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A Left-Handed Person Navigating a Right-Handed World

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier chapter.

The first time I ever realized that being left-handed was rare was when I was a child trying to do a cut-out project for school using scissors. I was constantly complaining that the scissors weren’t working correctly or that there was an issue with the ones I was using. I would switch them out again and again and still, the issue persisted. My hand began to hurt and there were red marks on my fingers and thumb from trying to push too hard. The issue, I then learned, was not the scissors, but me. I was the issue. I was using my left hand with a pair of right-handed scissors. Now, you may be thinking: “Right-handed scissors? Aren’t those just scissors?” Well, as 90% of the world sees them, yes. But for me, absolutely not. I learned that day that the blades were the wrong way for a left-handed person to use. 

Ever since then, I found many issues that I never noticed before. As a third-grader, these things never bothered me before. Sitting on the right side of a two-person desk and bumping elbows with your friend on the left, since they obviously write like the rest of the world. Or having a teacher or friend notice I’m left-handed when I write and going, “Oh my god, I could never write with my left hand!” Or the classic, “You’re left-handed? So is my uncle’s sister’s cousin’s dog!”, as if being left-handed is a cult that only a few are a part of. As a left-handed person, I’ve never understood this one. What if I pointed out every person that is right-handed? Could you imagine if I went up to someone in the class and said, “Oh you’re right-handed? So is my mom, my dad and my brother. Small world!” You would look at me and wonder if I was losing some marbles. But it’s such a normalized thing for society to do to left-handed people. 

Now that I’m on the topic, here are just a few struggles that only left-handed people must deal with daily:

1. Pencil marks

The ones that stain your hand as you drag it across the page from left to right.  

2. Binder rings

Those metal binder rings in a school binder when trying to write with the paper still inside. 

3. Guitars

This one isn’t a daily one, but it’s still equally annoying if you play guitar. If a left-handed person tries to play guitar the way it is usually strung, then all the strings are the wrong way. This means that a left-handed person would need to re-string all the strings the opposite way if they wanted to play that way.

4. Tools

Also, not a daily one, but every button or switch is usually on the right-hand side of whatever tool you are using. 

5. Dinner tables

This one comes with a few issues, the first being trying to find an end of the table spot to sit so you don’t bump elbows with a family member or a friend while you try to eat. Another issue is setting the table. The number of times I have put the fork or the cup on the wrong side because that is how I would usually do it is insane.  

6. Can openers

This is one I didn’t even realize was an issue I was dealing with until recently. For whatever reason, I just thought can openers were the hardest thing to use for everyone. Turns out it was just me using my left hand instead of my right. 

Now, this is not a rant. I’m not trying to say, “Screw all the right-handed people of the world!” That is by no means my intention, but I think it’s an interesting topic to bring forward to the percentage of the population that never has to deal with any of these issues. And for that, I would say you guys are lucky. And if it were up to me now, I would’ve told my teachers in kindergarten to force me to write right-handed as they did in the 1900s and save me the stress and pain of being a left-handed person in a right-handed world. 

Bailey McIntyre

Wilfrid Laurier '25

Bailey is in her third year of English studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. From a small town, she escaped when she could by writing whenever possible, as well as reading all things Sci-fi and Romance. She loves Snowboarding, Baking and watching early 2000s movies with hot chocolate. Bailey has a passion for all things writing related and is also the Arts and Life Section editor for The Cord Newspaper at Laurier. Wishing to pursue editing and publishing post grad, writing is her main creative outlet.