When I was nineteen, I went with a group on a mission trip to Ireland. We spent a week doing a Vacation Bible School in Dublin, and then for the last few days there, we toured a bunch of castles. Most of our memories involve too much sitting and staring at the back of bus seats. In fact, I think some of my friends took pictures of the bus seats, so we would remember what the view looked like.
But in one of the castles, I distinctly remember a tour guide explaining something about invaders, stairways, and sword-fighting. He told us that the word “sinister” used to refer to someone who was left-handed, because most spiral staircases were built to impede invaders who were right-handed. Since the majority of people are right-handed, the stairway would turn in the direction that would give an advantage to righties coming DOWN, but not righties going UP. So, a “sinister” person was a left-handed invader, who could swing their sword properly in that stairwell, unlike most of his compatriots.
Now, before anyone starts correcting me on the origin behind the words “sinister” and “dexter”, I’m just trying to tell it to you, as I remember it. Since then, I’ve looked up the words, and know that isn’t all there is to it. Nowadays, these two words are just Latin terms that are mainly used in heraldry, to indicate which side of an escutcheon (the shield with a coat of arms on it) you’re dealing with.
I was thinking about this, recently, because I had finally ordered a new watch band for my old watch. That Casio watch of mine has been sitting on my shelf, for at least a year, waiting to be put back into use. I bought a cheapie from Walmart, just to hold me over, expecting it to get broken in pretty short order.
I generally buy guy’s watches that are waterproof and “excessively shock-proof”, because otherwise, I break them right off the bat. I kid you not, almost every time I get a decorative watch that isn’t labeled as shock-proof, I’ll hit it on a door frame and crack it. For some reason, my Walmart watch didn’t follow the pattern, but it must have been jealous of my getting a new watch for the Casio. Remember my “klutz day”? That was the day I received the new watch band in the mail, and also the day I cracked my cheapie watch. Oops.
Every once in a while, someone will ask me if I’m left-handed, and I’ll stare at them for a moment, in confusion. Then, I remember why they’re asking. You see, I’m right-handed, and I wear my watch on my right hand. Over the years, I have had people try and give me all sorts of arguments about why I should wear it on my left wrist, or why I’m just flat out doing it WRONG. Because if you’re right-handed, you HAVE to wear it on the LEFT side. Why? Just BECAUSE!
That kind of reasoning has never made any sense to me, and I assure you, I keep waiting for someone to give me a good reason to switch, even if I never intend to do so. Sure, I’ve worn out any number of watch bands, because of writing with that hand, and if I have to write a lot, I’ll sometimes take it off. But if you use that hand the most, it’s also the one that I automatically look at, to check the time.
When I got my first watch, when I was a kid, I’m sure I tried it on the left side, when people suggested it. But then I would still look on the right side for the time. I even remember what it looked like, with it’s pink lambskin band, connected with a snap, and little “diamonds” on the watch face. It took me until my thirties before I got a watch nearly as pretty for dress-up.
I took the time to do some research, curious what the “reasons” are that most people wear it on their less dexterous hand. It seems that back when you had to wind your watch regularly, you would use your best hand to wind the watch, so obviously you would wear it on the “off” hand. Some people say that if you have a fancy watch, you wear it on whichever hand you shake with, to show it off, but if it’s just an everyday watch, you keep it out of sight on the other.
And in this digital age, more and more people use their phones to check the time, and probably don’t even use their watches, even if they’re wearing them. But since I’m not much of a phone user, and don’t always know where it is, I have to have my watch. And I’m one of those people that HAS to know what time it is, even if I’m not a clock watcher. Now that my Casio is back in wearable order, I’ll even be able to read it in the dark. Glow-in-the-dark watches are awesome.
So, I’m back to wearing my big orange Casio watch. I love watches that are big, perhaps because my wrists aren’t thin and delicate like some girls. Little watches look ridiculous on me… and like I said before, they break easily. And yes, as you can see, it’s an analog watch. Why anyone would want to wear a digital watch, I’ll never know. What could be more beautiful than the hands moving round and round the face of a watch or clock? The only way to make it more fun would be to be able to wind it, like our grandfather clock.
I think this assumption about left-handedness and right-handedness with watches is starting to go by the wayside, but I still have some OCD friends who will still try and convince me that I am wearing it WRONG. Nope, in this case, however I want to wear it is the correct way, and you can’t convince me otherwise. So there.
P.S. Any idea how difficult it is to take a picture of your watch, while you’re wearing it, using a DSLR camera? I was using my left hand to take a picture of my right wrist, when I’m right-handed. But that still won’t convince me to switch which wrist I wear it on. : )