The Girls in Their Summer Dresses

672 Words3 Pages
The Girls In Their Summer Dresses, a short story in third-person limited point of view by Irwin Shaw, tells of a young couple's conflict with commitment and communication. On a sunny Sunday morning in New York City, Frances and Michael stroll arm in arm along Fifth Avenue making plans to spend an entire day together without interferences from the Stevensons or other friends. Frances sees that Michael's attention is diverted to the many beautiful women passing them on the street. Upset by his behavior, she asks Michael if he is happy and if so, then why does he do this everywhere they go? Over drinks, Frances confronts him about his wandering eyes and questions his love for her. Michael’s way of looking on women as mere bodies could suggest a kind of degradation, which is to define a woman only as an erotic or sexual figure. Michael reveals that he loves the way women look and when Frances asserts that one-day he will be unfaithful, Michael agrees with her. Frances feels that the day is now ruined and resorts to calling the Stevensons. The universal truth behind this story is that the innate differences between men and women coupled with lack of communication will cause a marriage to stagnate and become an uneasy compromise. Insensitive and inconsiderate of his wife's feelings, Michael openly admits his attraction to other women. Frances wants to know his true feelings and he gives them to her cold, "I got all this stuff accumulated in me because I've been thinking about it for ten years and now you've asked for it and here it is." (7) He does not acknowledge his wife's despair; he knows he is wrong and yet he feels righteous because so far it has only been a physical attraction. Michael blithely dismisses his wife's pleas for reassurance. "Don't be foolish,"(8) he tells her as he reaches over to pat her thigh comfortingly all the while trying to brush off the topic.
Open Document