How Ya Been, Pin Pals?

by Lindsey Palka

You know how sometimes you open up your email inbox after being gone for a couple of hours and you have 20 new emails and you go “Oh, man, really? Ugh” and then you click over somewhere else to avoid dealing with it for the next two minutes? Well, imagine that your call to arms just got published on the Hairpin and you leave the computer for a couple of hours and you come back to FOUR HUNDRED unread emails.

Response to the Pin Pal project has been overwhelming! More than THIRTEEN HUNDRED ‘Pinners have signed up and been matched with Pin Pals! We have representatives from every continent except Antarctica, every U.S. state, nine of the 10 Canadian provinces, and five of the six Australian states. ‘Pinners in more than 30 countries are now sending and receiving mail as a result.

The ‘Pinner to ‘Pinner Pin Pal Program (sorry!) has so far been a rousing success, since more than a thousand people are now receiving letters and cards and funny postcards and weird items in their mailboxes to brighten their day. Sometimes email and Twittering and Facebooking isn’t always better. Sometimes it’s cathartic and wonderful to sit down and write a long letter to someone who has no idea what your life is like. Plus forcing yourself to write yourself out can give you this light feeling, like you’ve mailed away all your troubles. And receiving a letter from someone who lives far away can be like getting a letter from Mars — maybe your Pin Pal sat down at their kitchen table after a long day at their totally-different-from-yours job and ate a meal you’d never fix for yourself, and they wrote you a letter all about how they love their pet snake, and snakes terrify the crap out of you. Reading a letter from a random person is one of several million small ways we can learn more about one another.

If you would like to sign up for a Pin Pal, email me at with your name, address, and whether or not you’re okay with international mail. I’ll match you up with someone as fast as I can! (Just don’t expect any miracles because I have to do all the matching and emailing by hand, guys. Be patient with me and be patient with your Pals and be patient with the postal service! It’s like extended meditation on mail.)

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