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Men vs. Women - FP Use


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#1 KCat

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 18:34

So... a comment in the "does the pen make the man/woman" thread made me want to bring this up. I did this years ago on acpp and it resulted in flame wars. :P

But my question is this - in your experience, have you seen mostly men or women who either used FPs or recognized your FP? What do you think the split is in the general population. Let's say Western population because use in many Eastern populations is still common in primary schools.

My husband is sort of a "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche" guy. Not to the extreme of being a crotch-scratching, spitting, Neanderthal. But nonetheless, you'll never see him wearing a pink dress shirt or shoes that are anything other than black or white. He's Dockers and short-sleeved oxfords all the way. So, his impression is that only "phoofey" men use FPs and that it's mostly women who are interested in them. He doesn't frequent any of these boards and see the conflict in that opinion, his opinion is solely based on that bit of prejudice against "phoofey" (and I don't mean gay) men. Metrosexuals I suppose is a good description of how he perceives men who use FPs. Of course, a pen show would quickly dispel that. In fact, a lot of the faces I've seen in pen show pics, remind me of him!

He sees that in my family it is all the females who are fascinated by writing instruments of all sorts (conveniently ignoring my brother who is on the constant search for the perfect notepad and the perfect mechanical pencil and who is anything but a metrosexual.) Therefore, if it's just myself, my daughter, mum and sister who yammer on about pens all the time with my father (another non-pink guy) sitting on the fringes shaking his head and watching the football game, then it must be mostly women in Western society who have an interest in FPs.

so.. guys and gals, what do you think? is the apparent "mostly men" that we see on the boards due to the fact that "mostly men" are into pen forums while the typical female FP user is probably not interested in obsessing on-line about these things? Or is it really as unequal as it appears? Do women just prefer to talk amongst themselves about pens? I know for a while I didn't use other pen boards because there was a strong sense of a "good ol' boy" network, women being a minority to say the least.

what's the deal?

KCat
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#2 French

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 19:09

Hi KCat,

I'm a "non-pink" guy, but I do have a purple shirt with black and grey stripes that my wife bought for me. I wear that shirt. I'm into fountain pens, mainly because I like how they write, they are different, and fun. I would like to think I'm a "manly-man", having served for 8 years in the US Army, fathered 2 wonderful children, and done a lot of the yard/home improvement work at my house.

From the posts I've read and emails I've shared with other men on the forum, I think a lot are similar to me. Just guys who like fountain pens partly because the pens are 'cool' and partly because I just have too much technology in my life, I long for some simpler things.

I could be way off the mark here. Maybe I'm phoofy and don't know it. Arghhh

hope this helped to clarify the mud...

french

#3 Betty

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 19:12

Great topic! I've thought about this before.

My answer would like to say men seem to be more interested in the high-end pens...most pen stores I walk into...the customers are mostly men. But that might be because there are more executive mens and therefore they spend more on the higher up pens to complete the look? I would say that for $200, most women would probaby prefer to buy a nice bag or outfit?

When it comes to a the cheaper disposable but still nice kind of pens, I think women are interested more in those than those high end pens.

:ph34r: I think most of the higher-end pens are more manly looking and also sized for a man's hand :ph34r:

Don't flame me ladies :lol:
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#4 Michael Wright

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 19:36

My experience in NZ is mostly watching students writing. I'd say probably more women than men use FPs, in the undergraduate age group, but not by a huge proportion. It's maybe even more of a social-status group thing than a gender thing, and there are all sorts of complex interactions there that are specific to NZ and that I don't fully understand. But when I use an FP out and about, it's very much more likely that a woman will make a comment than a man.

My impression of on-line pen groups is that relative to the net norm, women are much more visible in the pen thing than other interest groups (women in watch forums? Slashdot? :ltcapd:
I think I know the board KCat is referring to, and that got itself an ethos of male rivalry and tussle in a "friendly," "just joshing" mode which hacks me off, too.

