I love the idea of having a Lolita pen pal! I used to write letters constantly when I was younger, sadly, that all changed when I got a computer. The slippery slope began with me *gasp* writing letters on the computer then printing them out! Then, eventually, just emailing people if I couldn't catch them on AIM. I have saved, even though it's probably buried in a pile of junk somewhere, a trapper keeper I had in 6th grade filled with all the letters I had received, as well as a couple that I never got around to sending! After seeing the post on EGL about pen pals I became a bit nostalgic for getting letters in the mail and started looking for a pen pal for myself again, even though I am very out-of-practice, my handwriting is not what you would call fancy and my hand starts to get tired after a couple sentences. Years ago I actually did have a Lolita pen pal, back when I was a lone Lolita and not even on Livejournal, I had found her through the pen pal section of a stationery site. She was the first other Lolita that I ever got to really talk to, as a lone Lolita at the time it was wonderful to have someone who knew and loved the fashion as much as I did. And besides, exchanging even the most polite and formal letters is so much more rewarding than exchanging Internet memes and witty one-liners with thousands of strangers on the other side of a computer.
If you have found yourself a pen pal, here are a few tips and ideas to make it even better:
- Be safe. The most obvious tip, don't just post your address to a Lolita forum asking for letters, only exchange addresses with someone you think you can trust, even if you have to send some emails back and forth first. Also, if you post an ad somewhere looking for pen pals, don't feel as if you have to accept everyone who asks. When I got my first Lolita pen pal I also got a variety of creepers asking for my address, who seemed to be under the impression that a kawaii stationery site was their personal dating site. The best place to find a Lolita pen pal would be from one of the Lolita communities, because you can always check up on feedback to make sure the person is who they say they are.
- Buy a book of stamps! Stamps are the most important thing you'll need, even more so than fancy paper. It's never fun to let your pen pal wait just because you have to hunt down a stamp every time you want to send a letter. Having a whole book handy is a good idea if you have an international pen pal too, since sending a single letter usually costs a dollar or more worth of stamps. Pick out some stamps that are particularly pretty or have a theme you love to wear in Lolita. I have a book of stamps from Valentines day that is done in king and queen of hearts card suite style.
- Buy some pretty stationery. I'm sure most Lolita pen pals are formed because Lolitas always manage to have a surplus of cute stationery that they are looking to get rid of! You can either go the uber-kawaii route and find some cute mascot stationery, or maybe something a bit more formal like high quality paper embossed with pretty flowers. You can even find places online to print your own stationery, or make your own.
- Seal your letters with a wax seal. I love wax seals! They are just so fancy, and you can usually find stampers in any design you need, from cute shapes to your initial. If you don't like the idea of dripping hot wax all over your letter, you can usually find faux wax seal stickers in the scrap book isle of craft stores. They look just like the real thing, only less messy.
- Include a small flat gift with your letters. This should be something small and flat that would fit in an envelope, like maybe pressed flowers, an artist trading card, a sheet of stickers, or even a few pieces of large glitter shapes. If you go the glitter route, don't just fill an envelope with fine glitter though, that's just a mess waiting to happen.
- Decorate the envelope. Either cover it in stickers or draw something pretty all over it. If you don't think you are that creative, you can usually find places online with pre-decorated envelopes that you can print out, fold-up, and send out.
- Write your letter with unusual ink. My favorite out-of-the-ordinary pens are Souffle pens, they are a kind of gel pen that writes with a puffy 3D ink, and they come in a ton of great colors, including a lot of pastels. Or how about a calligraphy pen?
- Most importantly, write regularly! You don't have to always be sending out letters covered in stickers and glitter, so don't put off writing a letter if all you happen to have on you is some lined notebook paper! Once you get to know you're pen pal, you'll soon find the content of the letter, not the decoration or the stationary, is the most important and enjoyable part.