"Y-you're Link...the left-handed hero!"By definition: someone who's left-handed instead of right-handed or ambidextrous. Traditionally, baseball fields were oriented so that the batter, catcher, and umpire faced east to ensure that the setting sun wasn't in their eyes. As a result, when a pitcher is on the mound facing home plate, his left hand pointed south, so lefty pitchers came to be known as southpaws. The term has since entered general usage to indicate left-handed people. There is a perception that southpaws have a subtle advantage, simply because they are more rare - after all, right-handers are used to right-handers, but less accustomed to dealing with lefties, while a lefty grows up accustomed to both. And it has proven to be Truth in Television in quite a few sports besides baseball. For example, a left-handed sword fighters' attacks come from an angle that is difficult to parry for the more common right-handed people. And left-footed soccer players have a similar advantage over right handed goalkeepers, making them ideal for penalty kicks. As a result, in many sports the proportion of left-handed players is significantly higher than in the general population. An inversion, Situational Southpaw, exists when the character is not normally left-handed, but is forced to become left-handed, either through forceful education, injury or some apparatus that disables the character's right hand or arm (Arm Cannons are a popular choice). In real life, very few people are completely hand-dominant. They might favour different hands for different purposes. Left-handed people can learn to use their right hands just as well as their left, because so many things are designed for right-handed people - everything from turning screws to opening a door - thereby becoming ambidextrous, and the same could go for a right-handed person if they want to take the advantage in sports. In fiction left-handedness may be mentioned as a defining characteristic for a personality. Being left-handed actually affects a person's entire body, and which hand we feel most comfortable with leading with in our interactions with the world and other people - how we wipe our faces, yawn, fold our legs, shake our fists, wave, and even cross our arms. In a lefty it is all subtly different, which may have inspired the Uncanny Valley reaction of thinking there is something 'wrong' with left-handed people, since in the past, left-handed-ness was sometimes seen as a sign of demonic possession. For when left-handed-ness is portrayed negatively see A Sinister Clue. Contrast I Am Not Left-Handed. Compare Left-Handed Mirror, Right-Handed Left-Handed Guns, and Heroic Ambidexterity.
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Anime & Manga
- Diamond no Ace, as a baseball manga, has many lefties among its ranks. Protagonist Sawamura Eijun and major antagonist Narumiya Mei are the two most important examples. However, oddly, there's no real advantage to being a Southpaw in-series aside from the standard "slight advantage against left-handed batters"; of the strongest pitchers, fully half are right-handed, including the Ace of the back-to-back National Champion Komadai Fujimaki High, Hongou Masamune.
- Rurouni Kenshin's Saitou Hajime. Since all Japanese sword techniques are taught strictly right-handed, the switch could be very useful in the context of kenjutsu.
- Black Cat's Train Heartnet was born left-handed and became ambidextrous through training, though his left hand is still slightly faster and more accurate when he uses his gun. Notably, he spends the entire Battle on Clarken Island using his left hand alone, partly to show how seriously he is taking the job and his opponents.
- Mio Akiyama in K-On! plays her bass guitar left-handed, and is also shown to use her left hand for writing. She also tends to be fascinated by by anything meant for left-handed use.
- The ability to box left-handed is a rare and (sometimes) major advantage in Hajime no Ippo. The ability to switch between southpaw and a conventional stance at will is even better. Akira Shigeta, the first southpaw opponent that Ippo faces (although it's only in a sparring match) is actually an intentional example. From this training he succeeded in arming himself with a strategical advantage over most boxers and a strong right jab. Also, being a southpaw, his right arm's positioning allowed him to throw powerful counters, even without the rapid reaction speed of other counter-punchers.
- FLCL: Haruko and, supposedly, Naota's brother are southpaws (a guitar "player" and baseball player respectively), as pointed out in the DVD commentary. Apparently it has something to do with their coolness, according to the director's opinion.
- Inverted with Riffael Raffit of Count Cain — his right hand was injured badly enough after his suicide attempt in the hospital that he had to learn to use his left. After it heals, he remains left-handed. When his evil Split Personality regains control over his body, it's right-handed — and when good-Riff starts his Split-Personality Takeover, he shoots himself in the right arm to hamstring evil-Riff.
- Dragon Ball:
- Videl is a lefty: she is seen pitching baseballs and writing with her left hand.
