L is for Lefty Lou.

lefty lou.jpg


This is a picture of my all time folk hero, Woody Guthrie and his singing partner-Lefty Lou.

Much and all as I would like to talk about Woody, because I absolutely love him- I’m  going to resist the temptation.

Today I want to consider what it means to be a Lefty Lou (or Marie-Lou, in my case) in a world of right on righties. And no, I’m not talking about the political spectrum here. I’m referring to the significant minority of people out there who, like me, are left-handed.

It is estimated that 10 % of the world’s population are left-handed.  You will recognise us, as we often appear more awkward than everyone else. And why is that the case?

The reason we appear awkward is because the world is designed for and by right-handed people.  Take a couple of small examples:

Knives and forks– Notoriously difficult. Our natural inclination is to secure food with the blade of the knife, and pull it apart with the fork. WRONG.  We probably appear Neanderthal when we do that. Everyone knows you’re meant to use your knife to cut your food!

Pens, paper, and books– Another minefield. Our natural impulse is to write  from the right to left side of the page. When flicking through the pages of a book, we start at the back and flick forward. A lot of lefties hold their pens upside down in crab like manner, and write like spiders.

Not only are our needs neglected on the design front, society has traditionally been very wary of lefties.

Lets look at origins of the word, ‘left’. It comes from the Anglo-Saxon, ‘lyft’, which means broken or weak. In french, the word for left is, ‘gauche.’ But, hey, isn’t that also a word for awkward?? And it gets worse. In Sanskrit, it means ‘wicked.’ Now, that’s plain harsh!

For thousands of years left-handedness was associated with the devil, depravity and ill intent. The Eskimo’s suspected left-handers of sorcery. Joan of Arc, burned as a witch in the fifteenth century, was depicted as left-handed to heighten her appearance of culpability!   Even God, it seems, had a problem with lefties,  given that sitting at his right-hand side was the place of honour.

With all this going on, it’s no wonder that we suffer more from migraines than our right- handed friends.  But hang on, science says, we are also more likely to suffer from alcoholism and mental illness. Wow, the odds are really stacking up against here.

But it’s generally agreed that we’re a creative bunch, so there’s some solace in that. We also possess some advantages over righties when it comes to wielding a bayonet in battle! More solace, but given our potential for depravity, we probably wouldn’t be allowed to have a bayonet, so that sucks.

Interestingly, four out of the last seven presidents of the US have been left-handed. Statistically speaking, surely that’s impressive! We’ll quickly skip over the fact that both Osama Bin Laden and Jack the Ripper were reputed to be left handed as well.









13 thoughts on “L is for Lefty Lou.

  1. Your ears must have been buring!!!!!!!!!!! Mum is here with me and was asking about your blog and you have just put it up. Mum is very impressed!
    Message from mum :-
    ‘I have just sent you some knitting patterns, well Teresa put them on your face book page, I was going to post them but Teresa said why are you using snail mail! Lol. Bren’s visiting Sheila now. Hope Joe settled in his new job. I hope the rest of the gang is well. If I knew how to blog I would. Hope the driving is going well. Anyway love to you all . Vanessa xx


  2. Hello. I have a left-handed 4 year old granddaughter. She’s a real character. And very creative. I can relate to your left-handed theories completely based on my observations of her. Good to meet you here.


    1. Thanks so much for dropping by! How lovely to have a little lefty granddaughter. Thank goodness, things have moved on a lot now, and left handed children are understood and supported at school.


  3. I can relate to all of the above. Not because I’m left-handed, but because both of my sons are. They are both adults, but to this day, I still cringe when I see them handling a sharp knife with their left hands!


      1. Unless you get lefty scissors.
        There are still a few pairs around the house since they moved out on their own, and occasionally I’ll pick one up by accident. I then get to experience how frustrating it must be for them with regular scissors!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. My Irish neighbour, now in his mid 70’s, was so traumatised about being left handed when he was young, he still talks about it!! His teachers were very cruel to him and made him so self conscious about being a lefty, he to this day has difficulty picking up a pen and writing.
    I have nominated you for a 3 day quote challenge – https://soulgifts.com.au/2016/04/15/crusty-crunch/ – you may have some interesting lefties to use 🙂 Please don’t feel you have to accept !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is so sad. The same thing happened to my brother. They really used to force kids to use their right hands in our schools.
      And thanks so much for the nomination! I would be delighted to take it up.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have heard many of his stories about what they did to him. Absolutely horrid, cruel, nasty stuff. It is difficult for me to understand how teachers, parents and the clergy all believed they were doing the right thing !
        Fantastic! I look forward to seeing them.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. My older sister was a lefty and since I worshiped just about everything about her as a kid, I thought being a lefty was an exotic bit of fabulousness. Apparently not so much. I’ve always been curious about how left got associated with sinister, etc. and right carries the additional meaning of correct. I think you’ve got cause for a revolution.


  6. I like that, ‘exotic bit of fabulousness!’ Sounds really cool! It is hard to imagine how society got so hung up about left handedness. It doesn’t make any sense.


  7. Just 10%? I had heard 15%. I’ve always found it fascinating how people are left-handed. And I’ve always envied it a bit. At the least, I wanted to be ambidextrous, but no such luck, unless I’m writing on a wall-mounted chalkboard.

    Most of Hollywood, it seems, is left-handed. Do you find that you have the extra creative abilities that many lefties have?


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