DEXTER: Three years ago I did you out of a wedding in this house by eloping. Which was very bad manners. I’ll make it up to you by going through with it now as originally planned.
TRACY: No, I don’t believe I’ll marry you again at all, Dexter.
DEXTER: Not marry me again? Why on earth not? I’ve been skulking around your house for absolute hours, insulting your fiancé and making veiled, insulting insinuations about your sexual predilections and reminding you that I thought it was your fault I had a drinking problem when we were married. What else can a man do?
TRACY: Look, I understand that it’s the 1930s –
DEXTER: I even compared you favorably to a boat!
TRACY: But this still feels excessive.
TRACY: Yes, thank you, Mike.
MIKE: Even though you were drunk, and I’ve been staying at your house this whole week.
TRACY: And I really do appreciate that, Mike.
MIKE: I just…there’s an award for that, right?
TRACY: I don’t believe that there is, Mike.
MIKE: So what do I get for it?
TRACY: I’m sorry?
MIKE: Like, a hat, or a boat, or a…or you marry me out of gratitude, or something?
TRACY: I’m afraid not, Mike.
MIKE: Oh, well.
TRACY: I will say this, though: I appreciate that you are the only man in this entire movie who has not described me as a frigid bitch-goddess or a human statue.
MIKE: That is something, isn’t it? I said you were a girl, and that I liked your fire, and your self-sufficiency.
TRACY: It was, quite literally, the nicest thing any man has ever said to me, including my father and former husband.
MIKE: My God, that’s awful.
TRACY: So, you know, go in peace, and rest easy in the knowledge that you are the kindest male American in the year of our Lord 1940. Oh, so it isn’t the thirties. Well. Earlier point still stands.
TRACY: What I’m trying to say is that I’m not looking for 21st-century-era progressivism, which would be unrealistic.
DEXTER: I don’t even know why you would. What an odd era of human history to decide to compare us to.
TRACY: I just mean I don’t think it’s unreasonable of me to want to marry someone who, okay, is a man of his era, but also doesn’t feel the need to blame his wife for his alcoholism, or his daughter for his extramarital affairs.
SETH LORD: Wait a minute, I–
TRACY: WHICH IS DEFINITELY NOT NOW, AND HAS NEVER BEEN, A THING, FATHER.
SETH: That’s debatable.
TRACY: I don’t care how sexist an era is, there are exactly zero periods in human history where it’s been customary to blame the daughter for a man’s infidelity to his wife. Like, ever. The wife, sure. You could make a case for that, at least some of the time. But no man accused of adultery has ever justified his actions with “It’s not my fault! I have daughter issues!”
SETH: I sort of feel like you’re twisting my words, here.
TRACY: “What most wives fail to realize is that their husbands’ philandering…has nothing whatever to do with them. A reluctance to grow old, I think.” Which, A of all, Moonstruck already covered this, and covered it better.
SETH: I don’t know what Moonstruck is.
TRACY: Well, you should. It’s a modern classic. “I suppose the best mainstay a man can have as he gets along in years is a daughter. The right kind of daughter. I’m talking seriously about something I’ve thought over thoroughly. I’ve had to. A devoted young girl gives a man the illusion that youth is still his.”
MIKE: Holy shit, did he actually say that?
DEXTER: I thought you left.
MIKE: I had. This is so creepy I had to come back. Like, he said that to his own daughter? With his mouth?
DEXTER: Also, what does this imply about men who only have sons?
MIKE: Is he…is he suggesting that men implicitly want to have sex with their own daughters, and if their daughters don’t also-implicitly give off the impression that they could have sex with them, if they wanted to, they’ll have to go have affairs with young women they’re not related to, to make up for the sex they’re not having with their daughters?
TRACY: Fucked up, right? “Because, without her, he might be inclined to go in search of his youth. That’s just as important to him as it is to any woman. But with a girl of his own, full of warmth for him, full of foolish, unquestioning, uncritical affection…”
DEXTER: Jesus. Is this a common outlook, for the thirties?
MIKE: Forties, technically.
TRACY: And then he capped it all off with “You have a good mind, a pretty face, a disciplined body that does what you tell it. You have everything it takes to make a lovely woman except the one essential. An understanding heart. Without that, you might as well be made of bronze.”
MIKE: Is that actual dialogue from the movie?
TRACY: Fucking WORD FOR WORD, Mike. Ver-goddamn-batim.
DEXTER: Your dad told you that you had ‘a disciplined body’?
MIKE: Christing hell.
DEXTER: Tracy, I think I get it now. You don’t have to marry any of us.
MIKE: But you really should not have to live within a hundred miles of your father. If you ever need help finding, like, an anonymous apartment in the city, please let one of us know. We would be more than happy to help out. Platonically.
DEXTER: With no expectation of a relationship. Or anything. Just…if you need anything, you call us. Okay?
[DEXTER and MIKE stare at SETH unblinkingly for a solid minute and a half.]
DEXTER: I mean, just Christ.
MIKE: Christing hell.
TRACY: THANK you.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.