30 Days of Carol: Day 25 – Cracking the Code on These Two New York Lesbians

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A lot the questions accompany the theories surrounding the Record Store Gays, or as the screenplay initially describes them, TWO SHORT-HAIRED WOMEN. (Later, the screenplay explicitly marks them as “New York lesbians,” so please choose your fighter.) Questions like: What was their purpose within the script? What does it tell us about Therese in that moment? What does it tell us about Therese going forward? About Therese before? Did they have to have one of them pose like that? Are they hitting on Therese or are they letting her know they know? Are they even real? Did Therese imagine them? What, basically, are we to make of them?

They are a mystery. And maybe that’s the point of their role! They – these shorthaired, New York lesbians – are everything and nothing that we think they are. But that shouldn’t stop us from investigating further. In fact, it feels like we are given a clue for that very reason. What is it? Well, it’s June Christy!

This is June Christy! is an album by – you guessed it – June Christy, an American jazz singer known for her “silky smooth” vocals. Perfectly normal for two women in pantsuits to enjoy a little jazz. Or is it? The year is 1952 and Capitol Records released This is June Christy! in… 1958. Girl, what?

That’s not all. June Christy was born Shirley Luster (I mean this is an incredible name why). Therese is buying Carol a Christmas present. If you look at December to June as a forward processing of time – which I’m choosing to do as it supports my argument – everything is deliberately pointing to the future.

Stay with me. Let’s take a look at the song list.

“My Heart Belongs To Only You”
The first time Carol and Therese drive together, Jo Stafford’s “You Belong to Me” plays.

“Whee Baby”
The first time Carol and Therese meet, well.

“You Took Advantage Of Me”
TOMMY.

“Get Happy”
Gay.

“Look Out Up There”
… in space.

“Great Scot”
Isn’t it awful?

“Kicks”
Get them on route… 66.

“Why Do You Have To Go Home”
And leave me with Abby.

“Bei Mir Bist Du Schon (To Me You Are Beautiful)”
Dearest…

“Until The Real Thing Comes Along”
“I should have told her to wait.”

“I’ll Remember April”
The Ritz.

“I Never Wanna Look Into Those Eyes Again”
Richard at the party.

Of course: Therese and Carol’s whole story reflected back at us.

It all makes sense. Therese had just met an alternate version of herself and Carol as time traveling lesbians. Flung out of space wasn’t an endearment, it was a warning from their future selves, just like the record was. They tried to stop the eventual heartbreak from happening on two separate occasions, but it all got lost in the haze.

The detail here – just wow. A film for the ages. Every one of them.

Los Angeles based writer. Let's keep it clean out there!

Erin has written 207 articles for us.

46 Comments

  1. Well for the two seconds they’re on screen I found them intimidating AF, they reminded me of the mobsters’ daughters I went to high school with.

    That Carol and Therese are Time-Traveling Lesbians ™ I totally buy into though, I’m just not sure they’d look quite that tough !

      • A very big-name mobster sends his daughter, Corky* to my boarding school, for safekeeping most likely. He and the nuns go way back.

        Her cousin, Sheila*, who happens to be the daughter of a mob tough guy, is also at our boarding school and follows Abigail around like a terrifying shadow. Corky is nice, in a low-key “I have power but I don’t want to show off” kind of way, and she’s quite gorgeous. I am wise enough not to be smitten with Corky, because ya know, the Don’s daughter, and plus Sheila clearly doesn’t like my face. Yikes !

        In a scene that used to replay very often in my head, Sheila decides to make good on her threats. She grabs me, shakes me around a bit like a ragdoll and lifts me off the ground, pressing my back to the wooden lockers in our dorm, she’s hollering how she’s going to punch me for my disrespect, her fist is winding up, and then Corky simply bats her eyes and says very softly to put me down. Next thing I know I’m back on the ground and very wobbly. The crowd disperses like magic as Sister Gemma comes barreling towards me. I don’t remember much after that. There may have been some ear-pulling because Sister G was very fond of doing that.

        Fun times ! I now actually consider this one of the highlights of my time there. Saved by the Don’s daughter. Swoon.

        *Names have obviously been changed. Time has passed and I’m probably not in danger for talking about this, but I’d rather not risk it.

  2. Oh, Therese’s manager is frightful,
    But this woman coming in looks delightful,
    Outside is where Therese cannot go,
    So let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

    This woman is looking for a dolly,
    And she’s making Therese blush, oh golly,
    This flirting isn’t just for show,
    Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

    And when the lady finally does depart,
    Therese’ll have to leave the store for the storm,
    But with thoughts of her in her heart,
    All the way home she’ll be warm

  3. I always assumed it was the film’s “We accept you, one of us! Gooble Gobble!” moment, but I gotta say, this time traveling lesbian theory is very appealing to me. Mostly because I want to be one.

  4. Fun fact one of the Record Store Lesbians is played by a theater professor at my university–the first college professor I ever had. She is this intimidating in real life, and has a sick collection of queer feminist clothing

  5. I’m a little late to the Carol party, but I was just made aware of the song “Carol” by Jen Cloher.

    Actual lyrics include the line “every state has a Waterloo
    Hotel room to remind me of you
    Terrifying pleasure”

    Yes, this is not entirely relevant to today’s topic, but I needed to share this information with people who care!

  6. Sorry to be annoyingly picky but the version of “You Belong to Me” in the car/tunnel scene in the movie was actually performed by “Helen Foster and the Rovers”. Which apparently was the original version before Jo Staffords rendition.

    But Jo Staffords version was more popular and I actually prefer it to the original.

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