Best

Michael

#5 SimonWang

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 19:54

:ph34r: I think most of the higher-end pens are more manly looking and also sized for a man's hand :ph34r:

too right, I agreed :ltcapd:

#6 Ray

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 19:54

In the work environment, women notice my pens more often than men do. But in my experience, women tend to be more interested in and respectful of interests which are not their own than are men.

Ray (Hetero hubby and father, but not over-defensive about it!)

#7 Velma

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 19:58

In my experience, there have been more women who are into fountain pens (or pens in general), who are willing to admit it. But the men who are into the right pens are as intensely into them, if not more so.

I'm at lunch in the office, and looking around/remembering, there are two men on staff who use fountain pens (Ron, who has high-end Mont Blancs that he never takes out of his house, and Larry, who always carries a matched pair -- fountain and ballpoint/rollerball -- with him; he's here once or twice a week, and I always check in with him to see what he's carrying, usually a pair of Phileases), and three women who use them and carry them regularly, plus one who uses purple disposable Pilot fountain pens when she can get them. There are also five women who are fanatical devotees of the Pilot Hi-Tec-C gel pens (self included), but no men who are as focused on which pen they carry/use.

#8 southpaw

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 20:04

Hmmm . . . prefer cowboy boots, blue jeans, and t-shirts here, but really enjoy FPs and have a couple of pink dress shirts (and some purple ones too). OTOH, I would really like to have a Harley Davidson, prefer 4wd pickups, and thoroughly enjoy target shooting, walking in the woods, snow & water skiing, and other sports and have fathered two children. Also have 30 bottles of ink + 3 more on the way. No idea what all this means in the grand scheme of things or if it helps or not.

As far as who notices - so far, only two comments really, one by a 10 year old boy and the other by the lady at the mail counter.
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8, NKJV)

#9 Gerry

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 20:09

Well, here's our pen club (in 2005) with 15 men, three women. Scroll down the page a bit for the group picture - click to enlarge, and let me know how many make your definition of phoofey.

http://www.ottawafou...pensociety.org/

Gerry

PS:better not pick me kiddo!!! <_<

Edit: since the picture was taken, two of the women have left, and three of the men (and we gained three of four men not shown). Most of the losses were due to relocations - like JT.

Edited by Gerry, 15 March 2006 - 20:12.


#10 GrantC

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 20:24

My husband is sort of a "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche" guy. Not to the extreme of being a crotch-scratching, spitting, Neanderthal. But nonetheless, you'll never see him wearing a pink dress shirt or shoes that are anything other than black or white. He's Dockers and short-sleeved oxfords all the way. So, his impression is that only "phoofey" men use FPs and that it's mostly women who are interested in them.


Well, I know what MY wife would say to me under similar circumstances: "Yes dear, Real Men don't eat quiche. Of course, they don't wear Dockers, either." :doh:

Just for the data point: I'm a professional gunsmith, competitive shooter, combat rifle instructor, avid outdoorsman, but have also been in less "manly" professions - accountant, professional photographer, musician, watch and clockmaker, and corporate management. Yes, I use fountain pens - because they're a superior tool. After all, as everyone knows, REAL MEN love tools!

:roflmho:

-=[ Grant ]=-

Edited by GrantC, 15 March 2006 - 20:25.

-=[ Grant ]=-

#11 DRP

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 20:34

I'm about to make a complete over-generalization, something that I don't like to do but I have to start somewhere .....

As a generalization, men are interested in the fountain pens, themselves: how they are made, what they are made with, type of workmanship, etc. Fountain pens are tools. Like any tool, men are interested in their structure. Note the discussion of stylo pens elsewhere in the "Writing Instrument" section.

Women tend to be more interested in the appearance of fountain pens. Their style, their visual appeal, the tactile characteristics of holding one.

