"How Do You Know You're You?" And Other Brilliant Things You Hear When You're A Twin

We’ve actually had more than one person ask us if we stare at each other’s faces when applying lipstick instead of using a mirror.
Publish date:
February 28, 2013
family, twins, misconceptions

Girls get attention. Pretty girls get even more attention. And nearly identical pretty girls more or less turn people into fumbling, gawking fools. So in our 25 years, we’ve gotten a lot of attention.

We’re generally quite understanding and will in no way expect you to be able to tell us apart immediately. It took one of us throwing a spoonful of applesauce at our mother for her to realize she kept feeding the same baby.

Over the years, we’ve come to develop similar yet different beauty styles. One of us thinks a gray smoky eye is appropriate for all occasions, while the other collects different versions of copper shadow. One favors bold lips, and the other prefers nudes.

But no matter how different our hair, clothing (Pia owns a onesie covered in penguins) or personalities (and she likes to show everyone pictures of it), the fact that we are twins renders some people incapable of perceiving our differences.

From our perspective, it’s as fascinating as twins are to others, and we’ve broken it down into several types of observers/idiots.


One day we hopped on the subway and grabbed a seat next to some senior citizens. One eventually looked up, removed her specs and said, “Look at you two! I thought I had to update my glasses! Now you switch seats with me and sit next to your sister. I hear if twins are separated like that they just stop working.” Oh, cute little pocket-sized granny, we’re 60 or so years younger than you and you’re worried about how we’re functioning.


Sure, we take advantage of looking alike by testing out makeup on each other. But we’ve actually had more than one person ask us if we stare at each other’s faces when applying lipstick instead of using a mirror.


Perhaps the cutest of all onlookers, babies and toddlers are intrigued by twins. They look back and forth and finally point at us with a little outstretched finger, babbling baby gibberish. Babies look at everything like it’s a foreign object, so we don’t feel bad. One time, however, an uptight mommy caught her darling three-year-old doing a double take and told us, not jokingly, to stay away from her son because he was too young for us. Apparently, twins are super-cougars.


Guys love twins. Everyone knows that. What guys don’t seem to know is that twins don’t love each other. Not like that.


A friend of a friend had a friend who had a girlfriend who left college to take a Euro-trip and was unsure about hitting the books again. She wanted to be a “world traveler” and OMG was in love with Anthony Bourdain because he’s, like, an older George Clooney. Anyway, what rendered us speechless was when she seriously asked us “So, how do you know you’re you and not her?” Our separate brains simultaneously exploded.


When you’re a twin, someone will inevitably try to touch you to see if your twin felt it. We’ve been poked countless times, had our hair pulled, been flicked--the works. It’s always followed by “Hahahaha so did you both feel that?” If we did, we’d at least have our own Discovery special by now. And it’s not until hours later that we think of something we should’ve said, like, “How about I kick you in the junk so hard your future kids feel it?”

So the answer to every dumb question we’ve heard is, pretty much, no. No, we don’t share a brain or boyfriends. [But you do share an author page. Sorry about that. --Jane] What we do share is a lifelong obsession with beauty, while managing to have distinct looks--not because we want to be different, but because our independent brains have independent tastes.

We fully expect to continue fielding these and other dumb questions, and we’re OK with that. But please stop poking us.