Pen Pals — Unicorns, Iggles & Me
Sick of tech? Enjoy snail mail? A total dork? Look no further than the nerdiest pen pal club in town
Last month, I joined the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club (IGGPPC). Nope…I never thought I’d see those words flow from my fingertips either. I can’t help but wonder what the somewhat cool 21-year-old Steven might think of this. You know what though, who gives a hoot? His dweeby successor pushes the buttons now.
However, with IGGPPC, there will be no pushing of any buttons. No siree! For this is one pen pal club all about the snail mail. In fact, its founding “Unicorns,” Farquharson and Stewie, say the club is where “geek and snail mail collide.” And although that’s exactly what I came for, I’ll stay for the “Iggles” (fellow nerds, that is). Let me explain why I want to be paired with an Iggle.
First, I’m unashamed to admit I’ve become a little thin on the ground in the friends department of late. Covid-19 played some role in this, but I guess it’s just a natural part of growing older too, with people going off in different directions — geographically and emotionally. And you get better at sorting the wheat from the chaff as the years go on. I’m certain I’ve made it onto a few chaff-lists myself. Still, it’s no fun to lack genuine human connections, and grown-up friend-making is a real trial, so there’s a gap to be filled here.
Second, I was gifted a swanky Parker pen for Christmas, and it needs put into service. How come I can’t just use it for grocery lists and Gone Fishing Post-it notes? I suppose I could, and I probably will, but I’ve seen Julia & Julia and Can You Ever Forgive Me? too many times recently not to crave a pen pal, especially one with a shared interest in all things geeky.
If you’re unfamiliar with these films, or the books on which they’re based, then get to know them because they’re top drawer — and because Meryl Streep and Melissa McCarthy. But I won’t bore you with synopses. All you have to know at this point is both stories heavily feature an epistolary component. In other words, they contain characters who write letters to one another. While each tale treats the art of letter-writing very differently, both make it seem so irresistibly charming, particularly to anyone (like me) fed up with screens.
And now I have the perfect writing tool to get started. Sidestepping the fact this gift made me weep because it looks just like a long-lost Parker my late granny once gave me, let’s just say it has fast become a treasured possession.
I may have the pen, but I won’t get far without some elegant paper. Maybe I’ll splash out on personalised stationery, although perhaps that’s a bit much. Oh, and we mustn’t forget the all-important Iggle, without whom there will be no correspondence. I can’t imagine my tech-dependent friends (which is all of them) would care much to receive my ramblings through snail mail. Fear not though, the ball, as I said, is rolling.
After completing the registration form (digital, sadly), I’m assured the Unicorns will match me with a suitable Iggle within the next few weeks. By suitable Iggle, I mean someone who not only shares at least one of my “top five geek loves” but also who falls into the same “house.” Do you think they have a sorting hat? I’m now a proud member of House Organa, as any Star Wars fan will know is named after Princess Leia Organa. My house is made up of Iggles aged 30–44, but don’t for a second think I’ll be telling you where on that spectrum I fall.
I trust the Unicorns will do exactly as they promise. As of 1st February 2021, they’ve successfully brought together 8,877 pairs of pen pals. And the reviews are rave. One user thanks the club for finding their “soulmate/long-lost twin,” while another loves that “everyone is so very positive about who they are and what they like — and doesn’t judge anyone else because of who they are or what they like.”
Maybe there’s so much positivity and so little judgement because the club attracts such awesome people, or perhaps it’s because members stick to the Iggles’ manifesto:
Considering the name of the site, by the way, you’d be forgiven for thinking I’m catfishing here, but the club is open to anybody irrespective of their gender. Although I’m not non-binary myself, I am an ally to our genderqueer friends, and I love that IGGPPC includes a box for them on the above-noted registration form. Yay for inclusivity! Other pen pal services I found only offered the two standard options, which is all sorts of medieval, and we don’t like that, do we?
If any of this resonates, why not go ahead and sign up? If ever there was a time for new friends, it’s now, when half the world is still stuck indoors. And who knows…you might just be my perfect Iggle!