When he was 4 years old, Mert Altinok ’13 was so confused.
“No, sweetie, Emre is not trapped on the other side” is probably what his mother told him about his identical twin, Emre Altinok ’13, whenever she found Mert talking to his own reflection in a mirror and wondering why his usually playful brother wouldn’t follow him outside after a long chat.
It’s been a long time since mother Altinok taught the basic principles of optics to one of her children, who today has come from Istanbul, Turkey, to be part of Yale’s class of 2013. Emre (the real Emre) did follow this time, and the Altinoks are currently one of the two sets of international twins in the freshman class.
Chandler Benet ’13 and Teresa Benet ’13, from London, England, are the second pair. Both from St. Paul’s Girls’ School, they are convinced of their advantageous individuality as nonidentical twins. The Altinoks, however, support complete uniformity.
But first, the consensus.
“We’re known as ‘the twins’ back home and we’re known as ‘the British twins’ here. Being a twin in the U.S. certainly adds something to it,” Teresa said.
The other set agrees. But since they’re varsity swimmers at Yale, what could be “the Turkish twins” are actually “the swimmer twins.”
Opinions are also shared when it comes to whether it’s cool to be a twin or not: It is. Very much so.
Beyond the usual sentimental crap about having a confidant for life (“After a night out you don’t have to call a friend to ask what you did, I mean, in case you can’t remember” — Teresa), there are the somewhat unusual advantages concerning the manipulation of various people and situations to one’s benefit.
People like boyfriends and bouncers. Situations like boyfriends and Turkish SATs.
“People know you, which is great,” Chandler said. “Being a twin is great for making friends.”
So, twins have more fun. Understood.
“You never feel like the loner, the reject,” Chandler said. “Though we do have more fun because we’re not identical.”
And here we go, Clone Wars 2.0:
“There’s no point to being twins if you are nonidentical,” Mert said. “It’s much more interesting our way.”
Good point. It’s all about symmetry. Having a nonidentical twin is definitely like having one leg longer than the other.
“I feel like you’d get sick of the confusion,” Teresa replied. “We get all the fun of being a twin, without the minuses of being identical.”
True. Not only being confused with someone else all the time, but also being regarded constantly as the same person, must suck.
“Not being identical totally defeats the purpose of twinhood,” Emre rebutted.
Yeah, you may as well be regular siblings. Or something.
“People never treated us like the same person,” Chandler responded. “Being confused sucks. I wouldn’t have enough patience.”
Neither would I!
“Teresa doesn’t really care about Chandler,” Mert declared, exalted. “She got lost the other night when she went for pizza and Teresa didn’t know, didn’t wonder, didn’t mind.”
Out of line. Any objective evidence in your favor?
“Toad’s, last weekend,” Mert said. “We brought our passports and the bouncer thought they were fake because they have the same dates of birth.”
“But then he looked at us,” Emre continued, “realized we were identical twins, and let us in.”
Were they actually fakes? Istanbul declined comment, but if my suspicion was correct, it would be a whole new layer of deception!
What does London have to say?
“Same thing happened to us in England,” Chandler said. “It was on our 18th birthday.”
“Yeah, they wouldn’t believe we were twins at this one club,” Teresa added. “We got denied entrance.”
Team identical wins.