Despite a hunch that the tale of Ted Mosby meeting the fictional mother of his fictional children does not actually require eight seasons (and counting), I have a huge soft spot for How I Met Your Mother. Sometimes when I’m ill or sad, immersing myself in the lives of five impossibly close friends having an impossibly good time on mostly impossibly limited means doesn’t half cheer me up, mainly because it’s so unrealistically warm and fuzzy. Does anyone actually have such an impossibly tightly knit group of friends? If so, does that group consist largely of impossibly cool-with-each-other ex-boyfriends and girlfriends? If so, can they afford to spend an impossible amount of time at a bar in the middle of the day? My inner pessimist doubts it.
For reasons that are exclusively soppy, the only part of the drama which I don’t find unrealistic is probably the most rose-tinted of all – the relationship of Marshall and Lily. If you aren’t familiar with the show, Lily and Marshall are quite possibly the most ridiculously loved-up couple on TV. They starting dating when they were eighteen, have only ever been with each other, and are more cute and cuddly than a box of kittens wearing Toms.
Being the proud owner of my own pair of rose-tinted spectacles, I see my relationship with Boyfriend reflected in the couple on my TV screen. Lily and I are both small women with a love of painting, shopping, and bossing people around. Boyfriend and Marshall are both accident prone animal lovers with a passion for Star Wars. So, being a really sensible, rational woman, I obviously can’t help but see the fictional couple as role models.
The only aspect of Marshall and Lily’s relationship that I don’t ever want to emulate is the way they clean their teeth: they share a toothbrush. (Pause here to scrunch your face up in disgust and mutter ‘ewww’ in an appropriately judgemental tone.) Plus, although they intentionally share the toothbrush with each other they also accidentally share it, and all their germs, with their room-mate, Ted. My mouth is shuddering.
But a few mornings ago, my life began to look even more like the fictional life of Lily. The electric toothbrush that Boyfriend and I share (and it’s okay that we share it because we have seperate brush heads, because we are normal) was missing from Boyfriend’s family bathroom, as was my toothbrush head. I eventually discovered the toothbrush downstairs with Boyfriend’s dad, who apologised for causing the mystery, explaining that he had borrowed it, but – not to worry – had used his own brush head. Staring at the toothbrush with the little white brush head sitting on top looking as guilty as it is possible for a toothbrush head to look, I gulped, and, still hopeful that I was mistaken, whispered, “But, that’s mine.”
(Yeah, you better be scrunching that face up again. And this time the horror isn’t even fictional.)
For the last four months, Boyfriend’s dad had been under the impression that my toothbrush and his toothbrush were one and the same. In the case of Lily and Marshall the implication is that eventually love conquors all – even the ‘ew’ factor of toothbrush sharing. This is rubbish. I very much like Boyfriend’s dad and I very much love Boyfriend, but I wouldn’t have voluntarily have spent four months sharing a toothbrush with either. To summarise the strength of my feelings about oral hygiene: I found the toothbrush discovery more upsetting than when Boyfriend’s dog manages to lick my tongue. I’m not saying that Boyfriend’s dad looked particularly thrilled either, but he dealt with the news with dignity and, unlike me, he managed to refrain from doing the face-scrunch. As we stared at that guilty toothbrush head I wished I was at the How I Met Your Mother bar so I could order something large and vodka-based from Wendy the waitress. Boyfriend’s mum offered me a drink (and a new brush head) but tea isn’t what you want when you discover your toothbrush has been compromised.
And the name of Boyfriend’s dad? Marshall. The name of Boyfriend’s saliva-sharing dog? Ted. The name of Boyfriend’s lovely drink-offering mum? Wendy.
Dun dun dun…