At one point while Alice and I were working, The Simpsons came up in conversation. (I have a wee
app widget that feeds random Homer quotes to my MacBook dashboard, like "We're going bowling. If we don't come back, avenge our deaths," and "Well, it's 1 a.m. Better go home and spend some quality time with the kids.") Alice admitted that during a certain point in her life it was really important for her to watch that show, and I confessed how I always wanted to watch the Simpsons but my Simpsons-watching always depended on which relationship I was in at the moment. (Dividing my old boyfriends into Simpsons watchers and non-Simpsons watchers is as valid way as any of reducing them to stereotypes, right?) The point being, if my boyfriend liked The Simpsons, I got to watch The Simpsons. If he didn't, I had to ask the bartender to turn up the volume.
Why yes, I did have some trouble getting my other needs met, now that you ask.
This makes me realize that I haven't not been in a relationship since the show began, in 1989. I know most of you were twelve then, but surely you'll appreciate the fact that one of my '90s boyfriends liked to watch The Simpsons with no pants on. Naturally, he encouraged me to do the same. He was a nice guy with some funny habits, and he'd get out a blanket for our laps -- you know, for modesty's sake, in case his roommate came home and saw us sitting on the couch in our undies. Even though his roommate was a nice guy, and they were very close. I think they might even still be roommates. I remember wanting to be real quiet if we were having sex when his roommate was home, but my boyfriend kind of had the attitude that he hoped his roommate would enjoy knowing we were having a good time and sort of get turned on by it. And part of me was all, Okay, wow, that's tribal of you.* Plus, I had my own roommate to deal with, so it wasn't like I could've suggested we leave and go over to my place, where my sexually awkward roommate would be staring into the gloom above his bed and everso politely listening to us as well. Of course, my roommate insisted we not have a TV at all. Otherwise, instead of listening to me and my boyfriend have sex WE COULD ALL HAVE BEEN WATCHING THE SIMPSONS.
*I'm great at rationalizing all sorts of questionable boyfriend behavior; having grown up with a lot of intimacy/insecurity/boundary problems, I spent years pretending that I was just fine with a lot of behavior that a self-respecting person shouldn't be fine with AT ALL. I should say that the no-pants thing was an incredibly mild example of this, and fell more on the "fun thing to try" end of the spectrum than on the "will put you in the hospital" side.