GEORGE: Hilly’s paying half the rent. That’s another positive. Aren’t you?
HILLY: So far. Ha ha.
GEORGE: Maybe about a third of the rent. Gonna start paying half, and half the Con Ed bill. I’ll pay the phone.
HILLY: If I get two full closets. Bobbie’s litter box is in one, and then half of your clothes take up the other closet.
GEORGE: All right. Deal. When she moved in, after you got all your boxes in, what did I say? “Let’s try this for six months?” And you go, “Nope, forever.” And I said, “I want to be a war correspondent.”
DR. SELMAN: Go to Iraq for a year.
GEORGE: I’ve been having fantasies about doing something heroic. I walk across the park at night and I’m ready to be confronted. I want to disarm a mugger. I would be a war correspondent, but—this is going to sound ridiculous or insensitive—but I really don’t want to be beheaded on the Internet.
DR. SELMAN: Sounds like you’re having suicidal thoughts?
GEORGE: No, I just feel like I’m not afraid of anything. I’m not afraid of flying anymore. O.K., enough about me.
HILLY: I like living with you because I think it’s really a nice thing to come home and to know if you’re not there already, you’re going to be there.
DR. SELMAN: And you can keep better track of him.
HILLY: Um, yeah. But also I feel like I treat myself better when I’m not alone.
GEORGE: I think it’s better than us sort of negotiating every day when we’re going to see each other—it’s a lot more stable now. Plus she’s let me go out a couple times and I’ve gotten back well before 4 a.m., right?
HILLY: I wouldn’t say “let”—I’ve almost had to coerce him to go. I’m like, “George, just go!’ Then he’ll come home and I’m always fast asleep. And I enjoy my alone time, and it’s important for us to have our own separate social life.
DR. SELMAN: Is this a living together out of convenience, or living together because you want to live together?
GEORGE: It did happen that way, by accident, but I didn’t hesitate—I said immediately when you got evicted that you could live with me. I remember you saying you never would unless you got engaged, so it’s kind of worked out nicely.
DR. SELMAN: Is there a ring?
GEORGE: I think right now there’s about a 55 percent chance about the ring. Is that O.K.? That’s better than, um—I mean, it’s only been three weeks we’ve been living together. I told her we should try it for six months, then sit down and have a discussion—maybe here, maybe over dinner—then try it for another six months. Then another six months.
DR. SELMAN: So you can decide whether or not to get married in a couples-therapy session?
HILLY: We can’t just make a decision about living together long-term in an apartment the size of yours. It’s not realistic.
GEORGE: Yes, one thing I wanted to ask you: Do you think—sometimes I think I pick on you, that I’m mean. Am I abusive? Emotionally?
HILLY: Yes. But my mom was too, so I’m kind of used to it. But in a way—like you’ll say, “Oh God, what next?!” in the morning, first thing when you wake up. And I know you won’t remember having said it, because it’s just, I don’t know, your allergies irritating you or Irritable Male Syndrome or something.
DR. SELMAN: When will he have said that?
HILLY: Usually it’s right after he wakes up, before he’s fully conscious, or right after something has happened, like maybe he received an e-mail that had bad news in it. And so for the first three minutes after that he’s just—
DR. SELMAN: I’ve heard that for the first seven minutes after you wake up you’re not fully awake. It’s like being in a drunken state.
HILLY: Yeah, so it doesn’t really get to me. It kind of almost makes me laugh, but at the same time I try to respect his sleep patterns as much as I can by being as quiet as I can. So I’ve changed my patterns—I shower and blow-dry my hair at night, and I don’t make my bed like I would normally do, because I know it will wake him up. And I don’t put everything away like I normally would.
GEORGE: So what about when I called you “dingbat” or “monster” or—
HILLY: Seabiscuit? Ha ha.
GEORGE: Does that hurt your feelings? I mean, you’re smarter than me.
HILLY: No, not at all. “Dingbat”—
GEORGE: It’s affectionate.
HILLY: You’re right—it’s affectionate.
GEORGE: I did one other thing. I mean, you’ve hit me harder, but we were watching Flightplan ….
HILLY: Oh, yeah ….
GEORGE: …and I was lost on a plot point, so I kept rewinding the movie, and then she made a noise like “ Pfft” and I went like that. [GEORGE punches HILLY lightly on the arm.]
HILLY: It was harder than that, but my brother beat me up much more than that.
GEORGE: Was that like an affectionate love tap or a noogie or what?
HILLY: Nooo, it was—
DR. SELMAN: It looked like a slap.
HILLY: He was frustrated, like he’d be with a sibling. I wasn’t in fear or anything. I could take him anyway.
DR. SELMAN: Sounds like a good idea you’re in separate beds.
HILLY: Oh my God, sleeping with him sometimes is crazy because he’s so tall, which is a wonderful thing, but he always sleeps diagonally on the bed—and no matter how many covers you have, no matter how much they’re tucked in, he ends up pulling all of them. I remember one time I tried to get a little tiny corner away from you—it was so cold—and you just knocked me off the bed.
DR. SELMAN: So George said that there’s a 55 percent chance that there will be a ring.
GEORGE: And a 35 percent chance that we’ll get married.
DR. SELMAN: Who is it up to?
GEORGE: Ohhh. That’s a good question. Right, the tables could turn somehow. She seems to bring the subject up a lot. Ring!
