What do you think Vic sees at the end of Gaiman's "How to Talk to Girls at Parties" that upsets him so much?

Expert Answers
mdelmuro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout the story "How to Talk to Girls at Parties," there's a hint that the women at the party are not exactly women—or even human. This idea is foreshadowed early in the story and then the narrator, Enn, explains his run-in with these non-human "women" at the party. This is why we can guess as to what Vic means when he says, "She wasn't a—"

In the story, Enn explains his trouble talking to girls. He says that while Vic could get away with not actually talking to girls because he's good looking, Enn "did not know what to say to girls." The entire story is Enn trying to talk to girls. The first girl he speaks to is named "Wain Wain" and oddly says after a long speech, "Soon I must return to Wain, and tell her all I have seen. All my impressions of the place of yours." The next girl he speaks to calls herself a tourist and says that on her last tour she "went to sun, and we swam in sunfire pools with the whales." Finally, the last girl Enn speaks to at the party is named Triolet and she calls herself a poem. She says about her people,

There are places that we are welcomed. . . and places where we are regarded as a noxious weed, or as a disease, something immediately to be quarantined and elimated. But where does contagion end and art begin?

After Triolet recites a poem in Enn's ear, Vic comes into the kitchen in a panic and says they need to leave. When they leave, Enn looks back and sees Stella, who is staring at them. Enn's description of Stella is interesting and explains these non-women:

Her clothes were in disarray, and there was makeup smudged across her face, and her eye—

You wouldn't want to make a universe angry. I bet an angry universe would look at you with eyes like that.

All of these clues lead to only one conclusion: Stella, who Vic was with upstairs, was not human. This frightens him so much that he ends up "sobbing in the street, as unselfconsciously and heartbreakingly as a little boy."

rogal eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It could be suggested that Vic sees something out of the ordinary while making out with Stella. This is suggested because, as Vic and Enn leave the party, Enn sees the look on Stella’s face as she watches their sudden departure. In Enn’s words, Stella’s eyes are angry: she looks at them like an “angry universe” would. Also, “her clothes are in disarray” and her makeup is all smudged—clear signs that she and Vic had been “busy” before his wild exit.

The sudden change in Vic’s feelings for Stella, and the party in general, is kind of strange. Earlier on, Vic shows a lot of interest in Stella. He holds her hand while they dance, and walks around with his hand around her waist like he “owns” her. Even when he discovers that they are at the wrong party, he is still happy to stay on. When Enn asks whether they should leave (as they are at the wrong party), Stella “shakes her head” and Vic kisses her, then says, “you’re just happy to have me here, aren’t you darling?” Moments later, however, Vic is “grabbing Enn by the elbow” and angrily forcing him out of the party. Once out of the house, the boys run like something’s chasing them. When they stop, Vic vomits for a long time. Finally, he says “she wasn’t a —," but he does not complete his statement.

Through the conversations that Enn has with the girls in the party, the reader discerns that all or most of the girls are actually aliens from another planet. However, Enn does not understand this. Even Vic does not understand this until toward the end of the story. It is this discovery that totally upsets him. Possibly, this is what he wants to say to Enn after they leave the party: that Stella wasn't a human being.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question