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Being a Leftie in a Right-Handed World

In a right-handed world, lefties, including myself, face struggles when it comes to the most simple of daily tasks. Righties can waltz into a lecture room and sit wherever they choose, but lefties must scour out the seats with the desks on the left side, of which there are usually no more than a couple, for fear of having to contort yourself in an uncomfortable position. Then there’s the pain of writing in a spiral notebook, not to mention smudging the ink all over the side of your hand. School was a particularly challenging time, what with constantly knocking into the rightie sitting next to you, rushing to get the one pair of left-handed scissors, and the fear of being asked to write on the white board since you’d have to awkwardly place your hand so that what you wrote wouldn’t instantly rub off.

Public enemy no. 1


Another struggle

Kitchen utensils are also difficult to use; can openers in particular are a leftie’s enemy. So yes, I am that person who buys left handed products; a potato peeler simply doesn’t work in my left hand and I’m not ambidextrously adept enough to use my right hand. Oh, ALSO, when lefties drink from mugs we usually can’t see the picture on it, which is clearly very sad.

As well as struggling to complete basic tasks, the very word used to define us is steeped in discrimination. Just take a look at the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of ‘left-handed’: the second entry defines it as ‘crippled, defective’, the third entry says ‘ambiguous, doubtful, questionable’ and the fourth says ‘ill-omened, inauspicious, sinister.’ Other languages define ‘left’ in equally negative ways – in French, ‘gauche’ also means ‘awkward’ or ‘clumsy’ and the Spanish ‘zurdas’ means ‘the wrong way.’  

But it’s not all bad; we have our very own day of celebration! Since 1992, the 13th of August has been a day to celebrate and to increase awareness of both advantages of disadvantages of being left-handed. One such advantage is that lefties are 10% more likely to pass their driving test first time round. This is according to a study carried out by the AA which found that 6 out of 10 lefties passed their practical test the first time.

One reason put forward for this is that since most lefties are left footed as well, it is easier for them to learn clutch control. It could also be to do with using our left hands for gear control.

Plus, there’s a long list of esteemed people who we share our left-handedness with, from Aristotle and Winston Churchill to our future King, Prince William. Also, celebrity lefties include every noughties teen’s favourite twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Marilyn Monroe, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts. Jack the Ripper also features on the leftie list, but we won’t dwell on him…

Our future King is a leftie, beat that!

Furthermore, there have been a huge number of US Presidents who have been left-handed, including Truman, Ford, Bush and the current leader, Obama. Whilst this is likely a simple coincidence, a Dutch study found that this may be because left-handedness gives an advantage in television debates. This is because people generally associate gestures made with right hand as ‘good’ gestures and those that are made with the left hand are perceived as ‘bad’ gestures. So because of the mirror image of the television, the left-handed politicians appear to be using their right hand which signifies positivity.


Obama showing us how he uses the superior hand


So, as you can see, the struggle is real for lefties, but with our list of successful fellow famous lefties at least we’re not alone.



Edited by Nicole Jones










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A 3rd year English Literature and Language student at the University of Nottingham.
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