If you have someone in your life who’s obsessed with fountain pens and you’re not, the last thing you want to give that person on Present Day is a fountain pen. You will not be aware of the distinctions he draws between a Western fine and a Japanese fine, his opinion on metal sections, his penchant for the romance of piston fillers or the crisp pragmatism of converters. Most likely he has not told anyone who’s not a fountain pen person exactly how much he spends on fountain pens, so you would have no idea of his range. And you might, flush with friendship and loving intent, give him a Montblanc rollerball, only to see his smile freeze as he uncaps the pen.
How can you be a positive enabler to your fountain pen friends this season?
A bottle of ink is always good. Not black, your friend will likely have at least three different kinds of black. Go for an exotic blue, a subtle brown or, if you’re feeling trendy, J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage, a dead ringer for Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2013.
A fountain pen person can always use more paper. Especially if he likes writing the name of his pen and ink over and over, as in, “This is a Pilot 823 inked with Pilot iroshizuku syo-ro.” Muji’s dot notebooks are a safe bet, as are Clairefontaine journals and sketchpads at Fully Booked.
Rarely does an obsession lead to less. Fountain pen people have more pens than anyone else they know. Cases for pens and pen accessories like converters and cartridges are always welcome.
Fountain pen people generally have a soft spot for mechanical pencils and leadholders. While they may use a rollerball or ballpoint under duress, they see the point of a pencil. Give them one with a technically advanced mechanism, or an unusual lead size, and observe their pupils dilate with interest.
Fountain pen people spend a disproportionate amount of time ogling office supplies. Post-its aren’t that fountain pen-friendly but they add color and cheer to any desk. Tape dispensers, staplers, one-hole punchers, paper clips, plastic file holders, and document envelopes, aside from their actual purpose, also make excellent props for fountain pen shots.
If none of the above appeals to your gifting sensibilities, there’s always the old reliable shirt. Fountain pen people have to have somewhere to clip their pens, after all. Just make sure the shirts are black. As every fountain pen person knows, a white shirt is the perfect background for ink stains.
What are you giving the pen people in your life this season?