Are You The Hand You Think You Are? My Story…

Notice I tilt the paper? No smear +”straight” writing!

Kathy Owen did a post a few days ago called Land of the Lefty that I absolutely loved. Not only did she have turbo cool facts about Lefties, but she got me thinking about my own handedness.

I grew up left-handed and thankfully bypassed all the “re-training” that was so common in the decades before I was born. My father is right handed but both my mother and big brother are lefties. I mimicked my brother (I’m talking about the world-famous Bag Whore here) in everything else, so I’m sure the same was true of my handedness (though I’ve heard that I tie my shoes and knit backwards).

As the daughter of a military man, I grew up with guns and the joke was that I shot equally well with my eyes opened and closed. I missed everything, whether it was a clay pigeon or a stationary target.

This was a damn big deal at the time.

Firstly because we were at the shooting range like all the time. But mostly because, as the baby sister, I wanted to best my big bro at anything I could. My shooting deficiency frizzled my britches…big time.

When I was about twelve, I finally had a skeet shooting instructor watch me in action and ask my father what my dominant eye was.

“She’s a lefty. Her left eye is dominant.”

Only it isn’t.

[Here’s how to tell which is your dominant eye for shooting.]

We adjusted both the gun and the way I eyeballed things and I hit every clay pigeon that sailed by. In fact, until my brother went into the military, he never beat me shooting again.

Note: Those days are long gone. He kicks my a$$ now. My only comfort is that I out-shoot Hubby.

For years, my father swore “I was actually a right-handed person, trapped in a left-handed psyche…that I’d been brainwashed by the lefties in the household…blah-blah-blah.”

Fast-forward to 2007 when my writing chapter had Sheila Lowe, a handwriting expert, come visit. To listen to her analyze the personalities associated with various types of writing was…WOW! Ms. Lowe wrote The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis and a nifty book called Handwriting of the Famous and Infamous and I’m a big fan.

She had us do a few exercises where we’d hold the pen with our fingertips and draw four interlinking circles. She then showed us how to tell from the circles which was our true, dominant hand.

After 30+ years as a lefty, I was shocked to find out it was my RIGHT hand. Holy cowbell! Don’t you hate it when your parents are spot on about something you rolled your eyes over?

Just to give you a quick summary of handedness, there are four main types:

  • Right-handedness is most common. A variety of studies suggest that 70–90% of the world population is right-handed, rather than any other form of handedness.
  • Left-handedness is present in about 10% of the world population.
  • Mixed-handedness, also known as cross-dominance, is being able to do different tasks better with different hands. For example, a mixed-handed person might write better with their left hand, but throw a ball more efficiently with their right. (Yep, that’s me.)
  • Ambidexterity is exceptionally rare, although it can be learned. A truly ambidextrous person is able to do any task equally well with either hand. Those who learn it still tend to sway towards their originally dominant hand.

I am mixed-handed, a fact that was borne out in this handedness questionaire (I scored -10) and I always figured it was because I had both  left and right-handed parents.

A summary of my handedness:

  • I write, eat, brush my teeth and stir a bowl with my left hand and do everything else either dominant right or mixed.
  • I can write and eat right-handed, I’m just slower and less coordinated at it.
  • I can write and read upside down, which I never knew was an unusual skill until recently. (To be fair, I can’t write cursive upside down, only print.)
  • I can only stand to wear a watch on my left arm.

Some groovy random lefty history can be found here.

Enough about me, what about you? I’m dying to know the handedness of More Cowbell’s readers.


Are you happy with your handedness? Did you switch your handedness for any reason? Know any cool trivia facts on the subject? Also, if your handwriting has been analyzed, what does it say about you? Enquiring minds always  want to know these things here at More Cowbell!

Jenny

Quick Note: To avoid smeared ink all over your hand, if my paper-tilt method doesn’t work, try out these SmudgeGuard Tablet gloves. Also, if you missed Susan Spann’s post at Writers In The Storm on the 7 Steps To Writing An Author Business Plan, you’re missing out. I LOVED it!

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
This entry was posted in Life's Challenges, Thoughty Thursday and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

63 Responses to Are You The Hand You Think You Are? My Story…

  1. Cool post, chica!! I’m mostly right handed, but we had a pool table growing up and no one taught me to shoot, I just did whatever. As an adult, someone told me I shoot pool left handed. And I have to put on eye makeup with whatever hand lines up with that side. I can’t stand to do my left eye with my right hand. Kinda weird. LOL.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Sharla, I switch hands for makeup too. I never thought about it until you said something. LOL. To be fair, my lashes always look a teensy bit better on the left side.🙂

      In pool, I hold the cue on my right side, which I think is normal right-handed behavior.

