We join our happy couple in the middle of a therapy session, just after Hilly has brought up that George left her at Bungalow 8 without telling her he was leaving.
HILLY: It might seem trivial to you, but we live in the kind of world where that kind of thing matters. And I don’t want to be with someone who is so cavalier that he feels his girlfriend’s feelings don’t matter, that he can just walk out with any tramp into any taxi at any time of night—
GEORGE: Can I just—
HILLY: That’s just insensitive and selfish!
GEORGE: Calm down! Listen, here’s what happened—
DR. SELMAN: Where do you think this is going to go?
GEORGE: No—we need to back up. We met my friend for dinner at the steakhouse—
HILLY: There’s no explanation; it doesn’t matter—
DR. SELMAN: Well, you know something, Hilly? I guess the question has been asked previously: How much are you going to put up with? You must have limits.
HILLY: Actually, I do have limits, and I’ve been thinking about them a lot more seriously recently— especially after this.
GEORGE: I thought you wanted to stay at the club and I needed to get out, and I just went home and as soon as I got home, I called you.
HILLY: Despite all of this, I do think that you made some progress, because it was the first time that you were able to leave that place before 3 a.m.
DR. SELMAN: How do you guys view the nature of your relationship?
GEORGE: The night at Bungalow 8—I mean, the place was like 75 percent sexy girls, and I happened to know a half-dozen of them. I was afraid to get too close to them, have a conversation— let me finish!—because I thought Hilly would come over and hit them over the head with a bottle of Grey Goose!
HILLY: Oh, that’s ridiculous.
GEORGE: You’ve done that before!
HILLY: I have not. I’ve slapped a few people, and that’s not that big of a deal.
DR. SELMAN: How would you feel if she left the place with some other guy?
GEORGE: What, like a gay guy?
DR. SELMAN: No, a heterosexual guy.
GEORGE: Umm, and went straight home like I went straight home?
DR. SELMAN: If you didn’t even know where she went.
GEORGE: Well, I don’t know. That’s a good question. All I know is that I had a window of opportunity to get out of there. I would have stayed, if someone would’ve come over to me and cheered me up, and I would have been back in it.
DR. SELMAN: Why wouldn’t you have said, “You know, Hilly, I’m not in the mood—let’s leave”?
GEORGE: I did say that!
HILLY: No, no!
GEORGE: I said that and I walked to the door, and you were still there talking to some friends. I waited a few minutes and then I said to myself, “I gotta go now or I’ll be here until it closes.”
DR. SELMAN: It doesn’t seem to me that she wouldn’t have been amenable to leaving.
HILLY: But then also, in 24 hours, I find out that, “Oh, by the way, that girl I shared the taxi home with …. ” I was like, “ What!?” The one thing that got him to leave Bungalow 8—and get home before freaking 8 o’clock in the goddamn morning and leave me behind to get raped and killed like that poor 16-year-old girl—was some ho. Just imagine how that makes me feel.
DR. SELMAN: How does that make you feel?
GEORGE: She was a nice—
HILLY: I don’t care what she was! I don’t care if she’s the Virgin Mary. I hate her.
DR. SELMAN: Why do you think this is funny, George?
HILLY: It’s horrible. I mean, it really makes me feel like—I’m not joking, George. It really makes me feel like, you know, maybe it’s time to, you know …. I don’t want it to be one of those textbook stories about, “Oh, she gave him the ultimatum and then walked away.” But you need to make some decisions and figure out—I know I talk about being jealous of other girls, I admit that readily, and it’s something I want to work on. But in terms of the respect, or lack thereof, that you give me, I think that maybe that’s something that you need to think a little bit more about and … I don’t know ….
GEORGE: Well, can I ask you one thing? Did you have a good time at the Hugo Boss party the other night?
HILLY: It was fun.
DR. SELMAN: What does that question mean, exactly?
GEORGE: It means that we’ve had some ups and downs, but overall we’ve had a pretty good summer.
HILLY: George, relationships aren’t about quid pro quo. Because I feel jilted because you left me alone stranded in a bar the other night, you can’t remind me of the fabulous evening the week prior.
GEORGE: I’m really sorry. I’ve already explained myself like 10 times to you.
DR. SELMAN: I would think it would be a common courtesy to anybody, that if you’re leaving before them—
GEORGE: I know. I was waiting for you for like five or 10 minutes, you were talking to some people, I’m sorry.
HILLY: It’s O.K.—you don’t have to apologize anymore. I’m not looking for that. I just want you to know the feelings that have been going on in my head. I wouldn’t be sitting here right now if I didn’t accept your apology.
DR. SELMAN: But why are you putting up with this, Hilly?
HILLY: Because I love George! And he puts up with a lot from me, too.
DR. SELMAN: What does he put up with from you?
HILLY: I don’t want to talk about it.
