Day nineteen of the ‘Blogging from A-Z Challenge’ and I’m struggling with scissors. They warrant a blog piece of their own. I’ve been on this earth more than half a century yet dread when the time comes to cut my fingernails. They grow at an imperceptibly slow pace, the same rate apparently as the spreading of the Atlantic Ocean and see how big that has become given time. I need to cut my nails otherwise I fall into the awful habit of chewing them. It’s a nervous habit that I really should have grown out of and one you probably didn’t need to know about.
Anyway, back to the scissors. My weapon of choice is a pair of small curved blade nail scissors. I’ve tried those nail clippers that pinch down and shape your nails but have always worried about cutting my finger. I’m fine when cutting my right hand with the scissors but when it comes to my left I am all at sea. The scissors won’t work by simply holding them in my left hand. They bend the nail rather than cutting it. The thought of it makes me wince. The only way that I can get them to cut is to bend my left hand round to the right side of my right hand, as if I had another right hand. It is a most unnatural position, twisted and cumbersome but it cuts after a fashion.
So why is it that right handed scissors don’t cut with the left hand? It has something to do with the positioning of the blade. Right-handed scissors have the top blade to the right of the bottom blade. When used by a right hand the action forces the top blade over the bottom one giving a clean cut. When used with the left hand the converse is true. The blades are pushed apart by the left handed squeezing movement and the paper bends between the blades. This is what happens with my nails.
To make matters worse, right-handed scissors in the left hand have the top blade on top of what you are cutting which means that you have to lean over the blade to see where to cut. Add this to the grip which is fashioned for use by the right hand and you are left with a tool that is very difficult to use.
Left-handed scissors always have the left blade on top, an action that brings the blades together and a properly moulded handle.
Hand scissors aren’t the end of it though. A visit to any left-handed specialist shop will reveal that you can get correctly handed hair and dress-making scissors. Next time I go to the barbers I’m going to check out with which hand they cut my hair. There are many other cutting devices that operate in basically the same way and so suffer from the same shortcomings including pruners, loppers, secateurs and sheers.
Apparently you cannot make truly ambidextrous scissors. I’m going to order some left-handed nail scissors to ease my problems.