I hold my pen differently

tags: pen  taylor-swift 

When I write, I hold my pen between my index and middle fingers, and until today, I’ve only encountered two other people who do that. One was a waitress, which is an important detail for this story.

I might have started doing this very early in college, but I would rule out starting at the end of high school. So, lets say that’s 1990. This is also important because that was 32 years ago, and Taylor Swift is 33.

The 1990s were pre-laptop days, so people (students) did a lot of writing. I’d aggressively hold my pen and end up with sore and cramped fingers. So, I changed. The pen between the index and middle fingers basically stays in place by the natural tendency of the fingers to stay together.

If I stop writing, I can actually fold the pen into my palm and leave it there while still having use of my hand. This is likely why the waitress also did it: she didn’t have to give up the use of one hand because she was holding a pen.

Now I learn that Taylor Swift holds her pen like that, and the internet has been losing their minds over it. There’s a Quora question. There’s a [reddit thread of a preschool teacher clutching her pearls and yelling “Think of the children”]. One of the richest and most successful musical artists, the one who tells Spotify what to do and they do it, is wrong? Some broke-ass wage slave in Ohio thinks they have the answer?

The surprising bit is that my handwriting didn’t change and there was almost no adjustment period. I was able to write normally with the same penmanship I had before.

Here’s Taylor writing in the video.

And here’s her doing it 10 years ago in a Diet Coke ad

I’m pretty sure I’ve never met Taylor Swift and even if I have, she didn’t see me writing anything. Still, I’ve been doing this about as long as she’s been alive.

Kylee Griswold in the Federalist is much

how can you not break yourself of your serial killer tendencies and learn how to hold a pen properly?

Kylee then goes on to rant about children, which, despite her fanbase of 13-year girls, is not a child. Kylee’s screed completely misses the point. These complaining people see Taylor Swift as a pre-teen sex object who was mistakenly allowed to make a decision on how she does something that affects no one else.

Why we do things the way we do

As children, we do things a certain way because we have small hands and poor motor control. We don’t have to keep doing things designed for small hands with poor motor control when we have big hands and good motor control. She almost makes this point because she notes that kids progress from the caveman death drip with utensils and crayons to the conventional “tripod” grip most people use with a pen.

Now consider tying our shoes. Most of you are doing it wrong because the rabbit ears method you were taught makes an uneven knot. You were taught that because you did not yet have the finger dexterity to do something better. Small hands simply can’t manipulate the laces well enough to make the Ian Knot:

Notice in this knot, the loops of the knot lay across the foot (perpendicular to the long axis of the foot). That know has equal tension throughout. If your loops don’t do that, you are doing it wrong. Which is why kids, and many adults, have to keep tying their shoes when the improper knot comes loose.