- Nappa is shown performing a number of blasts with his left hand, which he also uses to deflect Gohan's Masenko. He performs a number of other blasts with his right hand however (in particular, his Signature Move, the Volcano Explosion, is always performed with his right hand), so he could be ambidextrous.
- Movie villain Broly is very different from regular Super Saiyajins, as his Legendary Super Saiyajin Form is a huge bulk of muscle with no lack of speed. He tends to use most of his attack with his left hand. Due to him being left handed, his intended final blow on Son Goku was performed with his left fist and Goku nonchalantly catches it with his right hand.
- While Lyrical Nanoha has a few left-handed characters, including the titular character. There are two examples that fit this trope.
- Alicia being left-handed is the first evidence for Presea to see Alicia's right-handed clone Fate as a failure.
- Ginga is not only left-handed, her left hand can even turn into a drill, something that her right-handed younger sister Subaru lacks, giving Ginga an advantage in armory and close-range combat.
- Yugami-kun ni wa Tomodachi ga Inai has loner protagonist Yugami, the left-handed ace of the school's baseball club. He also writes left-handed. Considering the rest of the cast appears to be right-handed, this serves to further accentuate Yugami's eccentricity and isolation.
- Inverted with Barret in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children: he suffered a gunshot wound that made his right arm unusable. It's likely he was right-handed before this wound. However, he might have simply gotten used to using his left by this point, as his gun-arm is now capable of assuming the form of a usable hand.
- Sen Takatsuki from Tokyo Ghoul is left-handed, writing with her left hand during her autograph session. This turns out to be significant later on.
- Stocking in Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt is shown to be left-handed, in a way making her the Left-Handed Mirror to her (opposite in personality) older sister, Panty.
- Graham Aker of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 is also a left-hander, as evident with his Ace Custom units.Clarification
- In Haikyuu!!, Shiratorizawa High's team ace Ushijima Wakatoshi is left-handed, which is noted to give a particular advantage to spikes because most blockers orient themselves to a spiker's right. Flashbacks show how when he was young, his school attempted to "correct" his handedness, which his father (another avid volleyball player) insisted on them not doing.
- At the beginning of U19, a student is seen writing with his left hand, prompting the teacher to physically injure it as punishment, under the idea that a proper citizen must write with his right hand.
- In We Never Learn!, Furuhashi, who aces every humanities subject at her school, is always shown writing with her left hand, reflecting the popular stereotype of left-handed people being creative geniuses.
- Hellboy is an inversion. A huge stone hand isn't really useful for doing anything other than punching things, which makes him left-handed out of necessity. Conveniently, Ron Perlman who portrays him in the films is also left-handed.
- Subverted with Hector Sinestro of Monster Allergy: he has two left hands, but he's not left-handed, something that greatly irritates him.
Films — Animation
- How to Train Your Dragon's Hiccup is noticeably left-handed, possibly to emphasize his role as a misfit. This is carried over from the original books, where his handedness becomes a plot point.
- Anika Noni Rose requested that Tiana from The Princess and the Frog be left handed like her. In many scenes (pouring coffee, stirring something, writing her name in a dream sequence)she uses her left hand but minces with her right hand (well, flipper as she's a frog at this point). Maybe she's ambidextrous.
- Mulan writes left-handed, but uses a sword right-handed.
- In Frozen, Elsa shows a preference for ice shooting left-handed.
Films — Live-Action
- Actor Chris Tucker is left handed, as one can tell from the fact that his character James Carter wields his guns left handed in the Rush Hour movies. He also wears a custom-made galco shoulder holder designed for a left-handed draw.
- Actor Bruce Willis is left handed, thus so is John McClane, the main character in the Die Hard franchise. However, in the movie Sin City, Willis wielded his gun right handed to accurately depict the character of John Hartigan, who was right handed in the original comic books. And in The Sixth Sense he writes right-handednote , because a close-up of his left hand would have shown he isn't wearing his wedding ring and thus given away a clue to the audience that he's dead.
- Zigzagged with Rocky; he was a left-handed boxer, which led (in his backstory) to opponents refusing to face him out of fear that it would mess with their mechanics. He defeats the world champion by learning to fight righty for most of the fight, and then switch to his natural stance and go for the KO.
