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Nowstalgia: Sparkly writing utensils never go out of style

I want to talk about a recent investment I made.

For the past few weeks, I have been writing about videogames and TV shows from the 1990’s, and if it isn’t apparent, I really like that stuff. But media and entertainment aside, I want to talk about a recent investment I made. 

Gel pens. Who remembers gel pens? Who out there loves them? I certainly do. As a kid, I wrote everything in gel. I had the pack of sparkly colorful pens that were as shiny as cheap lip gloss. I would write notes to my parents, stories, descriptions of made-up characters I drew and even my homework, all in gel pen. I was obsessed. I distinctly remember having a thirty pack of them, varying from blue to amber and every color in between.

While searching at Wal-Mart last week for markers, I stumbled across a sixteen pack of gel pens in the writing tools aisle and thought to myself: Are those real gel pens? And do they have sparkles in them and everything? Yes. Yes they do.

And they haven’t changed a bit. I am turning into a gel pen lady all over again. I write letters, check my homework and doodle out some sweet, though slightly horrific, Pokemon in gel. I get sudden flashbacks to me as a child, curled up on the floor with gel pens spread out all over and a stack of paper waiting patiently on the coffee table for me to scribble all over.

That child is back, even down to the point of curling up on the floor to do gel work. It’s a love that runs deep. 

They even made scented gel pens. I had a few, but they seemed to dry out more quickly than the regulars or the sparkly ones. And the scents were always a little…shady. The most accurate one I can recall is banana. Orange smelled like cleaning fluid and grape smelled like medicine, and the yellow banana-scented marker wouldn’t show up well on paper, so the scented gel pens were a bust.

Maybe gel pens never disappeared and have been sitting on their shelves at Wal-Mart this whole time, waiting for me to discover them again, or maybe they really had disappeared for a while and are making a return to appeal to now-young adults who are looking for a little piece of nostalgia. I’m hoping it’s the latter, but it probably is the former.

Either way, gel pens are bright, colorful and some even shimmer, and they are so worth the price. Gel pens remind me that not everything I once loved as a kid is getting harder and harder to find. It’s a friendly reminder that the universe wants me to continue writing and working, but that it doesn’t mind that I feel like a little kid again while doing so.

Hailey Bibbee is a freshman studying English and creative writing. Email her at

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