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On the main floor of the Empire State Building in New York City, architect Donald Gresham engages in a mild flirtation with talkative Patty O'Neill, an aspiring actress. Don follows Patty to the observation deck, where he gives her a tube of lipstick that she had been admiring. Patty is charmed and when a button falls off Don's suit, she accompanies him to his office to sew it back on. After Patty finds a framed photograph of Cynthia Slater in Don's desk drawer, Don describes Cynthia as having been more or less his fiancée. Patty then accepts Don's dinner invitation but in the taxi, discovers that they are headed for his apartment rather than a restaurant. When Don explains that he wants to change clothes as they were unable to repair his jacket, Patty surprises him by unabashedly asking if he plans to seduce her. After Don promises affection rather than passion, Patty agrees to accompany him to his apartment. Cynthia lives in the same building but refuses to acknowledge them when they meet at the elevator. Patty later inquires if Cynthia is Don's mistress, but Don dismisses this idea. When a rainstorm compels them to dine at the apartment, Don leaves to go to the store to buy groceries. After Don leaves, Patty has two visitors: the first is Cynthia, who departs wordlessly. The next is Cynthia's debonair but debauched father David, who engages Patty in conversation. David is taken aback by Patty's frankness and admits that he came over to "horse-whip" Don because he took advantage of Cynthia. When Don returns he is surprised to discover that Patty has invited David to join them for dinner. David then confronts Don, who observes that Cynthia feels humiliated because he did not seduce her. Don explains that he refrained from seducing Cynthia because he did not want to feel morally obligated to her. Don continues that Cynthia spent the night with him only because David had invited a younger woman to stay at their apartment. During their dinner, Cynthia spies on them from the window ledge, but assumes the worst when she sees Patty undressing and putting on Don's robe, unaware Patty is changing clothes because David spilled ketchup on her dress. When dinner resumes, David reveals that Cynthia's mother divorced him after he struck her on her backside with a muffin pan in a dispute over her popovers. After Cynthia telephones and threatens to drown herself in the bathtub, Don reluctantly agrees to meet her at a bar for a drink. David, meanwhile, becomes smitten by Patty and proposes to her. Patty lightly rejects him, and they are soon distracted by a leak caused by the overflow of Cynthia's bathtub in the apartment above. As Patty mops up in David's apartment, she declares him to be endearing but shallow and depraved. Out of affection for her, David offers the impoverished actress six hundred dollars he won in a card game. In return, David asks Patty to wait fifteen weeks before seeing another man, and Patty accepts after ensuring he has no other expectations of her. Don, meanwhile, rejects Cynthia's attempted seduction, and when they return to David's apartment and find Patty kissing David, they misinterpret the kiss. Although Patty attempts to explain that she was only thanking David, Don now believes Cynthia's assessment of Patty as a "professional virgin." While Patty is in Don's bedroom getting dressed, her policeman father arrives, having discovered her whereabouts from her roommate. Patty's father knocks out Don and takes his daughter home. Patty returns later that night and demands that Don explain Cynthia's insult. Don angrily reveals that a "professional virgin" is a woman who flaunts her virginity in order to get something. David then arrives and, after seeing her with Don, accuses Patty of failing to wait the agreed-upon fifteen weeks. A humbled Patty returns the six hundred dollars to David, after which Don insults her and retreats into his bedroom. The next day, Patty finds Don moping around the observation deck of the Empire State Building. Don, who has fallen in love with her, kisses Patty. However, she demands an old-fashioned proposal that includes the word "love." After Don complies, Patty dreams about bringing their children to the observation deck for their future wedding anniversaries.