ladies’ groups such as Questers, Hadassas and Women’s Clubs. These groups sometimes contain ladies ‘of a certain age.’  Younger people really do not understand the marked differences between the genders in earlier generations. Women are very comfortable discussing all manner of issues in an all-female crowd.  However, they become uncomfortable if a man is present.”

Carlson said she, “once kicked the Rabbi out of a presentation, and the ladies admitted at the end that they were glad I did. I keep the talk women-only so everyone can say whatever they like.” She adds that if a man wants to hear her presentation, it is available on tape.

“I would be happy to present this talk for a college or graduate school class that was co-ed,” she says. “It is never my intention to discriminate against anyone.  This is a lighthearted talk on a slightly sensitive topic often presented to people who might be uncomfortable in a mixed crowd — nothing more.”

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Contributing: Sun-Times Media Wire