Study Guide

The Girl in Why Don't You Dance?

By Raymond Carver

The Girl

The girl doesn't get a name either—and as with "the man," we don't get a physical description of her or much detail about her life or personality at all. However, there are some clues to what she's about and what makes her tick.

First of all, we know she's affectionate and potentially a bit of an exhibitionist. For example, when she and her boyfriend stumble on the furniture sale, one of her first thoughts is to test out the bed. She repeatedly tries to get the boy to make out with her while they're lying down on the bed, totally unconcerned that they might be seen getting frisky. In fact, she floats the idea of what would happen if they took it past kissing out there on the lawn:

She turned on her side and put her hand to his face.

"Kiss me," she said.

"Let's get up," he said.

"Kiss me," she said.

She closed her eyes. She held him.

He said, "I'll see if anybody's home."

But he just sat up and stayed where he was, making believe he was watching the

Lights came on in the houses up and down the street.

"Wouldn't it be funny if," the girl said and grinned and didn't finish. (24-32)

She also indicates that she'd be up for some in-public sexy shenanigans later in the story when she and the man dance together with the entire neighborhood watching. Even though she seems initially reluctant, she almost immediately changes her tune, saying, "Let them watch" (91). Well then.

Of course she maintains that the older man is the one who seems "desperate" in his interactions with them, but she is awfully keen on the idea of snuggling with him for all the world to see and she has a hard time shaking their encounter in the weeks that follow, so who knows what actually goes on with her there. As with the older man, though, it's almost definitely more than meets the eye.

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