In the most literal sense, the world is not built for lefties. Right-handed people, myself included, are usually blissfully unaware of the struggles only left-handed people understand. When it comes to hand dominance, the world is wrapped around our right-handed fingers. I’d estimate I think about which hand is my dominant hand roughly zero percent of the day. This, however, is not the case for the ten percent of the population who are left-handed.
History has had a weird and contentious relationship with left-handed people. The crazy beliefs about lefties people have had throughout history range from assuming more criminals were left-handed to thinking they had a shorter life expectancy. The left hand being the “evil” hand is a ridiculous myth many of us have heard and unfortunately one not completely eradicated from our culture.
These stereotypes about lefties become significantly more sinister when you look at who they were used against throughout history. Because being left-handed was associated with women and “lower races”, these assumptions about the “evil hand” became assumed character traits of these racial and gender demographics. The logic went: the right-hand is better. Women and non-whites aren’t right-handed. Therefore, men and white people must be better. In addition to that being blatantly sexist and racist, it isn’t even statistically accurate as left-handedness is more common among men than women.
While these outwardly awful roots of “left hand equals evil hand” may not be quite as obvious today, the world is still very much made for right-handed people. Thus, prompting one Reddit user to ask fellow left-handed people, “What is something that is difficult for you that right-handers can do easily?” Here are ten struggles lefties have to live with that right-handed people will never really know.
1Writing Without Smearing Everything On Your Hand
As the most upvoted comment in the thread, trying to write and keep your hand and paper clean is a clear struggle. One user wrote, “I’m right-handed and I still manage this at times. I don’t even want to know how bad it is for you.”
2Being Asked To Write Something On The Board In Class
For the aforementioned reasons, having to write on a surface meant to be viewed by more than just yourself amplifies the smearing problem. One Redditor wrote, “I was always filled with dread when I was asked to write something on the board.”
“Most scissors without telling you are made for right handed individuals. It might not look like it but there is a slight right handed favored mold and the blade only cuts when held with a right hand,” one Redditor stated. Thanks to the magic of the internet/capitalism, there is now an entire online store for left-handed people where you can get all your leftie-dominant goods, scissors included.
4The Pain That Is Writing In Spiral Notebooks
One of the most basic school supplies is something of a torture device for lefties as one person wrote, “spiral notebooks wreck my wrist because my wrist kinda sits on the spiral.”
5Desks With Right Arm Rests
School in general is apparently not build for left-handed people. One lefty shared that they “Always had to contort [their] body...to have any kind of support” in the desks with an arm rest. To be honest, I don’t know anyone of any hand dominance that really enjoyed sitting in those desks.
6Eating At The Same Table As Righties
My boyfriend eats using his left hand, so eating next to each other becomes a choreographed event. Like one person wrote, “your hands are going to collide with fellow right-handers on every bite unless you sit strategically and if there is a wall next to your table just forget it.
7Using Pens On String
Bank pens and signature pads at retail registers are “always attached to the wrong side” one Redditor shared.
8Using Can Openers
“I can get a tight grip but it takes longer than it should to open it,” one person said. In general, there should be a more universal can opener. Every time I use someone else’s can opener, I feel like a baby who just realized they can make their hands do things for the first time.
One Redditor said they initially taught themselves how to play right-handed because they couldn’t find a good left-handed guitar.
10Writing Right Handed
What’s so hard about it? Just, like, do it? Writing with your left hand is definitely way harder.
1 Bonus Pro: It Can Be A Sports Advantage
One user said “surprising your opponent at tennis” made the disadvantages to being a lefty worth it.