I’m an avid notebook user. I love all types of notebooks, though I’ll admit I’m partial to blank paper, and hardbacked, black books. I’ve used some of the most well-known and best books in the medium-price range. But I’ll still try most anything out. I have several notebooks that are bound flimsily, have paper that tears or bleeds through, and other problems. Most people don’t notice those, but they do notice when I have a pink notebook. People think that me, as a man, wouldn’t like to carry a pink or purple book. I’d say there are many problems that make notebooks unusable long before the color of the cover comes into consideration, even if pink isn’t my first choice.
Now this might be something that one simply has to take into consideration when buying notebooks. After all, most stationery stores that aren’t for office supplies and therefore have a very neutral atmosphere, are geared toward women. At least, that’s the way it seems. With their natural to pastel colors, slightly awkward layout, and all-female staff, they make me feel slightly nervous when walking in. It’s like I’m not the one that’s supposed to be there. Not that I’m really comfortable in most store scenarios, but at least I’m expected.
Why is that, though? Paper products, while not directly advertised toward women, are much more “feminine” in style, or neutral (if the choice must be made). Maybe that’s because the only manly notebook is black. I’d laugh at a gunmetal or camo pattern, though there are some less-pink/bright colors of notebooks that I’d like to buy. And that’s the thing, really, for me. I don’t mind many notebooks being more female-oriented, but what I don’t want is one that really sticks out. I don’t mind using a pink or lime notebook, but I’d rather one that was mahogany, or a pear green, or even a dull pink instead of a bright one.
All of the colors just look synthetic and stick out to me. And people notice them and think they’re strange. Did I pick up my girlfriend’s notebook? No, who would ever accidentally do that, who has a notebook that isn’t personal enough that it can be loaned out, even a school one? And people look at me funny for something that is considered “different” for me to do.
The color of the notebook in no way affects the writing experience to be contained within, but I still wish there were some more easily obtainable, subdued colors.
I guess, though, that’s more because I want to blend in, to hide in the crowd and not stick out. I don’t want people picking me out of a crowd because of my notebook’s color, and even less if they think negatively about it. I’ll still use them to try them out, but I always have old standbys for serious use.
That’s just me, I guess. Perhaps many people do want to stand out with the color of their notebooks, but having a notebook now almost seems to make you stand out enough.
My question, though, would be: are notebooks more female items in popular culture? Do manufacturers have a more female audience in mind when creating new products? I’m fine with there being many girl-oriented books, and even some manufacturers. I just wish there were more making plain type books, that are easier to… conceal, I guess. I want more notebooks in general, not more that are just geared toward me or any other specific group.
I can’t say for sure one way or the other, but I know very few men who use anything beyond a small pocket notebook, while many of the women I know have a stack of cheap “accessory” notebooks. My notebook collection certainly is an oddity to most people still, which I enjoy. And I also notice that online, more users for notebook-related forums or retailers are male. An interesting reversal, as online it is much easier to find plain brown and black books than in the wild.
If I were to have to answer my question right now it would be no, if we’re counting all sources here. But I could be right or wrong. This isn’t a formal study of who uses notebooks (now that’s an idea, someone get on that). I can’t give hard answers, but that’s why I use notebooks: to keep all of the thoughts and organize them later, not in any physical sense, but you probably get the idea. I’ll keep writing and thinking, from pink to black.