In my mind, Valentine’s Day is pretty stereo-typical from the red roses to the box of chocolates or a nice romantic dinner. You have heard it all. And it brings up the gender stereotypes as well. What do women want? And what do men want? It’s kind of a loaded question. I have even heard this played out over a radio ad campaign – done in fun of course – where a man is going to buy a vacuum cleaner or blender or lingerie for his significant other, only to be “saved” by the jeweler who says that a diamond is a better choice – talk about one stereotype piled on top of another. I started thinking about my own situation, and, realizing that my wife and I are both writers, doing something related to writing might be quite appropriate. So I started thinking about Cross pens.
Cross pens have been around for ages. I remember as a high school graduation gift (ugh, almost 30 years ago), I received a Classic Century 10 Karat Gold Ballpoint pen (or whatever it was called way back then “in the ancient days” as my kids say). I still have it somewhere…I think my wife may have taken it actually. Or perhaps I just misplaced it somewhere over the years. Regardless, these are timeless gifts.
But here is a funny story. I was working with the agency who represents Cross pens in order to do this review. I had some back and forth about new and classic pens, pencils and styli and what is popular with women and what with men. Suddenly, stereotypes popped into play as I was suggested various floral pens and other “feminine” styles for my wife.
I started thinking about this a bit and considered the preferences of my wife. I quickly realized that she would actually enjoy the larger sized pens. (But honestly, I don’t think the colorful, floral ones were for me – I liked the tech-oriented ones.)
As I attempted to break down the stereotypes of my own home, I understood that the important thing here was that Cross pens have something for everyone, regardless of gender.
“Traditional” Cross Pens – Classic Century Medalist
For this review, I was sent two different Cross pens styles, one classic and one modern. On the classic side, there is the “Classic Century Medalist Ballpoint Pen”. This one is very similar to the one I received for high-school graduation. It’s small and thin design make it both elegant and practical but extremely portable. You expose the pen tip by twisting the body.
Cross pens Classic Century Medalist comes in a variety of pen tips to choose from: ballpoint, fountain, pencil and roller tip.
Once you decide on the tip type, you can choose from a variety of finishes. Each of the finishes does affect the price. The least expensive being the Lustrous Chrome which retails for $35 and the most expensive – the 18 Karat Gold which goes for a mere $3,150. There are plenty of options in between ranging from the $60 for the Medalist – about $21 on Amazon currently (which is the one shown in the pictures here) to Classic Black ($60) to Sterling Silver ($130). You can even add engraving to these making them truly unique gifts.
So, instead of thinking about this pen as a “hers” (or even a “his”), I would rather consider this Cross pen as a “classic” or “traditional” style, which, in my opinion, is better. Matching a personality or taste with a style is better than matching a gender with a style.
“Modern” Cross Pens – Townsend Brushed Platinum Plate Fine-Tip Stylus
On the extreme other side of the spectrum, yet still maintaining a classic and stylish look and feel, is the “Townsend Brushed Platinum Plate Fine-Tip Stylus,” the other Cross I received. This is a modern writing device. It is not a pen. You can’t write on paper with it. Unless, of course, the paper is digital on a tablet, touch-screen laptop or even a smartphone.
It is nicely balanced in the hand and large enough to grip comfortably. This is a stylus. And it is not just a passive stylus. This is battery powered which turns on the 2.6mm conductive polymer tip. Like the Classic Century Medalist, you twist the pen to enable the “writing.” There is a little blue light which indicates when the nib or tip is active.
When the nib is active and you interact with a smart phone or table, pressing the tip to the screen actually does something. When the stylus is turned off, touching the screen has no result whatsoever.
It is not Bluetooth powered so you don’t need to connect or pair it with your devices. Simply twist it on and it works with the touchscreen. Twist it off and it does not.
The Townsend Brushed Platinum Plate Fine-Tip Stylus retails for $350 (you can get it on Amazon for $315 currently).
Your Choice, “His” or “Hers,” Classic or Modern Cross Pens
When you choose one or more Cross Pens, you are choosing something that matches your personality or style. You can get a bit overwhelmed with all of the Cross pens choices. And they aren’t just pens only. You can get pencils, styluses, journals and other accessories. There are even some writing instruments which have multiple functions like the Tech3+ Engraved Platinum Plate Multifunction Pen which has a black ballpoint, a red ballpoint, a pencil and stylus.
So, as I looked through the wide inventory of Cross pens, I decided it would be better to just “write off” the gender stereotypes and write about what giving a Cross pen really should be about. Yes, you can match colors with the style of the receiver, but in other cases, form must really follow function, particularly when matching the personality and the uses cases tied with the receiver.
In the end, the agency rep told me that she, too, likes the bolder and larger styles. More often than not, gender-based gift giving of Cross pens is actually better served by gifting something appropriate – something that complements the user and how they will use it rather than merely accessorizing them. With Cross pens, you have that choice of providing classic or modern writing instruments, matching the personality and style of the receiver.
HTD says: What type of Cross pens do you like? What style matches your use case or personality? Does the choice complement your look or how it will be used? Cross pens provide for every type of user!