Monogramitis: a primer on Pinterexia Nervosa’s dangerous Southern strain

After I wrote about Pinterexia Nervosa a few weeks ago, people began contacting me to make sure I realized all of the different forms and debilitating symptoms associated with Pinterexia. This guest post is by Julie Bunkley, a wedding planner from Auburn, who felt that there needed to be a specific focus on one particular strain of this disease.

WARNING: This post pertains to an extraordinarily controversial topic, especially among southerners. (Perhaps more divisive than matching family beach photos or even smock itself.) Due to the nature of this post, the FCC requires I recommend that all readers proceed only after taking a deep breath, and all commenters count to ten before hitting publish. All opinions are that of the guest poster and not necessarily (but possibly) (but maybe not) reflect any opinion or lack of opinion of the blog owner.  


In this age of over stimulation, nothing beats a good Pinterest bender. I admit that it has been a massive tool for my industry of wedding planning and design and also my various hobbies of celebrity fashion critique, haute couture gawking and personal home building. So, I can’t claim to be completely immune to Pinterexia Nervosa. However, I have wanted to save some of my Southern friends from a particularly dangerous strain of the virus: Monogramitis.

MonogramitisPhoto credit: Monogrammed Minicooper by MyEyeSees, other products on Amazon here, here, here, and here.

While my personal Pinterexia Nervosa doesn’t seem to hurt anyone, I know that Monogramitis does actual damage. Particularly to my own eyes.

(Have you ever contracted eye strain from trying to untangle and decode someone’s initials? I have.)

So, I’m pretty worried about this strain. It is usually found in the Southeastern United States and can pop up on nearly any type of surface. The usual spots for Monogramitis to appear is on vehicle back windshields, purses of the homemade variety and various forms of mugs, coffee travelers and koozies (a serious offender that sneaks up on the most well intentioned among us.)

There are only a few items that don’t qualify as exhibiting Monogramitis. Stationery, linens and doormats are about the only items that can be excluded from the list of symptoms. Restrictions: Fluorescent colors and script fonts that include the letter “Z” such as Curlz do not apply here.

*Note: Monogramitis does not usually affect weddings. You are, in fact, celebrating two names coming together and creating a new name. So, don’t fear, wedding monogram friends! Your circumstances exclude you from the most dangerous aspects of Monogramitis. There are still rules as to how to use a monogram safely in a wedding (just ask Emily Post), but in general you are safe. Count your southern wedded blessings!

Here are some symptoms to help you determine if you have contracted Monogramitis:

1. If you are accessorizing and your first thought is to throw a monogram on it.

2. If you find yourself pairing monograms and cutesy bright colored prints together (polka dots, stripes and the most recent development, chevron).

3. If your kids grow up thinking that they spell their name with only three letters due to the labeling on their smocked collars, ruffled swim suits and otherwise already cute clothing items.

4. If you ever frame a monogram.

5. If you ever find yourself thinking that any animal print and monograms make for a good combination.

6. If you have actually paid to have your own monogram put on a coozie/koozie/hugger (depending on your jargon). *You know you can collect these things for free throughout life… monogram free*

7. If you can’t leave the house without some form of self-identification jewelry. Necklaces seem to be most common.

8. If you have ever bought any quilted accessory (usually a purse or tote) and immediately left it with the retailer you just bought it from to be stitched up with a loud/contrasting thread colored monogram.

9. If your vehicle’s back windshield is now categorized as dangerous because your vision is impaired due to a large curly-font vinyl sticker monogram.

10. If you have realized that your monogram’s letter line up is actually a bad acronym – or worse, a word – yet you still publicly display said monogram. I’m talking to you, “DUM”, “CUS”, and “SAD”.

11. If you actually have a Pinterest board dedicated to monograms. If such a thing exists on your account, immediately delete your Pinterest account. Recovery could take up to a year.

12. If you ever find yourself considering getting…a monogram tattoo.

As with many diseases, the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem.

To get a jump start on your recovery, I have devised a strategy for you. Simply repeat to yourself every morning, “I already know what my name and initials are. I learned them when I was very young.” If you feel particularly monogram-lonely, include your actual initials in your mantra. Because saying them and printing them are two different things. The process is slow and at times confusing, especially on shopping trips. Just repeat your morning mantra and you will be well on your way to full recovery.

Leave your comment below!

Comments

  1. I believe I have a mild to moderate case of Monogramitis. I’m from SC, and monograms are extremely popular here. I will admit, I have quote a few monograms. A chevron monogram decal on my car, monogrammed sunglasses, a monogrammed hat, a monogrammed Tervis cup, and a monogrammed cell phone case. I didn’t realize how bad it was until I typed this out.