DR. SELMAN: If you don’t want to talk about it, Hilly, you don’t have to talk about it—but could you at least say why you don’t want to talk about it?
HILLY: No. I don’t feel like it right now.
GEORGE: The stuff that I put up with? Um—
DR. SELMAN: Well, she might not want you to reveal it. Do you know what she’s referring to?
HILLY: Can we talk about me next week?
GEORGE: It’s just that she drives me crazy once in a while.
DR. SELMAN: But you know relationships usually work if there’s some equality. We’re hearing about really bad behavior from you. And yet she hangs in and says: Well, you put up with stuff from her. We don’t hear any about of that.
GEORGE: I’ve tried time and again for us to find common interests.
DR. SELMAN: You have common interests.
GEORGE: Let me finish this, please. We’ve tried museums, going to church, Broadway plays, witchcraft. I’d just like to get into anything together. I guess we are both reading Taki’s prison memoir right now.
HILLY: Why is it that every day I come home, you’re sitting on the couch in that weird sort of like—he’s naked except for his boxers, kind of like a little pod child. He’s been sitting there for hours, he probably hasn’t been doing—I don’t know what he’s been doing—but it looks like he’s been sitting there kind of comfortable in that spot, yet comfortably miserable. And then I walk in and I’m exhausted after a day at work, and I just need time to sit and not talk to anyone, and then he gets up and goes into his room and shuts the door. Plays with his e-mail and whatever, and behind the door he’ll start screaming, “ Fuck! Mother fucker! What the fuck! Fuck!” And then silence. And I think, “O.K., based on previous experiences, I’m not going to interfere. I’m just going to wait here until I’ve been properly addressed.” So 10 minutes more goes by and I hear, “Goddamn motherfucking bastard! Why the fuck!”
GEORGE: It was the computer.
HILLY: So finally he’s like, “ Hilly! Get in here.” And I go in, he’s like, “Why is it doing this?” And he’s just typing all these gibberish e-mails to his friends. And he was referring to the margins. So I’m like, “O.K., George,” and I tried to grab the mouse, and he said, “ No, don’t!” And I swear he almost hit me. And I said, “George, just give me the mouse.” And I finally figured it out for him. And it’s like, to come home to something like that—do you really think I’d be bursting through the door: “Let’s go to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens!”
GEORGE: One thing she really likes about me is the pictures of me as a little kid. She’ll say, “You’re mean and grumpy and you get home at 6 a.m., but the real you is that little boy in his knickers with his poker-money pouch.”
DR. SELMAN: What you said before is that she liked the Hugo Boss party.
GEORGE: Oh yeah, we went to this great party, and I asked David Bowie for advice on whether we should get married, and he said, “I’m sorry, I have nothing!”
DR. SELMAN: You’re going on the assumption that she would marry you.
GEORGE: When I was in college, I remember reading something by D.H. Lawrence—the idea was that all this stuff we’re talking about, love and sex and all this stuff, you should just take it lightly.
HILLY: So get me a ring. Take it lightly. If we change our minds, I’ll give it back.
DR. SELMAN: So you would get married to George?
HILLY: I’d at least like to have a ring so we could take things a little more seriously. If it’s all so lighthearted, then what’s the problem? Maybe the taxi girl you’d prefer—I don’t know.
DR. SELMAN: Where’d did you go with her, anyway?
GEORGE: Look, there’s no way I’m going to be able to acquit myself on this—
DR. SELMAN: This is bad behavior.
GEORGE: I don’t— fine. O.K.
HILLY: Ohh! I know what did it. We showed up for dinner, and his friend Chris’ first comment was, “Wow, you two look like an Upper East Side socialite couple.”
GEORGE: That’s interesting. Good insight. Anyway, the fact is that Hilly is so cool, so great. I did say I love you, or whisper that, last night. And I know that no one else—let’s say no New York woman—would put up with this.
DR. SELMAN: You do?
GEORGE: I’m pretty sure. I’m a handful. The first night we decided to go out, I told her about my patterns with girlfriends: I always do something to screw it up somehow early on, and then I flip out. In college, there were girls from Mission Hills, very Hilly-like—I mean, no one’s like Hilly—but all real pretty. The first one, I actually stayed at Kansas University because of her. First night I met her, she said, “I’m gonna marry this guy.” Two weeks later, she informed me that we weren’t dating anymore. Two months later she told me, “If you call me again, I’m calling the police.”
DR. SELMAN: What happened in the relationship prior to Hilly?
GEORGE: It didn’t work out. I was cuckolded by her—and the one before that, too.
DR. SELMAN: Hmmm. I see.
GEORGE: But anyway, Hilly said that she too does things a month into the relationship to screw things up.
DR. SELMAN: Why would you leave her at Bungalow 8? Weren’t you afraid she might meet another guy and do the same thing to you the other two girlfriends did?
