Wendyl Nissen

Wendyl Nissen on being 'The Supportive Wife'

Wendyl Nissen: When over-sharing sex and drinking stories goes wrong

18 comments
Every woman should reclaim feminism and see it as a positive brand which says something about how they choose to live in this male-dominated world. Photo / Thinkstock
Every woman should reclaim feminism and see it as a positive brand which says something about how they choose to live in this male-dominated world. Photo / Thinkstock

When I began writing this column seven months ago, the idea was that through changing my life to be a more supportive wife, I would address some of the issues facing women today.

I've written about feminism confusion and women's rights and the issues surrounding shaving your pubic hair off, grey hair, wearing bras, injecting Botox, as well as less feminist topics such as having nice linen and buying a robot vacuum cleaner to help out.

In every column, I've put myself up as an example of these things and written about my personal experiences of them. You can't just do theory without giving the practical, I thought.

Last week, I was given a list of questions to answer for this paper's popular 12 Questions piece, written by Sarah Stuart. I love the column and read it every week.

I was very happy that I could feature in the article to publicise the launch of my first novel The Road from Midnight and busily set about answering them.

"What's happened to feminism?"

Feminism for me is about choice, I replied. And women have many more choices about how they live their lives than any other generation of women that has gone before. But, I think the word "feminism" is confusing for a lot of women because men label feminists in a negative light. I would like every woman to claim feminism again and see it as a positive brand which says something about how they choose to live in this male-dominated world. Other questions asked me if I believed in soul mates, when I most doubted myself, when are you happiest, what is your parenting style? Such lovely, straight-to-the-heart questions.

We were in the middle of moving house, and being a supportive wife, I was doing a lot of organising, packing and cleaning. But every so often I would sit at the kitchen table, surrounded by packing tape, marker pens and keys and tap away.

"What are you doing?" my husband would ask.

"Just writing those answers," I replied. "It's going very well, you'll like them."

Then a personal interview followed where I was rather shocked to be asked whether I care about sex, my sexual history, if I had a drinking problem and other very intimate details.

"I'm not actually that comfortable answering those questions," I replied.

"I probably won't use them," said Sarah, who I've known for more than 20 years.

And then I answered them. And she used them. I only had myself to blame.

Finally she asked me if I thought that in this column I over-shared.

Having just been asked to over-share I found the question a little odd.

"Apparently I over-share," I told my husband when I got home. "Too much information about my pubic hair, no bras and going grey."

I started packing again and had visions of women - most likely media women I know - reading my column, then getting on the phone to each other and saying: "Eeew, she's talking about her bloody pubic hair again. Make it stop!"

I'll be honest, for the first time in years, I felt judged.

Then my daughter came home and said some girls she didn't know stopped her in the street and asked her if she was my daughter, why we were moving house and where we were moving to.

"Too much information!" she said to me.

"You've always read anything I've written about you," I said, trying to justify my over-sharing.

The morning the article was published, I had coffee with my parents.

"Did you read the Herald this morning?" I asked tentatively. "All that stuff about my sex life?"

"I wish you hadn't said the bit about opening the third bottle of wine," said my mother.

- NZ Herald

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n4 at 17 Sep 2014 21:54:03 Processing Time: 754ms