Thought-provoking read, John. I appreciate your candid, humble take on the matter. As a fan of Woody’s writing and sardonic worldview, this “classic” has always put a pall over my enthusiasm for him as a creator.
I’ve often wondered if this was a prequel to, maybe a confession about, private affairs; or if it’s is a tongue-in-cheek way to exploit the slippery slope of avante-garde sexuality in New York among “creative culture” at the time.
Either way, hard not to cringe at much of Manhattan (borough and the film).
This piece in the Paris Review from a while back offers another great take on Woody/Manhattan: https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2017/11/20/art-monstrous-men/