An Intimate Discussion

When the belt on my dryer snapped last year, I discovered the joys of hanging clothes outside to dry. It makes me feel like a capable homemaker and lets me ignore not having cabinet doors in the kitchen a little longer.

Outside drying also saves energy and uses fewer chemicals since I’m not using a fabric-softener dryer sheet. It gets me outside for a few minutes. I’m forced to fold clothes as they come off the line to prevent wrinkling so that chore gets done faster.

These are all good things.

But the clothesline raises a delicate question: What is proper clothesline etiquette for “delicates?”

Don’t laugh. I’m serious.

Unless your yard is enclosed by 12’-15’ fencing, your neighbors see what you hang out to dry. What’s the protocol?

I mean, do I hang up unmentionables? If I don’t, they’re going to drip all over whatever inside room I hide them in. The alternative is to toss them in the dryer – an incredible waste of energy to run the dryer for a small load when the sun’s drying everything else. That seems self-defeating.

Do I only hang up the “good” underwear and let the emergency stash drip somewhere? Again, stop laughing. I know you all have emergency underthings. It’s the slightly older stuff you keep in the back of the drawer that’s only worn when you haven’t had a chance to wash the good stuff and you don’t feel like racing out to Target or Victoria’s Secret to buy new dainties.

Since laundry only air dries outside when the weather’s nice, the neighbors could be outside a lot while your skivvies wave flirtatiously in the breeze. Can they stay on the line if a neighbor is mowing his lawn? Do I need to calculate the number of times he’ll pass by our shared boundary and the seconds he’ll be exposed to my drawers?

What if the neighbors are having a picnic with (God forbid) small children playing in the backyard? At what age is it okay for them to observe leopard-print lingerie dancing on the line? Do I need to rush out and bring in slightly damp intimate attire to spare their virginal eyes? Or will my haste to pull down panties (okay, you can laugh at that phrase) only draw attention to their existence?

What’s a girl to do?!?

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