- Inverted in The Princess Bride: both the Man in Black and Inigo Montoya fight left-handed in their duel as a way of handicapping themselves to give their opponent more of a fight. Eventually they both drop the act and fight better with their right hand.
- Inverted in the original Evil Dead films, in which Ash actually loses his right hand. Of course, Sam Raimi probably decided that Ash should lose his right and not his left hand because Bruce Campbell in Real Life is left-handed.
- Due to their actor being left-handed, both Alan Bradley and his Program TRON are left-handed. This seems to make Tron unique among Programs, as no other Programs appear to share that trait. note
- From The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, a bounty hunter who lost his right arm to Tuco at the beginning of the film learns to shoot with his left, which, after catching up to Tuco, he squanders by bragging about it instead of just killing him.
- Probably the Ur-Example, Ehud Ben-Gera in the The Bible is left-handed. This becomes important when guards search for weapons only on his left thigh (where a right-handed person might conceal one), and this allows him to assassinate the king of Moab with the sword concealed on his right thigh.
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- Arya Stark. When her dominant hand is revealed to her fencing master, he reacts favorably because fighting left-handed will reverse her stance and movements, which will help confuse her opponents. Of course, her left-handedness might also be A Sinister Clue about her future.
- Qhorin Halfhand and Jaime Lannister are both inversions; both lost their right hands (Qhorin lost several fingers, Jaime the entire hand) and were forced to learn to fight left-handed. Jaime's struggles to regain his swordsmanship post-amputation take on the flavor of Training from Hell.
- Downplayed in Harry Turtledove's Tales of the Fox series: the main character is left-handed, and he remarks that it makes it easier to get around enemy shields for a couple of reasons.
- Inverted in the Emberverse novels: Rudi Mackenzie's right arm is wounded and has to learn to use his left arm as his sword arm. When practicing with youths in the Free Republic of Richland they complain that he has an unfair advantage as a southpaw. His mentor responds "Yah hey, if someone attacks you using different moves, or if they're a leftie you're just going to say you're taking your bat and ball and going home 'cause it ain't fair? Christ, Weiss, I've known you were a dumb little punk for years, but do you have to show it off in front of strangers?"
- Parodied in The Silmarillion: Maedhros learns to wield his sword with his left hand after a Life-or-Limb Decision. He becomes even more deadly afterwards (though this is probably for psychological reasons more than anything physical.)
- Dhugal in the Deryni novels is noted as left-handed, including fighting left-handed. The narration in the archery yard scene in The King's Justice recounts the late King Brion's preference for his pages and squires to train right-handed (which Dhugal missed by spending much of his training years at home in Transha). Brion was grudgingly persuaded by Alaric Morgan that fighters should know how to switch off in case of injury (so as not to be left defenseless), but even a couple of years after Brion's death, Dhugal stands out as the only left-handed fighter. Dhugal will have reason to appreciate Morgan's logic in The Quest for Saint Camber when he breaks his left arm when he's swept away in a rainy landslide.
- Alanna from the Tortall Universe deliberately practices at using her sword left-handed after her right arm is injured during training to become a knight. She keeps up the ambidextrous sword usage even after she's healed, which becomes a Chekhov's Skill in a duel against the Big Bad.
- Orm, the main character from The Long Ships, is left-handed as a result of rowing a starboard oar on a slave galley for five years (though it is mentioned that he still prefers to throw javelins with his right). It is commented upon when he duels, that this makes shieldwork more difficult both for him and the right-handed man he's fighting.
- Margin Play: The protagonist, Amber Eckert, is a lefty, although that fact is never specifically mentioned. There are plenty of clues though, starting in the very first chapter when she carries a rolled-up newspaper in her left hand as she approaches an Angry Guard Dog. It becomes rather important late in the book.
- Inverted in The Dark Tower: Due to an unfortunate encounter with "lobstrosities" in The Drawing of the Three, Roland Deschain loses three fingers of his right hand. From that point forward he's strictly a left-handed shooter. The remaining members of his ka-tet inherit the use of his right-hand gun.
- The Saga of the Sworn Brothers: Thormod, a lefthander and "not a strong man", is able to kill the great warrior Thorgrim Troll with an axe borne in his left hand, and afterwards makes a poem about the deed which specifically mentions it was done left-handed. This suggests Thormod credits success to his left-handedness, because Thorgrim did not expect an attack from a man carrying a weapon in his left hand.
