Wendyl Nissen
Wendyl Nissen on being 'The Supportive Wife'

Wendyl Nissen: At one with the plankers

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Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

My 13-year-old daughter held aloft the gossip pages from this newspaper last Sunday. "How on earth did that happen?" she demanded.

I paused before answering, mentally rewinding my social activities for the past week and matching them with the amount of alcohol I had drunk.

I was desperately looking for an occasion where I may have embarrassed myself by leaving my dress tucked into my undies, flirting with someone I wasn't supposed to or involving myself in a Force-10 verbal catfight with a rich celebrity - the reason I last featured in the gossip pages.

I came up with nothing. I have been writing a book and any drinking and bad behaviour has been strictly confined to my home office.

"What on earth are you talking about?" I said, affecting nonchalance but finding myself unable to avoid the picture being thrust in my face.

"It's you," she said. "Planking. On our couch!"

"Is it dear?" I said, putting the jug on for a cup of tea.

Just days earlier I had been asked by radio host Mike Hosking's producer to take a picture of myself planking to match Mike's, which had received quite a lot of interest on the show's Facebook page. My initial reaction was that I was far too busy for such nonsense. But then I discussed it with my son. The next thing I knew I was lying on the back of my couch, hair unbrushed and sporting my very unappealing brown knee-high Ugg boots while my son laughed his head off, pausing long enough to get a picture.

"I just didn't think you were the planking type," said my radio co-host Jeremy Wells, who had received the same request but wisely hadn't complied.

"You could have at least done it too so I didn't look like such a dick," I growled.

"Next time, just ring me," was all he said, leaving me with the distinct impression that from now on I needed to consult him on matters such as "being cool" and "being cooler".

My daughter agreed with him.

"I can't believe my mother is planking in the paper," she said, before logging back on to Facebook where she was no doubt dealing with an avalanche of embarrassment. She had taken photos of herself planking that week. All her friends were doing it, but none of their mothers. That was just awful. I had another look. It wasn't great. What was I thinking?

My problem is that I was once head girl of my school. Well, not strictly head girl - more school council chairwoman - and you had to campaign for the position and be voted in by the students. I think I promised free ice-blocks and that seemed to do the trick.

At the time I just wanted to dodge my school work, but what I didn't realise was that at the age of 17 I was imprinting the need to be good into my brain, which would hinder me for the rest of my life. If someone in authority, specifically Mike Hosking's producer (who is half my age but producing a top-rating radio show), asks me to do something, I do it. Which is a bit of a problem as I have six bosses and at least two people who aren't but think they are.

But all was not lost as the debate which ensued in our kitchen about Facebook privacy threatened to seriously disrupt our peaceful family Sunday morning.

"What you need to learn from this," my husband said, "is that you should never post any picture of yourself on Facebook that you wouldn't be happy seeing reproduced in another medium, such as this newspaper." He then shook the paper for emphasis.

"Tell me you aren't talking to me," I said.

"No, I'm talking to our daughter," he said quickly, even though she was in the other room and he was staring straight at me.

I retired to my office, opened my email account for something to do and there it was. "Planking!" was all it said in the subject line. My travel agent had sent me a picture of a dog planking across a bathtub.

"Look at this!" I said with delight, posting it to my Facebook page.

- Herald on Sunday

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