It used to be that left handed people were once shunned by society, and even forced to write with their right hand as youngsters. It isn’t really surprising when you consider that the words ‘clumsy’ and ‘maladroit’ are said to be inspired by left handers, or that the Latin adjective, ‘sinister’, means ‘left’ as well as ‘unlucky’.
However, that hasn’t stopped left handedness becoming just another quirk of everyday life, with studies now suggesting that around one in ten people have a dominant left hand. That said, you only have to scroll through Twitter to see that left handed people still experience a whole host of problems…
And pencil… and paint, for that matter. It’s a wonder that famous left handers like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo managed to complete their masterpieces! In all seriousness though, not even being able to write a card without smudging your writing is incredibly frustrating.
Luckily, there is a solution to this problem. A handful of considerate manufacturers now make left handed pens, left handed pencils and even left handed, spiral-bound notebooks for those who struggle to write past this pesky barrier.
Trying to use scissors
The left hander’s struggle to use right handed scissors is very real, whether it involves wonkily cutting paper, wonkily ripping up the paper or having throbbing indents appear in your poor fingers. It can get really quite painful, but thankfully, left handed scissors are becoming more and more common for both adults and children. You can even buy left handed nail scissors and dress making scissors!
Sometimes the struggles left handers face turn from just plain annoying, to really quite dangerous. Kitchen knives are a prime example, as left handed people struggle to see where their cutting line is leading. This means that it isn’t just a wonky wedge of bread they have to watch out for, but the proximity of the fingers on their right hand.
This tweet perfectly captures the frustration of the infamous bread massacre!
So how can you stop this from happening to your own poor, innocent loaf? Why, invest in a set of left handed knives of course.
Far from some kind of money-making gimmick, left handed knives work by carrying their serrations on the right hand side of the blade, rather than the left, to counteract the natural twisting motion of the left hand.
Trying to use tin openers
Another potentially hazardous (but always exasperating) problem that lefties face is the not so humble tin opener. As well as being really uncomfortable to use, the awkward motion necessary to negotiate a right handed tin opener often ends up creating even more serrations and jagged edges around tin lids. This means more chance of cutting yourself, especially when combined with the extra effort you need to put in to get around the top of the tin. It’s a reservation that many left handed tweeters seem to share...
Thankfully, we live in a world blessed with left handed tin openers! In fact, you can buy almost any kitchen utensil with a left handed bias these days.
But for all the #lefthandedprobs, there are also some left handed perks
For starters, being left handed can prove an advantage in many sports. Take tennis – the majority of players will be used to facing everyday serves from right handed players. Throw a left handed serve onto the court though, and things become much more unpredictable. Maybe that’s why John McEnroe proved such a formidable opponent?
Another perk that comes with being left handed is, famously, more creativity. It is largely believed that this stems from the fact that left handed people use the right side of their brain (concerned with creativity, imagination, holistic thinking and non-verbal expression) more than right handed people, who are more prone to using the left side of their brain (concerned with logic, analysis, computation and mathematics).
However, other people would argue that left handed people are forced to use both sides of their brain more often, allowing them to process large amounts of information more easily. This could be why 20% of all Mensa members are left handed.
Other left handed perks include being more successful at learning to drive, since the gear stick and clutch pedal both lie (conventionally) to the left hand side of the driver. Some experts even say that left handed stroke victims are quicker to recover, as navigating a right handed world has led them to strengthen both sides of their brain.
Live as a lefty for the day
You see, being left handed isn’t just a simple fact of life – it can come with some serious challenges (or, indeed, benefits). This is why a tenacious group of left handers designated August 13th as Left Handers Day, and why we at Betta Living are challenging you lot to live as a lefty for the day. Why not join in to find out just how hard it can be to satisfy your sandwich cravings with two perfect slices of bread, or get your teatime fix of tomato soup? You may even discover a dormant ambidextrous talent!
You can find more information about our left handed challenge here, and don’t forget to fill us in on your experience!
Main Photo by Maulana Ichsan