    I will not monogram anything else. Unless I see something really cute on Pinterest, of course. :)

    • Ha! I should’ve gotten you to take pictures for this blog post! That’s fantastic.

      Feel free to continue monogramming at will…unless you find yourself considering a tattoo.

      • Emailed a few pictures! An accountant that I work with has a monogrammed mousepad and koozie. I tried to take a picture of it, but I can’t find the koozie in her office! :)

  2. Stephy_B says:

    Thank goodness someone finally diagnosed this!! I can proudly say that neither of my boys own any monogrammed stuff except maybe a couple burp cloths that were gifts and none of those are curlified initials. . How do you pass down monogrammed clothing?? How do you re-sell it at consignment?? I guess I am a bit too practical for monogram.

    • I have a friend that is the leading expert at finding her kids properly monogrammed clothes used at consignment sales!!

      She’s also been known to spot other friend’s kid’s monograms and buy them. :-)

      • I knew there had to be someone out there with this talent. I don’t have kids of my own yet, so I don’t know how this would feel. But, I could see this talent as being a commodity worth exploiting.

    • Lindsay D says:

      I SO AGREE. I am practical. and my first born has 4 legal names. Try monogramming that! People often asked, “What are you naming your son?” I know a monogrammed gift was the intention. But we didn’t get many because he has 4 names!

  3. Yay, I don’t have monogramitis!! I am a scrapbooker, DIY-er, and crafter, with two teenage girls, and yet we don’t have monograms on anything, mostly because the kids didn’t want to be “like those preppy girls” and because I am a procrastinator and while I like monograms, I don’t get anything done.

  4. I know someone who had a daughter (many, many years ago) and had several items monogrammed for her. When she had a second daughter, she actually gave her a name with the exact same initials so she could pass down the monogrammed clothing. Same for daughter number 3. So 3 girls, with the exact same initials as to not disrupt the monogramed hand-me-downs. Insane!

    I don’t have anything monogrammed. I use my initials, “AMW” for work stuff when needed, but the “AWM” for monogrammed stuff looks too weird for my eyes.”

  5. I’m so glad the monogrammed ruffled swimsuit was mentioned. I have seen these and they are hilarious! And although I am very anti-monogrammed, I will confirm that they sneak up on you in the way of gifts, I have a monogrammed coffee cup and coffee travel cup, at least, and probably a lot more that I’m forgetting about,

    • The monogrammed ruffled swimsuits are better than the smocked ruffled swimsuits. Can you imagine how much those must weigh when wet??

    • I think the ruffled swim suits on their own are cute! Just cool it with the monogram! And yes, I admit to owning some of the offending items, but they were gifts. Also, I admit to purposefully monogramming our sheets. Mostly so that I can tell what sheets go with what beds (master vs. guest, etc.). And they are done in white thread color on white sheets. It’s attention to detail when it comes to Monogramitis.

  6. I am eat up with monogramitis! I will slap a monogram on anything that will hold still long enough. Except for an actual person, although it might not be a bad idea for my middle son.

    • “My sheets are monogrammed, so is my silverware and pretty much everything else I own. My rule is, if it’s not moving, monogram it.” – Reese Witherspoon

      Your comment made me think of that quote! :)

  7. Laura W. says:

    I love this! One of my FB friends recently put up a status that said, “What is up with everyone’s monograms everywhere? Are we afraid we’re going to forget our names?” LOL!!! I’m all for a monogram on kid’s clothing but, as with everything in life, there is a limit. I’m shocked at the monogrammed toilet paper!

  8. I have a mild case. I have a monogrammed tag on the front of my car but nothing on the actual car. If monogramming is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

  9. Being a guy, I don’t monogram. But I may have ordered a baseball hat of a minor league team, of whom I will never watch, purely because their hat is a fancified “JG” on the front.

    • MINOR LEAGUE!! I wish I’d read your comment closer earlier today. I wouldn’t have spent the whole day figuring out the puzzle. The best I could come up with is that the Giants moved to Jacksonville.

  10. So great ! I am not really about the monograms myself, but i do like to see my name around.

    So much so that I actually checked to see if my Twitter handle was available on an Alabama license plate.

    I just sent in my check.

    • For just a moment I thought you meant an Alabama License Plate. As in, University Of. And I cocked my head to the side and said whaa….???

