Of course Elly is not the only person to not take a damned thing away from her encounter with the man she only thought was Fred Willis. John also failed to learn anything about himself or the world around him. If he had learned anything, he might start doing something that Elly is also guilty of. Said flaw came into play when she bellowed at him for going to the wrong vacation cabin despite her own belief that they were indeed at Ted’s little vacation nook. Simply put, the poor, stupid fool cannot seem to shake the counter-productive habit of not asking questions. A sane, sensible person would have asked the question “Is that Fred at all?”; a sane, sensible person would also have asked himself “Is Elly about to make a fool of herself by insisting on something she can’t be sure of?” This is because a sane, sensible person wants to be aware of his surroundings. John’s preferred state seems to be to live in a self-induced fog so that he can be isolated from an unfair world that insists that he give as well as take. Thus we have a man who makes an ass of himself again and again because he relies on the biased testimony of an impetuous imbecile with a persecution complex.
What he also doesn’t learn about himself is what an ugly fool he looks like when he slobbers repulsively when confronted with an attractive woman. His inability to control his roving eye and the urges in his areas is not, as he thinks, simply part of being a man; the idea that it means that he never bothered outgrowing the adolescent impulse to go roadside with everything in sight is as troubling as his inability to see the objects of his baffled desire as more than being, well, objects. He also doesn’t realize that he makes Elly’s concern that given the right conditions, he will do something about his impulses legitimate.
Most troubling of all, of course, is that he cannot be bothered worrying about the ramifications of Elly’s having been right. While it is true that most of why he hates Ted is that he welched on a promise that he may or may not have made, his admiration for Not-Fred’s boldness and cleverness blinds him to the despair and heartache June would have to experience had that actually been Fred. Odds are, he would have been more concerned about how much work Fred would have had to do to maintain a double life than the irrelevant concern of the hormonal over-reaction of women to the victimless crime of adultery.
The reason that he doesn’t see himself as having any sort of a problem is that whole “living in a fog” thing I mentioned. He would rather not pay attention to what he’s doing because of his fear that he’d have to lose face by admitting that he can’t live on autopilot.