Living in the Mirror rorriM eht ni gniviL

News Flash
Sunday, August 13 was International Left Handers Day

Welcome to "Being Left-Handed." Whether you're left-handed, right-handed, no-handed, or ambidextrous, I hope you'll find something of interest to you here.

Table of Contents

My own experience

Being left-handed... gives me a razor-thin view of what it's like to be a minority. As a left-hander, I'm discriminated against all the time. Not for serious things: I am not denied housing, medical care, a job, a seat on the bus. But I experience anti-lefty bias in the form of school desks that are unusable, carrot peelers that are useless, power tools (such as skill saws) that are dangerous or even life-threatening, pens that smear and make my writing illegible, computer mice that cause hand cramps. Teachers in England tried to force me to write with my right hand when I was a child; I used to stutter, and perhaps that was why.

Language certainly discriminates against the left-hander: A "left-handed compliment" is not something you want to hear; the word for "left" in French is gauche, and in Latin it's sinister; in contrast, from the French word for "right," droit, we get the English word adroit, and Latin for right is dexter (from which we get such words as dexterous). Ambidextrous means literally "both right."

Am I "in my right mind"? Current research can't prove whether or not lefties really do tend towards right-brain dominance. Would right-sphere specialization explain why I think of myself as creative? I would swear being left-handed helps my Tetris scores (thanks to all that visualization of abstract geometric shapes, which we lefties are famous for).

Who would I be if I was right-handed? Not the same person. Left-handedness is part of my identity, my self. I would sooner cut off my right arm than be converted to right-handedness; as strong a statement as that is, left-handedness is so integral a part of me that I could not imagine living otherwise.

And is it only simple coincidence that I am politically left-winged as well as so strongly left-handed? (Probably.)

A final observation

People are also left-footed and right-footed. Usually one eye is stronger than the other, so people can be left-eyed and right-eyed. And even stranger: pay close attention to your friends' faces. Really stare at them, watch closely when their lips curve into smiles. You'll see that people are almost always strongly left-faced or right-faced. One side is usually much more expressive than the other. In fact, if you mirror the two sides of a person's face to create a left-composite and a right-composite, you'll find yourself looking at two completely different people.

Open forum

Now that you've read my opinions, it's your turn... I've received several comments from readers about their own experiences. I invite you to submit your own comments as well.

(I am very behind on updating your submissions: but rest assured that I do read everything and will post your public comments when I have time. I've now received hundreds of submissions that I haven't added yet; sorry -- I'm very busy at the moment, but promise that I'll post them when I can.)

Want to read more about left-handedness?

I find that almost everyone who is interested in left-handedness is left-handed. Right-handed people take their dominance for granted; it's us lefties who are the ones usually looking for more information.

Here are some links that are of interest to left-handed people (or sympathetic right-handers). As you can see, there's no shortage of left-handed home pages and Internet sites. Viewpoints expressed on these sites (especially the humor ones) do not reflect my own opinions.

Local Articles


WWW Resources and Left-Handed Home Pages

Scientific Articles and Sites

Personal Essays and Opinion Pieces

Media Broadcasts and Newspaper Articles

Lists of Left-Handed Celebrities

Left-Handed Fiction and Poetry

Left-Handed Humor

Handedness Surveys

Personal Left-Handed Home Pages

This is a catch-all category.

Left-Handed Societies

Businesses for Left-Handed People


The following people link to this page and I'm returning the favor. In many cases, there are other left-handed links listed; I try to include EVERY left-handed resource here, but there may be sites listed that I haven't found yet. I'm amazed by how global this list is (Finland, Japan, Canada).


Please let me know if there's another good home page or left-handed resource that I've missed; also, please inform me if one these links is broken -- although I do my best, it's hard to keep up with changes sometimes. Thanks!

Also, I'd be happy to link back to you, if you let me know. It sometimes takes me a few weeks to get around to updating this page, so please be patient if you don't hear from me right away.

I do my best to answer questions that are sent to me, but I'm not a scientist and I don't know about any research or store that isn't listed on this page. Although rumored, I've never been able to find out about scholarships for left-handed people and believe that there's no such thing. Good luck!

Thanks for reading!

I created this page in early 1995 when I was creating some
[Facts About Me]
This page is one of my most popular, often receiving hundreds of visitors a day.

Zeigen's Dilemma
  E. Stephen Mack (estephen@emf.net)