  11. My first year of teaching I had a student who got a tattoo for her 15th birthday (there are already so many things wrong with that statement, but that’s for another day…). She got her monogram on the back of her neck. When she showed me the next day at school I asked her what she was going to do if she ever decided to get married and change her name…she just stared at me blankly. Obviously she nor her mother (who took her to get the tattoo) didn’t think of that. Fun times.

  12. It is a southern thing!! I never realized it until now. I was fortunate (unfortunate?) enough to have parents from Ohio & Michigan, so I was spared smocking, kool-aid sweet iced tea, and monogrammed everything. I did get lucky enough to marry someone with the same last initial as mine, so I could’ve managed a few without issue.

    I recently asked a southern friend why she had so many monograms, and she said it was because she never found anything with her unusual first name on it. Which also makes sense when you consider some of the more colorful southern names out there. :)

    • Probably why I don’t get into monograms. I was born and raised in Alabama, but my parents are from Washington St. and Arizona. I’m right with you. No sweet tea for me. Blech.

  13. I have a full fledged case and I’m ok with it! Recovery not needed here! My daughter even has the monogrammed swimsuit!
    If you are like me and LOVE to monogram everything with no regrets, be sure to check out my online boutique where monogramming is ALWAYS free! Our new catalog full of beautiful new products premiers tomorrow, so check it out today…and then again tomorrow! I’d love to help you earn it for free!!!

  14. Monoramitis has yet to hit the midwest…where I am, anyway.

    I did have to google “koozie” :) I would have called it a soda can insulater, but koozie is much cuter!

  15. A bad monogram is exactly why I won’t ever monogram anything. It’ll all just say SAL and I’m not cool with that.

  16. Gretchen says:

    As I sit here looking at my son in his shirt that has his monogram on it I can say I was given monogramitis from my mother. Yes, just like smocked clothing I’m a 2nd generation monogrammer. I remember my mom monogramming our initials on all of our Oxford collars.

    If I can fit a monogram on it, it will be monogrammed. Nothing is safe. Nothing.

  17. Wow. I never even knew this was a thing. It is definitely not up here in Montana. Kinda like when I didn’t know what smock was. :) I thought of you the other day when I was out to dinner with my husband and I overheard the guy at the next table ask for sweet tea. The waitress said, “I can bring you iced tea, a spoon and some sugar.” I was nosy and kept listening and the family was from Alabama. Bet they felt a long way from home. Hopefully the 30 oz fresh steak made up for the lack of sweet tea!

  18. Kimber Coleman says:

    This is Fantastic ! Although I am a huge , repeat offender (I am, after all from SC) …I love that I can happily chuckle at these …I have almost all of them ;)
    In Fact, I have opened a small In home store that monograms and appliqués everything …including Burlap Garden Flags (which I noticed were not on the list ..hehe) happy monogramming Y’all !! I honestly can say , this is hilarious, but I will continue to be a repeat offender ;)

    • Oh the burlap. It wasn’t left off because I didn’t think about it. But burlap in weddings is such a big thing, talking about it with monograms was just too much for this post. I could write a whole other post (probably base a whole blog) on the southern wedding trends – of which burlap seems to pop up too much. As you can see, my personal and professional life clash quite a bit. I’m sure I’ll need therapy by the time I retire.

  19. Guilty as charged, lol. I love monogramming so much that I have built a career around it. In fact, I loved monograms BEFORE they were cool. I was here long before the fad and I’ll be here long after.

  20. I lurve me some monograms! Usually just the R, for my last name!

  21. Aaaaand… My son’s LL Bean backpack has his initials monogrammed on it!

    • Oh, I should have included backpacks in the exclusions. Especially from LL Bean. Not only because I carried one monogrammed LL Bean backpack throughout high school and college myself, but also because backpacks tend to all look the same. And as my mom did for everything that wasn’t completely attached to my body, my name was clearly visible on everything I owned that went to school with me just so it had an increased likelihood of coming home with me. So, I’m giving that a pass.

  22. Ok, here is my question, if you are married and you are putting a monogram on your car shouldn’t it include your husband’s initial too? This is were I get confused with monograms – when should it just be your initials and when should you include your spouses?

    Also, I have friend who monograms cute sun hats and backpacks and swimsuits and whatever else you may want embellished. I had my niece’s bloomers monogramed too. Cute!

  23. While my son doesn’t have anything monogrammed, we did consider initials in choosing his name. Our last name starts with an ‘S’ and we wanted him to share my husband’s middle name of Scott, so we excluded all names that began with an “A”. I do have an embroidery machine though, so he has lots of applique and personalized stuff.

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