40 18

Lefties, how have you adapted to the right-handed world?

“Think,” I told myself while driving home today. “He obviously twisted the tie as a right-hander. Which direction do right-handers twist?” Without looking, with one hand, I undid the twist-tie and grabbed a fig bar. This got me thinking.

As a left-hander, each day is a mini-struggle. It takes three tries to awkwardly swipe my debit card with my right hand. All machines are set up for right-handed people.

Even cars are set up for right-handers. For nine weeks, my right arm was in a sling after shoulder surgery. I had to start and shift the car with my left hand. Try it.

I grew up in a family of six, highly intelligent, hilarious, left-handed artists and musicians. My daughter Claire and her dad Terry are left-handed. All of our kitchens are set up the same way. Drinking glasses and silverware are on the left.

For sewing, I have left-handed straight shears and pinking shears. But only right-handed pinking shears can be sharpened, not even at the factory. So, I demote dull pinking shears to crafts, and buy expensive, new ones.

Benefits of being left-handed:

  1. When we throw a frisbee, it rotates in the opposite direction. People can’t catch it. The frisbee bounces off their hands. HA!

  2. Claire and Terry are excellent tennis players. When they hit a tennis ball, it rotates in the opposite direction. Opponents have trouble returning their serves. “I HATE playing Wenatchee!” a girl sobbed, running off the tennis court after being trounced by Claire.

  3. We become great problem-solvers.

  4. We are more creative, artistic and musical. I still play flute.

Alas, I read that left-handers die seven years earlier. (Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.)

Here’s my theory: It’s from all the ink we absorb, dragging our hand across the page. Or from being curled up like shrimp in those stupid, right-handed desks in school.

In defense, my left-handed mother became ambidextrous. How do you manage?

LiterateHiker 9 June 4

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account


Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.


I think a lefty mate marching on my right should enjoy holding hands. ..I for longevity the best men are still dying 7 years earlier SINGLE as single women out live us....mated our years are equal in life expectancy. ...hopefully a lefty will choose me so we both beat the grim reaper 50 more years in love @ 116, I would still want 50 more


I LOVE being left handed! Out of 6 kids, I am the only lefty. My dad was left handed, but made to use his right hand in school. He still did everything left handed except write. I use the computer mouse with my right hand; after all my conditioning, setting it up on the left side felt weird, and I drive with my right hand. Just about everything else I do left handed. I was told by a customer once that I was a genius. When I asked him why he thought so, he said it was because I was left handed, but didn't turn my hand or my paper when writing; write straight across the page. My stupid pet trick? I can write upside-down, meaning I can write so the words face you, but are upside-down to me.

Good for you! That's quite a trick: writing upside-down. I tip my hat in your general direction.

I'm similar, Az -- use the mouse right-handed and, for me, it's awkward to try to use it on the left. I also can write upside down. 🙂 I do turn my paper to a complete 90-degree angle to write.


I’m left handed; never felt like it was a struggle. Writing sucks though getting ink on my hand !!!

Turn the paper / notebook to an almost vertical position. I have done this since grammar school. Never an ink mess.


When writing, I often use a cover sheet. That is, before I discovered quick-drying pens:

Uni-ball Roller Pens, fluid, fine. Made in Japan and imported by Canada.

I get them in boxes of 12 at Office Depot. Carry several in my purse and day pack. The only time these pens smear is on shiny paper.

Daughter Claire (another leftie) loves getting boxes of these pens for Christmas.

@LiterateHiker And I keep moving the paper to fit my convenience. Why to waste time and money in special pens? No need.

It's not a waste of time and money.

It's from the position of my hand, when I was forced to write straight in school.

Writing, my left hand got smeared with ink. Ink stains tablecloths and clothing. Darn it! Black ink smears spoiled birthday cards, letters and documents whenever I wrote.

@LiterateHiker It happened to me as well...but immediately I discovered that turning the notebook's left side almost 100% up the problem was gone. I guess I would have to show what I say.

I wonder if this is how I became such a great typist haha.


I am even weirder than a southpaw. Sometimes one is better than the other, but I can totally bat, write, throw, and color in coloring books with either hand.

