Hi there, as I’m writing this on my iPad, scrolling down with my left hand yet typing with the fingers on both hands I started thinking about whether everyone does this. Do you use both hands for typing equally? Or just your right or left hand? Did you know that only about ten percent of the population are left handed? I didn’t either but I just found this out. Did you know also that left handed people in the past were looked upon as being suspicious or having magical powers or even unlucky – charming! I’ve always thought I was left handed. As I child I would always tell people that I was left handed as this is the hand that I write with. A few years ago, however, a doctor told me I was ambidextrous – I didn’t believe him because I thought being ambidextrous meant you could write with both hands. I definitely can’t write with both hands, well not legibly anyway! Years ago I worked for an insurance company and we did all the record keeping by hand, I broke my left collar bone in an car accident and had to write all the figures with my right hand. They looked like they had been written by a three year old for a few weeks!
So am I left handed? Right handed? Or ambidextrous? Well I write with my left hand and I remember being at middle school when the teacher tried to make me write with my right hand. It just felt really wrong and do you ever get that feeling where something feels so wrong it actually makes you feel physically sick? (Or is that just me?) Well that was me. I remember particularly during handwriting lessons she tried to make me write with the wrong (right) hand (Oops that’s complicated isn’t it?) Probably because we had to use cartridge pens. If you write with your left hand and have ever used a cartridge pen, you will completely understand the mess you get into. It’s hard work anyway as you have to push the pen instead of pulling it as most people do, but the worst thing is the smudging. Your hand drags across everything you have written and you either end up with ink all over the side of your hand, or all over your fingers, depending on how you hold your pen, Oh yes, that’s another thing – if you are left handed you can’t necessarily have your hand underneath the line you are writing. Some lefties do, but some – like me – have to hold the pen so your hand is above the line that you are writing. There are several reasons for this. One is that your hand can then be above what you are writing so you can actually see what you’ve written. Also you then slightly pull the pen, rather than pushing, so it takes a bit less effort. In addition you don’t end up smuding every single word and have a hand that resembles a smurf at the end. So I am one of those people you would probably called “cack-handed” hmm never heard that one before. I know I look really awkward writing, but I can control my pen or pencil really well and can write really neatly. Pencils are another story – they get all over your hand!
I also clean my teeth with my left hand, I usually use my left hand to open doors, depending on where the handle is and I’ll hold a book with my right hand so I can turn the page with my left.
Here is where it gets interesting- hopefully! There are many things that I have to use with my right hand, such as scissors. Maybe it’s because I’ve always just had to adapt but I cannot use left handed scissors, they just don’t work for me, at all. I use a hammer with my right hand and chop meat, fruit or vegetables with my right hand. I butter bread with my right hand and text with my right hand.
More unusual I think – perhaps I’m just weird – I can use both hands for some things, which works out really handy. You know sometimes people use their right hand to put their make up on and then it looks quite awkward when they do the left side of their face? Well not me! I love this – I do the left side of my face with my left hand, mascara, contour, blusher, eyeliner, eyeshadow. Then I use my right hand to do the right eye and cheek. Perfect! I use both hands for my hair brush, if I’m painting I just alternate between both hands and can use both equally well. It’s great as I don’t get so tired. The same goes if I’m using a screwdriver or cleaning cloth. So the best of both worlds there!
Some things are really difficult if you are left handed, one is ring binders. It is so so annoying trying to write on a piece of paper that is in a ring binder, the paper is on the right so you have to kind of manoeuvre your hand around a couple of metal circles which are just completely in the way, either that or have a margin of about 50cm! Another thing is spiral top notebooks, same reason – the spirals are just in the way so you can only start writing half way down the page. Also, although luckily we don’t use very often, cheque book stubs – they are just stupid, as are the pens they have chained to the counter in the bank. They are always In the wrong place so you feel like pulling it and pulling the stupid thing off.
It’s not all bad though – there is an International Left Hander Day on 13th August – we don’t get a day off work but still…
I discovered that eight US Presidents were left handed: James A Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Harry S Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. There must be some significance there, not sure what though!
I found out a few more facts too, not sure if they are all completely accurate, but actually a few – a lot – apply to me. Apparently left handed people get more easily embarrassed, are shy and more inhibited. They are more likely to get allergies and insomnia. They are more likely to drink more alcohol than they should because the right side of the brain has a lower tolerance to alcohol. They are less likely to be able to roll their tongue. They draw figures facing right. (Test yourself on this!) They are more likely to recover more quickly from a stroke – this fact is apparently due to left handed people having to adapt to using their right hand for certain tools etc.
So I’m still not clear whether I’m left handed, mixed handed or ambidextrous but personally I quite like being able to multi task and use both hands fairly easily at the same time! What do you think?
Are you like me? Do you use both hands for different things? I would love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading! ✋🏻🤚🏻