What Is It Like To Live In A World Where Everything Is The Wrong Way Round?

by | Jul 22, 2014

I would like your help today.

Do you have any lefties in your family? I am not talking about people with particular political views, but one of the supposed 10% of the population who do things the wrong way round.

That is what a right-handed person might say, anyway. The thing is I am one of those 10%. I’m left handed, but I do many things ‘the right way round’. That is because I have had to adapt over the years. No one ever gave me a left-handed gadget and said ‘here, try this. It will make your life so much easier.’

That is precisely why I am asking for help today. My five year old has almost come to the end of his first year at school. It took him a while to decide, but he is definitely left-handed. Luckily, for him, he does lots things with his right hand, which was why I think it took him so long to decide.

However, I didn’t think about buying any gadgets to help him, until the other day when he was struggling to use the scissors.
‘You have to use them in your other hand,’ I told him, which he did.

That is when it hit me. Why should he have to swap everything around and try to work out how to use it the other way? That is what I have spent my whole life doing and still do and it has been very frustrating.

Can you imagine a world where whenever you have to use something, or are told how to do something for the first time, your brain has to interpret the information and then swap it all around so that you can attempt to do it yourself. Here are some examples:

– I had an archery lesson with my daughter last year. It was very embarrassing because as the instructor was explaining how to hold the bow, position your fingers, set the arrow etc. I could not work it out. I had to wait until everybody had taken his or her first shot so that he could help me set mine up the other way round. Then I had to take my shot with all eyes on me. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you I hit the bulls eye would you?

– I decided I would like to take up sewing, but have struggled so much with the sewing machine that I convinced myself I was no good at it. My left-handed friend explained that she had similar problems because it’s the wrong way round for us. When I resorted to hand stitching, I realised that I sew with my left hand but go towards the right. A right-handed person showed me how to stich and that is how I interpreted it.

– I was rubbish at hockey at school because no one ever offered me a left-handed stick. I’m not sure they even existed back then and my parents would never have bought me one.

– I use scissors in my right hand, open cans using my right, but peel veg using a parring knife with my left. I have never been able to use a vegetable peeler.

– I could never draw a straight line with a ruler, no matter how hard I tried!

I’m from a generation where you were told to just get on with it, but I don’t want that for my son. Why should he have to swap everything around when he doesn’t need to? The question is what do I buy him?

From what I can gather, scissors, pens and rulers are popular for children and you can buy special mats that help them get the right angle of the paper they are writing on so that they don’t smudge the ink.

Have you tried and tested left-handed gadgets that you think are worth buying?

I found out when researching for this post that August 13th is left-hander’s day. It is a fun event, which aims to raise awareness of how difficult it can be for left-handed people. It suggests that you ask right-handed people to swap hands for the day. The things they might try with their left hand include:

• Stirring food in pans
• Filling & pouring a kettle
• Pouring from milk/measuring jugs
• Opening tins
• Peeling vegetables/fruit
• Opening wine bottles
• Using microwave/hob controls (often positioned on right of the equipment)
• Washing up (draining board is often wrong side if you are holding the brush in other hand, so you have to pass wet dishes across your body to drain).
• Using spatulas (angled ones go the wrong way for left hand use)
• Cutting bread (wonky slices using right-handed knife in left hand)
• Drawing a measured line with a ruler
• Having the computer mouse on the left of the keyboard and trying to draw a shape on screen, or clicking and dragging – we usually have to do this with our right hand as the mouse is always set up for right-handed users
• Using the computer keypad to enter lots of numbers – using wrong hand
• Drawing or writing in a ring binder/spiral bound notepad with left hand – binding hurts wrist
• Using fountain/ink pen or just felts and colouring in with left hand – smudged work and ink on side of hand as it follows the work

I had never heard of this day before and I think it is a great idea. I will definitely encourage my family to try some of these things on that day. It will help them to understand some of the difficulties that my son and I have to face. It will be our turn to laugh at them trying (and failing) to do things for a change!


  1. Eli Pacheco

    Right-handedness looks awkward to me. No thanks. I don’t have anything made for lefties. I have adapted righty things to my lefty lifestyle.

    It comes in handy for coaching soccer – i can tell right-footed players to just mirror what I do. Maybe God made me a lefty for this very reason.

    *Glad I saw your link on the Manic Monday linkup

    • Nicola Young

      We never had gadgets so we will never know if they were useful. I know I couldn’t use them now because I’ve taught myself how to work things using the right. But I can also write with my right hand, so I have some degree of ampidexterity I think.

      • Eli Pacheco

        Me too – I keep the mouse on the right-hand side, for instance.

  2. Sally

    I’m left handed as well and though I’m 28 now, I still have people telling me to ‘learn how to do things the RIGHT way about’ like being left handed is somehow wrong. Thankfully my mom was more understanding of the fact that you’re born left handed, it’s not a habit you decide to try on, so she’s never tried to force me to use my right hand. Did you know that on average left handed people tend to die sooner than right handed people simply because the world is geared towards right handed people so lefties end up in more accidents? Sad but apparently true

    • Nicola Young

      I didn’t know that, thanks for sharing.

  3. Perfection Pending

    I’m no help, we’re all right handed over here, but my Dad and brother are both lefties, and I remember them always complaining about where they sat at the dinner table because of bumping into other people while they ate. Who knew. I read this list though, and I admire lefties even more. I guess those of us who are right handed just take it for granted! Thanks for linking up!!

  4. Jenny

    I can almost relate as Buba is a leftie, my aunt is a leftie, and Mr P is a leftie along side his mother. So even though I am not I am used to things being turned around to show or teach them things. I know many lefties so that surprises me that it’s only 10% of the population. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. Sorry it took me a few days to comment we had no power. #sharewithme

    • Nicola Young

      I sometimes struggle trying to show my girls how to do things because they are right handed. I was trying to demonstrate how to tie a school tie the other day and it was so tricky. Did you get the message I left on your blog by the way?

      • Jenny

        No sorry hunny what post did you leave it on? I use commentluv now and sometimes people struggle to comment. Sorry!

        • Nicola Young

          On your contact me page. Can you DM me on Twitter?

  5. Louise

    Ah! I too am a lefty. I think my youngest will be too (but she’s only two so we aren’t committing yet).

    Our family was 50/50 growing up: Dad and I left; brother and mom right. My brother still plays pool left-handed because our dad taught him… 😉

    • Nicola Young

      That’s funny. I bet your dad wouldn’t have been able to teach him pool the other way round.


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