Tuesday, 21 December 2010

The right hand doesn't know what the left hand's doing...

If there’s one thing bound to get any woman, of any age, grumpy, it’s getting married. For all the joy and newly-wedded bliss of being joined in a legally-binding union to the object of your affections, it is an ordeal.

Whether you go for the full-blown circus of horse-drawn carriages, a dress the size of a small car and sit-down seven-course banquet for two hundred, or a do with the least possible amount of fuss, it still ends up causing no end of stress. I know this first hand, as this summer I went through it. Twice. Thankfully both times with the same man or else this would then be a slightly uncomfortable tale of modern bigamy.

Somehow, I survived, and once it was finally over started to look forward to that magical moment when all the gifts from generous friends and family arrived. Along with the predictable plates and spoons, I also picked out a few items that were less practical but much more fun. Or so I thought. Of these the one I eagerly anticipated the most was a large punchbowl.


Once upon a time a classic wedding gift, the punchbowl has fallen out of favour as punch itself has, inexplicably, become very unfashionable. Armed with glass punchbowl (complete with ladle and eight cups) I could begin a one-woman revival bringing a delicious drink concept back to the masses. And what better excuse than Christmas to start that?

My plan hit an early stumbling block when I discovered that some nefarious product designers had created a ladle impossible to pour from if you are left-handed. Left-handed like me. In a flash it set me off on a tirade against the years of unfair leftie discrimination I’d suffered. The pain of being told constantly as a child that your handwriting isn’t neat enough – hardly my fault when pens are made to be held in the right hand – came flooding back.

Followed by the bitter memories of an agony that endured all through my teens, nearly thwarting my attempts at learning to drive due to my inability to tell left from right. At a point in my formative years, some prize twonk had helped me learn it by explaining that my right hand was the same as my writing hand. My infant brain accepted this and it was years, via the odd fit of hysterical crying and wearing different coloured bracelets on either wrist, and even my driving test, until the damage was undone.

Indignant at yet more unfair favouritism towards you eight-out-of-nine people who are so boringly right-handed, I contemplated a sternly-worded letter to the department store from which the now offensive item came, followed possibly by a further missive to my local MP, and then finally some legal advice on whether this contravened my human rights in any way or was in breach of one of the numerous pieces of anti-discrimination legislation.

The sad fact is that we’re not a trendy minority and making too much hue and cry about having to buy special scissors or use normal ones looking special only opens us to the sort of ridicule directed at Ned Flanders and his Leftorium.

But we’re used to the pain of verbal taunts, the subtle thorns embedded into the English language waiting to rip our sensitive, left-handed flesh. We’re accused of general clumsiness and branded “cack-handed”. And, out of interest, who decided that a bad dancer had “two left feet”? To all these cruel and insensitive accusations, I would like to say one thing: how do you reckon all you smug righties would manage in a world where everything was the wrong way around?

But it goes a lot deeper, a lot more subliminal. Aside from all the mild slurs, we’ve also been branded diabolic. For those of you not bang-up-to-date on your ancient languages, the word ‘sinister’ comes from the Latin sinistra originally meaning ‘left’ but then - and I’d love to know how - it then went on to also mean ‘evil’. It’s really heart-warming to know that, because I hold my pen in a certain hand, I’m seen as being in cahoots with Beelzebub himself.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom of the underworld. Such glassware design bigotry does mean that this festive season I do not have to worry about staying sufficiently sober to pour the punch without dropping the ladle, smashing the bowl and causing litres of boozy liquid to cascade onto the frocks and chinos of guests as they gape in horror. Instead I can waft around, as gracefully as my plastered state allows, insisting someone else mans the bowl and keeps the drink coming. Because I cannot physically do it myself. Read more by Rosie.