Wendyl Nissen
Wendyl Nissen on being 'The Supportive Wife'

Wendyl Nissen: Polyester designed to keep a housewife on her toes

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

One of the most important roles a supportive wife plays in the home is saving her family from polyester.

Because if she wasn't there to buy crisp 100 per cent cotton sheets, her husband would buy polyester cotton mix, in 10 fun colours with a wide range of garish patterns.

Men just don't do manchester. They get up in the morning and it makes absolutely no difference to them whether they spent the night cuddled up beneath Egyptian cotton 500 thread count sheets, or polycotton easycare sheets their mother gave them 30 years ago when they went flatting.

They have little awareness of their duvet, caring not if it is filled with duck down or wool. Last time they looked it was easycare polyester - once again a gift from their mum.

They dry themselves with beach towels, still vaguely sandy and salty from the weekend and think that all is well with the world.

This supportive wife takes her role as keeper of the manchester very seriously. And in the past few weeks has been distracting herself from the fact that she will soon be homeless by buying sheets.

"There are four very large packages by the front door," my husband announced one morning. "With your name on them."

"That'll be the sheets," I replied.

"Why?" he said.

"New house, new sheets. It's a rule."

"We don't have a new house."

"I know, but when we do we'll need new sheets."

We both know that the sheet buying is just something to take my mind off the fact that I have no new home to move into yet.

Throughout our marriage I have bought, washed, bleached, ironed and tended to a vast array of pure cotton loveliness known as quality bed linen. I have never considered this role as work because I derive enormous satisfaction from it.

There is nothing more honest than a white sheet drying in the sun on the clothesline and nothing more comforting that the smell of sun-dried sheets brought in fresh from the line.

I love nothing better than sliding between these sheets later that night. Crisp and inviting, scented delicately with lavender water and sliding over my body.

My husband has never noticed.

"Like the sheets?" I'll say having laboured all day to get them to perfection.

"They're white and they're on the bed, what's to like?"

By the time I've finished explaining that the cotton was grown on the banks of the Nile River he's fast asleep.

Should I decide, on a whim, to leave him and take the sheets and towels with me, his bed and bath would not suffer. He'd just head down to Briscoes and buy some polyester.

Towels must also be of the best quality and husbands should not go to the linen cupboard and pull down a beach towel for use in the bathroom. It is also preferable if the two towels hanging on the towel rail are matching in colour.

"Like the new towels?" I'll say having given them a good wash and hung them in the sun to dry.

"Haven't noticed."

Nor does he notice the exquisite collection of British porcelain plates I have amassed over the years and from which we eat every day. Or the bone handled cutlery, the delicate mugs and cups all painstakingly collected one by one, representing most of the more collectable old British china manufacturers off Trade Me.

"This is nice," he said recently holding out a coffee cup for me to look at. We were staying at a bach, it was from The Warehouse and cost $2.

I now have to save my family not only from polyester but child labour as well.

- NZ Herald

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