- Liz Lemon in Series/30Rock is left handed.
- Inverted in Dharma & Greg - Greg's father trained his naturally right-handed son to switch so he'd have an advantage in baseball. When Greg points this can actually be psychologically unhealthy to do to a child, his father seems a little sheepish: "Sorry, son... Won't do it again."
- Game of Thrones:
- As in the books, Arya is a left-handed swordsman. For the record, Maisie Williams is right-handed.
- Jaime is a situational variation, out of necessity after he loses his dominant (right) hand.
- In one of their sketches, Horrible Histories outlined some of the the grief that soldiers in the Real Life Georgian-era British Army had to face. One of them was that left-handers were forced to fire their muskets right-handed, since that was the only way to make sure the flash would not blow up in their eyes.
- The cooking competition Cutthroat Kitchen occasionally implements situational southpaw sabotages, thereby forcing a chef to rely heavily—if not entirely—on his/her weaker handnote . These handicaps involve the following:
- Greatly reduced finger mobility on the dominant hand, either as the result of having to wear bulky oven mitt or having the hand taped closed.
- The total inability the use of a chef's dominant hand, thereby forcing a chef to use his/her weaker hand unaided.
- A "Black and White" table which, unlike the hand-swap handicaps, requires the its user to perform the same action with both the left hand and right hand at the same time.
- During the last season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Ezri Dax is left-handed, so in her disorientation as the new host of the Dax symbiote, she was initially thinking she was right-handed like her predecessor Jadzia.
- Game Show personalities Burt Convy, Wink Martindale, and Sal Iacono are all left-handed penmen.
- Joe from Blue's Clues draws the clues with his left hand.
- Left-handed guitarists have been a staple of music since the dawn of string instruments. We have Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath), Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, Sylvia Tyson, and Billy Ray Cyrus, for starters. Kurt Cobain, however, played left-handed but could write with the right.
- As a possible nod to Hendrix, the title character from David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust album is mentioned as being left handed (He played it left hand / but made it too far...).
- Angelo from Dragon Quest VIII is a lefty. This also gives him a left-handed mirror with his half-brother Marcello as well.
- Kain and Palom from Final Fantasy IV are left handed. The sequel reveals Golbez is as well.
- James Anderson in Outlaws is left handed. The game is a rare example of a First-Person Shooter that features a left handed main character.
- Sol Badguy in Guilty Gear wields his sword left-handed, in Reverse Grip no less. Naturally, he regularly defeats his right-handed rival Ky Kiske whenever they go at it. The same applies to Ragna the Bloodedge, the protagonist of Guilty Gear's Spiritual Successor BlazBlue, right down to the reverse grip.
- Devil May Cry has Nero in the fourth game, who is a lefty. Though, that most likely has more to do with the fact that his right hand is a demonic claw, so he's probably a situational southpaw. Probably. The new Dante of the Alternative Continuity is ambidextrous but prefers his left hand. Contrasting classic Dante who was good with both hands, but generally preferred his right hand for Devil Arms and his left for guns.
- Downplayed with Luke fon Fabre in Tales of the Abyss. It isn't a major plot point, but it does make for a touching moment at the end of the game, where Cool Old Guy/Colonel Badass Jade offers his own left hand for Luke to shake, despite being right-handed himself, out of respect for the personal growth Luke experiences throughout the game. It's also because, in Japan, shaking ones left hand is considered to be a greater sign of trust since that's the one you hold your shield in. Jade is not only recognising Luke's development, but also indicating that he trusts Luke enough to let his guard down in front of him. Luke is "mirrored" from Asch due to being his replica—his hair sweeps in the opposite direction from Asch's, too, so it's only natural that they have opposite dominant hands. Asch is left handed as well, he just trained himself to use his right hand for everything including eating, writing, and sword play because it let him interact with the world better and gives him the advantage of being ambidextrous.
- Dunban in Xenoblade is a situational example; he lost the use of his right arm. But still being right-handed or no he kicks ass.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- Raphael from the Soul Series is a left-handed fencer, so that his face and chest can face the screen like the rest of the (right-handed) cast when picked as player one's character. Then again, as the games progress this ventures into A Sinister Clue territory...
