Seeing Double: Talking to Townsend’s Latest Twins

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In the hallways, friends often exchange short greetings and update each other about their life. However, this conversation can quickly become awkward when it’s clear one person in the conversation thinks they are talking to someone else. No one quite understands this frustration better than identical twins, especially those in the same school. 

Juniors Benjamin and David Babayev are one of several sets of twins inTownsend Harris High School. “[People] always compare us, and I’m frequently mistaken for David,” Benjamin said. 

“They typically guess my name first, probably because I’m more social than my brother, so I speak to more people,” said David. 

Junior Alex Cho has a twin brother at Cardozo High School, Daniel. He said he had similar experiences to David : “Even recently, when my brother came in to watch the FON performance, I’ve had at least ten people telling me about their awkward encounter with my brother [when they called him] my name and he just kind of looked at them weirdly.”

“They say, ‘Which one are you?’ That’s the worst phrase because I’m a person, not an object,” Benjamin said. 

David said, “one of the most annoying things surprisingly isn’t when people don’t know which twin I am, it’s when someone would be afraid to ask me something or say hi, because they are afraid that I’m the wrong brother.”

Junior Jeremy Diaz described a different experience. Junior Brandon Diaz is his fraternal twin brother. “People don’t believe me when I say that I’m a twin,” he said.  

It is inevitable to mistake identical twins visually, but other comparisons can create tension too, especially academically. “I was valedictorian and he was salutatorian,” Benjamin said. 

Alex said that academic comparisons often fueled his desire to improve.  

It is a popular trope in films that twins are able to read each other’s minds. At THHS, the different twins have varying opinions on this. In response to this “telepathy” assumption, Alex said, “I’d say that having known my brother for the past 17 years, 7 months, 6 days, 14 hours, and 11 minutes…we often have opposing views on many things and though we do know how the other feels, as a proud empath myself, we do not know why we’re feeling that certain way.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

“I can read his face really well. When we were younger and if he threw up, I would throw up five minutes later,” Benjamin said.                         

According to David, knowing each other too well can become troublesome when it comes to the Babayevs’ shared interest in theater. “Typically it’s hard for twins to act in different roles in a play because it would be confusing if two different characters had the same face on stage,” he said.  

Nonetheless, different interests can lead to different paths over time. “I want to pursue law. [David] wants to do something in the medical field,” Benjamin said.

The Diaz twins on the other hand remain competitive in other areas. “We both play baseball and we have competitions as to who will do better during games,” Jeremy said. 

Despite any competitiveness, the company they provide for each other holds their bond together. “He’s always there for me. A buddy,” Benjamin said. 

Photos courtesy of Benjamin Babayev