Title: The Pencil and Paper

As he explained it to me, following his divorce from Christine in the late 1960’s, Bob Sawtelle began an inquiry to try to discover the cause of his total inability to communicate with his first wife … which he said was the cause of his divorce.

He later concluded that men and women speak entirely “different” languages.

Sawtelle postulated that all Human Beings had significant quantities of both “Masculinity” and “Femininity” in each personality, irrespective of their gender

that males had great quantities of Masculinity and some Femininity,

that females had great quantities of Femininity and some Masculinity,

and he speculated that gay men had greater quantities of femininity in their personalities which did not “match” their male bodies.

The Paper and The Pencil is an imagined conversation he wrote … not between Men and Women

instead it is between the personality traits of Masculinity and Femininity.

Thus, I think it explains in many ways the inabilities to communicate with one another caused by these inherent and unchangeable ways of thinking which each gender has.

It also predicts many Lessons of Life which I, at one time, believed to be unrelated to Differences in Gender, and which I now believe to be Gender Related Alone.

Study it Well … it may Help You Communicate with the Other Sex.

Robert Jorrie
July 1984




Pencil: Hello there, what’s your name?

Paper: Stationery Paper, what’s yours?

Pencil: Sharp Pencil.

You are a fancy piece … of paper.

I really like your embossing and your watermark.

Paper: You’re getting very personal and besides, I bet you say that to all the sheets of paper.

Pencil: No, I don’t. You are a special piece.

I think I’m going to write on you.

Paper: What did you say?

Pencil: I’m going to write on you.

Paper: Listen! I don’t even know you.

Pencil: Yes, you do … we just met.

Paper: That’s not knowing you. Can’t you pencils ever think about anything but writing?

Pencil: What’s wrong with that? I’m a pencil, I was made to write, and I have plenty of lead.

You are a paper and you were made to be written on, so let’s do it.

Paper: Wait just a minute! Who says I was made just to be written on?

Pencil: Well, you are a sheet of stationery aren’t you?

What were you made for if not to be written on?

Oh, come on, you know you like it just as much as I do.

What’s the matter, are you inhibited?

Paper: There you go again. That’s dumb. All you ever think about is writing.

You pencils are all alike. You’ll write anywhere you can.

You’ll write on tabletops … even tablecloths.

You write on paper bags, boards, telephone booths … anything.

Some of you even write on restroom walls!

Pencil: That’s what we are made to do … write.

Of course, it’s more fun to write on some things than others, but when it’s time to write, we write on whatever is available.

Paper: Uh huh, I’ve seen a lot of the places you pencils have written on, and some of them are pretty crummy.

And a lot of times your writing is just scribbling or gross pictures that are childish.

Why can’t you ever think about anything else?

What would you do, if you ran out of lead?

I guess that would be the end of you, just because you couldn’t write?

Pencil: A pencil without any lead?

Why that’s the most terrifying thought in the world.

If I couldn’t write, I might as well not be alive.

Paper: You poor pencil! What a narrow view you have.

I don’t have any lead and it isn’t the end of the world for me!

Pencil: Well, of course not, you don’t need any lead. You can always get some pencil’s lead.

Paper: But that isn’t what I want at all, just to be written on.

I don’t get turned on unless I select who does the writing and am in charge of the story.

Pencil: What difference does it make to you what gets told?

You are paper. It’s writing and being written on, that’s fun.

It isn’t important what the writing says. You are supposed to like just being written on.

Paper: No way!

Pencil: How is it that you can be writing paper and are not just dying to have a pencil write on you.

What is it that you papers think about all the time if it’s not that?

Paper: Well, to start with, I’ll tell you what I don’t think about all the time.

I certainly don’t leer at every Pencil that comes along and fantasize about how much fun it would be to have it write on me !

Pencil: Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it.

That just shows you are inhibited.

Thinking about writing really turns me on and thinking about it would turn you on if you were liberated.

Paper: You are so conceited!

What if I weren’t a fairly attractive piece of paper ? Would you still want to write on me?

Pencil: Well, it’s more fun to write on some than others, but you do the best you can with what’s available.

Paper: Boy, do you have a lot to learn about paper!

