A Pen Worth Writing For

Yashi Compares
Yashi is undertaking a double degree in International Relations/ Environmental Studies and hails from Western Sydney. Her column is like a Yelp review for things that aren’t restaurants and instead of useful information, it’s incoherent rambling for 800 words and she doesn’t even get promoted to ‘Top Contributor’ status.

I started this week’s review thinking I wouldn’t be able to write enough on how I feel about pens. Turns out, I have many opinions on our beloved sticks of ink. Also, for full disclosure, I really hate ballpoint pens and since I have to use the pens I bought for this review for the rest of the year I bought only gel, bar one.

Monday 20 February
Uni-ball Eye Rollerball Gel Pen UB-157 0.7mm

10am – Japan, your stationary is just as well-made as your cars. This pen is so smooth I think I’m almost going to enjoy this lecture.

10.08am – Say more things, Jeff. I’m ready to write the shit out of the ‘Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility’.

10:15am – I’ve just spotted a smudge. How wrong I was to think I had found perfection. We are all slaves to the never-ending entropy of the Universe.

10.20am – I’ve been asked to copy down a graph that includes both letters and numbers. I take some comfort in knowing this ink is waterproof so at least in a few months’ time, when I look back at this page in the hope it will hold the key to passing my exam, I won’t be reminded of just how many tears were shed trying to replicate a simple graph in week one.

10.58am – I can’t find the lid.

10.59am – R.I.P. Uni-ball Eye Rollerball Pen UB-157.

11.02am – Walking to my next lecture I reflect on the pretty major design flaw that I, as the sole purchaser of this pen, have uncovered. Uni-ball, I will be contacting your head office with suggestions of improvement: i.e. please make your pens the clicky kind and more suitable for left handed writers.

Tuesday 21 February
A pen-less day.

5.33pm – I’ve forgotten my notebook for this lecture so I can’t review any pens. I’m forced to use my laptop to take notes like some kind of Millennial scum. Like Sisyphus, I am bound to hell.

6pm – More time was spent formatting my Word document than actually listening to the lecturer. I may only have 200 words to show for a three-hour seminar but at least four important words have been italicised and, after careful deliberation, I’ve chosen to underline the title of this week’s lecture over making it bold. All things considered, I’m pretty chuffed with the aesthetic of my document. Next week, I aim to produce something of substance.

Thursday 23 February
Pilot G-2 Fine Retractable Gel Pen 0.7mm

11.15am – Props for being a clicky pen. Very pigmented, very smooth. Pen is flowing so well it’s a little annoying. My words keep joining up because I don’t lift my hand far enough off the page so now it just looks like I’ve written one word per line. Can a pen be so good at what it does that it’s just bad?

12.05pm – Am on the ninth page of a twenty-one-page reading. By now my middle finger should be just about ready to sever itself from the rest of my body. Thinking about how oddly fine my fingers feel, I look down and notice that this pen has a rubber grip. How thoughtful of you, Pilot. Still doesn’t justify charging me $4.48 per pen, but it’s a nice touch.

1.13pm – After taking a well-deserved hour-long break to scroll through Instagram, I think I’m on track to finish this reading in anywhere between two and five hours.

2pm – Much like the consistency of this article, this pen is quite blotchy. It’s also so fluid that it’s made my already horrific writing completely indecipherable. Every letter involuntarily joins up to the next, so if you somehow conned your way into getting a pen license without being able to write in cursive then this may be the pen for you.

Saturday 25 February
BIC 4 Colours Fashion Retractable Ballpoint Pen

3.10pm – Five minutes into my lecture and this pen has almost induced an aneurism. After the age of 15 no one should be buying a pen that has to use the word ‘fashion’ to describe itself.

3.15pm – Who walks into Officeworks, looks at their plethora of pens on display and reaches for this actual stick of shit? If I was a lecturer and I saw my student writing with this pen, I would honestly consider it the highest form of disrespect. I’m sharing with you my knowledge of the world and you want to sit there and write it down in Powder Pink? Get it together.

Sunday 26 February
Pilot Frixion Ball Erasable Pen Fine 0.7mm

11.14am – Why does this exist? Be a pencil or be nothing.


Even though it smudged a couple of times and I ended up losing the lid, the Uni-ball Eye was a stand out. It’s vibrant and doesn’t blotch, it’s smooth but controllable, and it feels very comfortable in my hand despite not having a rubber grip.
If you’re left handed though, don’t bother even buying pen or paper. Your note taking will always be restricted to the electronic realm.

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