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Watching Other Couples Fight – Murray, Hillary, and the Bed & Breakfast

For a writer, being in love is the death knell for producing quality content.  Lust is the most important topic of writing.  It has been since whomever was the person that wrote about a man named Adam so horny for a girl named Eve that he'd depart with a bone in order that he could give her a boning (I may have gotten that story wrong).

A single man, a NOT in love man, can write great tales of romantic failures, of attempted seductions and liaisons, and about lots and lots and lots of mischievous sex.  A man IN love can't.  Especially after the first few months when it becomes rote.  The better your relationship, the less you have to say.  Inverse proportion.

So what to write about?  To reappropriate that famous line from Anna Karenina:

Happy couples are all the same; every unhappy couple is unhappy in its own way.

Ah...yes.  I could detail all the unhappy couples my girlfriend and I have encountered in the past year.

Murray and Hillary

Last summer, my girlfriend decided to treat me to a weekend getaway to celebrate me signing a contract for "How to Fail."

In a bit of spontaneous whimsy you typically only see in Drew Barrymore movies, she refused to tell me where we were going.  Still, I knew it would no doubt be a a) quick drive and be b) somewhat drinking related.

Because:  a) we were leaving Friday after work and wouldn't have much time to get anywhere further than a 4 hour radius and b) that's one of the major interests of my life.

We set out in the late afternoon headed uptown and once she took the turn onto the Triboro it was obvious we were off to Long Island.  My extended family is actually from Long Island, though I don't know much about it.  I've long bashed the Hamptons--not that I've ever really explored them, I bash them more in theory, though I do love Southampton beer--so I figured we weren't going there.  It's not really her scene either.

Deep into the island, at Riverhead, we took the North Fork and soon were driving through wine country.  The Long Island North Fork has some fifty wineries and the town at the end of the line, Greenport, where we we ultimately stopped, has a little brewery I'd always wanted to visit.

Even better, we were literally staying next door to the Greenport Harbor Brewing Company.

Even worse, we were staying at a bed & breakfast.

The B&B

We're wafflers and procrastinators and planning commitment-phobes, so my girlfriend had been late in planning our trip out to Greenport and, thus, there were no hotel rooms by the time she booked.  Not that the area has many hotels.  A few, and numerous "inns" I suppose, but the majority of weekend vacationers stay at bed & breakfasts.  That's where we were going to be staying.  In literally the last room available in all of town.

So, if you're scoring at home, we were staying at supposedly the worst room at supposedly the worst bed & breakfast in town.  Splendid.

My girlfriend didn't tell me any of these pertinent facts, though, until she had literally parked the car in front of Ruby's Cove and we were walking the fifteen feet from tucked-away neighborhood street to gigantic white mansion (pictured above).

Just like the Hamptons, I'd always been a big bed & breakfast basher even though I'd never been to one and quite frankly didn't know much about them, other than from the scenes in "Groundhog Day." A lot of sitting around with old people seemed likely.

In fact, my biggest fear in bed & breakfasting was forced consorting with my fellow B&Bers.

Good lord, as I get older, I (regretfully) barely take the time to hang out with my real friends, with the people I've spent 32 years of my life vetting, but being forced to hang out with lonely old farts sounded like the worst.

As I mentioned, our bedroom (named "The Divine") was the last bedroom in town.  It was actually a very nice room with a massive bed and some of the most luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets I've ever laid on.  There was only one little problem:  our bathroom was across the hall (this point will become pertinent in a bit, so take a note...)

Yes, just like college kids in a dorm, we would have to throw on a bathrobe (admittedly, a most comfy plush one which was provided on the doorback) any time we wanted to walk to our private bathroom.

Four bedrooms meant three fellow couples.  Our opponents:

*Two rubes from Connecticut who had come to Greenport via ferry.  These were the kinds of ill-dressed middle-class suburbanites who may or may not have incorporated visors, fanny packs, and Teva sandals (with socks?) into all their daily outfits, but I certainly recall them to have.  Old enough to have been married awhile and have kids (being watched by "nana"?), young enough to think we were old enough to be just as lame as them.  We weren't.  We aren't.  Extremely boring to consort with.

*One of those couples that behaved elderly so you assumed they were in their 70s, but when you started analyzing them you realized they were only like 55.  Bed & breakfast lifers, these were the kinds of folks that rack up B&B visits across the country like a frat boy racks up slut lays (come to think of it, B&Bs and frat houses look fairly similar on the outside:  old wood and brick mansions with countless rooms, sloping roofs, and couches on the porch).  The man of this couple was celebrating his birthday and kept mentioning this fact every few minutes ("If I haven't mentioned it yet, today is m' birthday.")  A few well-placed curse words in my first casual conversation with them was enough to get these huckleberries to leave me alone.

*Murray and Hillary.

Now Murray and Hillary weren't there real names.  I'm not sure if we ever secured their real names.  They could have been Andy and Sarah or Josh and Rebecca or Brad and Chelsea.  Surely something Biblical or close enough.  Shit, they truly could have been Murray and Hillary.  But, whatever the case, they were Murray and Hillary in my head from the second we saw them.

They were classic Murray Hill dwellers.


A lithe Jew with Pete Sampras curly hair tamed only by a close-cropping, vibrant Polo shirts, pleated shorts, and overly hair legs trunked into sockless loafers.  No doubt worked in banking, perhaps investment banking, no doubt attended Penn or Cornell at best, Michigan or Syracuse likely, Florida at worse.


Pencil thin with a big ass and formerly big nose now turned into an alcoholic-red button.  Hair that was once brown and curly turned straight and dirty blond by hundred of dollars per month of hair services.  Giant doe eyes with raccoon eye make-up.