Pencil: Well, what in God’s name is it then that all you papers can ever think about if it isn’t having some pencil write on you?

Paper: What we think is most important, is looking our very best.

I worry about how I look as often as you ogle some cute paper’s watermark or fantasize about writing on it.

It’s worrying about looking good enough to be paid attention to. That’s what I fantasize about.

After all, you noticed me, didn’t you?

Pencil: You fantasize about being paid attention to, about how you look?

What does that have to do with being written on?

You could be written on right now looking just as you are.

Paper: There you go again!

You think I’m just something to write on and that makes me nothing.

It doesn’t give me a chance to be me or to “do my thing”.

Pencil: This doesn’t make any sense. Paper is for writing on.

If that is not it, what is “doing your thing”?

Paper: Well, it begins with doing whatever I can to myself that will make me look my best.

Pencil: And you call that fun?

It sounds boring to me.

Paper: It’s exciting to know I’m doing the best I can with what I have to work with.

But it’s kinda scary, too.

Pencil: Scary? Why?

Paper: Because of the competition, silly.

Because after I have made myself look the best I can, I take a big risk going out and mingling with other papers and pencils.

That is when I can tell by their reactions whether they think I’m attractive or not.

If they notice me and pay attention to me, that makes me feel really good. I feel unique and special.

And it proves to me again that I’m not tacky.

We papers are as afraid of being tacky as you pencils are afraid of not being macho.

Pencil: Not tacky ? It’s no big deal to be tacky. Being tacky is just kind of a joke.

Paper: That’s just because you are a pencil.

All of you pencils are tacky.

Or at least you do things all the time that would be tacky if a paper did them.

Pencil: Are you telling me you worry that much about your physical appearance?

Paper: Are you telling me you worry that much about having plenty of lead?

Pencil: Well, I don’t have to look good to feel like writing. All I have to do is to have lead and to be sharp.

And when I’m sharp, you’re supposed to be ready.

Paper: I don’t walk through life being ready,

and, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m not made to be sharp.

I’m made to look good and to improve my looks, if I can.

Why do you think you’re talking to me instead of that crumpled old paper over there?

Pencil: When you say you care about how you look, do you mean you really get excited about it?

Paper: That’s not all.

I really worry whether or not the way I move is attractive,

whether the way I talk is attractive, whether my facial expressions are attractive and whether or not the things I say are attractive.

Besides that, I worry about whether or not my personality is appealing.

All of those things are important.

And they are frightening and exciting because it is an exercise, a test, of my creativity.

A lot of times I can make up for flaws in face or figure by looking especially good in all of the other areas.

For example, I can dress in a way that shows off my best features, or I can sparkle, or talk, or move in away that makes me look more appealing.

Pencil: And you’re telling me that all that is what turns you on?

Paper: Well, that’s a big part of it but still not all.

Pencil: Well, what’s the rest?

Paper: Well, after I have done everything I can to make myself look good,

you know, things like lowering my top margin, separating and uplifting my embossing, and covering up my flecks,

then I like getting out in circulation and being seen.

I get an excited feeling when the other papers compliment me,

but what really turns me on is having all the pencils around looking at me in a way that makes me think they might want to write on me.

Pencil: Really, it’s just like I thought, we’re exactly the same.

It’s only that you are inhibited.

All I ever think about is writing on a piece of paper and all you ever think about is wanting to look good so that lots of pencils will want to write on you.

So you are really thinking about being written on too.

It’s the same thing.

Paper: No, it’s not at all ! I said I think it’s fun for them to want to write on me. I don’t know about the writing part.

Pencil: Why not ? I bet your mother filled you full of all those ideas.

Paper: Well, if I just go around letting any pencil write on me, I’m not getting to do my thing.

The pencil will have done it’s thing … but I won’t have done mine.

I won’t have had a chance to make any selection and if I don’t get to choose, I’m not an active participant in the writing.

It’s not enough for me just to have the opportunity to tell you, a single pencil, “yes, you can write on me”.

That’s not doing anything for me, it’s totally passive.

It’s when I have a chance to make choices, that I am doing something active.

In order for me to make a selection I have to have more than one pencil.

And the more pencils that come around from whom I can choose, the more important and special I feel.

