Growing Up Twin

Well if there was one question I got a lot of growing up, it was ‘what’s it like being a twin?” I thought I was pretty clever when I came up with the equally rhetorical answer, “What’s it like NOT to be a twin?” 40 years into it, I’m not sure if I have a better answer, but I guess if so many people want to know, it must be a blog worthy subject. Here are some other FAQs that brought my sister and I to eye rolling exhaustion, and the best answers I can provide.

How do I tell you guys apart?

Sibling rivalry. It’s probably right up there with the Oedipal Complex as far as things that will surely f*** you up later in life. Yet it was this question that caused people to dissect our features as we stood side by side smiling blankly. They looked at our hair, eyes, noses, weight, height, temperament. Each comparison fell upon us like some kind of victory or defeat… your nose turns up more, your hair is curlier, you smile more, you’re a little heavier… until, as my sister said, we wanted to disappear.

Do you know it’s every guys sexual fantasy to do it with twins?

Apparently this is a thing. However, I have sexual fantasies too and none of these involve my twin sister, thank you very much. But guys would try, oh how they would try, leading more often than not, to their own embarrassment, no matter what they may have told their friends. It’s okay. I give them an A for effort. Wasn’t there a punk song where the lyrics were ‘What Would You Do If I Said Yes’ about what would happen if a guy doled out one of his lame pickup lines and a girl actually took him up on it? Maybe these guys should have listened to that song.

But the truth was, despite all the male attention we got, dating was very difficult. After all, the guys all knew I already had a date for Saturday night…. my sister. And breaking that date would definitely lead to hurt feelings. And that was only for the boys who got through the first obstacle which was to dare to tell us apart, a rare feat not achieved by many people in general and I don’t think many even cared to try.

And there are so, so many more. If I hit her, will you feel it? Have you ever dated the same guy? Do you ever play tricks on people? (Why bother? No one knows us apart anyway.) Are you left handed and her right? (An odd phenomenon called mirror twins which we are not.) Are you identical or … (enter hear the word more than half the population can’t recall, FRATERNAL, and by the way, the answer was so obvious!!) All equally inane questions linking my sister and I together in a way that can never be altered. (Oh, and by the way, it’s a set of twins, not two twins which would then be four people.)

So yes, being a twin robs you or your individuality. Being a twin puts you in a spotlight, when there are times you just want to hide. But while I can go on and on about the negative aspects of being a twin, it only takes a few words to tell you what it’s like to have someone who is always there for you, someone who completely gets you, someone who knows what you’re thinking to the point where speech is not necessary. If you had someone like that, they would be your soul mate. If you had someone like that, they would be the love of your life. And in so many ways, that is what my sister is to me.

11 thoughts on “Growing Up Twin

    • You know, it’s funny. My mother always encouraged us to be best friends which was a great gift in a lot of ways because there were so many things I shared with my twin that I don’t think I could ever share with another person. But it was also a downfall because we just got too close and that lead to a lot of rivalries. I think it would have been helpful if we were taught to be best friends but still had certain things that were our own. For instance, extracurricular classes that we took separately, just so we had a little more of a sense of individuality.

      • That sounds reasonable. Separate extracurricular activities sounds like a good idea. Also I just learned apparently there’s a law in New York that twins can’t be in the same class at school (thought it was funny there was actually a law about it!). Of course, avoiding rivalry with any siblings is difficult.

  1. Really? I went through the NYC public school system and was in the same class as my sister in 4th, 5th and 6th grade on account that we both made the IGC program (Intellectually Gifted). I’m sure a lot has changed since then, but there are probably still gifted classes. I wonder what happens now if both twins qualify.

  2. Hey–my kids are identical twins! I seriously doubt that law in NY thing–sounds like an urban legend. It’s not so in PA–one daughter just changed her schedule because the dipsticks in the guidance office scheduled both her art classes in the first semester and loaded her with study halls in the second. The resulting schedule change put her in 7 of 9 classes with her sister, who promptly retreated to her room and cried for an hour. They are very close, but both tire of people not be able–usually for lack of trying–to see them as individuals. They find it to be a real litmus test of how much people really like them, whether those people can tell them apart or not.

    • Wow! I’m sorry that they are feeling this so strongly about this so early on in their lives. One thing I would say, if I may, is that they shouldn’t view people’s response to them as a litmus test of how much they like them. I think the fact that people do not take the time to learn the difference between them is much more of a reflection on the person, then it is on how they feel about your daughters. If they are not taking the time to differentiate between your twins, they probably don’t pay attention to a lot of other details in their lives, whether it pertains to other people or not and your daughters shouldn’t take it personally.

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