Well, these past few days have actually been pretty eventful. As some of you may know, that’s because every year from August 3rd to the 5th is know as Twins Day. Every year since 1976 there’s a ginormous gathering of twins in the city of Twinsburg, Ohio. And as even less of you know, I myself am an identical twin. Yep, you might’ve seen some pictures in the gallery and thought I just had a similar-looking brother (that has happened before, by the way). But I am indeed a twin, and as identical as they can get.
Now, the one major thing that comes with being a twin is something that becomes apparent at a very early age for most. All the time, when meeting someone and they find out you’re a twin, a specific battery of questions is bound to follow. Not that it bothers me–most of the time–it’s just that it’s the same exact questions every time. And some of these questions are so asinine that I physically groan every time I’m asked them. Of course, I always try to answer out of respect for their curiosity, but still, I sometimes cannot help but to be annoyed. Here are the most common questions that I and my twin brother have always been asked, answered with honest and candid responses from my point of view.
What’s it like being a twin?
Now, it took me a good while to understand this question. “But what’s it like though? Having another actual copy of you running around”. And at first, it didn’t make sense to me. What did they mean “what’s it like”? They’re just there. I literally don’t even think about it half the time. I couldn’t comprehend why people thought it was so monumental and life-changing that there’s somebody who looks like me. But then I gave it some thought. I’ve been a twin for my entire life; they’ve been a twin for none of it, and they never will be. Something unique and relatively uncommon is something bound to ask questions. And while it may seem normal to me, it raises a lot of honest questions from others who haven’t experienced it. So I’m more understanding.
Honestly, there’s only one good answer to this. Just imagine for a second that you have a sibling. Now imagine that the sibling is the exact same age as you. Now imagine that that sibling looks pretty similar to you. That’s exactly what it’s like. It’s not like a mirror-image, carbon copy. Step into a futuristic cloning machine, and what comes out will NOT be a twin. A twin is a completely separate person with a completely separate personality. When you look at your twin, it’s not like looking at a mirror. We’re “two and the different”, as I’ll put it.
There’s only one intrinsic benefit of being a twin that I can think of. At any stage of life that you’re in, you have someone else there with you alongside you, that’s always been alongside you, and that is also in that exact same life stage. Because of this, twins have some of the strongest and unbreakable bonds there is. That’s the part that I’m most grateful for.
Which one is older?
Well, in my case, I’m the older one. My younger twin brother, Travis, was born 5 minutes after me.
This is one of the first questions people ask usually, and thinking about it, I don’t know why that’s the case. I mean, it’s not that important really; the time between the two is mostly insignificant.
The average length between twin births is about 17 minutes, although there are extremes. It can be as low as a few seconds due to c-sections, and can go up to 3 hours and beyond if the woman is having difficulty. The record, however, is 84 days, 87 depending on who you ask. That’s very rare and absolutely astonishing, though.
Which one is smarter?
This is one of the ones that I genuinely don’t like being asked. It’s not like we went and got our IQs tested just so we could tout the numbers during some meaningless icebreaker. What’s the point of even comparing that? Would you only ask questions to the smarter one? Would the dumber one seem like the weaker one? Subconsciously that’s probably it, so I usually just say “probably me” and we both have a laugh. But it’s truly a dumb question. The differences in our intelligence have just as much to do with each other as the same differences between us and any other person.
Which one is the good one?
This plays into the stereotype perpetuated often by TV, movies, and video games. The one that there’s a clear dichotomy between the personalities of the two twins, and that one is clearly the sweet, charming, and ultra super cool one, and the other is the dark, loner, secretly plotting to murder your family one. Sure, there have been some cases of people murdering their twins and stealing their identities, or one becoming a millionaire and the other becoming a felon. But all of that mostly stems from mythology and common tropes. The true differences in our personalities, and thus the decision as to which is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, is so very subjective.
Which one gets more girls?
We get this one a lot, and it’s so stupid that I’m not going to dignify it with a response.
Do you guys ever switch places?
Eh, it varies. I’ve heard various stories of other twins doing things like switching places with their twin during a date or messing with rarely seen family members. There are some heavily fictional parts, though. People say that I’m lucky cause if I don’t want to take a math test then I can tag him in. Even if that could work, which it probably couldn’t, if I wouldn’t want to take a math test then he probably wouldn’t want to either.
Do you feel each other’s pain? Do you read each other’s minds?
This one is debatable. There have been studies suggesting minor links between the mindsets of some sets of identical twins. But that’s often greatly exaggerated in people’s minds for some reason. Shoot Travis in the foot while I’m not there and I literally won’t feel a thing. If you’re talking about emotionally, though, that’s definitely a thing. It’s pretty psychological; being around someone so closely linked to you makes your emotions pretty much in tune.
Do you complete each other’s sentences/say things at the same time?
This is the only one on here that’s pretty much completely true. I see it happen a lot with others, and personally, it happens with me and Travis a lot. Several times a week, one of us will be saying something and the other will be like “I was just thinking that!”, Or one will start saying something and the other might finish the rest. It’s a lot rarer, but we do say stuff at the same time a lot. Mostly it’s when people ask a question directed at both of us, and we both reply with the same thing at the same time. But it can be other things too, like both of us yawning at the same time or having the same reaction to a funny part in a movie. It may seem like I’m exaggerating though, so other twins, feel free to weigh in.
I wish I were a twin.
Honestly? You don’t, really. I don’t mean that it’s hell on Earth, but you gotta believe me, you really do get used to it. If you somehow became a twin right now, the novelty would wear off in at least a month, then your life would become boring again.
(in some cases) why don’t you have similar names?
That’s just a cliche that a lot of parents do. Some do and some don’t, but I most certainly prefer the latter. It causes confusion and is more of a novelty sorta thing. I knew two twins where one was named Alexis and the other was named Alexa. God knows how I could possibly tell them apart. If they didn’t walk together the whole time I would’ve thought they were the same person. It’s all in the parenting.
So as you can see, being a twin can cause a lot of social pressure at first meeting. Kinda like living in Los Angeles or being albino or something; people just don’t know, so they ask. Not that it’s impolite, we’re just blasé. So if you see a twin again now, or you’re thinking about that one time you passed a pair of twins and said “I’m seeing double!”, Don’t feel bad; feel aware.