      Like

  2. Laura Drake says:

    I scored a -90, Jen – does that mean I’m both? I’m happy with my Lefty status (especially since they say we’re more creative!) but some of the danged righty world still ticks me off Weird stuff you wouldn’t think of.

    A Ladle? Impossible – gravy doesn’t want to go anywhere but out the spout. My pressure cooker. I can’t think to do it backwards, and it takes me forever to get the lid on!

    Don’t get me started on those stupid HS right-armed desks!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Nope! Your score puts you as a solid Lefty. Mine puts me in the middle since that’s the zero point. It’s so funny to hear you talk about the pressure cooker. I’d never thought of that, but it is for the right hand (which is the one I use). LOL!

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  3. zkullis says:

    I grew up in a house with an equal number of righties and southpaws.

    The southpaw half of the house was always more analytical, logic-driven, had better handwriting and were all introverted. The rest of us (righties are right was our mantra) were the loud, extroverted socialites with handwriting any doctor would envy.

    I was taught to test my dominant eye (for shooting, similar to the method in Jenny’s link) by placing your hands out in front of you, fingers up, palms outward, thumbs down. Leave a small hole in between your hands. Pick an object about 15 feet away from you and place it in this small hole in between your hands. Be sure both of your eyes are open.

    Once the object is in the hole, close one of your eyes.

    If the object is still in the hole between your hands, the eye that is open is your dominant eye. If the object is no longer in the hole when you close one of your eyes, then the eye you closed is your dominant eye.

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    • Cool test, Zack. My right eye is definitely the dominant eye. I suspected that before the test, tho’ because I can’t wink with my left eye. I can with my right.

      See?

      =====================================================> *wink*

      Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      It’s so funny that you put this in the comments, Zack. You have vindicated me with my proofreading hubby (who is awesomesauce BTW). I had a cutout that described the above in the same place where I put the link and he told me it made the post choppy so I took it out. LOL…

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  4. K.B. Owen says:

    Jenny! Thanks for the big shout-out, hon! So glad I inspired your post. Love the groovy questionaire. Like Laura, I’m a -90. I had to adapt to that dang right-sided mouse – now it would feel weird to have it on the left side – but for everything else, it’s lefty all the way. Aside from typing, sometimes I think I have a right hand just so I don’t look lop-sided, LOL.

    Love the “brainwashed by lefties” comment of your dad’s – cracked me up! Isn’t it supposed to work the other way around? I’m thinking, “Wow, we can BRAINWASH people? Lefties of the world, Unite!”

    Oh, and Laura, I’m with ya on those horrible right-side arm desks in college classrooms. And, being a former college prof, I’ve spent a lot of time in college classrooms. *shudder*

    Generally speaking, for a lefty, everything turns the wrong way, cuts the wrong way, opens the wrong way…I could go on. The tollbooth is our only ally.😉

    Fun post, Jenny!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      How interesting! And FYI, I think there is a disproportionate number of lefties in the writing world. The right side desks never bugged me much, but the 3 ring binders do. I always just took the paper out, wrote, then put it back in the binder.

      I just realized you said “the tollbooth is our only ally.” I originally read that as “toothbrush” and found it hilariously funny.🙂

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  5. I definitely write with my right hand.

    But.

    When I was a gymnast, I did all my tricks left leading. (That sounds naughty, but you know what I mean.) I think the mixed handedness came because I used to be a pretty productive artist, and when I worked on the potter’s wheel, I needed to use both hands. This carried over to paintings — where I had a brush in each hand. It was such a pain to to have to always dip. So I kept a large flat brush in one hand and my smaller highlighting brush in the other. I also write upside down. I didn’t know this was weird at all. My son does this, too. My husband can’t. We figured HE was the weird one! Great follow up to Kathy’s post!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I never thought of the gymnastics balance/lead-off leg. I lead and balance on my left side. Huh.

      AND, I didn’t know you were a potter once upon a time. Dang, you’re talented!!!

      Like

  6. I didn’t know that which arm I wear my watch on could be an indicator of my preference. When I was younger, I naturally started wearing my watch on my right wrist even though I’m right-handed. It wasn’t until I got a little older that people started telling me that was weird. I tried to switch, but could just never get comfortable with my watch on my left. I still wear it on my right now.

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  7. Diana Beebe says:

    Neat stuff, Jenny! I’m right-handed. We had a pool table, so I played a lot. My dad thought it was hilarious that I played with my left hand. It felt natural to me. I can read upside down–I’ll have to try writing. I can write and read incursive backwards. What does the reading and writing upside-down mean about handedness?

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You can cursive backwards???! That’s amazing, Diana! I have no idea what the reading and writing upside down means. I think it’s only an issue when the person can ONLY read upside down. (There’s a whole website on that.)

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      • Diana Beebe says:

        The first time I did it was as a joke, then I found it really easy.🙂 I’ve always been a little weird. The reading upside down comes in handy sometimes.

