George and Hilly

Our ninth couples-therapy session got off to a bad start. I had been out the night before; two six-packs and two hours of sleep ….

DR. SELMAN: Who would like to begin?

HILLY: George didn’t read the article to me before it went into the paper this week!

GEORGE: I’m in big trouble.

HILLY: It’s really, really irritating.

DR. SELMAN: The arrangement was you would read the column before it came out?

HILLY: Yes. If there was something that didn’t make me feel comfortable, he’d take it out.

GEORGE: And there was something in there that you ….

HILLY: I really don’t want to revisit that. It’s just the dishonesty ….

GEORGE: I understand you’re upset, and I’ve apologized a number of times. I made a mistake. However, if you say “dishonesty,” that means that I did this deliberately. Right? Is that what you’re saying? What happened is, I transcribed that session Sunday night, when I said, at one point, “Let’s go over this,” and you said, “Oh, can we do it tomorrow?” So I don’t know what happened. I know you’ve been busy at work. I’m really sorry. She’s embarrassed that I shared some intimate details with the public.

DR. SELMAN: Is that apology adequate or … ?

HILLY: I don’t know. I want to believe that you’re going to show me the other articles. Because I don’t believe it.

GEORGE: I don’t know what else I can do. I’m really sorry.

O.K.?

HILLY: I mean, I’m not like the other people, the other broads whom you’ve been with in the past. I’m not some kind of a loose, skanky ho who doesn’t care about her reputation. I have a reputation, and part of that reflects upon my job, and it’s very important. And if people think I’m some sort of a Monica Lewinsky bimbo, going around giving blowjobs in cars, it’s disgusting. It’s humiliating. My parents are going to read that and be devastated.

GEORGE: I didn’t say that, it just said “foreplay”—

HILLY: What else do you do in a car?

GEORGE: It didn’t say “blowjob”—it could have been something else. Honestly, I didn’t know—

HILLY: Men and women are different. Men probably will go, “Yeah, cool, good job.” Women aren’t like that. Your grandmother’s going to read that and think I’m a hussy.

DR. SELMAN: Obviously, the faux pas was in not showing her the column prior. So it makes me wonder: What’s going on that you would have neglected that? Maybe it was something unconscious, George.

GEORGE: I thought it would be O.K. I’m sorry.

DR. SELMAN: So what was the lesson that we learned here?

HILLY: Ha, ha, ha, ha!

GEORGE: That I screwed up and it won’t happen again. This is a horrible segue, but weren’t we going to talk about Hilly’s faults?

HILLY: It’s probably not the best time.

GEORGE: Because there are so few. We struggled to come up with them.

HILLY: He says I hit this girl. We were at this nightclub and some girl came—this provocatively dressed, um, very flirtatious girl approached George and kissed him and started whispering in his ear, seductively, and her arm was on his shoulder, and she was right next to me, so I just kind of swatted it away.

GEORGE: Here’s what happened. This young lady came over; she’s someone I know, she’s always there. Came over, said hello, and the next thing I know, Hilly hit her. Swatted her.

DR. SELMAN: Did you witness it?

GEORGE: Oh, yes. Other people too. It wasn’t like a punch, more a swat.

HILLY: She had no business being like that. Scores is around the corner from Bungalow 8.

GEORGE: It was actually pretty funny. The young lady was—she backed down and looked shocked. She didn’t hit back. Sometimes I think you don’t want me to be friendly with any women.

HILLY: It’s not true.

GEORGE: You don’t like the idea of me having any female friends. And you’ve even been judgmental about certain male friends.

HILLY: You’re right—I do need to get over it.

GEORGE: The worst thing you’ve ever done was when you took the video.

HILLY: We were watching 24.

DR. SELMAN: I don’t know what that is.

HILLY: Ooh, you have to get it. It’s this show about Jack Bauer who works for the anti-terrorism unit, C.T.U.—

GEORGE: We got it on DVD and we were watching it nonstop, like 10 episodes in a row.

HILLY: And then George got into one of his moods. We’d been watching it like shut-ins, for three days or something, and finally he stood up and said, “That’s it! No more! I have to get to work!” So he was telling me I needed to go home, so I swiped the next DVD in the series to bring home and watch myself. And then I was planning on rewatching with him, and pretending that I hadn’t watched it before. But my DVD player broke.

GEORGE: I felt betrayed. Can I ask you a question? Are you absolutely certain that I got into one of my “moods” and ordered you out?

HILLY: Yes.

GEORGE: There’s no chance I said, “Hilly, you know what? I’ve got to work now.” You’re sure I was rude?

