As a lefty, I was always told that I was special. Or maybe weird. It was one or the other. Anyhow, I knew one thing for certain: The world caters to righties. That's why, over the years, I've discovered a number of hacks that make life easier as a lefty. While I still roll my eyes whenever I jot something down and then subsequently smear it with my hand, I've found ways around many of life's little annoyances that pop up when you're a lefty. And there are plenty of them.
It's not all bad. As a former tennis player, I had an advantage over my opponents due to the spin and direction I could put on the ball. They didn't even see it coming. (Muaha!) And don't even get me started on all the myths about left-handed people: I already know those to be false. No, we don't die earlier; and no, we do not have bad penmanship. Look at me, for instance. My penmanship is utterly perfect. My mom says so. There is a myth which says lefties are more creative and intelligent. I happen to agree with that one, just so we're clear.
Still, life as a lefty isn't always the easiest; but you can make life a little more simple with the following hacks.
1. Change Your Mouse Settings
You likely use your computer mouse with your right hand, because that's how it was made to be used. Sure, you can switch hands, but things often just get awkward when you do that.
Instead, change the settings on your mouse so that it works for a lefty. For example, if you use Windows, open the start menu, click Settings, click Devices, click Mouse & Touchpad, and use the dropdown menu to choose Right as your primary button. Boom — you now have a lefty mouse.
2. Change The Layout Of Your Phone
You probably noticed that a lot of functions on your phone are designed for righties. For example, there might be a line of text, with an action (a button to click, a box to check, etc.) to the right of it. Did you know you can change this so that the button is on the left?
As an example, if you use an Android, you can go to Settings, click About, click Build Number (apparently you have to do this seven times), click Settings, select Developer Options, scroll down to Force RTL Layout Direction under Drawing and click it.
3. Place Paper In The Right Spot To Avoid Smudging
Ah, yes. The bane of every lefty's existence. Handwriting isn't as prominent as an adult, since most of what we do is on computers and phone. But if you find yourself writing longhand and want to avoid smudging your own words, try this.
Place your sheet of paper a little to the left of the center of your body, and turn it clockwise by about 30 degrees. It helps force your hand underneath the writing line, as opposed to trailing directly behind it. This prevents your hand from obstructing your view of your writing, and also eliminates the problem of smudging.
4. Get Yourself A Left-Handed Notebook
As a writer, my notebook goes wherever I go. However, writing in it is such a pain, as long as the spiral binding is on the left. I've actually gotten in the habit of turning it around and writing on the opposite side, just to avoid the spiral!
You can buy left-handed notebooks that were made specifically to solve this problem. Sure, if you want to flip the page and write on the backside, you're still going to have the same problem. But it's a start!
5. Use Writing Tools That Work In Your Favor
If, even with the lefty notebook and the special paper placement, you're still smudging your own writing, trying using a ballpoint pen specifically. They have quick-drying ink. Also, look for pencils with hard lead.
6. Visit An Entire Store Dedicated To Lefties
Yes, they do exist! Lefty's The Left Hand Store has everything — from notebooks and scissors to gardening tools and cooking utensils.
7. Don't Use Eyeliner Pens
Like many other tools, most eyeliner pens are meant for righties, who typically pull from left to right. As a lefty, you're either going to push from left to right, or you're going to reverse the entire process and go right to left. If you've ever wondered why your eyeliner looks anything less than silky smooth, this could be it. Opt for a different tool.
8. Always Sit On The Left-Most Seat
This one might seem like a given; but to avoid entirely the annoying (and actually quite maddening) event of elbowing the person next to you nonstop, simply head straight for the last possible seat on the left. Plus, it makes it easier to get up and get another plate if you're at a dinner party.