Time for me to settle a matter once and for all.
As I pop myself around the place, I’ve been meeting new people who I have met and know as casual acquaintances and intimate friends. Invariably people ask questions and want to know the truth.
So here is the final word on the subject straight from the horse mouth.
I am a twin. In fact, I am what is called a mirror twin. More in fact, to be a little more precise I am a monozygotic monochorionic monoamniotic twin, according to information provided by my mother about my birth. So quickly, Twin 101 for Dummies … Monozygotic twins originate from one sperm and one egg that during cell multiplication, the cells split away from each another to create a second genetically embryo (identical twins). Dizygotic twins originate from two different ovum being fertilised by separate sperm where the genetic structures are the same as the usual sibling relationship (fraternal twins).
And for those of you that might be interested I actually have two lovely older sisters as well, thanks for asking.
I’d personally like to thank the worthwhile documentary film makers who have gone about fuelling the flames of sensationalism with such informative moments in scientific observation like The Twin Connection, Twins Say The Funniest Things and When Good Twins Go Bad.
I share my birthday with another person. Wow. Ground breaking news. In fact, in my family I share my birthday with my twin brother and my third-in-line nephew who came along twenty years later. I also share the day with songstress and would-be lesbian icon Julie Andrews, father of the most famous ginger in the world Tom Bosley, Former United States American President and creator of human habitats Jimmy Carter, just to name a few. Wonders will never cease. Who would have thought that out of 365 days that so many people could actually be born on the same day as me. Remarkable!
For most of my life I have been showered with the predictable statements and questions. If the interrogator isn’t aware of my familial state, on the revelation of the news they will inevitably start with the wide eyed statement, “You didn’t tell me you were a twin!” Yes, and quite frankly I have no frigin’ idea how many brothers and sisters you have either. Should I start introducing myself as, “Hello, my name is Troy and I’ve been a twin since 1970”? Maybe a nice tattoo on my forehead might suffice.
The most amusing reaction I’ve had to this sudden revelation was when I was performing in a delightful little 40’s revue called I Want An Andrew’s Sister For Christmas. My dear friend Fiona was onstage singing a sweet rendition of A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square. She looked up into the auditorium and thought, “Hmmm, what on earth is Troy doing in the dress circle? He’s meant to be side of stage about taunt me with flying objects!” (Yes, my role during this ditty was to dangle little blue paper birds over Fiona’s head until she was suitably vexed and then pelt blue paper aeroplanes at her head. Such hilarity!) Fiona then turned and her brain imploded seeing me also side of stage ready with paper taunting objects in hand. Ahh, the look on her face. Priceless! So many double takes side of stage and into the dress circle. Well worth the brain imploding induced beating I received post-ditty. But she didn’t miss a beat onstage, a consummate performer is she.
So the first, eye-rolling annoying question I am always asked is this … “What’s it like to be a twin?”
Being a twin is an either/or situation. I’ve always been a twin as long as I can remember, if not longer. In fact there’s never really been a moment where I haven’t been a twin. And guess what, I’ve never had a moment when I can sit back with my heels up for a moment not being a twin because I’ve happened to misplace my twin at the Laundromat or supermarket. So it’s a pretty redundant question. My usual response to this is, “I don’t know, what is it like not being a twin?”
The pleasant moron will usually respond with, “but you have someone who looks just like you?” Well, if you bother to open your eyes for more than a millisecond you will realize that yes, even though there are huge amount of similarities due to genetic structure, there are also a large amounts of differences due to upbringing that you may actually notice.
Next cab that comes of the rank will be, “So who was born first?” If I am in a rather brutal mood and looking for sport, I will say neither. Once again, heads implode. When in actuality I was born by C-section because of the zipper my mother had installed with her previous two births. It was the early 70s after all. Generally these things are not slow moving maneuvers. Add to that a shared placenta and things can get a little tricky. So it’s get in and get out with lightning speed. So at 12:12pm on that fateful Thursday rubber gloved hands made their way into my mothers lower abdomen, and my brother and I were bagged and tagged. I was the one that got the “Twin #1” bracelet, and hence the role of male heir-apparent.
Golddiggers please take note: sit your fat arses back down on the bar stool. Being the male heir-apparent offers me nothing more than a broken piece of crockery and a rolling pin belonging to my great grandmother and a two for one meal voucher at the Swansea R.S.L. (excluding Friday and Saturday nights after 7pm).
The more intrepid or stoned interrogator moves next into more esoteric questions. Cue the Twilight Zone music for effect. “Like, dude, do you have like this psychic link and you feel each others pain? Like, totally, dude, do you have your own secret language?” This is where I really want to take the Oreo they are obsessed with because they’ve got the munchies and stuff it into their eye sockets.
I think you can guess from this statement that the answer is going to be no. No no no no, for the last time no. I will only admit to being a personal believer in Natal Astrology, not the crap that you read on the second last page of the newspaper or gossip rags. And I will note that I have observed from time to time that we have gone through similar periods in our lives facing similar issues. But the way in which we have reacted to this has been separate and individual because we both face the world with our own lifestyle and personality and in our own different environments.
Yep, never the answer they want to here.
It’s interesting to note at this point that these are rather personal questions that strangers and simple acquaintances feel compelled and obligated to ask after knowing me for a whole five minutes. Because lets face it, twins are so rare these days that you are unlikely to ever come across them in this world. In fact, you probably have, but they say nothing, because they don’t want to face a string of inappropriate questions from absolute strangers.
Which is a lovely segue into the next set of questions that I have been asked.
Some years ago at the opening night party of a production of Cats – don’t ask – I met the partner of someone I was working with who was such a delightful chap. And fortunately for me I was introduced as Troy, the twin. You can imagine I was suitably impressed. Because after a whole three minutes and twenty seven seconds old delightfully chap asked me if I had ever had sex with my twin brother? What the? Or have we had sex with the same person at the same time? Such wonderfully jaw dropping questions. No guesses for the type of porn this delightful fellow enjoys. Oh yes, good times.
Yet for some reason that defies belief, it would seem inappropriate for me to walk up to someone and ask them if they have ever had consensual sex with members of their family within five minutes of knowing them. I mean really, what sort of mad mad world would banned such casual conversation!
I do hope this covers everything you need to know, so that should our paths cross, gentle reader, we shall talk of other things that don’t make me want to take an ice pick to your vocal cords. But if you do find that you cannot contain yourself and have to ask me what it’s like to be monozygotic monochorionic monoamniotic, don’t be surprised when I answer in kind ….
I don’t know. What’s it like lying in your mother’s uterus in a fluid of your own urine for the better part of nine months all on your little lonesome?
Something to think about.