Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Fancy Pen

In an earlier post today I mentioned the idea of a pretty pocket knife as a kind of men's jewelry, and my grandfather's rule that no man should feel guilty about spending money on something he would own for the rest of his life.

I guess I wear four pieces of jewelry. I wear my wedding ring, which looks like two gold bands joined by a small loop of platinum. I wear my engagement ring on my other hand: a silver ring from the Signals catalog that says "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine" in Hebrew. I wear a necklace that was a wedding present from my wife. And I almost always carry my fountain pen.

I started carrying a fountain pen in graduate school. I had a green Waterman Phileas. I thought it odd to spend $20 on a pen, but it wrote very nicely, lasted for ten years, and let me use fun colors of ink.

I learned that if I had an expensive pen I did not lose it. With cheap pens I lost them as often as anyone else.

Eventually, last year, the nib broke and I replaced the pen with a black and gold Namiki Vanishing Point. This is the least expensive gold nib fountain pen, a step up that makes a big difference in how nicely it writes.

Do I write enough that having a gold nib fountain pen is worth the cost? Some days, but not usually. As a pen it's needlessly expensive. But as jewelry its very pretty and not expensive, and men don't get many options for jewelry. Perhaps most importantly, I write more handwritten letters than I otherwise would.