Friday, January 15, 2010

There IS such a thing as a dumb question

Do y'all have the same mom?

An old, Southern man interrupted our dinner this week to point at my sister, Joy, and ask me, “Are you ‘kin to her?”
“Yes,” I said. A polite smile. “Yes, we are twins.”

While the rest of our dinner party laughed aloud oh, yes, haha, of course you are twins with your same blonde hairstyles! What a funny old man! Joy and I didn’t bat an eye.

This exchange was nothing new. After almost 27 years, everywhere we go, strangers approach us in public to point out that we are, in fact, twins.

Some people get so excited about it, like it’s a big secret they had just discovered.
“Are y’all TWIIIIIINS?” exclaim many excited grocery store cashiers (who always want to get our first names and squeal when they hear that they both begin with the letter J).

“Ya’ll are twins right? You know, I thought y’all looked like twins,” said a gas station attendant in Nowhere, Alabama on a long drive from New Orleans to Charleston.
“You know, I have a frieeend and we loook alike and when she borrows mah clothes to go into town, people think we’re twins.”
Oh that’s fun, we said. Really great.

Other people use it as a pick up line.
“You are one of the twins, right??” Joy was asked as she left the stage from singing karaoke last night.
“Where’s your sister?”
“Who are you?”
“I own the liquor store next to the Food Lion. I remember you were both in there the other week. Vodka right??”

Another fine stranger, terribly drunk, stopped us on our way out of a bar a long time ago and flung his arms around each of us, hanging in the middle like a monkey.
“So, yur’vre telling me that if I date one of you and then I date the ofther one of you, then I wun’t know the differenss?” he asked, slurring.
“That’s very hypothetical,” Joy said, as we slinked out from under his arms.

Joy and her ex-boyfriend, who I took a college class with, even started dating after he mistakenly thought she was me and struck up a conversation.

Some people get “freaked out” by twins.
“You know, every set of twins I’ve ever known have been weird,” people have told us. “They’ve got, like, weird hands or something.” (This is also a big thing, people like to tell us how many other sets of twins they know...from elementary school.)

“Every person in the whole world has different DNA!,” exclaimed Joy’s LSU professor in a 300-person lecture class. The poor man was trying to pump some life into a generally boring subject.
“Imagine!” he said. “Every single person has different DNA…except for identical twins.”
“Ew,” Joy heard a sorority girl say from two rows behind her.

By far the most absurd part of the whole twin thing is the dumb twin questions we get.
Are you ready for this?
The number one most common question we get about being twins is:

“Do you have the same mom?”

I am not joking. People — adults! — are actually curious about this.
To make it worse, that question is usually followed with, “Do you have the same dad?”
Is this an indication of the failure of our schools? Did a large percentage of the population miss the lesson about human biology?

“We have the same mom, dad and brother,” we say. “We are just like sisters, only we were born at the same time.”
“Wait, so y’all were born on the same day??”

One unfortunate gas station attendant in New Orleans still holds top honors for Dumbest Twin Comment Of All Time.
She noticed that we were twins, despite the fact that I had dyed my hair red that summer.
“Y’all are twins?” she asked us.
“But you have blonde hair and you have red hair,” she observed.
Before we could answer, she exclaimed, “Oh, y'all must have different dads.”


To be fair, not all twin questions are dumb. But people just have burning questions about it - Do you like the same food?, Can your friends tell you apart?
The more intelligent commonly asked questions are:

1.) Who’s older?
2.) By how much?
3.) Can your parents tell you apart?
4.) Even from the back?
5.) Have you ever dated the same guy?
6.) Have you ever switched classes?
7.) Can you feel each other’s pain, like if Joy burns her hand, does your hand hurt too?
8.) Do you have a secret language?
9.) Did your parents dress you alike when you were younger?
10.) Are you the good twin or the bad twin?

My favorite question to date, asked by a five-year-old boy when Joy and I were camp counselors was, “Do you ever wake up in the morning and think you are your twin by accident?”
“Not that I know of,” I said.

But, aside from the nuisance of dealing with often incompetent, yet curious strangers, I highly recommend being a twin. I'm actually convinced that it's the reason why we are overly social and outgoing people.
The cure for shyness! Being forced to make small talk with strangers on a daily basis!

But seriously, with a twin, you always have someone to talk to, borrow clothes from, bitch at about life without needing to apologize later and generally find the same things funny. Like dumb twin questions.
You just have to learn to be able to share birthday presents. We do have the same birthday after all.


1 comment:

  1. i love this blog post! so well put in every way. keep 'em coming.


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