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Old 07-02-2004, 11:53 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Toronto, ON
Posts: 214
What about righties who write hooked?

in the column on hip pockets and handedness, Cecil went off on a tangent about lefties who write like righties versus lefties who write with a hooked wrist. I happen to be a righty who writes like a lefty, with my wrist hooked and the pen's tip aiming towards myself. What's the dope on that.

P.S. My Dad is one of the lefties who writes like a righty, but he attributes it to convience. he was a daughtsman/surveyor and forced himself to hold the tip of his pencil away so he wouldn't smear his work with the side of his hand.
Old 07-03-2004, 07:56 AM
Right Hand of the Master
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Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Chicago north suburb
Posts: 16,078
And the link to the column is In a right-handed world, why is a man's billfold pocket on the left side?

mcbiggins, when you start a thread, it's helpful to other readers if you provide a link to the column you're commenting on. That way, everyone else can read the column (without having to waste time and system energy searching) and so follow what you're saying. Yes, the column is referenced on the front page now, but within a few days, that will disappear into the archives. Hence, providing a link if very helpful.

No biggie, you'll know for next time.
Old 07-03-2004, 12:19 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Toronto, ON
Posts: 214
Sorry i don't usually venture out of GQ. Thanks.
Old 07-05-2004, 05:33 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: U.K.
Posts: 12,068
I am also a right handed hook writer. My teachers at primary school (and my parents) made
considerable efforts to get me to write "properly", especially as I did tend to smudge what I had
written on the line above, but I never could take to holding the pen "straight". On the other hand, I
feel no temptation to write with my left hand, and, indeed, I use my right hand for most tasks
requiring fine control. Subjectively the "hook-writing" feels to me like a muscular issue rather than
a cognitive one. I can write with the pen held straight if I make a real effort, but it feels very
uncomfortable: it is not that I have a problem forming the letters from that angle, but that I seem to
be holding my hand in a very awkward position, with a great deal of tension in my wrist.

A couple of other points that may be associated with this. Even now, well into middle-age, I often
have to think about it a moment to know which is my left and which is my right side (this can
sometimes be a problem, especially when driving and following someone's directions). When I was
a child I had a small birthmark on the back of my right hand and I relied on it quite a lot to be sure
which hand was the right. When the birthmark faded away I took to using a small mole on the left
instead. I don't have to look at the mole now, but if it is awkward or embarrassing to look, I
usually need to consciously think about my hands - perhaps imagine holding a pen to know which
hand is my right. I do not really know how abnormal I am in this regard. Most adults appear to
know their left from their right effortlessly, but perhaps everybody is "faking it" like I am. I have
never seen or heard the issue discussed. Do other people feel the same way, or is it just me (or me
and few other weirdos)?

Although I grew up in England and now live in the U.S. I did not have much trouble in adjusting
to driving on the right except that after many years I still seem to have it stuck in my head that the
"right hand turn" is the "difficult" one, across the oncoming traffic, so if someone tells me to turn
right my first impulse is to move out to the left (and vice-versa).

Also, when I was a child I was diagnosed (by an educational psychologist, I think) as being "cross
lateral" which apparently meant that although I am naturally right handed, my left eye is the
dominant eye. We were told that this is fairly rare and sometimes causes leaning difficulties
(although I was a good student in most respects) or slow reaction times (which is probably true of
me). My mother is apparently a cross lateral also, so it is probably a hereditary thing. I once
mentioned my "cross-laterality" to a Psychology Ph.D. student of my acquaintance and he
immediately guessed that I was a hook-writer and, after confirming this, told me that it meant that
despite being right-handed I must be right brain dominant (which I take to mean that my language
centers are on the right). I have not been able to confirm this diagnosis, however. (A quick Google
search came up with remarkably little about cross lateral vision.)

WEB SITE: "Imagination, Mental Imagery, Consciousness, and Cognition: Scientific,
Philosophical, and Historical Approaches."

'Permanent' redirect URL [THE ONE TO BOOKMARK OR LINK TO]:

Current 'physical' location:
Old 07-05-2004, 07:12 PM
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Tucson, AZ, USA
Posts: 1,242
I'm a righty who writes hooked. My handwriting is pretty awful, but it's way too late to change how I write now. I went to public schools, did the normal learning to write and handwrite thing like everyone else, so I have no idea how my writing ended up so screwy.