GEORGE: Well, I want to be careful answering this.
DR. SELMAN: You’ve certainly pissed her off enough to do something like that ….
GEORGE: I’ve never been worried about that. She’s not like the other girls. Maybe we should just forget this topic. But one’s dating history is somewhat relevant ….
DR. SELMAN: Yes—and also the reasons for failed relationships. The best predictor of the future is the past.
GEORGE: Well, here we are, and we’ve been in couples therapy for one year ….
DR. SELMAN: Don’t you think you could piss her off enough to go with some other guy? Since it’s happened to you before.
GEORGE: Look at that smile she just gave me. The answer is no.
DR. SELMAN: Why would you not think that?
GEORGE: I think that we’ve been through so much together that we’ve gone over these bumps. I think we’re in a different place now.
HILLY: So be nicer.
DR. SELMAN: Don’t you think it’s provocative to leave a club with another woman?
GEORGE: All right, I have nothing more—I’ve said all I can on this. It was a mistake, it happened, I was high on Vermont Green and I’d had beer and vodka—
DR. SELMAN: So now you’re saying that drugs made you do it.
GEORGE: I know, lousy excuse.
DR. SELMAN: What would have happened if you didn’t leave?
GEORGE: Nothing more to say about that. I’m sorry. But if you want to assess the situation some more, tell me what you think of us as a couple. Lay it on the line, give us the verdict. I’m ready.
DR. SELMAN: The verdict? This is not a courtroom.
GEORGE: Do you think we’ve gotten better or worse since she moved in? Give it to us straight.
DR. SELMAN: Does it matter what I think?
GEORGE: Yes! It matters.
DR. SELMAN: Why?
GEORGE: One could argue that by not answering that, you’re being passive. You’re just sort of going along with it.
DR. SELMAN: Well, what is your take on this? Because you are here, too.
GEORGE: I’ve said a whole lot.
DR. SELMAN: Do I think you have changed?
HILLY: I’m sorry to interject, but you know there’s only so much that he can observe in these sessions. For example, I haven’t even mentioned the fact that in the past two weeks, George has been, for the first time in ages, more outgoing. Tonight I’ve been spewing out all this stuff—
DR. SELMAN: So you think he’s functioning better?
HILLY: Yes, absolutely. I think overall, we’re better.
DR. SELMAN: It’s a big step, though, to get married. That’s something that’s completely different. It’s easy to get married to somebody; it’s not easy to get un-married.
HILLY: What about getting engaged?
HILLY: Start thinking a little more seriously about it. No definite date in mind! Nothing like that.
DR. SELMAN: So you want it to happen?
HILLY: I want to be engaged.
DR. SELMAN: Despite all of this!
HILLY: Oh my gosh, George, if you didn’t have a penny to your name, I would, you know, cancel my fall-winter order at Burberry and find a way to pay the rent and do whatever it takes—
GEORGE: I really do pay for everything. I have to fight to get your quarter of the rent. And this Con Ed thing ….
DR. SELMAN: You asked me my opinion. So it occurs to me that you’ve never been married, you’re 38 years old, you question your life. She is putting up with all of this from you. There are numerous examples of bad behavior. And it seems like you know Hilly is not turned off. So you could just turn up the volume.
GEORGE: I think I’m behaving much, much better every month we’re together.
DR. SELMAN: Do you agree with that?
HILLY: I don’t know if I can measure it on a scale like that.
DR. SELMAN: Has he ever left you in a bar before?
GEORGE: Once at Lotus, remember? You got really mad. Well, we made love last night; that was pretty hot—during Children of the Damned? You don’t like it when I bring that up. But that’s important? Sorry. Private?
DR. SELMAN: What could be private about making love while watching Children of the Damned?
GEORGE: On the topic of sex, you told us we should be having sex twice a day. My question is: O.K., I’m 38, we’ve been together for almost five years—isn’t that setting the bar kind of high?
DR. SELMAN: Did I say twice a day? Well, at least once a day.
GEORGE: Oh! Well, I know some people who’ve been together for a while and it’s more like once a month.
DR. SELMAN: Well, that’s their problem.
GEORGE: I don’t know—is that a problem? This friend of mine made it seem like it wasn’t a problem at all. And you said something about testosterone—does that come in pill form?
DR. SELMAN: Gel. You rub it on your skin. There’s also a drug out now to help you quit smoking. Chantix.
GEORGE: O.K. Can I have that and also get a prescription for … you don’t have any Viagra or Cialis samples do you?
[DR. SELMAN nods and gets some Viagra samples and hands them to GEORGE.]
[ To be continued.]
Prior Articles: George and Hilly published 09/11/06 George and Hilly published 08/14/06 George and Hilly published 08/07/06 George and Hilly published 07/31/06 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