Now, I'll proceed by shooting at my own generalizations. Read the types of comments written by women and you'll see cogent quotes and questions by women about workmanship. Read comments by men and you'll see thoughtful remarks about the beauty and artistry of particular pens.

It is impossible to really distinguish much of a gender difference. There may be one but it may not be all that significant. Anybody want to comment on that?

The one generalization I will make and stand behind is that people who use and enjoy fountain pens pay attention to things. They are thoughtful, probably rank higher in analytical skills than the general population, and don't let things get by them easily.

Anybody want to comment on my last observation? Would like to hear the thoughts of others.

David

#12 KCat

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 20:46

(little snippage)
From the posts I've read and emails I've shared with other men on the forum, I think a lot are similar to me.  Just guys who like fountain pens partly because the pens are 'cool' and partly because I just have too much technology in my life, I long for some simpler things.

I could be way off the mark here.  Maybe I'm phoofy and don't know it.  Arghhh

hope this helped to clarify the mud...

french

heh.. thanks for your input French.

Certainly I know that my hubby's perception is skewed based on lack of participation. Most of the time it really is said in jest so he's not really putting anyone down in the pen community. It's his smart alek way of saying "I don't understand this interest/obsession" - but he has his own obsessions. He once told me if I collected mechanical pencils he would understand that! :) I might, for example, make fun of women who have 100s of pairs of shoes because I simply can't relate to that obsession. That's what I really meant to point out WRT hubby. Truth is, his best friend is very interested in Calligraphy and he wouldn't even begin to describe that friend as "phoofey." :)

But the real purpose of my discussion about how he perceives FP interest was to try to determine just how the population falls because it's hard to get an accurate perception of it just through these forums. I don't go to shows. I don't hang out with a pen club. And even those don't allow for a full picture - after all, if I don't go, how many other women don't attend these things?

OTOH, it isn't accurate to take a survey on-line because we know that the type of person who is heavily into the Internet hobby discussions is not necessarily representative of all FP folks. Probably a lot of FP folks hold great disdain for computers for that matter. But I really want to know if *you* (you, French, and anyone else here) perceive this hobby as dominated by men or women and if so, why you think that is?

edited for getting the name wrong! Duh.

Edited by KCat, 15 March 2006 - 20:49.

KCat
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#13 KCkc

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 20:50

Same experience here KCat...
Only my mom and I talk/use/test/clean pens while my brother and dad watch TV during my last trip. My mom have no clue how to repair pens. But she can tell what is a sweet nib or nice cursive italic just by writing with it.

My brother and dad knows pens but they do not use or talk about them much.

When I am not home, my brother helps repair my moms pens when they are not working. So he's kind of a transparent pen person in a lot of ways.

Maybe they are internal processors who just hoards information from magazine or whatever.

#14 KCat

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 21:01

PS:better not pick me kiddo!!! <_<

Edit: since the picture was taken, two of the women have left, and three of the men (and we gained three of four men not shown). Most of the losses were due to relocations - like JT.

it's really not about looks - as I said, if da Bear were at a pen show, no one would think he was out of place at all. :) None of you "look" phoofey.

But see my note to French re: hubby's reaction as I make him sound much more pink-phobic than he is. This same man does look at my Hardanger work and marvel at it. I think it's really just about him not being able to relate and as with so many things in life, if we don't understand or relate, it's easier just to make fun of it rather than try to comment on it and feel out of your element. For all his joking about "Phoofey" - the guy is the most romantic man I've ever met. He'd kill me if he read this but he has watched Jersey Girl and The Notebook so many times it's ridiculous. Jersey Girl makes him think of his relationship with our daughter, and I think The Notebook speaks to him of the utter devotion he has toward me and his parents had toward each other.

BTB, to balance things out, I make fun of his wargaming community. They're all nuts as far as I'm concerned. AR control freaks living in a fantasy world. :) (ducking as I know there's at least one of 'em here.)

KCat
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#15 KCat

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 21:09

Yes, I use fountain pens - because they're a superior tool. After all, as everyone knows, REAL MEN love tools!

