We join our newly cohabitating lovebirds in the swank office of their therapist-confessor. This week, the good doctor arrives at a startling conclusion: Could the libidinous and thirsty two-some have a problem with … communication?
GEORGE: So the rent check bounced. We had a little bit of a problem with the rent. Hilly paid a fifth of it. Last night, she actually paid the second fifth and the first fifth for August. So I had to get some help to cover the rent.
DR. SELMAN: I’m confused. You were living in this apartment and paying the rent before she moved in. So theoretically you could just pay the rent by yourself, couldn’t you?
GEORGE: Well, sure—but one of the perks of having your girlfriend move in with you is then you guys split the rent and you get to spend more money elsewhere.
DR. SELMAN: Well, George, why wouldn’t you just pay the rent?
GEORGE: Pay the rent on my own?
DR. SELMAN: Why not?
GEORGE: I think it’s more fair if we split it or she at least pays two-fifths. And then I pay for everything else.
DR. SELMAN: Well, how does the check bounce?
GEORGE: Actually, the bank covered it. It was a close call.
DR. SELMAN: You’re complaining that Hilly’s not paying her share of the rent.
GEORGE: Wait, I don’t understand. This is a totally legitimate complaint, but it’s being turned around on me like I have no business bringing it up.
DR. SELMAN: Well, you’re not putting it in a clear way.
GEORGE [ to HILLY]: You agreed to pay half the rent, right? And?
DR. SELMAN: You guys do not communicate!
GEORGE: I asked you four or five times for the second fifth of the rent. And I asked that you return those Blockbuster videos you rented about five times.
HILLY: O.K., now that’s another thing. So I got back from Kansas City whenever that was, Monday night, and he got back the following day, and I rented four movies, and two of them I actually rented that night, because I thought we would want to watch them. Anyway, we didn’t, and they were sitting around. We ended up going away to East Hampton last weekend—
GEORGE: And wasn’t that a great—
HILLY: It was fantastic. Anyway, so you asked me a couple times, “When’re you going to return the movies?” And I said, “As soon as I have a chance.” So we got back Sunday. Monday night, I ended up going out with a friend, so I didn’t get home until about 9, and I was tired. And the next night, I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean. And then Tuesday I went out with Alex, got home, and then you were out all night. Wednesday, same thing—I had a few appointments for work and didn’t get home until 9:30. So it was late; it was hot outside. Meanwhile, all day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, George was at home. And then he kind of threw a little bit of a bitch fit about the Blockbuster movies.
GEORGE: I thought we were getting charged extra.
HILLY: O.K., hello, you’re at home all day long and Blockbuster is a couple blocks away? I’m at work and—
GEORGE: Making money so you can pay half the rent?
HILLY: The thing is, it’s exactly what Dr. Selman says—we’re not communicating.
GEORGE: This is perfect. You kept saying you’re going to return them, and every day I’d see them on the floor. And I was like, “What’s going on here?” Then today you said, “Oh, could you please return them for me?” And I was like, “Yes.” So I need instruction. I did it, I returned them, and there was no charge—no late fee!
DR. SELMAN: You know, why wouldn’t you just return them anyway on your own? Just take the initiative.
GEORGE: Once again, it’s all turned back on me. I mean, come on. Jeez. Hilly told me she had a dream about having sex with the devil and liking it.
HILLY: That was a couple years ago, though.
GEORGE: We had sex a couple hours ago, right after she told me that.
DR. SELMAN: You know, there’s more than one right answer to these things. You seem to think that it always comes down to you—it’s not always you. It’s her, too. She didn’t ask you to take the tapes back, and she’s not forthright in saying to you, “Look, George, it’s really a hassle for me to meet you at home—I’m really annoyed by that.” She doesn’t say that; she doesn’t say anything.
GEORGE: Everything worked out. You came home, you had a cocktail.
DR. SELMAN: The point is that neither one of you are necessarily communicating. It’s not just you.
GEORGE: What was that thing your mother said, about your relative who was really into starch?
HILLY: I don’t want to talk about it. I mean, I’ll talk about your toes.
GEORGE: All right, go ahead—go for it.
HILLY: George has this really weird thing about his toes. He’s really—I’ve almost never seen anyone get as upset about anything. He can be in the best mood ever, and the second I even look at one of his toes or touch them, he gets so angry and almost violent.
GEORGE: Don’t say I get violent.
HILLY: Not like physically violent.
GEORGE: This is a perfect example of her doing something to purposely annoy me. And it’s infantilizing me. You know, it’s “This little piggy went to the market, this little piggy stayed home—”
DR. SELMAN: You do that to annoy him?
HILLY: So why do you take bubble baths?
GEORGE: I also don’t like her to touch my belly button. I’m a big boy. Now tell the story about the starch and your relative and how your mother warned you.
HILLY: Well, my granny has this thing: She’s kind of crazy. She’s so sweet and stuff. She and my grandfather divorced when my father was in high school, and she’s been pretty much alone ever since. My mom has always thought that she is really crazy—a spinster living alone and with a cat, and she’s really, really anal retentive about overstarching her clothes and linens. She uses a ton. And she always says, “Oh, I have my starched white shirt on today. Oh, how I like to wear a starched white shirt.” And she just repeats herself and goes on and on.