HILLY: Maybe—I don’t know.

DR. SELMAN: Maybe you’re having memory problems.

GEORGE: Me? Maybe she is. She just admitted that maybe, you know ….

DR. SELMAN: Maybe you both are.

GEORGE: I think there’s a chance that we had a really great time and I said, “O.K., we’ll watch one more episode and then I’ve got to get to work.”

HILLY: Yes. Yeah, maybe. And it was late on a Sunday.

DR. SELMAN: So the worst thing in the relationship that you’ve ever done was take a DVD from his apartment and try to watch it?

HILLY: Well, I also did something else. When you were on vacation, I was totally broke and I took all your pennies, nickels and dimes to the coin star machine and I spent the money on champagne.

GEORGE: That’s O.K.

HILLY: It was 196 dollars.

DR. SELMAN: So it weighed quite a bit. You didn’t notice that they were gone?

GEORGE: I was wondering where they were.

HILLY: I also bought a pretty candle and something else.

GEORGE: Can I ask you something? Do you like my mischievousness a little bit? She calls me “Damien” after Damien in The Omen.

HILLY: It’s because he looks like him—pictures of him as a little kid, he looks so much like him.

DR. SELMAN: So there’s no possibility that the omission of Hilly’s getting to look at the column in advance could have been intentional in a way? In keeping with your Damien—

GEORGE: O.K., I’m being a hundred percent honest here. I think at some point it occurred to me that I hadn’t shown her the column. There were a lot of things going on at that moment, and I knew she had probably 10 times as much going on. I wasn’t trying to not show it to you.

DR. SELMAN: It seems like we’re touching on basic issues of trust here.

GEORGE: You don’t trust me?

HILLY: I want to so badly. Most of the time I do. But sometimes there are things that make me feel otherwise.

GEORGE: You think I’m a big liar?

HILLY: I don’t think you’re a big liar. I just told you something I did that I never told you about—that’s lying. I took your money. So you shouldn’t trust me, either.

GEORGE: You also took those pictures of me as a little kid.

HILLY: And I thought about taking more.

DR. SELMAN: And why would you do that?

HILLY: Because they’re cute and I wanted to make copies of them. So I have them for my own.

GEORGE: The first time she did that—stole pictures of me as a little boy—my first response was, “I don’t want to have kids, I don’t want to get married!” We didn’t get that book you recommended. Codependent No More?

DR. SELMAN: Why not?

HILLY: We went out all night, after the last session.

DR. SELMAN: Well, why would you do that?

HILLY: We couldn’t find a bookstore. Ha ha ha ha!

DR. SELMAN: I think there’s a Barnes & Noble on every block in this town.

HILLY: I think we found a bottle of Sancerre before we found a bookstore.

GEORGE: The same night you hit the girl.

DR. SELMAN: That was 15 days ago. You’re trying to tell me in 15 days you couldn’t have bought a copy. What do you think it was?

HILLY: I don’t really feel like reading it …. This is great; this will be interesting. I’ve been having really weird dreams lately. And I’ve been waking up at 4 o’clock in the morning, and the other night I had this dream that I was being chased by dinosaurs, and I came to a staircase that was going up, and lying down on the staircase were two kids. And one was me and the other was my brother Jonathan. And I looked closer and I said, “Hey, little Hilly, let me pick you up!” And then I morphed into someone else. And I woke up.

DR. SELMAN: What do you make of it?

HILLY: I don’t know.

DR. SELMAN: Any associations to … ?

HILLY: The dinosaurs were chasing me; we were running.

GEORGE: Jurassic Park?

HILLY: No, I think it’s because I’ve had lots of pressure at work and I’m about to resign. I have this great new job. So I think I just fear leaving all these people. So I think that’s who the dinosaurs were. Probably my landlord, too—I’m late paying my rent. And then the stairs probably signify, because they were going upward, I’m about to embark on this new journey, this new career, and so I see myself rising and succeeding and making more money and doing all kinds of great stuff. But then maybe I’m there at the bottom as a little kid because that’s how I really feel, like a helpless kid. I’ve had morphing or metamorphosis dreams throughout my life. I used to have one, this little Asian woman who morphed into Yoda on a regular basis when I was a little girl.

GEORGE: You dressed up as a geisha girl for Halloween once.

DR. SELMAN: So we really got off the topic of Codependent No More. How’d that happen?

GEORGE: The fact that we didn’t get the book?

DR. SELMAN: Well, I am interested.

