The odd thing about this stupid arc in which stupid Elly is so sure that some random person is a friend’s husband despite her not being able to see him clearly is that it vaguely reminds me of a rather annoying strip featuring the Martian. As you will recall, April reminded us that she was jealous of Becky for a reason that she didn’t want to face. Simply put, April wasted years of her life and made a huge, ugly fool of herself because she’d managed to convince herself that Becky wanted to destroy her and laugh at her misery because that’s simply what pretty people do to the less attractive. What really annoys me about this whole “I’m at war with someone who has no idea that she’s my mortal enemy” scenario is not that Jim was the person in charge of trying to talk sense into a screwed-up kid with a persecution complex; it’s that said messed-up teen-ager’s parents were busy feeding the delusion owing to it coinciding nicely with their own superficial way of looking at the world.
The way in which the two of them reacted to the presence of Not-actually-Fred’s dinner companion is fairly telling and explains a lot about who they themselves are and what their children will be like. Before I remind you of that, I’d like to remind you of what we know of her: nothing. We do not know the woman’s name. We do not know her history. We don’t know what she’s like as a person. We don’t know what she does for a living. We do not know what her life was like after her brief encounter with “that odd woman who glowered at us at the restaurant all those years ago”. All we do know is than on an evening in late November or early December 1983, she and her significant other were at a restaurant when a woman in her mid thirties stormed up and glowered at them for a second before deflating and mumbling about how she thought that he was someone she knew. We also know something else: the frowning woman and her seat-mate wrote the woman’s biography based on how she was dressed. Suffice to say, said bio would be given at least an R rating were it made into a motion picture.
The reason that John and Elly came to the instant and unshakable conclusion that That Woman in That Dress had to be what used to be called loose has, as I said, a lot to do with who they are as people. The reason that Elly never gave April the “don’t be hating” speech about Becky is that Aypo’s feelings of inadequacy and fear that pretty people want to crush their lessers because that’s what they do are her own. This translates into Elly racing around with the preconception that the woman in the restaurant has to be some sort of temptress who gets a cheap thrill out of destroying the happiness out of the housewives of the world; since Elly believes this to be the case despite not having any evidence to sustain her argument, the woman has been tried and convicted of homewrecking sight unseen.
John is an even worse idiot because of his even less palatable presumption that since a woman who’d dress like that “has” to be loose and would thus gladly give up the goods to every leering oaf she encountered. This is nonsense. This is also the thinking that gets people to believe that the victims of assault somehow invite their misery on themselves.
Of course, as bad as they are as individuals, they’re even more reprehensible in tandem. After all, John does nothing at all to stop Elly from ruining the other couples’ evening because he wants a floor show.
What makes this all the worse is that the woman cannot even forget that this happened. In the ordinary course of events, she’d have been able to forget the ill-mannered woman in the blue dress but, since Elly insists on making a public fool of herself, our hero is rather helpless to prevent it. Heck, she might even have to remember that the nutcase who made a big deal about the stadium expansion is married to the dentist with the staring problem!