Mary Alice's teacher, Miss Butler, is as prim as can be and super professional. That's why Mary Alice is shocked and confused when Grandma Dowdel wants to invite her over for dinner. What could she possibly have up her sleeve?
But despite her proper exterior, Miss Butler is an English teacher because she has such a love of literature and the arts. And so when she meets Arnold Green—an artist from the big city—she's immediately intrigued:
At last, Miss Butler chanced a glance across the groaning table at Arnold Green. I was too young to know how much a dangerous man interests a good woman. His glasses were steamed from the dinner, so it was hard to catch his eye. But she spoke. "I so admire the artistic temperament." (6.153-154)
Things haven't changed all that much—women are still drawn to artists, musicians, and other "bad boy" types.