- Knight Artorias from Dark Souls I is implied to be one by the description of his greatsword in the sequelnote , despite fighting you with his right hand when you encounter him. This is because his left arm was mangled and rendered limp while protecting Sif from the Abyss.
- Resident Evil 5 has left-handed Sheva, making her the first playable RE character to be left handed. This mechanic was introduced to mirror Chris' right handed aim.
- Super Smash Bros. 4 casts Mega Man as a lefty, due to his Ambidextrous Sprite in his source series shooting with his far arm — which, in a left-to-right platform game, was usually his left. Granted, Smash Bros. 4 also uses Ambidextrous Sprites, but in his Final Smash sequence, he summons protagonists from four other Mega Man series for a joint attack, and of them, only MegaMan.EXE shoots with his right arm.
- In Mario Golf, any character can be lefty by pressing the L button on the character select screen. This is useful if a character has a fade or draw and you want their shots to curve the other way.
- Fighting Game characters (particularly in 2D games) who fight with their back to the screen can be implied to be fighting southpaw, as typically characters will lead with the hand that correlates to the side of the screen they're on (so on player 1's side, the character will lead with their left hand and player 2 with their right, as long as they face the screen). Examples include Lin from The King of Fighters 2000 and Tusk from Killer Instinct 2.
- The Space Marine from Doom uses his left hand for pistols and punching. That said, he uses two-handed guns like a righty would.
- In Punch-Out!!, Soda Popinski is a lefty, making him a bit harder to read than the other opponents.
- In Under Night In-Birth, Lady of War Orie wields her sword with her left hand, and so does Yuzuriha, the local Iaijutsu Practitioner, holding the sheath of her sword with her right hand, and drawing with het left hand.
- In Eternal Fighter Zero, Mai Kawasumi, another Iaijutsu Practitioner, is a lefty: she holds the sheath of her sword with her right hand, so she can use her left hand to draw.
- Day of the Tentacle - Ned and Jed, identical twins whose only differ lies in their handedness preference. In order to bypass Nurse Edna, who is guarding the video feed in the present, Hoagie (stuck 200 years in the past) has to switch the two twins while they are making a statue so that said statue flips in the present day, allowing Bernard to push Edna down the stairs without her being able to rely on the statue to right herself.
- In MechWarrior, the non-symmetrical Humongous Mecha are typically 'right handed', wielding most of their firepower in their right arm and right torso; this effects everything from seeking cover to convergence when attacking enemies. A small handful of mechs are left-biased, like the Thanatos which carries a BFG in the left hand and a smaller missile rack on the right. Great for sneaking up on enemies from unexpected angles, but terrible when corner-humping with right-handed allies who only need to expose their right side to attack. The handedness of mechs even affects how they are rated on various Character Tiers-ranking websites like MetaMechs.
- Pokémon: Kadabra is usually shown holding a spoon in its right hand, however, the sprites in Yellow and Silver show the spoon in its left hand instead.
- Shadow the Hedgehog in his own game is shown using his left-hand to fire weapons and use blades. On his title screen he clearly holds his pistol in his left hand, and he usually (if not always) leads with his left in official artwork such as pointing, punching, and crossing his arms.
- Likewise, while Silver is never shown handling weapons, in a lot of official artwork he leads with his left side, such as outstretching his left palm for his powers, or leading with his left in other ways, suggesting he too is left-handed.
- In The Elder Scrolls backstory, the ancient Yokudans (ancestors of the Redguards) fought a devastating war with the Sinistral Mer, also known as the Left-Handed Elves, whose entire race was said to be left-handed. The war left the Sinistral Mer extinct.
- Alm in Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia shows a preference for his left hand when using swords, but appears to wield bows right-handed when he gains access to them after promotion.
- Haruka of Little Busters! is left-handed. It comes up while they're setting her up for the baseball team and they briefly discuss the way she has a small advantage because of it. It wasn't so advantageous when her Big, Screwed-Up Family assumed left-handedness was a sign of weakness and beat her for it, though.
- Kanon: At one point, Yuichi and Ayu bump into each other because the former tells the latter to jump at the side where she holds her chopsticks. Due to her being left-handed, their crash cannot be avoided.
- Ace Attorney:
- All of Phoenix Wright's animations in court use his left hand, be if for pointing, rubbing his chin, or touching the back of his head, though this is a matter of needing to keep him facing the camera when performing various actions (this can be demonstrated when he's serving as co-counsel during the first case of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, where he uses his right hand to point in order to keep his body oriented towards the camera in his current position).