DR. SELMAN: It sounds to me like she’s already said yes and you’re contemplating, and these are the odds. Are these like the Vegas lines?
GEORGE: Yes, I guess so.
DR. SELMAN: So it’s all up to you?
GEORGE: Well, no—I think it’s up to what happens with us living together.
DR. SELMAN: This is Hilly’s test.
GEORGE: Nooo, I’m not saying it’s like that. I think it’s for her own good, our own good, to see how this works out—I think so far, so good. Living together is a big step, right?
DR. SELMAN: I think the circumstances of you coming to be living together are interesting.
GEORGE: It’s wonderful how—
DR. SELMAN [ to HILLY]: I didn’t know that your apartment was in jeopardy the night you called me from Rome.
HILLY: I didn’t either.
GEORGE: Thank you by the way for that—calming her down.
DR. SELMAN: You know, when we had that phone conversation, I was out on Lexington Avenue in a sport jacket—it was 30 degrees—because I’d been in a restaurant when you called.
GEORGE: Speaking of clothes, we’re really sorry. I lost my wallet, she was evicted—we didn’t get you the black cashmere scarf in Rome.
DR. SELMAN: Oh, that’s all right, don’t worry about it. I bought a new one anyway. But what happened—you actually lost your apartment? I don’t understand. You hadn’t been paying the rent?
HILLY: No, I have been paying the rent. I was late.
GEORGE: She has her way of rationalizing that. She needs to spend money on her hair.
GEORGE: Back to the princess complex.
DR. SELMAN: How many months behind were you?
HILLY: One month!
DR. SELMAN: One month and they evicted you?
HILLY: One month plus two months’ security deposit.
DR. SELMAN: I don’t understand. You were three months behind?
HILLY: Well, technically. See, I said to Fernando, this guy in my building, “I just re-signed my lease in September, I don’t even stay here every night of the week, I have a boyfriend who lives uptown—probably by the time my lease is up, I’ll be moving out, getting married or something.” Then I got an e-mail from my friend at my old job saying, “You’re getting married? Why didn’t you tell me?” And I called and I said, “What are you talking about?” And she said, “Your landlord called here and said you’re getting married and you want to move out.” I said, “What are you talking about?”
DR. SELMAN: They really set you up.
HILLY: And when I was at the hock place yesterday with the guys with the Black Cheerleaders porno, the guys who packed my stuff up—they were nice, but they were perverts and weird. I said, “So let me ask you, do you guys work frequently for this particular management company? Are they just assholes or what?” This one guy said, “Well, I’ll tell you one thing: They always wait until the person is out of town. And then they take everything.”
DR. SELMAN: Good thing you had another place to go. What would you have done if George hadn’t—?
HILLY: I’m sure I could have gone to one of my friends’ houses at least temporarily.
GEORGE: But things worked out pretty well, right?
DR. SELMAN: And you actually signed legal documents?
HILLY: No, I haven’t signed anything.
DR. SELMAN: It sounds like whatever went on was very fishy, and you have rights. If you have a rent-stabilized lease, you don’t have to walk away from it like that.
HILLY: I talked to an extremely well-known attorney, world-renowned, but who primarily focuses on divorce settlements—
GEORGE: Can we talk about something else?
DR. SELMAN: Why do you want to change the topic?
GEORGE: I’ve just been listening to this stuff … I know it sounds selfish, but I’ve been listening to this for a month and it’s just driving me—
DR. SELMAN: The reason I think it’s relevant is that here you guys are living together, and presumably deciding whether or not you want to be together as a couple in a more official way—but it seems relevant in the way this whole thing came about.
GEORGE: I like to think that she needed to get out of there, everything happens for a purpose, it all happened seamlessly—
DR. SELMAN: You have feelings about it, the way it happened?
GEORGE: I think it’s horrible, but let’s just stop dwelling on it, let’s move forward.
DR. SELMAN: So you’re glad that she’s moved in with you?
GEORGE: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah! I’ve just been hearing all these stories for a month, and I think she got a good deal—she doesn’t have to pay that back rent, and it’s over.
DR. SELMAN: You know some people get buyouts. If they want you out so badly, and you walked away from it—
GEORGE: Well, she can still see a lawyer.
DR. SELMAN: If you haven’t signed anything, I don’t see why not.
HILLY: I haven’t signed anything.
DR. SELMAN: Why would you not see a lawyer? You don’t have to move back into the apartment—you can still live together, but you could take that money and get a down payment for something bigger.
HILLY: I certainly don’t think it could hurt. Because I really do feel that, in many ways, my rights have been violated.
DR. SELMAN: So, George, you want to do something heroic. You imagine yourself walking through Central Park and thwarting—why not do something heroic here?
GEORGE: I’ve put her in touch with two lawyers and talked to her about this incessantly. I just think that it’s … but sure, let’s talk to another lawyer. All right! Yeah, I’m into it! Sounds great.
DR. SELMAN: I just want to say one thing: I would like you to not mix Klonopin after a night of drinking. ’Cause those two don’t mix well.
GEORGE: No, no, no. I wouldn’t do that.
Prior Articles: George and Hilly published 04/03/06 George and Hilly published 03/20/06 George and Hilly published 02/6/06 George and Hilly published 01/23/06 George and Hilly published 01/16/06 George and Hilly published 12/26/05 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