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        • this makes me want to try writing upside down!!! I can read upside down no problem, but never tried writing. you know forgers do that! They don’t worry about matching handwriting, they practice looking at the image upside down and treat it as an art project, so the copy comes out just right without thinking about it as writing. tricks the brain.

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  8. according to the test above my right eye is totally dominant. who knew?

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  9. Carrie says:

    I’m definitely mixed. I write with my left no questions and do a lot of things left but i use scissors with my right and position my body like a right handed person for sports (bat right etc) I scored – 75 4th left domicile. What the heck does that mean!?

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  10. Sherry Isaac says:

    I’m a righty, but when I took archery, learned I am left-eye dominant. I’m also back asswards, so you can imagine how uncoordinated I felt! How I ever hit the target is beyond me, but turns out I’m a good enough shot to earn the nickname, Tex, from my instructor!

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  11. I am for sure right handed. We have two lefties in our family, though. My younger brother is a natural leftie. My older brother was forced into because of polio. My weird quirk is that I can’t just go right or left. I have to think about it. I have a scar on my right hand, and sometimes I have to look to be sure I’m going right. LOL!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Wow, you have a brother with polio! That’s not something we hear every day. I’m curious how his writing looks and whether the left hand ever started feeling natural to him. Oh, and only a writer would forget something like right or left. ROFL.

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  12. I’m a right-handed all the way.

    I can’t write upside down and backwards. But I can read backwards. I didn’t realize I did that until I commented on the contents of a confidential memo my former boss held in front of him when I went into his office. He slapped his memos into a folder from that “comment-brain-fart” day forward.

    I lost an important channel of insider info that day. *sigh*

    Cool post! Love the one over at Kathy’s blog, too.

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    • K.B. Owen says:

      Hahaha, Gloria, you crack me up! Hey, Zack, I tried the eye test, too, but neither eye seemed dominant – it just seemed to switch slightly to the left or right as I closed each eye. What does that mean? Am I totally screwy?😀

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      • zkullis says:

        Kathy, you’re lucky! Your eyes are ambi.

        *taking off tactical/analytical hat and putting on nerd hat*

        Eye dominance simply means you have more optic nerves connecting to one eye than the other. If you don’t have a dominant eye, you have an equal number of nerve attachments to both eyes. (at least that is how I understand it)

        Ambi would rock!

        Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I don’t know if I can read backwards or not. Huh. I can read upside down, but I think that’s just…you know, moving your eyes from right to left, but not trying to read backwards. I’m trying to imagine what you do. I have a hard time even reading things in a mirror.

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  13. You wanna know a secret? I’ve always wished I was left handed! Always thought it was sooo cool when I saw people writing with their left hand. Now, I’m just going to live vicariously through my son’s lefty writing=)

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Isn’t that funny? I rarely notice what people are up to when they write. Of course, very few things are handwritten anymore anyway. I love to see handwritten notes because of that.

      Like

  14. Karen McFarland says:

    You are very fortunate Jenny because when I was a little girl, they made you change from Left-handed to right-handed. At the time, there wasn’t the products available as there are now for left-handed people. It forced lefties to learn to use their right hand, though they still wrote with their left.

    I myself am a right-handed girl, although I am left-eye dominate. That was a surprise. I guess I just assumed that my whole right side of my body followed suit with my right-handedness. Not so apparently.

    I love that we are all different. That we don’t have to fit into the same mold. And we should embrace our own uniqueness! Yet, I think Lefties have had a bad rap. So glad your left hand has come out of the closet Jenny because we like the way you/it writes! 🙂

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I know, Karen…I think it’s dreadful. I only missed that era by a few years. i can’t imagine if someone had been in my business about which hand I used for what. I prefer that I get to be fairly fluid about it.

      And how sweet are you? Embracing my “outing.” LOL.

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  15. John Holton says:

    I’m so right-handed that there are things I can’t do any more because the stroke affected my right hand, evidently for life. I’ll have to try to write your way; I can’t seem to get the hang of curling my arm around and writing upside-down.

    They had just started not trying to “change” left-handed kids when I was in grammar school, though one of my friends, a natural left-hander, learned to write with his right hand because the Palmer Method essentially forced kids to do so. Wish I had learned to write left-handed when I had broken my arm in third grade.

    Two of my three brothers are left-handed. The older of the two was like you, left-handed but right-eyed, and he had the hardest time shooting a BB gun until he learned to shoot right-handed. He was weird like that.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      John, that has to be so frustrating for you! Let me know how it goes to just turn the paper. It was another thing that I didn’t know was weird until someone called me on it. I’m competitive enough that in school, when they would draw those lines through the letters at the little slant, I wanted to be “perfect.” So I just turned the paper.🙂

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  16. Catie Rhodes says:

    I do everything left-handed. Sometimes, though, when I’m really stuck on a piece of fiction, I try to write what I’m thinking with my right hand. It’s mostly gibberish, but it’s a good exercise to get my mind off being stuck.

