By Michelle Knowles
I remember how excited I was when I was able to purchase my very first pair of custom shears. It had taken six months to save for them and I babied them and cleaned them and had a special case to house them in. I also remember arriving at work one day and I couldn’t find them anywhere.
I was in a panic and questioned everyone if they knew where they might be. I found them, points down, in a pencil holder at the receptionist desk and will never forget what she said to me as long as I live. “They don’t even cut paper very well, I don’t know why you are so hysterical.”
This is because I am left–handed. Left–handed shears don’t cut anything while using the right hand. I was so shocked that I never even said anything and developed the habit of carrying my shears back and forth to work which has continued to this day. I am tragically left–handed, my right hand is a useless flap with fingers, and the choices for shears was slim to none at that time.
Many right–handed people don’t understand that lefty shears are not just right–handed shears that you turn around. Many still believe that if there is a pinky rest on both sides of the finger holes, it can serve both hands. This could not be farther from the truth. Lefty shears are an exact mirror of right–handed shears. The action of opening and closing the shear itself depends on the pressure of the thumb. Many lefty groomers have ruined their wrists by using right–handed shears with their left hand. Many a teacher has started a lefty groomer off with the incorrect information that the student need only to learn how to scissor with their right hand or erroneously, “turn the shear around”.
Much knowledge and information is now available through scissor classes and certification programs. There are even ways to measure your hand to help you pick out the correct shank length so that you will be able to comfortably groom for many years to come.
Today you can find more of a selection of tools that serve Lefties than ever before. There are also rakes and mat splitters that can be taken apart and re–assembled for use with the left hand. A bonus of being left–handed for me is that nail clippers are made in such a way that my left hand sets the cutting edge where I can see it, so nail trims are quick, close and painless.
There are still shears that are available to the right–handed consumer that Lefties will never have. The Unicorn and Dragon handles, alas, cannot be manufactured for so small of a population. I covet them from afar. There are lovely shears that can be had for a price though, and I recommend purchasing the best shear you can afford and start saving up for the better one immediately. I waited twenty years to get the top of the line models and the only thing I regret is not buying them sooner! The ease with which they open and close and the smoothness of the trim is testimony enough that I made the right choice.
For all of you Lefties out there who lament about the selection of shears, don’t lose heart. There are now affordable starter sets all the way up to the luxury models to choose from. Perhaps a manufacturing angel will hear our pleas for fancy shear sets with glittering jewels. If not, we will always have the insider secret about our left–handed combs. Happy scissoring! ✂