It also proves that I have a say so in what is going to be written, that is, what story is going to be told.

Pencil: I’m just beginning to figure out something. It looks to me like you’re just using all those other pencils so you can pick the best one.

Paper: Pencils are free to do what they want. They don’t have to look.

Pencil: And who said anything about telling a story? I’m just talking about writing.

Paper: You mean you don’t think the story is what’s important?

Why the best story will be told by the sharpest, strongest and most capable pencil on the most attractive paper.

I am compelled to look for the best. Any pencil with lead in it at all, can write.

But don’t you see, if I let just any pencil write on me who wants to,

I won’t be actively participating in the creation of the story.

You talk about being used. In that case I could just as well be a pencil’s room wall.

Pencil: Ah, come on, I respect you. I wouldn’t write any of that stuff on you.

Paper: Maybe you wouldn’t, but you still don’t understand.

I want you to realize that I don’t feel that it’s right (or even moral) to let a pencil write on me unless I am the active one in deciding who writes and what is written.

And I can’t be the active one unless I’m looking good enough to attract enough pencils so that I can have a choice.

Then I get a good feeling about myself, a feeling of my own power, of self-worth, and a sense of being in control.

Pencil: Are you telling me that you fluffy little papers have power?

Paper: You have a surprise coming.

Pencil: That sounds utterly selfish.

Paper: Well, of course it’s selfish.

But what is it when you want to write on anything that comes along just because you think it’s made to be written on.

You want to be in control.

My act may be a selfish one, but it may just turn out to be the best after all.

Selection, Natural Selection, friend Pencil, is what it’s all about.

You are pencil and I am paper and we’re both made out of wood.

If it weren’t for natural selection, we’d both still be on trees.

Evolution has programmed me to be selective, and that is what excites me.

Writing should be done for the sake of the story which paper and pencil tell together.

A story which will last after we are gone.

Pencil: Well, at least after you have selected the one pencil which you will let write on you,

then you can settle down to lots of writing.

You can stop worrying about how you look because you won’t have to select any other pencils.

Paper: If you wrote on me, would you then stop looking at watermarks and thinking about wanting to write on other papers?

Pencil: Well, no, … but it doesn’t hurt to look.

Paper: And it doesn’t hurt to keep on thinking about how I look.

Even when I’ve chosen the very best pencil I can find to write our story on me, he won’t write it all at once.

After a while he may lose his sharpness, or even run out of lead.

Pencil: Heaven Forbid! Well … What do you do if he sharpens his point or gets a refill of lead and wants to start writing again?

Paper: Well, there is still no excitement for me and no feeling of self worth or accomplishment unless I can go through the process of selecting him again.

Every time he writes, I need to know the choice is mine, that I am an active and creative participant in the telling of the story.

Pencil: God, I’m worn out just listening to you. All that takes longer than the writing does! What a complicated, boring process!

Paper: Yes, for you, but not for me.

Pencil: Well, how do you go about the process of reselecting the permanent pencil?

Paper: Just the same as before. I do it by spending time making myself look good, going out with my pencil and having the other papers compliment me.

Then I enjoy having the other pencils pay attention to me, even if they are the permanent pencils of other papers.

That way I can compare those pencils with the one I have selected.

Then, if my permanent pencil has shown by his words, his acts and his special attention to me that he still is a good choice, then I can reselect him.

This is the way I reassure myself that I made the right choice the first time, making certain allowances, of course.

Pencil: And what happens then?

Paper: Then I feel good about letting him write some more of the story.

Then I feel creative and worthwhile.

If I don’t get a chance to re-choose him before he writes on me again, it is no fun for me.

It makes me feel used. Besides, how can you pencils want to write on a paper or anything else, when it’s not looking the best it can?

See, I told you you were tacky.

Pencil: Listen, all of that process is just too much work and takes too long before you get to the important part.

Can’t you papers ever think about anything but how you look?

Paper: Well, can’t you pencils ever think about anything but writing?

You are all alike, I’ll never understand you.

Pencil: Well, isn’t that just like a paper. Go find somebody else to take you to the pencil-paper party.

Paper: You forget who started this conversation. Goodbye.

(Turns head.)

Hello, Gold Pen, aren’t you new around here?

Robert Jorrie