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  17. Sean J says:

    I am right-handed, though I will switch the toothbrush or wisk to my left on occasion. Pretty sure my ex-wife is right-handed as well, but our daughter (now 9yo) is definitely mixed-handed and favors her left hand. She writes with her left but can do most other things equally well with either.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Sean, your daughter and I are about the same. I’ve always found it interesting that I can’t stir a bowl or whisk well with my right hand. It’s very awkward. I’ll do it to give my left hand a rest during holiday baking season, but I’m all about the left hand when I’m beating an egg white.🙂

      Like

  18. I seem to be pretty firmly right handed but maybe that’s because I don’t really try to do as much left handed.

    Like

  19. I’m mostly right-handed. I’m right-eye dominant, and I write right-handed, except when I taught and wrote on the board, which I do still do left-handed. If you write left-handed on the board, you are not covering what you write from the students.

    There are still some things that I prefer to do with my left hand, like draw (which I don’t do well with either hand). So, I’m just weird.🙂

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Isn’t that interesting, Elizabeth? That you can switch hands to write on a board is amazing!! As a trainer who often uses whiteboards, you’re right. It’s a big advantage to get out of the way as you write. I never thought about it.

      And I can’t imagine drawing with the “off” hand. Although I believe I paint with my right hand, now that I consider it. I’ll have to find a wall in my house that needs a touch up and see.🙂

      Like

  20. You can read upside down?!? Rad! Have you ever read over someone’s lap—instead of shoulder? That sounds more kinky than I meant it… Or maybe it just feels kinky but I’m in YOUR blog living room.😉

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I read over people’s laps all the time. Sometimes they know, sometimes they don’t. I try not to be nosy about it.🙂

      And of course you can be kinky in my blog living room! Mi blog casa es su blog casa. LOL.

      Like

  21. Shannon Esposito says:

    Sounds like you’re a well balanced gal🙂 I’m all lefty. My right hand is useless. Except for wearing a watch, I can only wear one on my right wrist. Interesting post!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You sound perfect, Shannon! What I’ve learned in all this is that we’re supposed to wear the watch on the opposite arm from our handedness. Alas, I can’t. I must have it on my left!

      Like

  22. Jane Sadek says:

    You’ve made me feel so much better! I’m definitely right-handed, but my mom was left-handed. There’s all kind of girly stuff, like sewing, that I’m totally inept at. No wonder it’s such a challenge to replace buttons, re-hem a garment or grate cheese. I was a rightie taught by a leftie! I’ve learned to cope, because you can now buy grated cheese at the grocery store, but in my younger days it was humiliating!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL. That would be very confusing! I do a ton of stuff “right” that is actually completely backward for the same reason. Incidentally, I grate cheese mostly with my right hand. But my secret special trick is a Salad Shooter – you’ll never have to grate again.🙂

      Like

  23. This is too fun. I’m right-handed no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I can also read upside down and backwards. I’ve also picked up writing upside down since having kids and helping with homework, LOL

    That Man writes left-handed but, whether through conditioning or a true sense of mixed-handed, does everything else with his right. He was one of the poor lefties who had his hand hit by teachers if he didn’t do things just so.

    Oldest is also a lefty but definitely falls in that mixed group. I suspect if he put his mind to it he could be truly ambidextrous. The other three kids are right-handed but I would love to test #3 — may have to pick up that book🙂

    Fascinating post Jenny!

    Like

  24. Jami Gold says:

    Ooo, loved the dominant eye link. I’m right-handed, but I never knew just how strongly right-handed I was until I had to mouse with my left hand. Not pretty.🙂

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  25. Pingback: Are You The Hand You Think You Are? My Story… | Jenny Hansen's ... | left handed | Scoop.it

  26. susielindau says:

    I was thinking that I was left eye dominant after my lasik surgery, but it is my right eye I depend on!
    Great post! I just followed. Thanks for coming today!

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  27. Karen Rought says:

    I know I’m a bit late to the party here, but I really loved this post! My mother and my father are left-handed and I’m…right-handed.😦 I’ve ALWAYS wanted to be left-handed, just to be different from most people. Alas, no such luck. Although now that I think about it, I might be the same as you, Jenny – mixed-handed. I always thought it was funny too that people thought it was strange I wore my watch on my right wrist, even though I was right-handed. But wearing it on my left arm just feels to *wrong*.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I totally get it, Karen. I’m left-handed and I wear my watch on the left. Go figure!

      And how very interesting that you’re a righty with two lefty parents. Hmmmm….

      Like

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