“Double Trouble!” passing kids shrieked while their parents asked mine about dealing with double everything. No wonder my mother forced us into matching overalls and matching pink hair bows—yeah, my twin and I looked adorable, but it made life easier. The predictable questions didn’t stop there. Clichés filled our lives even as we reached adulthood and chances are, you’ve asked your friendly neighborhood twins these questions too.
1. Who’s the smart twin?
This question forces me to choose between two unappealing answers. The first insinuates that I wholeheartedly believe in my sister’s incompetence. Why don’t you just give me a pedestal right then and there so I can climb to the highest step and look down at her? Better yet, if I choose Option B, I resort myself to proclaiming, “Yes, I belong in the second grade.” Nothing beats knowing you bet only one of us will complete a high school education.
2. Can you, like, read each other’s minds?
Absolutely. We wrinkle our noses and think “Twin Telepathy” three times and our thoughts flow from brain to brain faster than the New York subway. The smart twin transmits algebra answers to the dumb twin so we both ace the test. Once we’re done, we telepathically ask each other why no one ever asks us if we can read minds. Don’t worry, we get it—we already defied the odds of nature by making that tiny egg split in two, so we belong in the next X-Men movie.
3. You’re a little fatter than your sister.
Despite your visceral need to compare every inch of our bodies, it’s still rude to stare at my midsection and analyze my body fat. I know we may look like the Grady twins from The Shining to you, but I swear our hearts still beat underneath each of our carbon-copied chests. How do you expect me to respond to this astute observation? Nothing really comes to mind other than to mutter a begrudging, “Yeah…I am,” or maybe, “Well, you’re fatter than your sister, too.”
4. Wait—stand still and next to each other.
Only if you give me 20 bucks. Seriously, if I’m going to be a museum exhibit, I might as well exploit my appeal, right? “Okay, put on your pretty face,” I think to myself as a stranger’s eyes scan my sister and me, searching for differences. The worst part involves deciding a face expression as I wait for her to complete their examination. Do I pose? Give a big, cheesy grin? I usually settle on faintly smiling at a spot on the wall just behind her head, like I’m dreaming about a Siberian Husky puppy or even better, the moment when this uncomfortable analysis will end.
5. It’s like talking to the same person!
Be honest—don’t you share some communicative similarities with your family, too? When the same parents raise you, you tend to pick up similar speaking habits, just like any other brother and sister. Besides, asking us this question makes it glaringly obvious you don’t consider us individuals. Maybe our inflections and general responses sound slightly alike, but from your 10-second, two-dimensional conversation, you’re not licensed to peg us as “the same person.” You might as well say, “Your personality is not unique,” punch me in the face and walk away.
6. Do you guys like, DO everything together?
Contrary to popular belief, my sister and I actively avoid the “freaky twin” phenomenon that affects a minority of twins, beckoning them to walk alike, talk alike and dress alike even into adulthood. We find this phenomenon sickening because it detracts from every inch of our individuality. Yes, we look alike. Yes, we might share similar interests, but we live different lives. Think of it this way: You don’t want to follow your sibling around from dawn to dusk and neither do we.
7. You don’t even need to look in a mirror!
We know you aren’t actually trying to diminish our existence to a reflection, but somehow we can’t help but take it that way. Your inference, while poorly worded, makes sense. Why wouldn’t I just look at my sister to see if that red bodycon dress makes my butt look good? Here’s a trade secret from the twin population—it doesn’t work that way. To your naive eyes we look alike, but to us, we look as different as the black and blue (I swear it’s white and gold) dress. We notice every small difference and imperfection. Sure, my sister’s butt looks awesome in that dress, but when I try it on and glimpse pancake city, I’ll turn around and tell her, “Man, I wish I looked as good as you do in this dress.”
8. Did you guys switch classes in school?
This question usually arises from the people whose only perception of twins come from the Mary-Kate and Ashley movies or Disney Channel’s Sister, Sister. Yes, Tia asked Tamera to go on that date for her after discovering a huge pimple, but real life really isn’t that simple. Those who take the time to get to know twins know how to tell them apart, so switching places in school would miserably fail. Aside from the rare jokesters who use their twin-ship for a good laugh, I actually liked school as a kid and I didn’t want to give up a portion of my daily life for the sake of confusing people. Besides, I fooled all kinds of people in every day life on accident, so I sure as hell didn’t want to do it on purpose.
9. Do you have the same taste in men?
Let’s imagine for a second that I meet you, shake your hand and say, “Hello, what kind of men do you prefer?” While still trying to compose myself over this extremely direct question, I attempt to awkwardly compare my past dating conquests to my sister’s. My identity as a twin does not correlate to my dating preferences in any way. If the previous men in my life somehow share characteristics with those of my sister’s, this is pure coincidence. The fact of the matter remains, you share similar dating preferences with plenty of other people on this earth, but none of those people share your DNA. Why, then, should my DNA even be a factor?
10. If you get punched in the face, does her face hurt too?
Despite your predictable, identity-lumping questions, we know you seek the purest of intentions. Yes, we admit it, being a twin is cool. But here’s something you don’t know—it’s worth it. All the stereotypes and misconceptions in the world can’t take away the gift of my twin. I have an automatic kidney donor match and a built-in best friend and I wouldn’t trade this blessing for the world.