Irwin Shaw’s short story “The Girls in Their Summer Dresses” talks about a young married couple who tries to enjoy a Sunday afternoon in New York City. Frances catches her husband looking at other beautiful women as they pass by which creates an argument between the two. During several rounds of Courvoisier, Michael confesses his hidden obsession with women and how he admires and loves to observe many different types of women. He does this in such a detailed way that he shocks Frances and forces her to question his love for her. Frances asks, “You say you love me?” (Shaw 279). This statement shows how her insecurity affects the communication with her partner, and can harm the future of their relationship. Shaw’s story reveals how marriages dwindle when faced with temptation to infidelity, and how spouses choose to ignore those unfaithful thoughts. In this brief story, Michael reveals to his wife that not only does he like looking at pretty women, "sometimes I feel I would like to be free" and that it is likely that some day he is "going to make a move" (Shaw, 279) Instead of acknowledging the problem, Frances appears to ignore it completely as she states, “Keep it to yourself. I’m not interested.” (Shaw 290). Shaw implies how relationships may fail due to miscommunication and eventually turn into relationships based on what’s convenient and looks good.
Shaw, Irwin. “The Girls in Their Summer Dresses”. Analyzing Short Stories. 6th Edition. Ed. Lostracco, Joseph and George Wilkerson. Iowa: Kendall Hunt, 2005