- In case 1 of the second game, the victim, Dustin Prince, was a lefty, which becomes a plot point when it is pointed out that, even though he appears to have wrote the name of the killer in the sand, he used his right instead of his left.
- Downplayed with Doug, in Nickelodeon's Doug. It was only occasionally a plot point, such as when his friends couldn't figure out why he was such a poor beet-ball player until they realized they had been trying to make him bat right-handed. It shows up again in another episode where his much-beloved journal goes missing. No one can read it, partly because of his poor handwriting, but also because as a lefty, he drags his hand through everything he writes, leaving it a smudged mess.
Roger: If I were you, I'd learn how to type and fast!
- SpongeBob SquarePants is said to be left-handed in several episodes (in Neptune's Spatula he had two left hands) and in several others he says he's ambidextrous, but he can be seen using his left hand more often than not.
- In The Simpsons, Bart Simpson is left-handed, as he is based on the show's creator Matt Groening. Marge Simpson and Ned Flanders share this trait, among others—Marge was afraid of being seen as weird for being left-handed, so she taught herself to use her right hand instead, but eventually admitted that she's been better with her left hand.
- Finn the Human and Marceline the Vampire Queen from Adventure Time, too.
- Tina of Bob's Burgers is the only left-handed person in her family.
- Word of God says Phineas from Phineas and Ferb is left-handed. He appears to be ambidextrous, as he can write and play various instruments with both hands. However, he does seem to lead more with his left hand than his right, as he plays a left-handed drum set, uses left-handed tools, and bats left-handed in baseball.
- This is actually lampshaded visually in "Don't Even Blink"; during "Watchin' and Waitin'" he switches from playing the guitar right-handed to left-handed and back repeatedly throughout the song.
- In Rugrats, Chuckie Finster at first was like the other members of the Rugrats gang until one episode established that he was becoming left-handed. And he continued on as this through All Grown Up!, though at the time, it's not so much of a plot point anymore.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Ponies are mostly ambidextrous, but Fluttershy in particular often seems to favor her left hoof and wing when performing complex tasks. Her human self from the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls universe confirms this by nature of actually having hands.
- Trixie is lefty as well, supported by the main show and the second movie.
- To contrast with pony Twilight Sparkle who writes with her right hand when turned into a human, the human Twilight Sparkle writes with her left hand.
- It's subtle, but in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Zachary is often drawn as using his blaster left-handed. It's quite prominent in "Trouble at Texton" where he's shown having to switch his blaster to his left hand to fire. Unfortunately for him, his left side is the one that had to be completely rebuilt with cyberware.
- In one episode of American Dad!, Francine kicks out Steve's new female friend and study partner. Thinking it was because she was black, Steve and Hayley later find out that their mother has a hatred of left-handed people, and that's why she kicked her out. It turns out that Francine was actually born a lefty, and was beaten by her Stern Nun teacher as a child because of it, and become right-handed as a result, and convinced that left-handed people were evil. After she gets over it, she embraces her left handedness, even though she can no longer write properly with it.
- In the Fillmore! episode "To Mar a Stall," Fillmore notices the graffiti in the restroom stalls is written from right to left—that is, each letter is overlapped by the letter to its right. Because it was written using a permanent marker, Fillmore figures the vandal must be left-handed, as a lefty would write in this way to avoid smearing the graffiti and getting ink on their own hands. Sure enough, the culprit was the class president presenting the grand opening of the new restrooms—the school newspaper's photo depicts her holding the scissors used to cut the ribbon at the ceremony with her left hand.
- The British Royal Family have a famously high precedence of left-handedness, but some members were reportedly forced from an early age to present as right-handed in public due to the archaic association of left-handedness with evilness or sin. Amongst those forced to change were Queen Victoria and George VI, with many citing it as a contributing factor to the latter's famous nervousness and stutter.
- For similar reasons to baseball, left-handed cricketers are very useful both with the bat and with the ball: for example, it is generally a good idea for a batting partnership to consist of a right-hander and a left-hander, to put bowlers off their line and tire the fielders when the batsmen cross.
