Paul has a much better understanding of “real life” than Holly does—toward the end of the film, he becomes angry at her and reminds her that in real life, people fall in love and stay together forever, they commit to each other, that’s how the real world works—a severe contrast between her desire to remain ‘a free spirit’ and his desire to settle down in a normal relationship. He often looks after her best interests and attends to her physical needs, and is surprised when he finds her apartment is so “un-lived in” despite her having been there a couple of years. She hasn’t put up any of the sensory comforts he so enjoys. He appears to draw much of his writing (from what little we see) from real life—only starting a new story based on Holly, after he has been around her for awhile. He is also accommodating and wants to save her from herself, going out of his way to be her friend and companion, agreeing to almost everything she wants from him, and earning his living by being a married woman’s paid gigolo. Paul is more forthcoming with his feelings than Holly, and more considerate of others’ needs and their feelings. He also considers her to be something of a puzzle he feels compelled to solve, since he doesn’t understand her or her desire to remain free of commitments and encumbrances.

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Paul is passively accommodating, so much so that he lets Holly—a woman he barely knows and has only just met—curl up beside him in bed and he holds her throughout the night, even comforting her in her nightmare, after she has barged into his apartment and made herself at home. He appears to meld into Holly the more he’s around her, even agreeing to steal from a dime store just because she eggs him onto it. He takes her out and allows her to get drunk, but then doesn’t want her to overdo it and imbibe at home, so they wind up in a quarrel—after which, he simply leaves her and goes upstairs. He’s accommodating to his paid benefactress, and somewhat lazy about his career—he has not written much in a long time, and his typewriter has no ribbon in it. He has to break away from womens’ hold on him in order to make time to write, rather than letting inertia stall his life. On occasion, he chastises Holly for her selfish behavior, and he displays a desire to avoid getting into trouble.