A coworker today told me she expecting twins. I congratulated her and I wish her family the best. But now that all the congratulating is done and I am sitting and thinking to myself about being a twin, I have to say I feel sorry for the little fetuses. I feel sorry for them because I am a twin myself and would not wish it on anyone. Sorry to my fraternal twin who happens to be the one person I know for sure reads my blog. No insult intended. Really. Let me explain.
Being a twin means a life time of being treated like one half of a person instead of as your own person.
I have lost count of how many times someone has said something stupid like “I wish I was a twin. That would be so cool. We would do everything together” or “When your sister broke her arm did you feel it?” or “Can you read each others minds?” or “Which one of you is older?” or “You are twins, why don’t you dress a like or like the same stuff or think the same?”. These questions are all totally ridiculous and are based on silly assumptions and pre-conceived expectations of what twins should be like. These assumptions and preconceived expectations of what twins should be then got forced onto us.
I remember kids in school being upset with us for not conforming to what their idea of what twins should be. I remember friend’s parents also being disappointed by us not filling their arbitrary expectations. People would line us up to compare us to see how similar we are, but couldn’t be bothered to learn the differences so they could tell us apart later. People expected that because we were twins we should dress like we are the same person, that we should eat the same, have the same hair etc. People seemed to equate having a twin to the cartoon episode where some genius kid makes a clone of himself to do his homework and clean his room for him so he can goof off. (That would be just so cool. I totally planned being a twin from birth so I could use my twin as carbon copy slave and fool all those normals.) Ergo they treat us like one person when we are two.
If friends and parents were bad, teachers were worse. I didn’t get fair treatment in school until I went to a separate school all together from my sister. Even changing schools does not really solve the problem because that only means teachers couldn’t confuse us. At home neighbors and friends still couldn’t be bothered to differentiate. I have never truly been treated like one complete person until I left home for university where no one knew I had a twin unless I told them.
Some twins choose to embrace the “twin” in twins. I have known several sets of twins who loved to play their similarities up for all it was worth and deliberately fulfill people’s expectations. This is their choice of course. They are free to do as they like. But seeing other twins do that always burned me up. (It still does.) When they did that it made it that much harder for my sister and I to be treated like two people instead of two halves. This kind of behavour fueled people’s misconceptions about twins.
Personally I find this inability for people to differentiate between the two of us to be truly pathetic and indicative of an innate human laziness.