“Irreconcilable differences”, or five types of pen people to avoid at all costs

I am proud of how friendly and welcoming the fountain pen and stationery community is. And in my own stationery usage, I pride myself on having a (fairly) open mind.

I can see the beauty in a plain black pen or one in bright swirly resin. I see the practical value of a simple converter, and the fun of a fancy filling mechanism.

But there are some things in this hobby that I will never understand. When I see people doing these things, deep in the back of my mind a little voice is whispering “that guy’s crazy”. And I back away slowly.

People who post are compensating for something

I have never posted a pen except to try it out for a review. Why would you take a perfectly good pen and whack two extra inches of metal and plastic on the end of it, swinging around above your hand? How big are your hands to need a pen that’s eight inches long?! Are you compensating for something?

No way: I hate the idea of scratching up my pens, I hate the way posting makes pens feel in my hand, and chances are, if a pen is small enough to need posting, it’s probably too narrow to be comfortable anyway. Anyone who does this is a lunatic.

Say it with me: If you post your pens, we can never be friends.


I have no idea how folks like Brad Dowdy get any work done. Writing in ALL CAPS PRINTED is not only weird and shouty, like an 80 year old on the INTERNET, it’s slow as hell. Sure, my cursive script looks like it’s been written by a five year old shivering with frostbite, but at least I can vaguely keep up with my thoughts.

Pencil users are masochists

Imagine a writing instrument that has become the most common metaphor for being super skinny. One that starts out too long, then gets too short, until you have to throw it away. One that starts out scratchy and too fine, and ends up blobby and too broad. One that you have to sharpen multiple times per day, leaving shavings everywhere. One that doesn’t even have a cap, so the point is exposed to snap or jab you. One that breaks inside if you drop it even a few inches. One that writes a line that you can smudge with your hand and erase any time. Yep, it’s the good old fashioned pencil.

I will never understand why people use wood pencils for writing in their everyday lives. The only explanation that I can think of is that they’re masochists who crave an inconvenient writing experience and are afraid of permanence.

People who write in black have no joy in their hearts

The average ballpoint or rollerball refill comes in black or royal blue. They’re boring, utilitarian tools and when we chose to use fountain pens we have broken free of their tyranny, entering into a new land of possibilities where all the colours of the rainbow are there to experiment with. Hot pink! Bright orange! Rich, velvety red! Sumptuous purple! The world is your oyster! You can express your personality, fit your ink to your mood, or just enjoy the variety.

But some people write most of their words in black ink. Perhaps a single brand of black. Maybe even cartridges. Some suspicious characters even only use black, or maybe don’t even own any other colours!

It’s undeniable: these poor souls have no imagination and no joy in their hearts. Avoid them and do not trust their reviews.

People who have a cheap ‘work pen’ cry themselves to sleep every night

You have a Ferrari in the garage, but take the bus to work every day. You have a Rolex in your watch box, but wear a Swatch to the office. You have fine china but eat off a paper plate. What a sad life, waiting for tomorrow.

So why do so many people leave their good pens in a tray saved for ‘Sunday best’, and do the vast majority of their writing with a cheap, beater pen that doesn’t ‘spark joy’?

I mean, I get that some people work in places that kill pens, like construction. Others work in places where they’re afraid of people stealing their prized pens. But for the rest of you saving your pens for special occasions: live a little. You won’t wear your good pens out just by writing with them.

(Please note: this is a light-hearted post! Don’t send me hate mail!)

24 thoughts on ““Irreconcilable differences”, or five types of pen people to avoid at all costs

  1. You might want to add “I write in beautiful {spencerian/copper plate} writing to friends and my envelopes look beautiful, so why do those ignorant peasants in the post office keep rejecting my letters and returning them to me rather than delivering them”
    Sadly I have actually encountered just statements on more than a few occasions and on the one time I tried to defend the post office I was treated like a war criminal. On that occasion the OP had even shown a picture of the envelope and I could not read it.


    • Aiai, I bow my head to confess and receive a public flogging, but i won’t repent. I write addresses in blue…but with a BALLPOINT…OK, it is a Montblanc Mid-Size Blue Hour, but “an instrument of the devil” (to quote Dr. S.B.R.E. Brown) nonetheless…

      Liked by 1 person

      • It must be the heatwave making me crazy, but I am thinking of writing a post on “ballpoint and rollerball pens that I keep even though I only write with fountain pens”. 😂

        I agree, addresses deserve special treatment. I often write them in Sharpie!


  2. I almost always write in black. Sometimes, though, I go all out and write in one of five shades of blue-black. Three of which turn black after about a month because even the joy of schadenfreude is fleeting.

    Joy is overrated and I still haven’t got around to having that 1912 shipped from Wales to Aus 🤷‍♂️


  3. ten years in RN = only black ink, twenty odd years in nhs only black ink, now retired. Only black ink I have is a bottle of Namiki and it is only there to decorate my desk as it is a pretty bottle.


  4. One more argument against black ink, and one to hide behind if one is too afraid to acknowledge that Shikiori Yodaki or Montblanc Psychedlic Purple is more one’s bag, is that certain official institutions of certain countries do not accept black ink on formal documents…signatures must be blue…those countries suffer from too much RED tape, but still…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nope to posting except my Kaweco Sports. I have a Taccia Covenant – not in a month of Sundays can I honestly believe anyone needs to post that pen regardless of how big their hands might be…unless you’re a giant in which case carry on.

    I always use coloured inks for writing my envelopes and the only black ink I have is Beaufort’s Obsidian, which is rather nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was about to get all up in arms, but then I realized what kind of post this is. XD Thank you for bringing some joy to a Tuesday evening!

    Not posting used to be a deal-breaker for me, but I’ve come around. I sometimes still post certain pens, like the Platinum 3776 or Sailor 1911, but that’s just ’cause I’m a mammoth.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Montblanc Meisterstuck pens don’t scratch and are superbly balanced. I post. My cat is a theif of unbelievable speed and stealth. I post.
    I was forced into using my right hand when I was ten years old. I print. Most people can neither drive a manual transmission or read manuscript. I print.
    I carry a beater pen to write on cardboard, offer to others so they may sign receipts, or steal. Pencils are for drawing.


  8. Yes I post my pens, yes I am compensating for something. Because I am 5’4 and a guy and God DID NOT put the six inches somewhere else.


  9. Yay for colours and ink pens. Personally my favourite are the dip pens I have collected and glass ink bottles to go with my bargain (small) victorian lap desk. Don’t hate me when I tell you I got it for £5 because of slight damage. I agree use your best and favourite pens and go with all the colours you love.


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