I have a confession, though if you’ve read The Well-Appointed Desk for awhile now, you’ll notice the absence of almost any reference to ballpoint pens. Those Bic Stics. Yuck. As a lefty with a hook, my high school years were filled with smudged papers, ink all over my pinky from smearing through my work and a overall distaste for the oily, slow-drying ink of those budget ballpoints that plagued my youth. Since then, I have done everything I can to avoid them. On the rare occasion that I am asked to sign a credit card slip with one, I die a little inside. So I had firmly avoided ever reviewing a single implement described as a ballpoint. Until today.
I’d heard people wax poetic about the Uni Jetstream pens for years now. “How great could they be,” I thought, “they are still ballpoints.” Well, let me stop for a moment to eat this large plate of crow (please pass the hot sauce, I’ve got a lot to choke down). I picked one up in Hong Kong on a whim, more because it was a fabulous color described as “ash green” than for the fact that it was a (dare I say it) ballpoint. Then I put the pen to paper. What is this? It writes smoothly, dries quickly, does not stutter or smear. It has a fine delicate nib. The pen has a simple casing with just subtle graphics on a white case. Could it be that not all ballpoints are created equal? It writes more like a cross between a rollerball and a gel pen which I suspect is really what it is — the ink color is bright and clear like a liquid ink or gel ink and not at all the consistency of those Bic Stics that still make me cringe.
If you too fear the ballpoint, then the Uniball Jetstream may be the pen to break your distaste for them one and for all. I know it changed my opinion about them and made me seriously wish I had purchased more than one.