Wendyl Nissen

Wendyl Nissen on being 'The Supportive Wife'

Wendyl Nissen: It's OK to be the weaker sex...on rubbish day

32 comments
An arm to lean on is handy when you have a bad case of dropsy.

If my husband had been with me on my shopping trip would have been a much more pleasant, free-of-creepy-men, experience, writes Wendyl Nissen. Photo / Thinkstock
If my husband had been with me on my shopping trip would have been a much more pleasant, free-of-creepy-men, experience, writes Wendyl Nissen. Photo / Thinkstock

A few weeks ago I wrote about some women over 50 feeling that they are invisible to men. I disagreed, saying we are most certainly invisible to young men but men our own age and older are still quite interested.

The problem is women over 50 would rather receive the attentions of younger men than those their own age or older who, like us, are sagging in all the wrong places and who are probably losing their hair.

Taking my own advice I recently made an effort to walk tall and proud, channelling a little Mary Tyler-Moore combined with the carefree insouciance always found in Parisian women. I had just had my hair done and figured I was looking the best I could in my little black dress and blue suede ballet pumps. "Walk tall you confident older woman," I told myself. "Invisible, schmisible."

I had taken about four strides along Ponsonby Rd with my newfound confidence when I managed to launch myself midair and land with a massive thump on my bottom.

So much for my insouciance. The fall was witnessed by many - including a very helpful woman who inquired very loudly as to my wellbeing for at least five minutes which had the flow-on effect of attracting even more people to see what had happened to the lump in black with two blue suede shoes in the air.

I limped to my car, sopped up the blood from the graze on my knee and wished two things. That I had got around to getting some grips put on the leather soles of my pumps and that my husband had been there to catch my fall, as he does at least once a week.

It is a case, not so much of supportive wife, but supportive husband, literally.

Two days later I was at The Warehouse buying sustainable products made in New Zealand (well, I was looking for them) when a man stepped back to allow my trolley past him in the car bits-and-pieces aisle. I smiled, as I often do when I'm out, and thanked him.

Instead of replying "pleasure" or "no problem" he responded to my pleasantry by ogling me with one long look from top to toe. I trundled off noting that he was older than me, bald, had a beer belly and probably lived at the local pub.

He then proceeded to follow me around the store.

This hasn't happened to me since I was in my early 20s and there really is nothing quite as revolting as turning around to see an unattractive man in hot pursuit.

Finally at the fifth aisle I stopped suddenly, turned around, made eye contact and said in a very deep voice: "What the hell are you looking at, you creep!"

He scuttled, then he walked fast, then he ran out of the shop.

Once again I found myself thinking that if my husband had been with me on my shopping trip it would have been a much more pleasant, free-of-creepy-men, experience.

Which raises the question, should we still need to rely on men to keep ourselves safe? Is a female on her own still fair game for acting out an animalistic need to metaphorically thump her over the head with a lump of wood and drag her back to the cave?

As a feminist I shouldn't need a man to protect me, or catch me when I fall, but I find I do. I don't regard myself as the weaker sex because physically I'm strong and simply choose not to put the rubbish out because it smells, not because I can't drag the bin down the drive.

But my genetic clumsiness means I'm always much happier walking with my taller husband by my side, and my dislike of strange men means I'm always more comfortable with a ring on my finger and my man at my side. And I know this role doesn't necessarily have to be played by a man, just another person with you really, same-sex partner, son, daughter, friend, uncle or aunt.

I like being supported but perhaps it is more a matter of convenience. Should my supportive husband disappear I'm sure a good supportive walking stick would suffice to break that fall and would give that creepy man in The Warehouse a good old whack where it hurts.

- 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 production apcf02 at 19 Dec 2014 07:46:38 Processing Time: 434ms