Maybe this isn't as frustrating, but it does tend to piss other people off when they see me do it.

For Bonus points, do you know where the term "southpaw" originated?

@msar0414 Baseball fields designed and aligned in a way that lefthand was to the south. That has to do with the sunset not interrupting batter vision during game.

@GipsyOfNewSpain give that man a cigar!


I am left handed. But I only use my left hand to eat and to write. Everything else I do right handed. It's weird.


Me three

And weirdly enough, I play guitar right, but I drum lefty


In the US driving is actually better for left-handers. In Britain we drive on the left, so the usually dominant right-hand is on the wheel when changing gear, which is where you want it to be. Enjoy your small advantage. 🙂


That spunky, four-year-old leftie turned into me! The picture is from my baby book.

My late mother wrote the caption. Mom had beautiful handwriting. I miss her every day.

I like the picture and caption. I was looking at that and thinking that handwriting is becoming somewhat of a lost art.

I am sorry you lost your mom....perhaps a Pat Boone song: LOVE LETTERS IN THE SAND might fit a whistle or cherished memory ?


Right handed but, can drive with either or both of my feet on whatever pedals there are including stick ... taught myself that when i first started driving many years ago...comes in handy every now and then


I am right-handed, but injured my right wrist more than 6 months ago, so I have been learning to do things left-handed. Using a fork, computer mouse, and opening doors, and everything else. Now I get why lefties complain about right-handed scissors.

You are developing new pathways in your brain! Thanks for your understanding.

It's not just scissors that are for right-handers. It's EVERYTHING.


I am fully lefty (except for knitting / cutting meat) and I never had problems. In fact, I am very proud of being one...

I never investigated -at least no in depth- the concept / idea that lefties are a lot more gifted than "" righties "" though


Since I sell guitars I often deal with left-handed people faced with a really really pathetic left-handed guitar selection. I explain how the way we all hold the guitar right handed was actually invented by a left-handed woman during the renaissance period. A strong left-handed person can have some trouble on a right-handed guitar in getting good smooth strum down with the right hand... But like a piano you need both hands and lefties and righties both play them.. It’s tricky because if you’re left-handed and struggling on a right-handed instrument it’s to know if you would be struggling on the left handed instrument as well? I have a left-handed daughter that plays the guitar right-handed and has no idea that a left-handed instrument even exists, hasn’t been a question and hasn’t been a problem. Flipping the strings around to make a righty guitar lefty is not as easy as you might think, intonation issues. Jimi Hendrix did way more modifications than just flipping the strings the other way.

I'm a lefty, but have no trouble with a right handed guitar. As you note it takes two hands to play. I rarely strum (as I consider it boring), but have no trouble using the individual fingers of my right hand (finger style). The advantage I have is that hammers and pulls are easier. I can play a lot of notes without a lot of motion. I'm hardly the greatest guitar player around, but I get a lot of compliments from those that are. I sometimes think its simply because I'm doing things they can't do.


I am pretty sure I was born left handed but forced to use my right hand because I do things backwards.


Funny! Do you walk backwards, too? Drive backwards? Kidding.

@LiterateHiker Actually I do occasionally walk backwards lol


I have to rewrite my message because I used no bueno word...I do almost everything lefty but write and I’ve actually used my left hand on a chalk board in a class... so lm neurologically messed up( how ever I used f- bomb) so I was “shamed “ in to a rewrite.... may not so as funny as before but you get the flow


I had to become ambidextrous at 7.


I've tried to use my left-handedness to explain why I don't paint or play guitar that well, but Hendrix and McCartney--and Rembrandt, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Munch make that a hard sell.

"Nice try," as I told my daughter when she was a teenager. Very funny!

Yes they did


It was never a problem for me growing up, and still isn't - as my mother still says "you just get on with it". Now when I teach a class of kids, half of them "can't do my work" unless there are left-handed scissors etc etc etc available.


