Some jobs are fairly self-explanatory. Doctors talk to sick to people, accountants add up numbers, and journalists write stories. But what if you've got the kind of job people have burning questions about? Emily Winstanley spoke to some of those people.
Teddy Curle, 28
Sex toy party agent for dvice.co.nz
What sex toy should I use?
I actually studied fine art, so I was an artist and in my second year I was asked, "Please stop painting quite so many genitals." After I finished art school I just kind of went from office job to office job. One day I happened to go into a D.Vice store. I'd been going there since I was 16. The day I turned 16 in fact, because that was the age limit on the stores. I caught three buses and I went to buy my first vibrator. And I remember thinking then that the women in the store were just the coolest people I'd ever met. Ten years later exactly, I walked into the store, I talked about how I loved what they did and they said, "Well we've actually got a job opening."
"Party agent" is my official title but when people ask me I usually say I do sex toy parties. There tends to be a bit of an explanation that follows. Basically, I go to private homes and I do a short presentation, then we do a Q & A and we have a pop-up sales shop where I can do one-on-one consultations and sales. People react very positively, once I start talking about what makes D.Vice unique and what drew me to it in the first place. The fact that they're a really ethical company, founded by women, run by women is just a very different approach to adult retail. People seem to think it's a great idea and I end up having to do on-the-spot consultations for a lot of people.
I'm a combination of a priest, a doctor, their best friend. People just open up right away as soon as I tell them about my job, and that's really what I get the most joy out of. I do help people. Once I'd worked for D.Vice for quite a while, I found the education and talking to people part was what I really liked, so that's when I went to study as a sex coach, which is now what I do in addition to the toy parties. A lot of people do ask me basically any sex questions they've ever had. What kind of toys are most popular, I get that one. This is where it gets complicated - it really depends on what for. People ask me, "What is your number one recommendation?" The thing is, rather than trying to sell them our bestselling or our most expensive product, we ask some follow-up questions to find out what they really need, because sexuality is so highly individual.
I came from a very conservative, religious family, so I basically had to do my own sex education. I was very into the internet, still am. I am a millenial and so I'm a good example of what does happen when you don't give sex education, [kids] might end up going really far with that and learning everything themselves and then vowing to teach others. It's kind of weird to say, but it is my dream job.
Gary Taylor, 53
President of Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand
How do you embalm a body?
If you say to people you're a funeral director, the conversation tends to go in one of two directions. People either nod at you, grin nicely and slowly wander away and make sure they avoid you for the rest of the evening. Or all manner of questions start coming. Some of them initially are frivolous but, as the evening wears on and you tend to be talking to these people all evening, you get some really good conversations coming out about death and dying. For a lot of people I suppose it's the mystery they are interested in. I'm happy for them to sit and talk to me about it because I think it's important for them to go away with a better understanding about the whole business of death, dying, and our part in it. A lot of people will say to us, in a joking way, "Oh that's a dead-end job." And we are required to smile as though we've never heard that before.
I certainly don't suggest any funeral director should be giving detailed instructions about embalming, but I think it's a good question because it does lead you into why it's important for families to spend time with the deceased. We need to come to terms with the reality of death, so it's a really important aspect of the funeral process. To achieve that, allowing a funeral director to embalm the deceased means that nature has been slowed down for a short period of time, a week or so; and that allows a family to gather together and spend time with their loved ones without any problems occuring. Embalming is relatively simple, it's not complex in the sense of what we do, it's introducing a chemical that preserves them and allows us to present them looking very normal, as you would see them every day. Generally speaking, it's the introduction of a chemical preservative and the removal of some of the blood from the deceased.
Jackie Edmond, 56
Family Planning NZ Chief Executive
What's the best contraceptive?
When I say I work at Family Planning, I get a very mixed range of reactions. Some people quietly don't reply and walk off because they don't like Family Planning, I've had that happen a number of times. Sometimes it's quite subtle, it's like, "Oh yes, yes." Then you'll turn around and they're gone. Their objections are the work we do around access to contraception, sexuality education and abortion. I feel quite relaxed about it, I know not everyone supports what we do and smile to myself and trot off.
Alternatively, I'll introduce myself and people will start telling me their sexual history. I met one old fella, an older guy, he was lovely. Straight away, he got into his story about how when he went overseas in World War II, he made sure he had condoms, there was lots of conversation about that. Then when he came home and got married, he told me all the history about how his wife planned their family in quite a lot of detail. It was rather fun, but you don't normally have those conversations with elderly men.
I get lots of lovely stuff, as well as the people who don't want to talk to me. I just talk about the fact we do contraception, STIs, abortion, those sorts of things, which isn't in everyone's conversations everyday, I suspect. I give everyone the facts when I'm asked questions, but generally it's a very fun, enjoyable conversation.
Often people ask for my advice around what contraceptives they should have, or they tell me their horror story about an IUD the've had. Sometimes, I can be quite knowledgeable because I do know a fair amount about IUDs and contraception but my background is in mental health nursing.
When I'm with my nieces and nephews I talk a lot about keeping yourself safe and sexuality education. I use it for those sort of teachable moments. They always used to make sure they introduced me to their friends because it became quite a bit of fun for them, for me to have the sex conversations with them. I often am doing my best to spread the word.
Nicky Shore, 43
Founder, Off&On, brazilian specialist
What's it like to look at vaginas all day?
At parties, as soon as people understand that brazilians make up most of what we do, they drop off other conversations and start crowding around you. You feel like you're doing a bit of a TED talk over canapes.
There's a fascination in how we can look at vaginas all day. How can we have a business that's centred around one area. For me, the response to that is it's very similar to the medical field. That's what we do, we look at it as hair on skin and it's our job to remove it. I think we see so many vaginas, there is no normal. If anything, when we're talking to clients they feel comfortable that we're like gynaecologists. Faces are different, and everywhere else is as well.
I remember working on the desk when we first opened 10 years ago and people would whisper the word "brazilian" down the phone. In the past five years though, it's really exploded to be the mainstream hair removal treatment for down there.
When we started, the education system within the beauty industry didn't focus on brazilians. We would find really great waxers but they'd never done that before. I, ultimately, become everyone's very first model so I think there's 100-odd girls around New Zealand who've all seen my vagina because I'm often the first person they wax.
Probably the biggest dinner party question we get asked is about male brazilians. I think there's probably a stigma or stereotype associated with them. One of the most refreshing things is I can guarantee you that your neighbour or your boss or someone you know who you least expect is having a "brozilian" wax. About 15 per cent of my clients are male.
Celebrant and broadcaster
How do you handle the Bridezillas?
I've been a wedding celebrant almost 20 years. I reckon I've done 700 or 800 weddings. The first thing people always say is, "Wow, it must be so cool going to so many weddings." I have to say I don't actually go to the party, I'm just there for the ceremony. Then they want to know, "What's your success rate?" But you never know if people stay together or not.
I do really enjoy it. And what I really enjoy is when they go on to have babies and they ask me to do their naming ceremonies. Or if you do one person in a family, then you go and do the brothers and sisters. I say some families are on my frequent flyer programme. I have even done more than one wedding for a groom. There was a bit of a difference between wives one and two but yes I have.
People always want to know whether there are "bridezillas". My official line is I've been lucky, I've very rarely had a bridezilla. And weird things happen more at funerals than at weddings. I haven't had anyone storm in and say, "This can't happen."
It's a happy occasion and it's my job to make sure the couples are calm and relaxed. Once we start, they're all good. It's the groom beforehand and the bride, they're wound up like a coiled spring. But once we get going, they're all good. Mostly.