You have to give it to some elected representatives — they really will respond to the letters you send. Or at least, Alan Simpson did when my boyfriend Arthur sent a plea for help. We were in love, but I was a reporter in New York and he studied wildlife in Wyoming. I didn’t think it could work. He did. And he thought that if a U.S. Senator intervened, the relationship could turn around.
That’s how I wound up in the kitchen of Alan and Ann Simpson, getting advice on maturity, commitment, and of course, sex.
On sex and intimacy:
Ann Simpson: The hardest thing for all couples to talk about is sex. And it’s hard to believe, but it is. And the big issues in all marriages, that hang it up, is your sexual relationship. Whoever is the most aggressive, the other one is in control.
Sen. Simpson: Then when you talk about that, you think, well there's a couple of horny people. No, that's not the point. It's called intimacy. Scratch my back. Give me a hug. Just a hug. I’d say, ok [pant-pant-pant]. Just a touch, you know, a whack on the fanny in the kitchen.
My boyfriend Arthur and me with Sen. Alan Simpson and his wife Ann at the ball that changed it all.
On dating and drinking:
Sen. Simpson: I got arrested one night, got in a fist fight, got in a fight with a cop, slugged the cop. Ended up in jail, called her. I said I need $300 bail. She said, are you kidding? I’m working my way through school, I don't have $300 bucks bail. Maybe you oughta just stay there -- and I thought Jesus, you know, it would be good if I linked up with her. She could be a helpful ally in this continuing battle for maturity.
On couples counseling:
Ann Simpson: We had the good fortune of getting some outside help when we needed it. Through our church. Uh, we had been married probably 10 years at that time, and it was not a good time for us. Three children, busy life and just a feeling that I needed help. Our minister, he came to see us, to call on us. And I said -- what a great life I had, as I burst into tears.
Sen. Simpson: The secret is, you both try to control each other, and you both fail. And it's critical that you both fail. And you do it in the most skilled and manipulative ways.
On questioning Anita Hill in 1991:
Ann Simpson: I said you all came across like a bunch of bullies.
Sen. Simpson: I’d had a wife who'd had much more harassment than Anita Hill. And that's when I lost my marbles. I thought, what is this? I mean, for god's sake, what did he do? Well, nothing. “Did he touch you?” “No.” “What is it?” “He wanted to talk about Long Dong Silver and pubic hair and coke cans.” “Is that it? Is that it?” “Yes, it is.” I wanted you to be aware of his behavior. And so I was a monster. I was just pissed to the core.
Correction: During the Clarence Thomas hearings, Anita Hill testified that Thomas described porn movie scenes to her. They did not watch pornography together as former Sen. Alan Simpson said in our interview. We regret the error.
This episode is included in the Death, Sex & Money #smartbinge podcast playlist at wnyc.org/smartbinge