Before I start, let's just re-cap on some basics about me and Dani.
Dani is about five inches taller than me.
I wear specs - D has perfect vision.
Dani has black hair and I have mousy brown.
I have family chubby cheeks - D does not.
We also have different body shapes.
The other day, while the kids were involved in the dress rehearsal for their panto, Dani and I had an hour or two to kill in town. It was pouring with rain and there was no point going home just to come out again so, after we'd dropped the kids at the church hall, we legged it to the nearest cafe. This turned out to be a greasy spoon. It was a rather remarkable find in Brighton. It had typed menus on the tables and served things like 'Banana Longboats' and 'Knickerbocker glories', as well as all the 'something, chips and peas' options you could expect from a cafe twenty or thirty years ago. Cafes in town here tend to be rather swish and over-priced, generally, and serve cakes and drinks you don't recognise.
We were rather pleased with the place and made two teas last a good long while. Behind us were three old women who sat in a row, facing our table. They were talking all the time and every now and then went a bit 'muttery'. Eventually we'd sat there as long as was decent without buying more tea, so we got up to go. As we wrapped ourselves in waterproofs and headed for the door, one of the women called out to us.
"Are you twins?"
She said it with the air of Oliver Twist, like she'd been picked to ask, while the others sat there expectantly. There wasn't much we could say, really, except to say that we weren't. They looked quite dissatisfied with that - and off we went into the rain.
Twins??! It isn't that odd to be taken for sisters - what with wearing similar clothes, having developed similar speech patterns over the years, and clearly being very close - people sometimes do mis-read us. But twins? Have we really got that similar that our radically different colouring and height difference have become invisible?
It is especially funny as the cafe is on the edge of what is, these days, called Brighton's gay village. I wonder if those women amuse themselves by sitting there all day and asking gay people if they are related, in ever more bizarre ways. I can see it now...
To gay couple with age difference. "Is he your grandson?"
To lesbian couple with very butch partner. "Is he your brother?"
To foursome of gay men. "Are you the Jackson Five?"
To older dyke ladies. "You're the Beverley Sisters, aren't you? Where's the other one..."
I bet the days fly by.