‘The Waltz’ by Dorothy Parker

The Waltz by Dorothy Parker, 1933

The magic trick:

Using a woman’s interior monologue to make joke after joke

Classic bit of Dorothy Parker here. It’s kind of crazy how tied to 1933 this story is and yet remains so funny nearly a century later.

She gives us the interior monologue of a woman who has the misfortune of waltzing with a man who can’t dance very well. That access to her thoughts presents a fertile field for humor and the story doesn’t miss a beat.

And that’s quite a trick on Parker’s part.

The selection:

I don’t want to dance with him. I don’t want to dance with anybody. And even if I did, it wouldn’t be him. He’d be well down among the last ten. I’ve seen the way he dances; it looks like something you do on Saint Walpurgis Night. Just think, not a quarter of an hour ago, here I was sitting, feeling so sorry for the poor girl he was dancing with. And now I’m going to be the poor girl. Well, well. Isn’t it a small world?


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