- Australian bowler Bill O'Reilly (no, not that one) hated bowling to left-handers and said they should be drowned at birth. A leg spinner is essentially an off spinner against a left-handed batsman, as the ball spins towards them instead of away.
- Racket sports, and tennis in particular, often have an advantage attributed to left-handed players. A good tactic in rallies is to hit to the opponent's backhand as it is (usually) weaker than the forehand. Of course, a left hander's backhand side is the opposite to a right hander's. Add this to the fact that rallies usually involve more cross court shots than down-the-line, and you can easily end up stuck in a situation where you are playing from the backhand straight into the opponent's forehand every time. Plus, when receiving serve the spin of a left hander's serve goes in the opposite direction to a right hander's, often making for some unpredictable and hard to return serves.
- Averted in golf, though. Since golf is (if you'll excuse the terms) Player Versus Environment rather than Player Versus Player, and the slopes of most golf courses are designed for right-handers, there are relatively few left-handed golfers at the highest level (although Phil Mickelson and Mike Weir are two relatively recent left-handed major winners).
- Left-handed auto racers in left-hand-drive cars benefit greatly from keeping their dominant hand on the wheel while shifting gears. Averted by the more modern Formula One steering-wheel controls which use the left hand to shift down and the right hand to shift up without ever letting go of the wheel.
- Left-handed drivers in right-hand-drive cars can shift gears effectively if learned correctly. Since the steering wheel and the driver seat are on the right side, and the Driving Stick (or any other type of transmissions) is on the left side of the driver's seat, it requires a left hand to shift the gears, thus southpaw drivers could learn it more effectively compared to righties.
- In late antiquity/early medieval warfare, a common trick (the Saxons and maybe the Normans made good use of this) was to fight as though left handed, thus minimizing the enemies' shields and throwing them off.
- Left-handed bowlers can be seen as having a significant advantage over right-handed bowlers. Since most bowlers bowl right-handed, they're all throwing their ball along roughly the same path as each other, which can throw off the oil pattern significantly. Left-handed bowlers generally have fresh oil, since few people bowl along the left side of the lane, and are thus able to get a much more consistent shot. Having a fresh oil track on the lane is a very good thing, as it allows the ball to travel faster, and with more spin, meaning that the pins can be stuck harder, and allowing for greater control of the curve, which is essential in getting a strike, since the best way to get a strike is to hit the pins behind the first pin, with the ball curving slightly to the center of the cluster, so that the pins hit each other in a mushrooming pattern.
- One defense used in medieval castles was to make spiral staircases twist clockwise as they went up so that a right handed defender's body was shielded by the center wall. This made left handed troops a valuable resource when trying to storm such castles. In fact, two Scottish castles (Eilean Donan and Ferniherst) have anti-clockwise staircases for the advantage of left-handed defenders.
- Swordplay. In general you are encouraged to fight from your good side for the obvious advantages in free fights (but also because it is a pain to fight from your weak side - or to re-train your good side when you started learning on the wrong side). Once you get used to how to attack a right handed opponent on his left (vulnerable) shoulder when your opening position has the sword on your left shoulder it is no big deal anymore. (However most lefties also learn to do at least the basic moves also from the right side. Which is of high advantage when your opponent finally got used to you being a leftie and adjusts his attacks so you can attack him from the right. The other main advantage in general is that due to most people being right-handed, both lefties and righties primarily train to fight against righties. Matt Easton of Schola Gladiatoria, who is right handed, actually turns this to his advantage in this video. This trope also applies to fencing; lefties are MUCH harder to hit if you're used to fighting righties due to the fact that you have to hit the opposite side of their body. In academic fencing, normally only one side of the face is a legal hit zone. In the rare cases of left-right matchups, both sides are exposed which greatly increases the risk of getting hit for the right-handed fencer, since he is often not trained against southpaws.
- There exists a beer company in Colorado named "Left Hand". They produce sinister brews.
- The United States Marines have found that shooting a bolt action rifle southpaw allows a sniper to shoot slightly faster; because most people are right-handed, the bolts on sniper rifles such as the Marines' M40 series is on the right, meaning that a right-handed shooter would have to remove his hand from the grip and trigger, work the bolt, and return to firing position. A left-handed shooter can keep his eye on target and his left hand by the trigger and work the bolt with his right hand (especially since for long-range shooting, you're not going to be supporting the rifle with just your off-hand); as the firing hand does not leave the trigger, the interval between firing is reduced.
