The Story How to Talk to Girls at Parties by Neil Gaiman

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The story how to talk to girls at parties

The story how to talk to girls at parties is a piece of art written by Neil Gaiman, a renowned scientific fictional author. The story is about two young teenagers Vic and Enn who attend a party full of girls. Enn's intention is to learn how to talk and interact with girls. Vic on the other hand aims at having sexual relations with them. The story basically addresses the issue of stereotypical gender assumptions, questioning whether it is correct for such assumptions to be drawn.

Themes in the story

The story has employed the use of various diverse linguistic styles such as imagery to capture the attention of its audience. There are a lot of themes that are depicted by this short story. Some of them include; the theme of male domination or male chauvinism. At the beginning of the story, Enn admits not to have any experience of talking to girls. In fact it is evident that Enn has never had any physical encounter with a female. As a result, Enn looks up to Vic, who seems to have specialized in this particular field (Gaiman, 1).

Male chauvinism

At the party, Enn expects to, "end up in the kitchen listening to somebody's mum going on about politics and poetry". Enn is easily persuaded to join Vic in attending the party when he repeatedly says; "Girls! Girls! Girls!" These utterings basically support the notion that the male gender is normally judged by their ability or expertise to engage in sexual relations with females. This assumption has been universally accepted. Male chauvinism is exhibited in this case because we see women here being portrayed as tools. Engaging in sexual relations with women is conventionally seen as being something cool, a form of a trophy. However, this should not be the case because women are sacred beings who should be respected due to the massive role they play in societies.

The theme of feminism

The other theme that can be clearly depicted from the story is the theme of feminism. Traditionally, it is known that the male figure is the one to initiate or make the first move on females. This notion is however questioned when the author introduces a third character Triolet. Triolet is the lady that Enn manages to converse with at the party. Actually, she is the lass who approaches Enn to initiate a conversation.

Non-binary gender roles or sexuality

As the story progresses, we observe that she goes on to initiate a kiss with Enn. Here feminism is clearly observed because we see the female gender having stepped up to take up the role traditionally perceived to be for males. Ideally during ancient times, it was hard for women to show interest in men unless the man made the first moon. Today, it is a common occurrence for females to make the first move on men the feel attracted to. We can therefore safely deduce that traditional gender roles in societies have been renegotiated. I totally concur with the saying that stipulates what a man can do a woman can do better.

Gender equality

Thirdly, there I the theme of non-binary gender roles or sexuality. This is basically what societies perceive to be normal with regards to gender. Initially when Vic meets Stella the hostess of the party, she is described as having golden wavy hair and that she was quite beautiful. We therefore see Vic making a pass at her basically because she was appealing to the eye. Vic continues to woo her until the end where we see Vic dragging Enn out of the party claiming that Stella was not a "girl". Here we see Stella being judged on the basis of her sexuality. The fact that she is a transgender male to female is enough to scare of Vic. If Stella was a normal girl Vic would have continued to be hot on her heels. However, since she is different Vic no longer wants to be associated with her. The theme of non-binary gender role is therefore clearly depicted (Moon, et al. 4).

Science fiction

Another theme that can be derived from this excerpt is that of gender equality. Statements made by Triolet go on to further support this theme. She is quoted saying, "there are places where we are welcomed and places where we are regarded as noxious weed, or a disease, something immediately to be quarantined and eliminated." In my own understanding "we" here refers to the Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community. These group of people tend to be just based on their sexual orientation. The society tends to exhibit mixed reactions towards them. Some condemn them while other encourage them to live their lives in the best way they deem fit. In my own opinion I think that people should be free to express themselves how they feel as long as they do not interfere with the well-being of others. We do not have to conform to societal expectations.

There is also the theme of science fiction. In the story, we see the women at the party being likened to aliens. Aliens refer to terrestrial life which primarily does not originate from this earth. The fact that the LGBTQ community is being compared to aliens goes on to show the depths in which gender stereotypes are still corroding our societies. Is it their fault that they are different? We are all created in the image and likeness of the Lord, so it is not fair to judge anyone on the basis of skin, race, cultural beliefs, and sexual orientations. We are all unique. Let us embrace our diversity.


It remains a mystery as to whether Neil Gaiman's piece of work talks about alien girls or not. However, the story clearly shows how gender stereotyping is still a very contentious issue in societies today. Through the different roles played by Vic, Stella, Enn, and Triolet, the author is able to challenge the present day ideologies as to what is termed to be normal gender roles. In the story, the introduction of liberal ideas such as assertive female characters and transsexuals further spices up the story. The author employs the use of a scientific fictional setting to lure his audiences to see the various situations where gender roles have been altered. "How to Talk to Girls at Parties" remains an intriguing story that I would strongly recommend for all to read.

Work Cited

Gaiman, Neil. Neil Gaiman's How to Talk to Girls at Parties. Penguin USA, 2016.

Moon, Fábio, et al. How to Talk to Girls at Parties. Headline, 2016.

Booth, Paul and Brisbin, Ally. “The Sand/wo/man: The Unstable Worlds of Gender in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Series.” Journal of Popular Culture. 46.1(2013): 20-37. Web.

Martin, Rachel. “Speaking the Cacophony of Angels Gaiman’s Women and the Fracturing of Phallocentric Discourse.” Feminism in the Worlds of Neil Gaiman: Essays on the Comics, Poetry and Prose. Ed. Tara Prescott and Aaron Drucker. Jefferson: McFarland & Co. 2012. Web.

December 12, 2023



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