Friday, April 9, 2010

What Do Our Pens Tell Us About Ourselves?

A friend of mine uses liquid ink pens and 0.5mm mechanical pencils, which she keeps clipped to the inside of her binder so as not to misplace them.  Another is perpetually searching for pens (mainly Papermate ballpoints) in the depths of her backpack and coming up with a handful of erasers instead.

One young woman I know keeps her pens in a voluminous pencil case, along with a pocket-sized periodic table and a tube of lip balm.  Another mysteriously loses her pens, and must resort to borrowing from friends.  (Always a frightening prospect for the obsessive pen addict like myself - which pen should I lend out, knowing that I may never see it again?)

One of my professors uses Sharpie Pens, another was seen writing with a Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pen, while yet another uses a fountain pen which he keeps safely in his breast pocket (and unfortunately I only glimpsed him writing with it once, from a distance, so I do not have the slightest idea what kind it was).

My father uses blunt worn down pencil stubs, my grandmother is constantly on the search for the perfect eraser, and my mother keeps complimentary ballpoint pens from every store in town in a cup on her desk, yet also has a fondness for black Zebra Sarasa gel pens (of which she has a not-so-secret stash in the top drawer of the sideboard).

What do the widely varying attitudes of these people to their pens and writing utensils reveal?  Do you judge people by the pens they use?  What do your pens and pencils reveal about you?


  1. I think that people's attitudes about their pens tell us about . . . their attitudes about their pens, and that's it.

    Take me, for example. The pen bug bit me about two months ago. I now keep all my fountain pens and my nice rollerballs in a nice roll-up case and am very finicky about keeping them (and my inks) orderly.

    My wife can hardly believe her eyes when she sees how I treat my pens, because in every other area of my life, I am one of the world's biggest slobs. Whenever my wife goes out of town, our home degenerates into a mess within a day or so. Pizza boxes, dirty dishes, clothes strewn about. But my pens will stay neatly ordered in their case, and my inks remain nicely displayed in my office. (I know, I should keep my inks in a drawer or cabinet, but I like looking at them.)

  2. Dishes and clothes are hardly as important as pens. If the rest of the world is disintegrating around you, by all means keep your pens and inks in order. :)

    Seriously, though, I wish I had the space to display my pens and keep them better organized. I like looking at them as well.

  3. I can sympathize with Note Booker, Esq. I carry a fountain pen in my shirt pocket and use it every day. I'm a bit fanatical about my pens. However, I'm not so fastidious at home or at work.

    I'm slowly cleaning up my desk so that I can escape the "messiest office on the floor" claim to fame. I don't think that anyone can say anything profound about our pen preferences, although I'm sure some psychologist may make something out of it.

    Is a clean desk a sign of a sick mind? Then what does a messy desk signify? :-)

  4. Hmm... I think that for me at least, a messy desk signifies that I am actually getting some work done.
    Good luck with cleaning up your desk!


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