:roflmho:

-=[ Grant ]=-

yeah - now see, this is why I thought hubby might actually develop some interest in FPs. But I think the ink thing turns him off. He's an engineer and as I said, the mechanical pencil is one of the finest tools known to man from his POV. In fact, when we first met one of the first thing he did was show me this cool new MP he found that had a *side* clicker which was so much faster while he was working than having to click the top of the pen. :) So I thought, if he saw the mechanical workings of a piston-filler for example, that would interest him. Not entirely sure *why* it doesn't. It isn't because it threatens his masculiinty. When I bought him a Parker flighter just for grins he liked the look of the pen but said "will I have to deal with inking and cleaning it?" Well, only if you use it. "Oh, Okay." So I think this goes really to his desire to keep things as simple as possible because his world is already insane.

KCat
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#16 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 21:16

My husband is sort of a "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche" guy. Not to the extreme of being a crotch-scratching, spitting, Neanderthal. But nonetheless, you'll never see him wearing a pink dress shirt or shoes that are anything other than black or white. He's Dockers and short-sleeved oxfords all the way. So, his impression is that only "phoofey" men use FPs and that it's mostly women who are interested in them. He doesn't frequent any of these boards and see the conflict in that opinion, his opinion is solely based on that bit of prejudice against "phoofey" (and I don't mean gay) men. Metrosexuals I suppose is a good description of how he perceives men who use FPs. Of course, a pen show would quickly dispel that. In fact, a lot of the faces I've seen in pen show pics, remind me of him!

Well... I don't know if real men eat quiche, but they sure don't wear white shoes. No, seriously, you're kidding, right ? White shoes ? :blink: That's very 19th century British dandy. :D

Did you just say Metrosexual ? Is that the thing that encompass everyone in between the ax-wearing warrior and the flamboyant drag-queens ? :lol:

Seriously, I dunno about the real question you asked. I live in an FP Terra Incognita. Neither men nor women around me seem to notice it.

#17 KCat

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 21:16

It is impossible to really distinguish much of a gender difference. There may be one but it may not be all that significant. Anybody want to comment on that?

The one generalization I will make and stand behind is that people who use and enjoy fountain pens pay attention to things. They are thoughtful, probably rank higher in analytical skills than the general population, and don't let things get by them easily.

Anybody want to comment on my last observation? Would like to hear the thoughts of others.

David

There's a little something to this. For hubby he only pays attention to what he feels is really important because, as he says, he has enough on his mind already without cluttering it with useless data. He'd had his Camaro 4 years when my daughter asked him what the lights on the ceiling of the car were (map lights) and he said "huh? I don't know." I don't agree with the analytical part though - i don' tthink he's any less-so than I am or than any man here. But he is less interested in "non-essential" items.

But ask him where to locate a particular restaurant - he can get you there. Or what is involved in designing a ground support system for low-earth-orbit flight - he's got it. :)

I don't see the gender differences in terms of attitudes towards FPs. That is, aesthetics vs. function. I see that as pretty consistent - at least among those of us here. What I do think i see is that it seems men want to argue the very finer points of things like repair, restoration, market value, much more so than women do. But again - that view may be skewed by the type of person more likely to join these discussions on the 'net. if you had a group of FP lovers that was 50:50 male & female all in one room talking pens - i wonder what sort of topics would dominate the discussions within the gender groups and between them.