GEORGE: And your mom said—
HILLY: My mom has been warning me, basically since the day I moved to New York, that I am ultimately going to be her, my granny, and that I am going to be alone in a studio apartment with a bunch of cats and a stack of old New Yorkers.
DR. SELMAN: This is what your mother tells you?
HILLY: And wearing starched shirts.
GEORGE: Because you have a tendency to drive people a little crazy? Is that it?
GEORGE [ to DR. SELMAN]: Now you see there’s some basis to this, and it’s not just—and I’m not complaining exactly, I’m just saying it’s a two-way street. Speaking of moms, after I told my mom that Hilly hadn’t paid her share of the rent, you threatened to tell her about the mold in the bathroom, the dirty dishes—
HILLY: I was being facetious.
GEORGE: And how I’d tricked you into having sex during Inside Deep Throat. [ To DR. SELMAN] Did you see that documentary?
DR. SELMAN: I don’t know how I missed it.
GEORGE: No great loss—bunch of geezer warhorses claiming to have invented blowjobs. Did you see Deep Throat?
DR. SELMAN: I actually saw it in a movie theater when it first came out.
GEORGE: Wow. Wow. Awesome. I don’t know why, the documentary turned me on. Maybe it was a very angry Gloria Steinem glowering and insisting that Linda Lovelace had been forced to be in the movie. No, it was Camille Paglia that really got me excited. Love her. But I tricked you into having sex, right?
GEORGE: You don’t want to talk about “the trick”?
HILLY: No, I don’t feel comfortable talking about “the trick.”
DR. SELMAN: What is the deal with the rent?
GEORGE: I think she would prefer if I paid all of the rent so she could spend her money on pedicures and her hair and various other things.
DR. SELMAN: Do you have a problem with that?
GEORGE: She makes more money than I do. She has a fancy job—and I also pay for everything else. Con Ed. Phone bill.
HILLY: I don’t use the phone!
GEORGE: Well, whatever. I buy the Puffs Plus. The paper towels. The kitty litter. The light bulbs. The food.
HILLY: I buy paper towels!
GEORGE: I pay for 95 percent of everything.
DR. SELMAN: Well, how do you feel about that? She makes more than you and you pay most of the expenses? What are you getting in return?
GEORGE: I don’t lose sleep over it exactly, but it’s a mild irritant. And it sometimes makes me paranoid—worried that, you know, this is a pretty good deal for her, or someone like that. I have these thoughts that maybe you’re hoping I’ll forget about asking you for your share of the rent. And I thought we had an agreement: You don’t have to pay half the rent, but almost half, or what you were paying before you moved in with me—something like that would be nice.
DR. SELMAN [ to HILLY]: Would that crimp your lifestyle?
GEORGE: I’ve also taken her out to dinner hundreds of times, and she’s paid for it twice.
DR. SELMAN: What you’re saying is that you’re basically supporting her even though she makes more money than you, and she spends all her money on manis and pedis and her hair?
GEORGE: That’s maybe an exaggeration, but it does sometimes feel like she’s my daughter.
DR. SELMAN: She’s your daughter?
HILLY: First of all, it may sound really archaic and ridiculous and hard to believe, but I just am of the school of thought that the man is in charge of finances. If you’re not making as much, then take over mine. Deal with it. I’d gladly hand over all of my finances to him if he would manage them for me. I would love that. Then the other thing, I’ve always been really bad with money my entire life. I’ve just been horrible—I’m sorry! And, you know, whatever.
GEORGE: I’m still bringing my wallet into my bedroom every night, hiding it, because I don’t like leaving it on the coffee table. I think she’s going to get in there in the morning and take out $20.
DR. SELMAN: Why would she take your money if she’s making more money than you?
GEORGE: She’s done it before. Listen, it’s not so bad. It would be nice if I could leave my wallet out, not have to stash it.
HILLY: Part of who I am requires money. I don’t just look like this because people hand me free Gucci shoes when I walk down the street. People don’t like automatically say, “Oh, you look great—here are some extra highlights.” Or, “Maybe you want to get your teeth whitened? That would be great.” I have to pay for all this stuff, and that’s what girls have to do, and it’s expensive and it’s maintenance, but that’s what being a girl is. And if you want to date a big, fat, ugly chick like that slut at Siberia—
[GEORGE answers his cell phone.]
GEORGE: Hey, Kurtis, I’m in therapy right now. You’re on speakerphone.
[HILLY gets up and leaves the room.]
KURTIS: Hilly is the best thing that ever happened to George! All right, bye.
GEORGE [ to DR. SELMAN]: Friend of mine from high school. Sorry. Oh, boy. No more mushrooms.
[ To be continued.]
Prior Articles: George and Hilly published 07/24/06 George and Hilly published 07/17/06 George and Hilly published 06/26/06 George and Hilly published 06/19/06 George and Hilly published 05/29/06 George and Hilly published 05/15/06 George and Hilly published 05/08/06 George and Hilly published 05/01/06 George and Hilly published 04/17/06 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