I am strangely proud of the fact that there is someone out there in the world that looks strikingly like me.
Fascinating as this may be to some people, typical “twin” questions are monotonous and predictable. Though one time someone actually asked me when my twin’s birthday was and if we were the same age, which was quite an enlightening detour into someone else’s befuddled confusion.
Evidently, “twin” takes some by surprise. However, casually mentioning “I have a twin” in any conversation inevitably inspires a series of time-honored, archaic questioning.
Question #1: Identical or Fraternal?
The degree of our alikeness seems to count greatly and must bear significantly on the hearts and minds of humans who ask this question almost instantly. Worse, I don’t even really know the answer. A few years ago, my mom told me that she doesn’t even know though doesn’t hesitate to tell anyone she meets that we are identical. Again, having an identical twin seems to infuse a superior aura of mystery and intrigue to the situation.
Question #2: Do you look a lot alike?
“Identical” pretty much gives it away. Bottom line, if one of us walked out of the room and the other walked in, you might be slightly suspicious but totally wouldn’t notice the difference. Unless, of course, you already know one of us very well. In which case, we hope you know the difference and would likely be extraordinarily offended if you didn’t.
Question #3: Have you ever switched places?
The parent-trap question. Deep down we probably all want to believe Lindsay Lohan successfully passed off the English accent and probably infected, pierced ears (sorry… I haven’t seen the original and yes, I love that movie).
In 3rd grade, my teacher convinced us to switch places for the first 10 minutes of the morning. I distinctly remember how foreign my twin’s classroom felt for those agonizingly long moments. And when my teacher came to rescue me, to pronounce triumphantly to my twin’s teacher that she had the wrong student, I was slightly embarrassed to be relieved of my twinly duty. Now that I think about it, I wonder if our teachers always struggled to tell the difference between us.
Question #4: Can you feel each other’s pain?
Really? Of course not. The night I went flying off the back of a motorcyle and snapped my wrist hardly affected my sister’s ability to hold a wine glass. Though what an eternal hell that would be if my twin felt the excruciating agony of every time I banged my shin against a well-placed, low-lying bed post or when I thought running a half marathon in Nike frees was a solid idea and had to spend an hour massaging my knee caps in preparation for any journey longer than standing up. Not to mention all those times my twin texts me to say she can’t feel her quads after Crossfit. We’d have some real ambulatory problems.
Question #5: Can you read each other’s minds?
Unfortunately, telepathy is not a naturally occurring phenomenon in womb-mates. Though we can easily read each other’s moods, still roll our eyes at our parents for all the same reasons, and summon the best “Wedding Crashers” or “Sex and the City” quotes for the (in)appropriate situation, my guess is this is probably similar to the relationship most siblings have who are close in age. Growing up together and sharing many of the same experiences creates a certain bond.
Question #6: Do you like having a twin?
At the end of the day, I don’t know what it’s like not having a twin. It’s more a theoretical question to which I cannot answer without quickly transcending into a parallel universe for a quick look at life without someone my same age, height, weight, and poor eyesight to grow up with.
Though I’d like to think most twins out there put there best “I’m-answering-this-question-for-the-millionth-time-but-let’s-egage-in-conversation-and-get-this-over-with” million-watt smile, we implore that ask us something else, please. We are two separate people.