Yesterday I watched a talk show (The Springer Show) on Astro’s Granada channel. It featured a man who had broken-up with his girlfriend because she insisted on making her breasts bigger. Yes, you read it right: she wanted her beasts to be bigger, he didn’t. According to him, she wasn’t happy that her assets were already (literally) the size of footballs; she wanted them to be the size of beach balls.
So, what was his problem? I would have thought that in the right environment, beach balls would provide a lot more fun than footballs. Obviously, her boyfriend doesn’t seem to agree with me on this. Hence, they broke-up. At this point, I immediately concluded that he obviously didn’t belong on the Springer Show: he belonged in a lunatic asylum.
While pondering the merits of beach balls and other oversized assets, my mind was drawn to another topic that is also close to my heart: fountain pens. Specifically, I am thinking of a purchase I had made about two years ago. I am thinking of my Laban Mento. (At this point you are probably thinking that I, too, belong in a lunatic asylum)
On the scale of things, this high-end Taiwanese pen is no football; it belongs right up there with likes of beach balls. I mean, this pen is big! Even a whiteboard marker would look like a 90-pound weakling standing next to the Mento. If you are thinking of going stealth, the Mento would not be your weapon of choice. But if you’re out to make your presence felt, you could do a lot worse than choosing this pen.
No, the Mento is not simply a prop that compensates for any perceived lack in the owner’s physical endowment. Of course, it can be this, too. But it is also a lot more than just a subliminally compensatory phallic symbol: it is, in the first instance, a fine writing instrument.
The two-tone steel nib provides a small amount of flex and, when writing, transmits a delightful level of feedback to the writer – not too much, just about right. Thus, writing with the Mento doesn’t feel as if you are writing on glass. At the same time, you couldn’t call the experience scratchy either.
This smoothness is remarkable as I had chosen a fine nib grade. Fine nibs have a propensity to catch the paper’s surface fibres and make the writing experience feel less than smooth. But I encountered no such problems with the Mento. Thus, I didn’t have to custom grind or fiddle with the nib to get it to write the way I want to right out of the box.
Now back to the issue of size. At its widest point, the Mento is a whopping 1.8 centimeters wide. Compare that to the bog standard Parker Vector’s girth of 1 centimeter, you’ll get a sense of scale for this thing. If you’re used to writing with the run of the mill, matchstick-sized ballpoints, writing with the Mento will feel like writing with a tree trunk.
As I have found, writing with something as big as the Mento is not necessarily an unpleasant experience: it is all about adjusting to its size. Once you get over the mental hurdle of writing with something this big, you’ll find that the Mento handles very positively indeed. Because it is nicely balanced, its bulk is almost imperceptible and it is as agile as any standard-sized pen. Even though I have small hands, I did not find writing the Mento to be unwieldy or tiring. In fact, I found its size comforting – and exciting, even.
As my experience with the Mento has shown, given a little adjustment period, evenoversized things can be great fun. Perhaps I should get that bloke who broke-up with his girlfriend (because she wanted bigger breasts) a Laban Mento.
On second thoughts, maybe I shouldn’t: he might just see the folly of his ways and regret his decision for the rest of his life.