Wednesday, August 15, 2012

More on identical twins

(No idea who is who in this!)
I’m amazed I have forgotten so many things about being a twin. After my last post I started remembering some more common things people say to twins (and some of our common responses). It seems people have a twin fascination so I thought I’d share them as well.
1. *”Are you twins or sisters?”
“Both!” (People always had a puzzled look after this one)
2. “Are you guys twins?”
“No, we’re identical cousins -- Our dads are twins so we are identical cousins.”
“Oh, that explains it!” or “Wow, I could have thought you were twins.”
Or, “No, no we never met until we were at this summer camp and all of our friends said we looked alike. She didn’t like me very much so she cut my skirt and I put a bunch of honey and bugs in her cabin…” (ala “Parent Trap movie, funny what people will believe!)
3. “Wow, are you guys EXACTLY alike?”
“We’re similar but different.” Twins aren’t ever exactly alike. We even have different fingerprints (although we share DNA).
4. “How do you tell each other apart?”
“It’s easy, because each we wake up each morning and decide who is going to be who that day!”
Honestly, we never felt like we looked very much alike. It isn’t hard for us to see our differences. That’s why it can be weird to see pictures and sometimes be confused.
5. “Are you identical or fraternal?”
This isn’t an overtly funny question, but it is very common (and can get old) and sometimes people like to argue about it. I wonder why they even ask if they “know the answer.” It’s usually something like, “No, you aren’t identical because you have a mole there and she doesn’t!” We know we are identical so we really aren’t taking a vote or poll, no matter how hard you insist upon it.
This doesn’t apply to us, but I know a lot of boy-girl twins also get this question. Funny!
6. “Which one are you?”
I liked this response found at another website sited below: “This is an offensive question to twins. It diminishes them as individuals. They're not simply one of a pair. Most twins genuinely understand if you mix up their identities, as long as you make an attempt to recognize their individuality. Rather than saying, "Which one are you?", a preferable alternative would be to say, ‘Forgive my ignorance. I get confused because you look so much alike. Are you (insert name here) or (insert name here)?"’
This was so true! I so craved to be called my name growing up because it so rarely happened outside of my home. And more than that, just to know people had an idea who I was made a big difference. Being called, “Hey you,” or “Twin” my whole life, I wanted to know I had an identity and being called “Amber” meant you at least knew the options.
7. “What’s it like being a twin?”
“What’s it like NOT being a twin?” This was always a puzzling question – I never quite knew how to respond. What is it like to be a single-birth person?
8. “When is your birthday (right after asking hers)?
Me: blank stare
9. “Where’s your twin?” or “Do you feel pain when she is in pain?” or “Can you read each other’s minds?”
“Sorry, she must be out of range right now. The ESP only goes so far.”
(The dimples are still a dead give-away)
Other things people say to twins:
“I wish I had a twin (esp if you add in …to do my homework, chores, etc)” Please just don’t say the alternate version, “I wish I had another ME running around.”
Some people really don’t seem to understand that twins are two separate people who happen to look a lot alike.
“Look, we’re twinners!” When wearing the same color shirt or some other minor coincidence.
“No, no we’re not.”
“You’re lucky you don’t need other friends, you have a built in best friend.”
While this is kind of true, we still felt lonely (even when together!).
“We wanted to choose you for this award, but couldn’t decide which one of you to choose so we gave it to someone else.”
It’s a little sad not being selected for things simply because you are a twin. I always wanted Amber to win.
“I’ll never be able to tell you guys apart so I’ll call you “the twins.”
It would be nice to try…or ask. I guess I wont worry about learning your name, either.
Here are a few websites I found with very similar experiences if you are interested in how to prevent twin faux pas:


Joe'n'Jess said...

i feel like i'm getting a small taste of my future. its funny to me that people crave to have something special about them. being/having twins is an anomaly so people are drawn to it and wish they were part of it-because they think it's special. but the fact is that when you are IN the situation, it's just one part of your normal existance. the only thing that makes it special to you is having to explain it to everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Nice post, which one of you is older? Is the red shirt one older? Just asking because I've noticed that usually the one who's got rounder face is the first born of identical twins.