Identical twins. A biological curiosity? A developmental anomaly with a striking physical manifestation? Regardless of what you might think, twins are fascinating, and I will not argue the validity of the inevitable freak-show-esque gaze that twins garner considering that I myself am an identical twin. Even as a twin myself, if I see an identical pair of siblings walking down the street together, I tend to stare.
Meet me, Kayla Carson, and my identical twin sister, Kira Carson. From infants to teens, and now as adults, people have always been absolutely captivated by us. We have been asked all the same questions and been faced with all the same comments — on constant repeat — since childhood. So, here are our unfiltered responses to the most memorable questions people ask us so that we can stop answering these inquiries once and for all.
“Woah. So, if one gets hurt miles away, can the other one feel it”?
Kira: People ask that a lot. I say, “I don’t know, hasn’t happened yet. I’ll let you know if it does, I suppose.” People that ask this usually don’t believe in that kind of mystical or psychic, unexplainable thing anyways, so I really cannot take the question seriously.
Kayla: There’s this assumption that we are some magical unicorn duo. Maybe magic does exist, and, honestly, even if that was to happen to us, I don’t know if I would feel like getting into it with a stranger that is clearly hoping that we are some sort of freak.
“Do you guys have that like, twin sense? Do you know what each other is thinking?”
Kayla: This is how I have learned to explain it: Yes, we understand each other. Do we know what the other is thinking? Yes. Why? For two reasons: nurture and nature. We grew up together in mostly the same environment, hitting milestones at the same time, so we are wildly familiar with each other. But also, I do think our brains are, at a biological level, wired similarly. All these factors equal a “twin sense.” Kinda. But, I mean, even just explaining that is delving deeper into family dynamics than I necessarily care to share in the average meet-and-greet.
Kira: Again, if it was coming from someone that maybe already had some sort of belief in those types of things it would be different. But most people that ask this don’t. Therefore, I don’t put too much thought into answering. Lots of people who ask this just ask it because it’s something they have heard; it’s like they are just dying to hear something weird. They are waiting for that freaky twin fact.
“OMG, I would love to have a twin!”
Kira: I mean, I like being a twin, but I have never not been a twin, I don’t have anything to compare it to. Like, okay, you might like it until you are asked really annoying questions by strangers. Like, they think we call each other and are like “Hey Kayla, what kind of twin stuff did you get up to today?” Like it’s a lifestyle choice or something. Generally, I just say that it is nice to share clothes. We are generally the same size and shape, so that’s pretty handy.
Kayla: I have some issues with this comment. First, I think people are actually fantasizing of having a little clone of themselves, which is not how it works. Second, it’s not necessarily always fun, and the assumption of how grateful I should be for being a twin is a little annoying. However, there is the other more genuine side that often comes from a desire to have someone very close to them who also understands them, which is very understandable.
“Who’s the evil twin?”
Kayla: Good one.
Kira: We are adults here. Do not ask me stupid questions … It’s Kayla.
Kayla: I still do not understand why people ask this. I just do not know what it adds to your life. Why?
Kira: Why does this person need to know which one is born first? Why? Why is this information that you need in your brain? That won’t help you remember who is who anyways.
“I like you more/You’re the prettier one/You’re cooler, nicer, funnier etc. than your twin.”
Kayla: So rude. Your assumption that I am going to feel grateful to you for expressing the fact that I am winning the imaginary competition with my twin is absolutely terrible. Also, you just offended someone close to me, so I don’t know if you are trying to be my friend, but you are doing a really bad job.
Kira: I literally tell them, maybe with a little pat on the shoulder, “You know we are two different people, believe it or not.” And then I give no other comments because it is so rude. Yes, the assumption of competition bugs me the most.
“I am so sorry, but I do not know which one you are.”
Kayla: Well, figure it out. [Laughs] The thing is, we’re so used to it. And everyone gets so embarrassed, which really is so unnecessary. It’s normal to not be able to tell identical twins apart. I’m bad at names myself. I have trouble with twins too. It’s normal. If you are someone who is important, or is going to be important in my life, not only would we be around each other enough for you to know my name, but you will have moved on from defining me solely as a twin. The conclusion? Twins are confusing, but don’t be embarrassed. I could not care less to make you feel better or hold your hand through the process.
Kira: It is not my job to make you feel not embarrassed. But, it’s fine, I can’t tell identical twins apart either. They put this weird responsibility on you to make me feel better. I do not get why people are embarrassed. It’s silly. We are identical twins. At some point, if you still haven’t figured it out, and you are still embarrassed, what do you want from me? “My name is Kira, and the non-Kira one is Kayla. Can we move on?”
Kayla: Any other thoughts?
Kira: Ninety-five percent of twin questions are stupid and insulting and annoying. I didn’t like them when I was a kid, and I don’t like them now. Let me think of a good twin question. Say if someone asks if you are close to your twin. That’s normal. That’s a normal human question. That is something people ask when they are getting to know someone else. But, most questions directed at us are not genuine questions.
To summarize, some identical twins celebrate not just their twinness, but the outside perception of their twinness in all its glory. They adore all the questions you ask them and bask in the attention. Kira and I are not those identical twins. We are well-seasoned veterans, but we are aware that people cannot help themselves, but that doesn’t mean we will not challenge their perception of us.
So continue to be fascinated. But, remember: With most twins, they likely do not see their genetics as their defining characteristic. This whole twin thing is definitely more important to you than it is to us.