He was:

Kind of a dick in that way that can be amusing to fellow men.  Even as you realize he's a real dick and a terrible boyfriend and that you hate him and that you're going to get in trouble with your own girlfriend for laughing at his belittling jokes toward his girlfriend and females in general, you can't help yourself.

She was:

Obsequious to him in a pathetic milquetoast way.  Kind of attractive if you only looked at her using your peripheral vision.  A lot of JAPs are really good at creating a verisimilitude of attractiveness by wearing nice clothes, funny fedoras, and large sunglasses.  Such was the case here.

The B&B was run by a sweetheart of a pot-smoking hippie named Donna.  I'm not quite sure how she ran the day-to-day activities of a massive mansion all by her lonesome, in between bong hits (this is all hearsay), but she managed.  She also managed to always keep a nice spread of munchies out, along with growlers of Greenport Harbor beer and plenty of local wine.

Our first morning of B (that's the second B), I took a seat on the far corner of the porch and shrouded my face with some internet printouts (what I call actual newspapers nowadays).  I was trying to make it clear to the other couples to leave me the fuck alone with all of yesterday's news that someone still thinks fit to print and my massive frittata.  Neverthless, the old man came by to tell me there was some Red Velvet birthday cake in the communal fridge if I wanted to help him celebrate his birthday, the rubes came by to ask if we wanted to walk the beach with them (a resounding "NO"), and Murray and Hillary came by to say hello and ask about our plans for the day.

We told them, they told us, and after breakfast, from there, we went on our separate ways:  my girlfriend and I to the North Fork Craft Beer, BBQ, and Wine Festival, Murray and Hillary on a chaffeured limo tour of the North Fork's finest vineyards.  (The rubes went to the aforementioned beach and the old farts went to tell more people about his birthday.)

How a B&B is like a Frat House

Now would be a fine time to tell you single men, you non-B&Bers, about B&Bs.  This is the only B&B I've ever been to so user experiences may vary.  Firstly, the door is always unlocked.  A many million dollar mansion and the door is always unlocked.  Then again, B&Bs aren't exactly in the kinds of places ruffians congregate.

I actually didn't realize how apt that previous comparison to a frat house is.  You ever just stumble into one on a college campus?  You can pretty much walk around the place, use the facilities, drink the beers, even talk to people...and not once will someone go:

"Uh, excuse me, who are you?"

Eventually, after a long while, one drunk brother who has had a few too many will give you the protruding crazy eyes and shout out:

"Who the fuck are you?!"

Less because he cares who you are and suspects you snuck into the house, but more because he's just looking to fight people and "Who the fuck are you?!" is oddly enough fighting words no matter the situation or location.  You could say that exact line to your father, inside your childhood house, and it still would lead to a throw-down.

Bed and breakfasts are actually kind of amazing ecosystems.  You're free to come and go as you wish, Donna flat-out told us to "make ourselves at home," and what a home it is.  Countless living rooms and seating areas to cozy up with a book or internet printouts, to read, relax, nap, or just think.  A great place to get lost, I'm surprised there hasn't been a reality show about a B&B yet.  (Has there?)

Meanwhile, the festival was a blast and I'd recommend it to any one.  A giant field with hundreds of unlimited free samples of beer and my girlfriend acting as my designated driver (and walker, and converser, etc).

That Night

Actually, late in the afternoon, after our beer festival, we returned to town to enjoy the rest of the day, me through a slight haze.  There, we encountered the much drunker Murray and Hillary returning from their limoed wine tours.  They clearly wanted to be our friends, and suggested we join them next door at the brewery for a few pints before dinner time.  Sign me up.

We continued drinking and they continued drinking, and Murray was getting pretty loaded, and Hillary was getting really loaded, and Murray was being more and more insulting to Hillary who was just taking his shit.  The drunker she got the even more silenter she got to the point that she was became almost invisible.

Once the brewery closed for the afternoon, Murray and Hillary invited us to join them for dinner at a nearby restaurant but we were tired so we passed and retreated to our bedroom where we passed out...

Several hours later we awoke to the sounds of a woman clomping up the stairs followed a half minute later by a man clomping up the stairs.  Wooden sandals then leather loafers.

Murray and Hillary had returned.

And, they were arguing right outside our door.

And, I needed to go to the bathroom so bad.

At first it was funny.

*"You always get so drunk!"

*"Because you're so boring!"

It was childishly amusing to put our ears to the door and hear their arguments:

*"You were flirting with the waitress!"

*"She was the only person talking to me!"

We jumped back into bed and snickered like little kids, trying to muffle the noise in the fluffy pillows.

Eventually, though, the argument just got sad.

*"I only married you because you were rich!"

*"I've never loved you!"

Then boring.

*"I hate you!"

*"I hate you!"

Then it was magically over.

The calm after the storm.

My bladder had been ravaged.

I finally went to pee, exiting our room to find Murray and Hillary nowhere in sight.

The next morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed, my girlfriend and I went downstairs to grab some internet printouts and retreat to the porch for our final B of the weekend.

No other couples were there.  It was eerie.

Donna approached us.

"Did you guys hear anything last night?"

"What do you mean?"

"Murray and Hillary packed up and left in the middle of the night."

"They did?!"

"They hopped in the car and tore out of here."

They were so drunk, I couldn't imagine them driving.

"They hadn't even paid yet!"  Donna added.

Ruby's Cove was so quaint it didn't accept online pre-payment with credit cards.

"Well, I'm sure they'll contact you," I tried to comfort her.

"What a mess...."

"Tell us about it."

Donna just shook her head.

"And to think...this was their one-year anniversary too..."

I'd like to say our jaws dropped, but they didn't.   We just took Donna's amazing maple bourbon-glazed french toast with peach compote to the porch and ate it alone, the only couple still remaining.

Bed and Breakfasts are FUCKING AWESOME.


He Proposed!

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