KCat
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#18 memphislawyer

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 21:18

id say more men buy higher end pens than women. there is not much ornamentation that men can acquire that would set them apart, show the status they have reached, and doing so without being affectatious or effiminate. most men in the business world do not wear bracelets, but i do notice nicer suits, ties, shirtings especially, cufflinks, watches, shoes and pens. most men that i deal with dont have more than their wedding ring. i get asked about my shirts and ties more than any other article of clothing. i get noticed on my cufflinks more so than my watches, and my pens when i sign, i will get a question or two (well i have a cartier and it is not seen much but this was before the FP).

i do have pink shirts and ties and my wife helps me 90% of the time and i get more compliments from women. id be worried if a guy tells me, "nice pants", lol.

sam

#19 KCat

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 21:19

Well... I don't know if real men eat quiche, but they sure don't wear white shoes. No, seriously, you're kidding, right ? White shoes ? :blink: That's very 19th century British dandy. :D

Did you just say Metrosexual ? Is that the thing that encompass everyone in between the ax-wearing warrior and the flamboyant drag-queens ? :lol:

Seriously, I dunno about the real question you asked. I live in an FP Terra Incognita. Neither men nor women around me seem to notice it.

tennis shoes, Denis. Predominantly white with blue stripes.

Metrosexuals are straight men that are "not afraid" to be picky about their appearance, get manicures, hair dyes, buy more than 3 pairs of shoes for daily wear, etc. :)

excludes drag queens and ax-wielding warriors.

KCat
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#20 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 21:30

tennis shoes, Denis. Predominantly white with blue stripes.

Tennis shoes... mmm... I don't think real men wear tennis shoes either. :lol:

Metrosexuals are straight men that are "not afraid" to be picky about their appearance, get manicures, hair dyes, buy more than 3 pairs of shoes for daily wear, etc.  :)


In less "literary" times, where I come from, we used to just call them men with too much time on their hands and not enough worries.

Denis... in a big leg-pulling mood today :rolleyes:

#21 Stylo

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 21:36

I was going to say that, considering how few Americans use FPs, there simply aren't enough data points in my every day life to extrapolate from. But I then just realized I have been to one place where there were many FP users: the L.A. pen show. I was paying more attention to pens than people ;) , but I seem to recall that there were many more men than women. It could be a show thing, but I think men are actually more intrested in pens than women. We have pens, watches, and a couple of other things, and that's it.

There are pens, and then there are lady pens :lol: And pen is one letter way from men ;) And pen marketing often seem to target men rather than women. Btwy, who do you think is targeted by these oversized "I am Da Big IT" type of pens such as the 149, M1000, etc. :lol:

In school, I recall that when we were old enough that BPs were permitted, boys seemed to use FPs more the girls.

Finally, I wear no pink, purple, yellow, orange, or any of those color shirts, to the chagrin of my wife :) I never wear sandals either. I don't even wear shorts, except when practicing sports. As to the Dockers comment, I think real men wear only khakis. How many women do you see wearing khakis versus jeans? :rolleyes: And how on earth did the world get brainwashed into thinking jeans are the most comfortable thing ever :bonk: They are the least comfortable pants EVER made! Pants made of potato sacs are probably more comfortable :doh: I wore jeans, among other types of pants, until about my early twenties. Then my you know whats couldn't take it anymore! I have been wearing khakis exclusively ever since for casual/semi-casual pants and wool pants for a little more formal occasions. Jeans are the biggest scam ever in the cloth business. So there, I revealed more about me than anyone probably could have ever cared for :lol: , but it was all for a good cause :lol: :lol:

#22 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 21:48

They are the least comfortable pants EVER made! Pants made of potato sacs are probably more comfortable :doh: I wore jeans, among other types of pants, until about my early twenties. Then my you know whats couldn't take it anymore!

mmm... you were 20 in the 80's right ? The era of "take that can opener to remove your jeans". I think we can safely point that the matter was fit more that material. :D

#23 Stylo

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 21:52

KCat, one needs to make a distinction between just using FPs and going oooh-aaah about the pretty ones :lol: You must be doing the oooh-aaah thing around the hubby (how could you not? :D ) and I suspect that is where his perception about FPs is coming from. And hubby does have a point about the oooh-aaaah-ing. :lol: Most people I have known just "use" FPs. I used to be one of them, until a stumbled onto cyber-places mainly populated by FP oooh-aaah-ers.