HILLY: It doesn’t sound like very much fun, and I’m pretty immature that way when things aren’t fun.

GEORGE: She also doesn’t think I should get on Effexor.

HILLY: Don’t say that!

DR. SELMAN: I know that. Is it possible that you don’t want to read the book not only because what the contents of the book are, but maybe you would actually feel that you would have to do something?

HILLY: Yes. That’s it, exactly. I don’t really want to do anything.

GEORGE: I don’t even know what “codependent” means. It’s not a good thing, right?

[ Silence.]

DR. SELMAN: I personally don’t think we’ve really gotten that far. I think that we’ve gathered a lot of information here, but nothing’s actually changed, nothing’s really gone on. They’re probably has to be some sort of fundamental change in some place for it to proceed according to the way you wanted the relationship to head in the first place. In other words, a decision was going to be made: Do we get married or don’t we? Right, was that it?

HILLY: Yes.

DR. SELMAN: And you, George, said you wanted to maintain the status quo. So you’re doing a good job, but we’re not really reaching a decision ….

HILLY: Put him on the antidepressants.

GEORGE: Don’t you think we’ve gotten along better?

DR. SELMAN: Neither one of you have curtailed your drinking, as far as I can see. She’s been—up until now anyway—resistant to you taking antidepressants or doing anything about improving your moods. When it came down to reading the book, you didn’t want to do it. I mean, we can keep going like this.

HILLY: He can’t just fix the problems; we have to try.

GEORGE: Right. Are you still in the process of developing this idea—have you figured out the situation here?

DR. SELMAN: Well, I may have said this to you: The way things are, the relationship works—such as it is.

GEORGE: That’s good.

DR. SELMAN: You’ve been together three and half years now. Despite everything, you’re still together. So one has to figure that if it was so horrible, you would have split up a long time ago. So the way things are, it works. So what would happen if we actually made a change? I think that’s a frightening thought, because how do you know if the relationship would work anymore? It may not work if one of you changes in some way, if you changed the behavior of the way you interact. What would happen if you quit drinking? You might not like him anymore. If he became a nicer guy, who knows? Conversely, what would happen if you stopped putting up with all this stuff? It may not work for him. It might not work for you, either. Or we could just decide to just leave it the way it is.

HILLY [ quietly]: Nooo. I think you should take the medicine.

DR. SELMAN: Why are you changing your mind?

HILLY: Because, I don’t know—it seems like it might help. And then, if it doesn’t, he can just stop taking it. Right? You’ve been O.K. the past couple days, so it’s not so fresh in my mind, but so frequently it makes me so upset that you’re so frequently so upset.

GEORGE: I think as far as depression is concerned, I think I have an attachment to it. It’s something that I’ve had, something I’m comfortable with. It’s familiar.

HILLY: It’s funny, the first day in the longest time that he was in such a good mood was the first day of that eight-day rain. And I walk into his apartment—it was just miserable outside—and he has the biggest smile on his face. He was so happy.

GEORGE: But I also think depression makes sense. It’s realism. What’s the flaw in that thinking?

HILLY: You can still be depressed when you’re taking antidepressants. It just doesn’t hold you back from doing other things.

GEORGE: So you can still be a little melancholy once in a while?

HILLY: Look at me, I’m doped up on these Prozac pills and I almost beat up four old ladies on my way here. I had that sense of road rage, traffic rage.

GEORGE: Yeah, sometimes I can sense the Prozac at work inside you, see it in your eyes, hear it in your voice.

DR. SELMAN: So do you want to try taking medication?

GEORGE: If I do take this, can you also give me a prescription for Viagra in case, umm—

DR. SELMAN: Absolutely.

GEORGE: This is another bad thing, but I think about it all the time. About Demerol. I had it once in the hospital after I tore my A.C.L. I know Demerol’s a very strong drug, but that was just one of the best experiences of that kind in my life. So I thought if I had Demerol once a month, that might cure all of my misery.

DR SELMAN: I don’t prescribe that. So maybe another doctor can give you that.

HILLY: Ha, ha, ha, ha!

( to be continued)

—George Gurley

Prior Articles: George and Hilly published 11/14/05 George and Hilly published 11/07/05 George and Hilly published 10/24/05 George and Hilly published 10/17/05 George and Hilly published 10/10/05 George and Hilly published 10/03/05 George ’n’ Hilly, Back in Couples, Turn on the Doc published 09/26/05 But Should We Get Married? Part III published 08/29/05 But Should We Get Married? published 08/15/05 Should I Get Married? My Hilly Joining Me In Couples Session published 08/08/05