On October 29th, 1999, my parents were excited to be given two babies instead of one — my brother and I. Being a twin is something I've always been proud of since its kind of a special thing. Having a twin means having a built-in playmate, always having someone to talk to, and having a forever best friend. However, being a twin also comes with the fact that a lot of people don't understand what it's like to end a twin which causes many strange, sometimes ridiculous questions.
Are you two identical?
This is a question I got a lot while I was in grade school and high school. When kids would find out that I was a twin the first question they would ask was if we were identical or not.
However, my twin and I are fraternal, male/female twins. One look at us it’s clear that we’re not identical. What surprises me the most is that sometimes ask me this question while Brendan and I are standing together. In response, I usually just kinda motion between Brendan and I and shake my head.
Are you guys actually twins?
Throughout all of elementary and middle school, there were kids who fully didn't believe my brother and I were twins. They were convinced that a boy and a girl couldn't be twins. These kids believed that we were siblings, just that it was impossible for us to be twins.
This was extremely annoying for us in our childhood. While teachers tried to help these kids understand that we were actually twins, there was always at least one kid who didn't believe.
If I punch him, can you feel it?
This is a question that I got a lot in high school. I don't know where the theory that twins can feel each other's pain comes from, or if it's true in some pairs of twins, but in our case, no I can't feel it if you punch him.
Yet, being the punk I am, I would usually respond to this question with an “Oh, I'm not sure! Why don't you punch him in the arm and we can test that?"
Brendan never liked that question.
Can you read each other’s mind?
This question usually comes right after the question “if I punch him, can you feel it?"
The answer to this question is yes, obviously. My brother and I can absolutely telepathically communicate. We never have to text each other the “how are you" text messages because I can hear all of his thoughts.
This comes in handy when we're in a group and someone we dislike is talking because we can just talk crap to each other in our heads.
It also came in handy in high school, because we could help each other through tests.
When’s your birthday? When’s his birthday?
This is a question that I've gotten sometimes after I told someone that I was a twin. It's almost like a test they try to put me through to see if I can get caught up in a lie.
Sometimes, this question is asked by someone who knows that my brother and I are twins but just has a brain fart.
For example, I had a teacher once who asked me this question. This was a teacher who had had both my brother and I. He knew we were twins but still asked the question after a class discussion about our families.
Are you two dating?
This is a question that a kid asked Brendan and me in high school. He wasn't aware that we were siblings, but he saw that we were together often. It was a shock to hear him ask us that question but it was so funny afterward to have to explain to him that we twins and not dating.
It isn't a question we've been asked often but every time it is asked, we have a good laugh.
Overall, I kind of enjoy answering questions about what it's like to be a twin, even the ones that seem a little silly. It helps inform people who aren't twins what it's like to have that special connection.