The reasons I’ve heard for why parents in the olden days didn’t want their kids to be left-handed are remarkably similar to the reasons certain parents don’t want their kids to be gay. In both cases, the argument has to do with the benefits of conforming with the majority and/or avoiding wickedness.
Since most people are right-handed and hetero, the reasoning goes, life is easier for those who follow suit. Besides, God probably prefers things this way, which is why Jesus sits on his father’s right side in heaven and worked on earth as a carpenter rather than an interior designer.
Traditionally, left is the side of bad luck, sinister dealings, sneaky insults in the form of left-handed compliments, and bizarre notions dreamed up in left field. There was a time when it was common practice to force left-handed children to switch to the right. Some teachers would go so far as to tie down the kid’s left arm during school—a kind of forced conversion therapy that, like the conversion therapy inflicted on LGBTQ folks, sounds pointlessly cruel and curiously kinky.
As a gay left-hander, I am doubly cursed. When I get to hell, they’ll probably make me write out football stats in a spiral notebook.
Coils of wire that hamper my handwriting aren’t the only obstacles I have had to overcome. Learning to drive was tricky because nearly everything you’re supposed to do with your hands—including, crucially, operating the radio—is on the right side. Likewise, most makers of scissors, metal can openers, and those chairs with attached desks evidently see no point in having a left hand at all, except for maybe when it comes to raising a middle finger at we poor suffering southpaws.
When I was in kindergarten, my mom bought me a pair of left-handed scissors that my teacher wouldn’t let me use in class because she felt that I should submit to the rightist hegemony. As a result, I never learned to cut properly. Throughout childhood, my valentine hearts were jagged and uneven, my paper snowflakes looked like they had been gnawed on, and my construction-paper silhouettes had serious deformities.
I remain a clumsy wielder of scissors to this day. Any dreams I might have had of becoming a top-notch barber or a seasonal retail associate who revolutionizes the field of gift wrapping never had a chance.
Defying the stigma and struggles, some left-handers claim that we are more creative than the general population. Lefties rely more on the artsy right side of the brain, it has been said, or we have learned to devise our own clever solutions to living in a world engineered for right-handers, and that makes us imaginative thinkers. It is true, after all, that a number of history-changing innovators have been left-handed, including Leonardo da Vinci, Mozart, Marie Curie, and Keanu Reeves.
In my own experience I have discovered at least one advantage to left-handedness: easy side-by-side hand jobs.
If, you see, you’re a left-handed man lying supine to the right of a right-handed man in bed, each of you can jack off the other at the same time using your dominant hand without having to reach across your own body. And that’s something that two side-by-side righties (or two lefties for that matter, but never mind) couldn’t do.
I wouldn’t trade it for a whole blizzard of paper snowflakes.