The problem with going back to morality
Yet June yearns for community. New Yorkers are inured to evil, & it takes not too much to start a race riot, but there must be the clueless here & there who think about sharing the things that mankind are agreed are good. She wants ‘a captive audience for her Indiana charm’ – she resolves to attend the tenants’ meeting. So does Chloe, who introduces herself to the new neighbors as a registered sex offender. Who knew the law advertises unjust happiness quite so thoughtlessly?
June now wants to teach Chloe a few things about how to live her life, specifically that she should find a decent man with whom to have conjugal sex, at least if he is wealthy. Chloe is attracted to inappropriate men; this may be as much as saying that sex clouds judgment, but June claims far more than she understands in equating judgment with moral conventions.
Their neighbors hate & despise them. Chloe is a threat to family – & therefore to property rights – whereas June is simply contemptible in her small-town gullibility. But her naivety makes ambition possible. She means to take Chloe caroling! Christmas goodness will replace promiscuous happiness. Then everyone will have to think well of these girls, & even envy them.
June’s education starts with a strange threat. She wisely starts where the spirit of Christmas-yet-to-come ends: She shows Chloe a horrible future. Promiscuous women end up ugly & desperate. Their pleasures are connected to pains they ignore at their peril; the arrogant defiance of love is punished terribly when once beauty fades… Is this Chloe’s future? Why is marriage the solution to ignominious anonymity? Will a husband worship her? What about Chloe’s desire to be publicly worshiped, even as she lords it over mere mortals?
Chloe is mortified & therefore willing to learn. But she calls the experience of a hipster upper middle-class farmer mart soul-sucking. The pleasures are too bland; the self-deception about knowledge & nature obvious; she’d rather enjoy less dubious pleasures – maybe sexual promiscuity is the happier answer to the collapse of the moral opinions that grounded the middle-class.
James is forced to replace Chloe by Luther. The woman attracted beautiful women to him: They confirm each other’s desirability. Mankind worship two more confidently than one, maybe. The homosexual man, aside from his jealousy, does not understand that neither the useful nor the beautiful can be allowed to get in the way of promiscuity. James now wants Chloe back, enticing her with jail bait. It emerges that Chloe is a sexual offender because she thinks sex is a way to break through morality, or convention. This teaches June to stop teaching & go back to learning.