The Most Annoying Things I Get Asked As A Twin
When you’re a twin, it’s like being in some elite club -- exclusive, pretty difficult to get into, and everybody wants to join.
But if, like me, you’re a member, you'll already know it’s not dramatically different from being part of the general public.
I knew from a very young age that I was a twin -- not that I recall anybody actually telling me, but I clued in after hearing my mother constantly asked the question: "Are they twins?" Followed by her consistent reply: “Yes, they are!”
Yet, unremarkable as it may be most days (there are still times when 'twinship’ still manages to surprise me), non-twins seem enthralled by those of us who are members of this exclusive little crew.
One of the most annoying things about being a twin is being asked, “What’s it like being a twin?”
I don't know because, of course, I’ve never experienced a life any different. It’s a little like being -- devastatingly -- colour blind. I’ve never experienced the world in vibrant hues, so the fact that, for me, some shades of green look brown is just normal.
I’ve always had my twin brother close by and just assumed that everybody else had a twin, too. My first cousins are twins and my grandfather is an identical twin, so the concept was never unusual for me.
It wasn’t until I went to school and was hit with a barrage of questions that I realised most people are fascinated by twins.
“Do you feel each other’s pain?” they’d ask. (The only time I’ve felt the same pain as my twin would be if, during a fight, I hit him and he exacted revenge by hitting me back.)
Other popular questions I frequently field include:
“Were you ever forced to wear the same clothes?”
(No. Although when we were toddlers, my mum would sometimes dress us in the same colours.)
“Why don’t you look the same?”
(We’re fraternal, as are most twins. Identical twins are rare. My grandfather is a ‘mirror twin’ the rarest of all.)
Being a twin is more than simply having a sibling who's the same age as you. It’s a way to view your life through another person’s perspective. You’ve grown up side-by-side and had identical experiences from birth, but the way you both handle those experiences can be worlds apart.
The twin connection is so unique, there’s no other that’s quite the same in any other relationship. No matter what, my twin and I always have each other’s back.
When people ask, “Can you talk to each other telepathically?” I feel like answering, “Yes!” -- because we understand each other to such a point there's no other way to explain it.
Others think that having a twin is like a best friend who just happens to be related to you. But it's crucial to know that, like all siblings, we argue. We always manage to find the smallest things to fight over we just know that ‘one word’ to set each other off. I think part of being a twin is the fighting. We’re naturally born to fight for our individuality, particularly when it comes to voicing our opinions in a world that classifies us as the same person.
There are downsides to being a twin, of course.
It’s impossible not to be competitive. Neither of us want to be known as the 'lesser twin' or the ‘not-as-good twin.’ Twins have no choice but to compete with each other, as your peers constantly ask, “Are you better than him at this?” or “Which one of you is the smartest?” As a twin, you’re put in a state of constant competition. This makes it impossible to just hang out with friends as everything you do is monitored, contributing to the seemingly endless race between you and your twin.
It’s not that we try to outdo each other; it’s just that neither of us wants to be known as the second best.
I’m grateful to be a twin because, from beginning pre-school together to finishing high school together, we’ve always been a team and have never had to go through the difficult stuff alone. And our differences make our friendship a lot stronger.
But the most infuriating thing you can ask any twin? “Who’s older?” Followed up with this question to the shorter twin (who happens to also be the older one, like me: “If he's taller, how are you older?”