Alice and Freda, or Al and Fred as they call themselves, are two nineteenth-century Memphis lesbians. Al and Fred are madly in love, or so Al thinks, and they have managed to keep their relationship a secret despite circulating rumors. Their favorite thing to do is to have pretend weddings. Al wears the suit, and Fred wears the dress, which suits their personalities just fine.
Because Alice confessed their secret love to her parents, the family is moving and taking her to Chattanooga in the morning. Al and Fred have met one last time to say goodbye. Alice has brought her father’s suit and her mother’s wedding dress, and they go through the motions of the wedding.
Judge Ketterson appears, and Freda is terrified until Alice explains what is going on. Alice has two tickets for them to take a steamer to New Orleans, where she wants to live as a married couple. Alice will dress and live as a man, find work, and support the two of them. She is even trying to grow a moustache and beard by shaving her hairless face. Alice has blackmailed Judge Ketterson into marrying them by threatening to tell the town he sleeps with men.
Although they have made promises to each other, Freda will not go along with Alice’s plan. Alice is hard and stubborn and unconventional, so she can live without a normal life. Freda, on the other hand, is beautifully soft and doesn’t want to give up her dream of becoming a Southern belle. Freda has accepted a marriage proposal from Ashley, who will give her a normal wedding and life.
Freda sends the Judge away. She tells Alice that if the world were a different place, she would marry her in a heartbeat. She just isn’t willing to give up all her other dreams, too. As Freda is leaving her, Alice takes her shaving razor and cuts her throat with it. She bleeds, but she has not done any real harm. The play ends ambiguously with Alice looking at the razor, and then walking off in the direction Freda has gone.