Partnered dancing was created by a man that was Lefthanded. The lead role is for the male and lead hand is left hand. Explained to me by a Pro Ballroom Dancer that always saw more potential in the leftys for obvious reasons of being natural lead handed and yes, former GF and still we hang out and of course dance. Another advantage is for boxing because the liver is exposed to the Left Hook, a devastating punch to the body. Very little known fact, some lefty boxers are taught to fight as righthanded because against righthanded fighters do not protect as often against the left hook since is expected to be the weaker hand, thus the big surprise of the use of the punch with stronger hand punching. I did hated to see lefthanded writers with the notebook sideways. Now, there is a number of languages that write right to left... arab for example?


I was born left handed ,and they taught to to be right handed in school.

That's what used to happen. Many kids developed stuttering, after being forced to be right-handed.

My mother was forced by lefty grandma to be righty, still some children came up lefty, including me.

@LiterateHiker My mother used to put my spoon in my right hand, and I'd just transferred it to my left. She laughed. Thanks mum. Saved me a lot of stress not worrying about being left-handed in my life.


They can be sharpened but it would have to be done by someone who knows what they are doing. I will get a pair and see if I can do it. Not a professional scissors sharpened but I have sharpened scissors and it is not difficult. So I will see and if I can do it I will sharpen a pair for you.


Have you seen sewing pinking shears? Pinking Shears have distinctive saw-toothed blades that leave a zigzag pattern, instead of a straight edge like a standard pair of scissors.

You use pinking shears with woven fabric to limit or prevent fraying.

Thanks for the offer.


This planet is geared to right handed people. I cope as best I can. I do remember elementary school in San Diego St Bridges Academy. In the eyes of the nuns all the children were the devils spawn especially us lefties. My dad tried to get to switch hit when I was little. It worked OK but had trouble getting the ball deep. We are in pretty good company with US Presidents, Bill Gates, Da Vinci, Buxx Aldrin, Marie Currie, and probably the smartest person to grace this planet Isaac Newton. Yep we are in good company.


Thank you for your wise and inspiring comment. I appreciate it.


At first glance, I thought this was political.


Good point.

Clever. I didn't read it like that until after reading your remark. Sounds like it would be an interesting article.


Right-hander here (I'm ashamed to say)...I try to put my left leg in the pants first, use soap in the left hand, and brush teeth left handed so that part of my brain gets some use once in a while, lol.


Lefhander here. I’m so use to the way the world is built that I just cope with it. When I do find something built for my “ailment” my body does feel more relaxed. But again I just don’t notice it.


You're right. Like you, I feel more relaxed using scissors for left-handers.


Love your stories Kathleen . Well my late FIL was a leftie and left this realm at 69 after glioblastoma chewed him up in short order. He was also a model crafter & spent a lot of time I imagine around solvents, paints, etc. Interesting theory with left handed lifespan.

My girl was ambidextrous as a baby & toddler. I never pushed her but would place cutlery, crayons and the like on her right side. May be the gentlest way ever to get a kid to favor being right handed.

@Qualia aka Lisa

Half Irish, I'm a born storyteller. Lisa, thank you for your encouraging, supportive comments. I appreciate you.


@LiterateHiker ((( hugs ))) ❤


US cars a better for southpaws. I think thats why you prefer automatics. In the UK (and several other counties) we change gear with our left hand. Keeping the right hand on the wheel


Interesting about the frisbee and tennis. Amazing that you have sooooo many in your family. In my large extended family, there were only three of who were left-handed - including me.

I am not ambidextrous--because most things I can do with only one or the other and not both.

Basically, anything that takes fine motor skills, I use my left hand - eating, writing, brush teeth, make-up, hair, playing pool, painting, jigsaw puzzles, using a sharp knife to cut, stirring food in a pot, etc.

For everything else that requires strength -- or which I was taught without regard to handedness -- I use my right: throwing a ball, bowling, catching a ball with glove, batting, scissors.

When I write in a spiral bound notebook, I start from the back of the book, so the spiral is to my right and not blocking my hand.

Like many other left-handers, I always aim for a corner seat at a group meal.


YES! An excellent well-written, insightful comment. A thousand thumbs up. Thank you.

When reading a magazine, I start at the back of the magazine. I loathe spiral notebooks. Instead, I use lined, 8-1/2" x 11" pads of paper. Tear off pages as you go.

Write Comment
You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text q:99326
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content. Read full disclaimer.