Friday, January 15, 2010

Twindom: Questions answered. Myths revealed.

Recently, when Heather and I were traveling together with our family, we were approached by our fair share of complete strangers with the ever-popular (and way overdone) twin questions. Over the years, our identical twin status has created an abundance of questions, assumptions, and interesting comments. So today, I respond to the more common (and more annoying) questions we often get. It's my good deed for twins everywhere who no longer wish to answer them.

Are you two twins? [Usually spoken by complete strangers who have been staring at us since we walked into view.] Our preferred sarcastic response is, “No, we’re just good friends.” I'd sometimes like to add, “and if you want to ogle over multiples, go find Jon and Kate’s sextuplets.” And so help me God, if the questioner responds with anything close to, “Oh how cute!” they may be physically injured.

What’s it like being a twin? Um, well, it’s like having a sibling who's the same age as you. I don’t know what else people want me to say here. I don’t know anything different. Sorry to disappoint everyone who asks.

Do you read each other’s minds, feel each other’s pain, or have your own special language? We have no special powers of any kind. But, like any two people who know each other well, we’ve finished each other’s sentences from time to time and can pretty easily tell when the other is having a bad day (I can usually sense Heather’s mood in her first word upon answering the phone). And feeling another’s pain? Not in the physical sense. But again, when someone you are close to is hurting, don’t you sort of feel their pain in an emotional way? I guess that’s how it is for us…it’s nothing supernatural.

Do you dress alike? Now, why would that be cute at age 30? Sure we dressed alike when we were three and it was cute. But today, any like dressing is purely by accident. In fact, we often notify each other of our clothes choices in advance if we’re going to be together – just so we don’t dress alike (lest it lead to any of those previously mentioned “oh how cute” comments).

Did you ever play tricks on people? I can understand this question, because it has the potential to lead to some entertaining stories. But alas, we were never the trick-playing types. However, we have been unintentionally mistaken for each other numerous times, and it has created some awkward moments. Our close friends and family have never been fooled though (except for my 99-year-old grandma, who has never been able to tell us apart).

We might whine about the questions that come with being a twin, but I think we've got a pretty great thing going. We have a unique friendship and sisterhood that, frankly, can’t be understood by anyone else. We wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s mostly a blessing (rarely a curse), and it’s what God intended, so we do our best to embrace it. Just don’t say to either one of us "Hey, I know this girl who looks just like you" and then hysterically laugh at yourself for your "witty" comment. We're so over it!


  1. I love your answer to the question what’s it like being a twin? I have always LOVED being the friend of twins! I do get frustrated when people can't tell you apart though. I've known you guys so long you don't really look alike anymore (I mean you look similar, I guess).

  2. I can tell you apart so no problem here. One foolproof way for me would be to just say hello, and if it is Jen I will get a smile and a hearty greeting. If it is Heather, I guess I would get a smile and a hello in return, but with a quizzical look of "who is this guy" since I think I have met Heather maybe once.

    Also, if she is walking and holding hands with Phil, pretty good bet it is Jen.

  3. Totally relate with everything you wrote here. Especially the "Do you dress alike". To this day if we are going to the same place Brad will ask me what I am wearing so we don't match. Best twin story ever was when a waitress looked at the birth date of my ID and 5 seconds later looked at the birth date of Brad's ID and asked "Are you two brothers?" I looked at her with a blank look of shock and disappointment.


  4. Oh Jeff, that's too funny. Some people are so clueless. It's comforting to hear that you and Brad deal with some of the same annoyances.