Left-Handers Day: 13 Facts About the Wonderful Left
From scissors and smudged ink, spiral-bound notebooks to impossible-to-use tin openers, the lefties' struggle is real.
To mark International Left-Handers Day, which falls every year on August 13, here's some lovely left-leaning facts. So take a moment to pause and appreciate the plight of your left-handed friends living in a right-handed world.
- Just 10 per cent of the world's population is left-handed and this has remained roughly the case for thousands of years. Men are also more likely to be left-handed.
- Historically left-handed people were considered inferior, with the use of the left hand being associated with witchcraft.
- Left-hand shakes are a sign of disrespect. This derives from the Middle Ages where people used to use their left hand to wipe after going to the toilet.
- The word sinister comes from the Latin word "sinestra" which originally meant “left” but took on meanings or “evil” or “unlucky.”
- Wedding rings worn on the third finger of the left hand originated with the Greeks and Romans, who wore them to fend of evil associated with the left-hand.
- Tennis champion Rafael Nadal switched to being a left-handed player - and there's a myth that his coach and mentor Toni Nadal noted it would give him a bigger advantage on court.
- A left-handed compliment is a criticism couched as a compliment; otherwise known as a backhanded compliment, such as “you are very competent for someone so inexperienced.”
- The term "left- wing" dates from the 1790s, when in the French revolutionary parliament the socialist representatives sat to the presiding officer's left. Leftists at this time were considered hostile to the interests of traditional elites.
- Christianity traditionally associated the left with evil through its description of a Last Judgement where the damned (“goats”) are sent to the left, and the saved (“sheep”) to the right.
- In The Simpsons, character Ned Flanders set up a shop to recognise the plight of left-handed people. Named “The Leftorium”, it specialised in left-handed products.
- Five out of the last eight US presidents write with their left-hand- Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.
- Lefties are also called "southpaws". The term was coined in baseball to describe a left-handed pitcher.
- There's even a place called Left Hand. It's in West Virginia, US but sadly the town isn't named after its left-handed community. It's actually named after nearby Lefthand Run creek.
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