I JUST WANT TO WATCH MY STORIES: Couples Don't Like the Same TV Shows, So What Else Is New?
I can't stand "Family Guy." I can't STAND it.
My husband, on the other hand, loves it.
It's an unspoken understanding that when he gets the urge to watch Peter Griffin and that English baby make boob jokes, it's time to pick our separate corners. One of us in the bedroom, the least sweaty room in the house, and one of us in the living room, the sweatiest room in the house, but it's got the flat screen. It's a fair trade.
I honestly love this arrangement. When it comes to "my stories," I'm of the mind that to each their own, and if in the moment I need the comfort of the Bluths (MAY 26TH! MAY 26TH! MAY 26th!) or "Oddities," and my husband needs to watch something by Seth MacFarlane, I'm A-OK with it.
Apparently this is really normal. Couples spend time apart watching their shows, "Just 15% of cohabiting couples watch same TV shows all the time." Uh…duh.
I honestly think this is what a big part of what stops my husband and I from killing each other. We've been together for like, a million years, and if each of us doesn't get a little bit of alone time, we end up snarling at each other over whose turn it is to clean up the cat's vomit.
When I realize we're reaching that point where we're becoming more like college roommates than married partners, I'm usually the one who will grab my laptop and sequester myself in the bedroom for an hour or two or five. We lick our wounds and watch our stories and when we come together again, we'll actually playfully bicker over who GETS to clean up the cat vomit.
Our lives, as you can see, are thrilling.
Things weren't always like this. We weren't always this, uh, healthy. When we first started living together, back in the day when streaming TV shows was just too hard for me, and YouTube was just pandas and people doing weird shit in their dorm rooms, I used to wait to watch my shows.
You see, I did that thing that so many people do when they get into a relationship where they subjugate their comforts to that of their partner. At first I did this happily. "I'm just happy to be sitting here canoodling with my boyfriend on our couch. Oooh, I really feel like unwinding by watching the first three seasons of "Weeds" (the good seasons), but my boyfriend wants to watch this Jean Claude Van Damme movie. I'll just watch my stuff later."
Needless to say, that shit didn't last long.
There was no balance, and after a month or so of waiting for my boyfriend to go to sleep so I could indulge myself in my TV stories and my books, I snapped and just demanded to watch something that didn't involve explosions or animated yellow people. That didn't quite work either, as demanding anything of anybody and forcing them to play by your rules leads to general pissed-offedness as well.
So after lots of mature discussion and remote-throwing, we realized that we LIVED together and went to SCHOOL together and WORKED for the same company. We didn't HAVE to spend every moment of our free time together and that was just fine. In fact it was more than fine, it was awesome.
We'd hang together when we actually wanted to SPEND TIME with each other, not just occupy the same space. We'd make dinner or play Monopoly, or watch a terrible horror movie together, and when our interests diverged, we'd go our separate ways. 100 years, five computers, two TVs, two states, and one marriage later, we're still going strong.
At this point I feel the need to defend us and swear that we're not a pair of television obsessed drones. But what can I say? We kind of are. My husband's a PhD student, and when I'm not schlepping dog food I'm using my brain to think of words to write. We read books, often several at a time, our floors sag under the weight of our bookshelves. However, at the end of an exhausting day television is escapism, the perfect way to turn our brains off.
As I type the last of this post, I am contentedly curled up in the bedroom with my laptop, ready to hit play on "Six Feet Under" as soon as I am finished. My husband is in the living room flipping between "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" and "Family Guy." Feel free to judge him right now.
It seems that occasionally, for my husband and I, the best kind of escapism is from each other.