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Episodes: Half twins


Emily VanDerWerff

Oct 03 2015

4 min read



(An actual, though heavily condensed, argument I had with my wife this evening.)

EMILY: Do you think if a lesbian couple decided to become parents, both wives might decide to give birth at the same time?

LIBBY: No. Why?

EMILY: So they could have twins.

LIBBY: That wouldn't be twins.

EMILY: Sure it would. Two babies, born at the same time, raised in the same family. Maybe they could even have the same father. Twins.

LIBBY: That's not how that works.

EMILY: What would you call that then?

LIBBY: Siblings.

EMILY: I think you'd call it half twins.

LIBBY: No you wouldn't. You'd call it siblings.

EMILY: I don't think it has to be a lesbian couple either. If you have two kids born at the same time, who are raised in the same house, I think they're half twins.

LIBBY: There is absolutely no need to have a term for this, because nobody would ever do this. Do you realize how crazy you sound?

EMILY: Half twins.


EMILY: Okay, okay, okay. Think about it this way: If you saw a mother walking down the street, pushing a stroller, with two little baby boys in it, what would you assume?

LIBBY: This is [local upper-class neighborhood]. I would assume she was the nanny.


LIBBY: I wouldn't jump to twins.

EMILY: You wouldn't.

LIBBY: No! I try not to assume these sorts of things. I mean, unless they look exactly alike.

EMILY: So you don't think fraternal twins are real twins?

LIBBY: Did I say that?

EMILY: What I'm saying is, my sister and I, we're a real brother and sister, right?


EMILY: But we're adopted. We don't share DNA. So you're saying our siblinghood doesn't count.

LIBBY: Not at all. Being twins is about sharing more than DNA. It's about sharing a womb.

EMILY: Not necessarily!

LIBBY: I am done. I'm done talking about this. I'm going to drive you out to the country and take your phone and your wallet, and by the time you get back home, I MIGHT have been able to forget about this topic.

EMILY: I'm just saying that if two kids are the exact same age and grow up at the exact same time in the exact same family, they are BASICALLY twins. Hence, half twins.

LIBBY: It's about way more than that! It's about sharing so much from conception that you can each sort of anticipate how the other will respond to things.

EMILY: You think twins have psychic powers, is what I'm hearing.

LIBBY: NO. I think that there is just a lot they share, beyond simply growing up in the same place at the same time.

EMILY: See, you just need two things to be half twins...

LIBBY: Siblings.

EMILY: 1.) You need to be born at almost exactly the same time, or within, say, a week of each other. And 2.) You have to grow up in the same environment at the same time. Like, if you and I have a kid, but then we get divorced, and you marry somebody else with a kid the exact same age, right down to time of birth, that's not half twins. That's just step-siblings.

LIBBY: But you're saying if we had a kid, and at the same time, a single mother was having a kid right next door, and she died in childbirth, and we decided to adopt her child...

EMILY: That would be a half twins situation, yes.


EMILY: I wish we still had the podcast.

LIBBY: Why? Because you miss forcing other people to listen to your dumb bullshit?

EMILY: I think they would agree with me.

LIBBY: No one is going to agree with you on this! This is a stupid, pointless idea, that is never going to catch on.

EMILY: This is worse than when you rejected synth-pop.

LIBBY: Listen. I will wholeheartedly embrace half twins before I give a good goddamn about synth pop.

EMILY: That's like a dagger in my soul. Because I'm always going to love Chvrches, and half twins is clearly ridiculous bullshit nobody would ever believe in.

LIBBY: Yeah, I miss the podcast, too.


Episodes is published daily, Monday through Friday, unless I don't feel like it. It is mostly about television, except when it's not. Suggest topics for future installments via email or on Twitter. Read more of my work at Vox Dot Com.

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