The daughter is somewhat attractive to men and therefore believes that if she just keeps trying a rich man will come into her life and bring her and her mother back to the wealth to which their birth right entitles them.
The film depects the lives of Big Edie and Little Edie Bouvier Beale. They were the aunt and first cousin of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. The reclusive socialite mother and daughter lived in a once fabulous estate in the wealthy enclave of East hampton, NY. They remained in the house even after it became decrepit, infested with raccoons and freezing cold. But they stubbornly held out. In 1972 Jacqueline Onassis and he sister Lee Radziwill provided the funds to stabilize the house.
Many mother-daughter relationship exhibits "Grey Gardens Syndrome".
Little Edie Beale refused to "settle". And in that spirit many women over 40, have refused to settle for less than they imagined they would have when they, as priviledged little girls, imagined their future. So until the right man comes along, to provide for her and her mother, she will not start a family of her own.
The daughter reasonably attractive, but believing in her destiny, will inform men that they will be obligated to accept the primacy of the mother-daughter relationship and to keep them in the wealth to which they are entitled.
Is it the mother's selfishness in preventing her daughter from starting a family of her own?
But, as in Grey Gardens, the daughter voluntarily submitted. They both want to live in the past, and not settle. They both choose to be reclusive unless the outside world will meet their demands.
Often, other wealthy families will find them interesting or charming dinner guests. Thus feeding their belief that they still belong to an exclusive club, and that they should stubbornly stick to their expectations. It is a lazy expectation because they do not work to make it happen, but instead expect someone to come along and provide for them.
Another aspect: The father was a good provider, and both parents were very good looking, so they presented a nice picture, rich, good looking and living in a beautiful house. But the personal relationship among the husband and wife was not there. So the mother taught her daughter that the mother-daughter bond is primary and that men are brought in only to support us.
There seems to be an expectation of eternal youth in the mother's logic. Her daughter, no matter how old she gets, is still young enough to attract a rich man, and make it all happen.
The literary theme, of a parent not letting his or her child leave the nest, is also examined in many Arthur Miller plays like "All My Sons" and "A View From the Bridge".