LaughLines: Double Trouble: My Twin, My Self

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I’m a twin, and while I love my sister Deborah very much — she’s the older twin, by the way – being a “multiple” comes with its own share of problems, the least of which are the “twin questions.”

Are you really identical?

I can’t claim that our moles and freckles are all in the exact same locations but, yes, we’re genetically identical. Same sets of chromosomes. For the medically informed, that means one egg, one sperm. For the dopes, that means the same stork dropped us off.

We look alike, certainly, and the same hairdo helps. Once every few years, I cut my hair short in a vain attempt at individuality, but it grows back and we get the same looks at the store or out to dinner. We have noticed (okay, I’ve noticed) that my twin has more gray hair than I do. Did I mention she’s the older twin?

Our combined weight pretty much stays the same – it just migrates between the two of us. So when I was pregnant, she was skinny, and when I was thinner, she was fatter. Must have something to do with the Einstein theory of matter not being created or destroyed. Could also be Fat Twin never leaves enough food around for Skinny Twin.

Do you have ESP?

Sorry, we don’t have strange vibes, dreams or premonitions. I can’t tell when she’s in danger or even in a bad mood. No goose-bumpy moments tied to being twins, but I can tell you she used to get awfully upset when we went bar-hopping in college and the bouncers would card us. Worse, when they carded me, and not her (did I tell you she’s older?).

Sure, we occasionally wear the same thing – but then again, who doesn’t wear jeans and a t-shirt to a family barbecue? And when you’re a certain age and a certain weight, black pants are a uniform, not a fashion choice, so do we have ESP? Sure, if it comes with the good sense to know what makes you look fat (“I see . . . saddle bags in your future! . . . oooo”).

We wore the same outfits in grade school, which drove the nuns batty (or, should I say, battier?). My poor kid sister ended up with two sets of hand-me-downs, and we’re talking the ‘70s here – so two sets of really ugly clothes.

Do you play tricks on people?

We didn’t try to fool people in grammar school, for fear of our lives (see reference to batty nuns), and no, we didn’t in high school, since the only thing worse than a teen identity crisis is realizing that no one knows who you are anyway.

Did we date each other’s boyfriends?

Ha! ha! Gotcha! – in college? Yipes. She went for short, funny cute guys (think Richard Dreyfuss) and I went for (okay, tried for) the tall, athletic types (think Tom Selleck). Who did we end up marrying? Her husband Keith is short, funny and cute – and a lot older, given that she’s the older twin, right? — and my husband Matt is tall and athletic. And no swapping to date.

Can your husbands tell you apart?

I said no swapping. She’s been married 25 years, I’ve been married 20 years. Sure, I sometimes call her house and her husband think it’s her, but that’s a voice on the phone. Even with the lights out, I’d like to think my husband knows it’s me.

And if he’s still not sure, I’d be happy to turn on the lights and do a quick headcount of my gray hairs. After all – I am the younger twin.

About Cate Drew

I’m on the high side of 40, with three dogs, two teens and one husband, living in a small New England town in a house that’s never quiet. Ever. It’s not that I have a really colorful life – I just tend to write colorfully about it. And there’s plenty of material: marriage to the Man of a Thousand Bad Ideas,.. my mom, who moved Dad’s coffin closer to the street six months after he died so she could visit his grave as a kind of drive-up window…our dog posse…our kids…lots of siblings and in-laws, former co-workers, old boyfriends -- they’re all here. Toss in 14 years of Catholic school and you’ve got a lot of guilt, too. Which reminds me: forget “high side of 40.” I’m 51, damnit.