By the way, cleaning and flushing obsessively isn't done by most FP users. I used to do it only after a pen wouldn't write anymore :lol: And in my infinite teenage wisdom, I have soaked some super-clogged pens not just in water, but HOT water, and worse, alcohol! :doh: One of these days I will post a picture of the completely deformed feed I pulled off one of my high-school year FPs :ltcapd: So tell hubby he can just pop in cartrdiges one after the other and then rinse out the pen once in a blue moon.

#24 Stylo

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 21:56

mmm... you were 20 in the 80's right ? The era of "take that can opener to remove your jeans". I think we can safely point that the matter was fit more that material. :D

I don't think so. I had some tight corduroys that were fine, and I wore jeans until after the spandex look went out of style :lol: Even the loose fit ones became unbearable. Name one clothing fabric that is as thick, as tough, and as unpliable as jeans.

#25 peachez

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 22:07

I'm gonna say this really quietly... I'M 44 AND I STILL WEAR JEANS :ltcapd: :roflmho:

#26 GrantC

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 22:24

Name one clothing fabric that is as thick, as tough, and as unpliable as jeans.

Boy, you can sure tell who the City Folk are around here....have you ever worn anything made of Tin Cloth?? Jeans are baby soft in comparison!
-=[ Grant ]=-

#27 J. John Harvey

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 22:29

I can safely say that I am the only high schooler, of 2,450 students, to use a fountain pen in my school. I'm also the only one who wears dockers for anything other than pre-game or tournament publicity. I do wear jeans though. Most of the time.

I use fountain pens because I miss the days when, if teenagers wore what they are wearing today, they were not considered dressed. Shirts without collars? Polyester shorts? People wouldn't have left the house! If they had, they'd have been ostrasized, and they would have ceased such behavior.

I listen to classical music, and music from the 30s-late 70s, and some modern music, and some 80s. But I can safely say that I am the only student in my school to have Haydn's 'Cello Concerto no. 1' on his iPod. And many others by Haydn and all of the great masters and some lesser known ones too.

Most of the time I wear collared shirts and sweaters. One of my friends in Sociology, when we had to take Scantron® tests with a pencil, said, "You know, I don't think I have ever seen you use a pencil before.."

I could be said to be an old soul. Modern music that my peers appreciate is mostly disgusting with a few exceptions, teenagers my age dress horribly, and write on the top of their papers, "Jim S.". Where is the familial pride in that? To add insult to injury, I am a teacher's aide and I grade her worksheets. The horrible handwriting that most of the guys have is deplorable! I was brought up with a mother who would make me redo my work, telling me that, "The nuns at my school would never have accepted that - it would have been thrown in the garbage." So I redid the work, and I always have pride in what I hand in - even in foreign language study. My Japanese homework is always impeccably readable, likewise with my French homework. I am the only kid in all of the French students to actually take the time to learn French cursive, which isn't that difficult at all. All of that is probably why I was named 'Foreign Language Student of the Year' for '06 at my school.

So bottom line, I use fountain pens because they are a venerable writing instrument that maintain practicality, yet assuage my sense of antiquity. I would use steel nibs, even quillls at school, but practicality = not so much.

Edited by J. John Harvey, 15 March 2006 - 22:30.


#28 Stylo

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 22:49

Boy, you can sure tell who the City Folk are around here....have you ever worn anything made of Tin Cloth?? Jeans are baby soft in comparison!

:lol: But that doesn't count if we stick to "every day wearable" fabrics :)

#29 Guest_Denis Richard_*

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 23:02

Name one clothing fabric that is as thick, as tough, and as unpliable as jeans.

You said fabric, and not textile, so... here is a Paco Rabanne metal dress :lol:

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#30 Stylo

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 23:09

You said fabric, and not textile, so... here is a Paco Rabanne metal dress :lol:

Just imagine the pants version! At least you will breath well and stay cool :lol: