Bic should’ve seen the writ­ing on the wall

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ARTS & LIFE - ALI­SON GILL­MOR

HERE I was hav­ing trou­ble meet­ing my Free Press dead­line and think­ing I had writer’s block. It turns out I was just ex­hausted by hav­ing to drag a big, bulky man-sized pen across the page.

The Bic com­pany re­cently un­veiled its “For Her” line of pens, which are pretty, pastel­coloured and slim (to en­able “bet­ter han­dling for women,” says the com­pany’s prod­uct de­scrip­tion). For years I’ve been buy­ing 12-packs of stan­dard black and blue Bic pens in the mis­taken be­lief that they were gen­der-neu­tral. Now I un­der­stand that they were re­ally made for rough, rugged, Hem­ing­way-es­que writ­ing and the rapid cut and thrust of hy­per-mas­cu­line thoughts.

What a re­lief, then, that I can buy with long manes: “Since I’ve be­gun us­ing these pens, men have found me more at­trac­tive and ap­proach­able. It has given me soft skin and man­age­able hair and it has re­ally given me the self-es­teem I needed to start a book club and flirt with the bag-boy at my lo­cal mar­ket.”

An­other en­thuses: “Bic, the great lib­er­a­tor, has re­leased a wom­anly pen that my gen­tle baby hands can use with­out fear of un­lady-like cal­louses and bruises. Thank you, Bic.” Other writ­ers, per­haps pick­ing up on Bic’s bizarre prom­ise that the For Her pen of­fers “all day com­fort,” make a par­al­lel to tam­pons (a prod­uct that is mar­keted to women for a le­git­i­mate rea­son). “I use it when I’m swim­ming, rid­ing a horse, walk­ing on the beach and do­ing yoga. It’s com­fort­able, leakproof, non-slip and it makes me feel so fem­i­nine and pretty!”

Well, there you are, Bic. If you make a pen “es­sen­tially for women,” you shouldn’t be sur­prised if they start writ­ing you snarky notes.

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