Pin Pals

by Lindsey Palka

Have you ever looked in your mailbox at the exciting mix of bills, pizza flyers, and junk mail, and thought “man, this sucks?” Or maybe found nothing for the fourth consecutive day because you’ve already switched all your bills to online-pay and thought “why doesn’t anyone care about me anymore?”

That happens to me all the time! Maybe you’re not as melodramatic as I am, but who doesn’t genuinely enjoy getting mail? There’s something about a hand-written letter or funny card with a real cancelled stamp and a real (dirty, usually) envelope, that email or Facebook messaging just can’t match.

Back in February, the Hairpin posted about Paper Garbage Month, and Pin Pals were born! What are Pin Pals? They’re pen pals from the Hairpin! Did you ever, as a kid, write in to a pen-pal matching service from a magazine or newspaper column? I did! (Nicole from Denver, Colorado, if you’re reading this, I really liked your sparkly horse and rainbow stickers.) This is exactly like that except faster.

If you want to join in, email me at with your address and whether or not you’re open to international mail (this is just so I can match people who are willing to spring for international postage), and I’ll get back to you within a couple of days with your new Pal. It’s totally random — the only tweaking I do is to make sure that people too close in geographical area aren’t matched up together.

It’s fun, and you can participate for the cost of the envelope and stamp. You can be as involved or uninvolved as you want — you can send a letter once a day, once a week, or once a month. You can send long, involved letters pouring out your inner secrets and unburdening your heart. You can send short notes in funny greeting cards. You can send some of those postcards you’ve been bringing back from every vacation you’ve ever been on that are just taking up space in your drawers. (Just me?)

If you’re looking for stationery, local paper shops are obviously good bets, and if you don’t have any in your neighborhood, there’s always the internet. Target and Papyrus usually have cute, inexpensive stuff (and tons of sales), while Crane & Co is great for people with money to spend on that kind of thing. Etsy obviously has lots of adorable stationery, and you can buy tons of potentially offensive greeting cards (and postcards) from someecards, if you feel like making people uncomfortable. (Any suggestions for your favorite stationery places, please tell us in the comments.)

It’s as easy as that. Email me with your information, and you should have a Pin Pal relatively quickly. Summer just wouldn’t be summer without sitting at a patio table, enjoying the warm weather while writing a letter to a semi-stranger on your adorable new stationery and enjoying some sangria/a margarita/a cold beer/the beverage of your choice.

Lindsey Palka holds a Master’s degree in Canadian history, but works in a bridal salon to pay the bills.