Triticum Turgidum

Lying Dormant and Waiting to Bloom Since 2005

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Location: The Prairie, Illinois, United States

I am a beauty-loving ambidextrous higher-order primate who learned transcendental meditation at 7, statistical analysis at 23, tap dancing at 30, and piano at 35. I tolerate gluten, lactose, and differences of opinion, but not abuse. Or beets.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Are You a Secret Southpaw?

If you love lefties as I do, you'll find this fascinating. Back in the early 1990s I read Stanley Coren's book The Left-Hander Syndrome. It included a number of tests for the reader to take to find out if he or she is a "secret southpaw." What drew me to the book was not my own left-handedness -- I write with my right hand -- but my observation that I've always been drawn to lefties, both male and female. My first serious childhood crush, Paul McCartney, is left-handed. Joan of Arc, my Catholic confirmation namesake, was left-handed. Robert Redford is left-handed. All of my boyfriends were left-handed (no, I did not prescreen them for this trait), and the hunk I ended up marrying is left-handed. These people rely a lot on their right brains and think in artistic, vibrant ways that I find endlessly appealing. They also tend to suffer more from mental disorders and die earlier, but we won't dwell on that.

Cut to your reason for reading this post: you want to know if you're a "secret southpaw." As you've probably figured out by now, a secret southpaw is someone who is naturally left-handed or a left-leaning ambidextrous but has grown up favoring the right hand (especially for writing) because he or she was taught to use it as a child. In my case, my left arm was broken while I was learning to write, so that may have led to my own right-hand favoritism. In my mother-in-law's case, a 1950s Catholic school education mandated that she use her right hand because her left hand was the devil's tool.

Okey-dokey, here are your secret southpaw tests. Do them BEFORE looking at the interpretations, please.

1) On a sheet of paper, try to write your signature backward in cursive with your left hand.
2) Clasp your hands in front of you; note which thumb you place on top.
3) Grab hold of a broomstick. Which hand is on top?
4) Draw a circle on a piece of paper with your right hand. Did you draw it clockwise or counterclockwise?


1) If you're a secret southpaw, you should have little trouble doing this. Your penmanship will suck, but the name will be legible when you hold the sheet of paper up to the mirror. If you are a true righty, you will find this task excruciating, and the results unreadable in a mirror.
2) The thumb of your dominant hand is usually placed on TOP.
3) The hand on the BOTTOM is usually the dominant hand.
4) If you drew it clockwise, you're probably left-leaning. Full righties tend to draw it counterclockwise.

My results: All four point to leftiness (as if my voting record didn't already reveal that). The fact that I hold a pencil the wrong way while writing -- I brace it against my ring finger instead of my middle finger and grip it in a tense, clawlike fashion -- probably also indicates that I was never truly comfortable writing with my right hand. I do athletic and gymnastic stuff left-foot-first. I also play guitar with my left hand. When my brother was teaching me to play, he was convinced that I was trying to mimic Paul McCartney, but honestly, it just felt better that way. When I told him Jimi Hendrix was left-handed too, he let it go. Because, you see, Jimi was The Man.

For a comprehensive list of famous lefties, go here.

And remember, however you scored, most people are some combination of right- and left-dominant. So if you show any leftward leanings, even if you write with your right hand, I'll still think you're cool.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmm... I'm totally right-dominant. Does that mean you think I'm lame? (it's okay if you do, really)

psst... Angie is curled up on my lap and she smells divine!


1:19 AM, July 14, 2005  
Blogger WinterWheat said...

No, because you love dogs. Stanley Coren also wrote several books on dog psychology. Lefties and dog lovers are cool. :-)

p.s. What's she wearing??

8:09 AM, July 14, 2005  
Blogger mreenymo said...

Yep, I am totally left-hand oriented! I've known it since I was a child. I sometimes eat with my left hand and definitely sweep with my left-hand on the bottom. All my circles are clockwise. In fact, my best friend from grad school (may he rest in peace) once observed that I was a 'left-leaning' right-handed person.

Always knew I was 'left-leaning' in most aspects of my life.


11:10 AM, July 14, 2005  
Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Love this post.

DaVinci was left handed too, I believe!

I love being a leftie. When I was in the third grade, I did not like it because it made me so very different, but now I see, I have always been different, and embrace it.

11:11 AM, July 14, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you know that there are a larger percentage of US Presidents that are left-handed as compare to the general population?

btw, Angie wasn't wearing anything, but she just had a bath last night! Miss her already :*(


11:51 AM, July 14, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I write with my left but do other things with my right. I think I'm kind of in the middle.


2:50 PM, July 14, 2005  
Blogger Kate said...

I always thought of myself as someone who is really really right handed, but I answered all 4 questions like a leftie!!! But I can't even knit continental!

My son is a leftie. :-)

12:53 PM, July 15, 2005  
Blogger Jonniker said...

Holy smokes, I'm a secret southpaw - all four are left-leaning! I had no idea - I mean, I've always been a left-leaning sort of woman, but I was amazed at how easy it was to write my name with my left hand - it was way more than legible! And I have this weird thing with walking on the right side of people - I hate walking on the left - I need to have the ACTION on my left side, so I can touch them, look left at them, etc.

Fascinating post, K!

10:03 PM, July 15, 2005  
Blogger Meegan said...

Darn it! I'm a total rightie. I've always wished I was left-handed. Now I know I'm not even a secret southpaw.

10:59 AM, July 16, 2005  
Anonymous glamourpuss said...

As the only right-hander in a family full of lefties, I had to confirm what I already knew. I'm a hard-core rightie, although I had no trouble reading my signature. Hmmm...

Fun quiz, K :D

~ L

1:01 PM, July 17, 2005  
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

Hi K, I loved this post.
I'm a leftie raised in a rightie world. I do many, many things right handed but write left handed. I was never 'repressed' in my handedness so don't write with my hand all twisted around. I push my pen rather than pull it like a rightie would. Very interesting!
I love dogs too so hopefully am suffficiently cool to visit here :-)

4:02 PM, July 18, 2005  
Blogger Niobium said...

I always wanted to be a leftie, even tried to teach myself to be one. But I'm a righty.

Does that make me a Republican?

4:38 PM, July 22, 2005  

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