- Tied Up on the Phone: One of the inevitable results of old-style telephone receivers, where the handset was permanently attached to the receiver by a coiled cord, was how quickly the connecting cord ceased to be a neatly organised smooth coil. It would inevitably tangle, snag, knot, loop back on itself, and tended to somehow double over on itself, until the connecting wire between handset and receiver was effectively half its original length. Anyone picking up the handset to such a phone would drag the whole thing up off its table and find it swinging in the air. Left-handed users soon found that the arrangement favoured right-handed people - both in the direction of coiling, and in the way the headset was meant to be returned to its rest with the connecting wire on the right-hand side. Any old-style phone regularly used by left-handed people would unravel its coils twice as fast (the natural tendency being for a left-hander to return the handset to the rest with the coil-connected end on the left.) Any household with both left and right handed people would discover their shared phone suffered from Garden Hose Syndrome - it became an utter tangled mess very quickly.
- A large number of players learn to shoot left-handed even if they aren't natural lefties. If they find themselves in a situation sprinting or otherwise only holding their stick with one hand, it ends up being in their dominant right giving them more control. More importantly though, is shooting angles. Generally left-handed shooters will play the left wing and righties will play the right wing although it's not a hard rule and sometimes a coach will flip them depending on how he wants a play set up. It's also just a good idea to be able to handle both directions since sticks frequently break in the middle of play. If that happens your option is skate to the bench and grab one from a teammate so you can get back in quickly and it's not always going to face the way yours normally does.
- Most goalies catch with their left hand and hold their stick in their right but some do the opposite and the opposing team generally has to use a different scoring strategy against them because the types of shot a left-winger might normally take on the blocker side won't be as effective if the goalie has his glove on that side (and vice versa).
- For soldiers, law enforcement, and other such lines of work, being able to shoot using either hand adds versatility to the positions one can fire from. If exposing the smallest portion of your body to return fire requires switching hands to take better advantage of available cover, then so be it. And if injury or other circumstances make it difficult to favor one's dominant hand, being able to continue fighting while relying on the offhand can come in handy.
- Left-handed arm wrestlers have a much easier time against right handed ones due to the fact that "righties" often neglect their southpaw.
- Video game controllers:
- Controllers designed for left-handed people are also rare to nonexistent, as the companies that make such things know that lefties make up no more than 10% of the potential market. This problem is at its worst for advanced controllers such as flight sticks.
- The Wii remote and nunchuck avert this problem, as both are symmetrical. However, some games that rely on advanced gyroscope controls, such as The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword note , have this problem as the software expects the nunchuck on the left and remote on the right.
- Also averted by the Atari Lynx. Unlike all other handheld game systems, the Lynx could be rotated for either left- or right-handed use.
- The default setting for a mouse favours the right hand.
- Similar to fencing, left-handed boxers are considered at an advantage as boxers are more accustomed to fighting against opponents who favour their right hand. In boxing posing yourself to jab fast with the right and hit hard on the left is called "southpaw stance".
- Even animals can be a Southpaw: Majority of the kangaroos are left-pawed. Beware if you see, or dealing with a Boxing Kangaroo.
- Modern U.S. presidents from H.W. Bush to Obama are noted for this, with 3 out of 4 having a dominant left hand. Ronald Reagan is ambidextrous, and indicated he was naturally left-handed but forced to switch, making it 4 out of 5 if counting him. George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama are all lefties, while George W. Bush is righty. Also notable in that a lot of candidates who didn't win the elections were also left-handed, most notably John McCain and Ross Perot (making the 1992 election the first time the top three candidates were all lefties). Most of the candidates, including the biggest ones, for the 2016 election are right-handed.
- Thoroughly averted in the world of power tools. Almost all of them are designed for people favoring the right hand, and using them in the left can be awkward at best, and extremely dangerous at worst. Probably the worst example is lawn edgers or weedeaters, since, by their nature, they fling rocks, dirt clods, and other debris out from them, and, for left handed users, the guard is located on the wrong side.
- So many tools, powered or otherwise, are designed to favour the right-handed that people who are more ambidextrous than dominant-handed only work it out quite late in life.
You seem a helpful trope page. I hate to leave you. But there's something you don't know... I Am Not Left-Handed.