I also brush my teeth with my left hand, but other than that, I'm completely right-handed.
Old 07-05-2004, 07:39 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Toronto, ON
Posts: 214
I'd guess I'm a cross-lateral too. I do everything right handed except for one-eyed activities like shooting or archery. Those i do left-eyed, and therefore left-handed. I've got to agree with njtt that is was a comfort issue learning to write like i did. i could wirte right handed normally if i tried, but it w3as physically uncomfortable.
Old 07-05-2004, 11:39 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Indiana
Posts: 1 (In a right-handed world, why is a man's billfold pocket on the left side?)

I found some of the information in this discussion confusing, especially about the difference between being "ambidextrous" and being "cross-lateral." My daughter writes left-handed, but does not do the "hook." She IS, however, genetically related to other lefties (her grandmother is the nearest relative, but also several other people in my husband's family). In softball, she bats left-handed (unless told to bunt, which she does right-handed) and throws left-handed. But she plays a right-handed guitar. When she was a preschooler, I would often catch her coloring with a crayon in each hand, and one side was no better or worse than the other. I've noticed, on her softball team (on which she is the only lefty), she slides into home RIGHT foot first, like everyone else. When taking off from a base at a run, it is also right foot first. All of this switching has had advantages and disadvantages for her. Her favorite things in the world are sports and music--musically, her piano instructor said left-handed pianists have a more "balanced" sound, because for most people, their left hand is the weaker one, so everything played on the lower notes is played too softly. In softball, she plays first base, which her coach said was the best place for a lefty, because her mitt is on her right hand (meaning she can stretch farther toward the infield without taking her foot off the base than someone whose mitt was on the other hand). However, in tennis, she said being left-handed thows off her backhand a little, and in volleyball, she can't decide which hand works better when serving, so she alternates. She had a terrible time deciding whether to learn to play guitar right- or left-handed. She finally decided she wanted a right-handed guitar, because she wanted the stronger hand on the neck, holding down the chords, rather than doing the strumming. (And, just as an interesting anecdote, I also know a left-handed man who plays a right-handed guitar UPSIDE-DOWN! I have no idea how he managed that.) So, does all this make her ambidextrous, or cross-lateral?
Old 07-06-2004, 10:17 AM
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Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Chatham, NJ, USA
Posts: 4,992
Originally Posted by virginiaT
I also know a left-handed man who plays a right-handed guitar UPSIDE-DOWN! I have no idea how he managed that.
Did he take lessons from Paul McCartney?
John W. Kennedy
"The blind rulers of Logres
Nourished the land on a fallacy of rational virtue."
-- Charles Williams. Taliessin through Logres: Prelude
Old 07-06-2004, 02:43 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: U.K.
Posts: 12,068
Ambidextrous vs. cross-lateral

It sounds to me as if Virginia's daughter would best be described as ambidextrous, because she can do things well with either hand. Although, I believe, a much higher proportion of left hand writers are hook-writers than is the case for righties, it is common enough for left handers (let alone ambidextrous people) not to be hook-writers.

"Cross lateral," on the other hand (no pun intended), seems to refer to cases where someone favors the right with one limb or organ pair, and the left with another. For example, one might (I think) be left handed and right footed (get someone to stand on one leg to see which leg or foot they favor). The visual cross-laterality I was talking about involves having a dominant eye on the opposite side to the dominant hand. In my case, I am left eyed and right handed (though I do favor my left hand for a few tasks). I think I am right footed too (but you can't really do the stand-on-one-leg test on yourself, especially if you know what it is about). I have no idea whether all or most such people are also hook-writers (although my friend's response suggests that many are).

BTW, a simple way to determine your dominant eye is to focus with both eyes on your finger held out at arm's length, and to align the finger with some distant object. Then close each or your eyes in turn. When you close the non-dominant eye the finger will still appear aligned with the object, but when you close the dominant one parallax will cause the finger to appear to be pointing elsewhere.
Old 07-10-2004, 01:12 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 5,113
I'm also a righty who writes in a pretty hooked fashion. The pen/pencil tip does not point at me, but instead points to the left. This puts my hand directly to the right of what I am writing, sufficient to smear the line above the line currently being written.

Other than smear marks, my handwriting is pretty neat (though I almost exclusively print now).
Old 07-16-2004, 11:20 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: South Carolina, USA
Posts: 65
Originally Posted by mcbiggins
Sorry i don't usually venture out of GQ. Thanks.
Hmmm. May I see your hall pass, please?

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