Whose girlfriend?


On occasion, when talking with my girlfriend I suddenly refer to Jan. She always becomes very reserved and insecure and puts on a really uncertain face.

I think it’s so fun that after so many years she still isn’t absolutely sure, and I always end up ruining it by bursting into laughter.

She doesn’t find that amusing either.


One of our favorite responses to questions like “Who is who?” or “Which one are you?” is something like “Um, wait. Today is Friday, right? Then I’m Jan.”

People actually believe this, folks! We know other twins who say they honestly don’t know; others say they aren’t twins at all, but actually five(!) months apart – and people don’t even stop to think about the impossibility of that.

Some people are just asking for it :) :)

The Speeding Ticket

Our first speeding ticket. There are places in Copenhagen where an automatic camera records cars going too fast, and we fell victim to one of these cameras, driving but 3 km/h too fast.

Drivers can’t detect this, but two weeks later we got a letter from the police office with a sharp black and white photograph of our car, which one of us was driving. The co-pilot side was masked off by a black area (apparently a privacy measure). The letter told us to fill out the enclosed form and pay up. There was a warning that it is illegal to submit false information to the police and that doing so could be punished with up to six years in prison.

Now, the problem is that we couldn’t tell which one of us was the driver. On the photo it could have been any one of us, we really couldn’t tell, and neither could anyone in our family. And unfortunately, both of us had driven the car in that area of Copenhagen that day, and we each didn’t remember exactly when, so it really could have been any one of us.

Not wanting to submit false information, I called the police office to find out what they usually did regarding twins. After being put on hold for a while they were unable to give me any reply; they don’t know how to handle twins except to say that the ticket needs to be paid.

(Murder stories galore!)

The Clone


Since Dolly the cloned sheep hit the headlines all over the world, we often greet each other with “Ba-a-a-h” on the phone when we call each other. We accredit this to Thomas Caspersen, another one of Jan’s colleagues, who was also blown away by our duplicity.

When Thomas met me later on, he always greeted me with “Hey, it’s the clone!”

When I recently called Jan at his new job in a different company, a colleague answered the phone and said the same thing.



Jan was not with me on this occasion, it was just a few friends and me late at night. We had been sitting at a bar and among other things talked about whether people ever get confused about us.

As we left the bar and walked down the street, I noticed one girl walking in a small group because we were on collision courses. She didn’t seem to see me; she stared past my right ear into oblivion. So I took a step sideways to avoid her and walked on. She stepped in front of me again. I thought, oh no, a drunk girl, here we go. We met and I tried to pass her again.

She said to me, “Are you drunk?”

I thought, “What?! Am I drunk? You are the who’s drunk!” I was the designated driver that night, so I just had colas.

“Don’t you recognize me,” she asked.

“No…?” I said while I flipped through my mind’s album of faces. My friends had stopped and watched our conversation from behind my back. I had never seen that girl before.

“I’m Jill.”

“I don’t know you,” I said with confidence. I don’t know anybody called Jill. Now I was sure I didn’t know her.

“Jill, from IBM,” she offered. Jan works at IBM, too. That she might know Jan hadn’t even crossed my mind until now.

“Ahaa” I exclaimed with a smile, “You see, I’m not Jan, I’m Torben. I’m his twin brother.” She was nonplussed, didn’t seem to believe me. Just then, a passing guy said, “Hey, that’s a good pick-up line, I’ve used it!” Now she seemed to believe me even less than before. Thanks, stranger!

“But it’s true, I’m not Jan!” I tried to explain myself, “You can ask him on Monday at work.” By now my friends were giggling quite loudly behind me. This was an unexpected live demo of our chat earlier at the bar. A few people had stopped to watch the end of this.

“I don’t work there anymore,” she said.

“But I’m not Jan. He’s not me. I’m not him. I’m Torben.” I showed her that I happened to be wearing a company jacket, and it didn’t say IBM. She still didn’t seem to believe me.

“Hmm, you have a different style of clothes, too. Well, say hi to him then,” she said as she moved on with her group.

As I walked on with my friends, we laughed for a long time. It was less than half an hour ago that I told about how people mistake us for one another, and now they really got their money’s worth. What better way to describe it than to show it in reality.

… The next time I saw Jan, I told him Jill said hi. “Augh!” he yelled, “Not Jill!” He told me that Jill was a bit of an oddball.

Duh, I hadn’t noticed.

The wedding mixup


Jan got married in 2002 and obviously I was there as well. As the guests started to arrive, a lot of them saw me first in the crowd, noticed my lapel flowers, and immediately congratulated me. Grinning, I had to explain that they’d got the wrong twin.

I should have expected this would happen. But even if I had, I could not have expected that so many of the guests would confuse us. But okay, I guess we’re still pretty much identical.

Then in 2006, I got married too, and guess what? Yes, the same story repeated. Many of my guests know that I’m a twin but they’ve never met my brother so they weren’t thinking of the possibility that they’d run into Jan. Without exception, they assumed it was me, and Jan had the confused pleasure of being profusely congratulated by complete strangers. Sorry, bro! :-)

“You’re seeing double.”


It’s just way too easy to mess with drunk people.

Once when I went to a formal dance, I invited Jan to come along. We were wearing reasonably identical tuxedos and the biggest difference was that I had a blue bow-tie and handkerchief while Jan’s were red. It was great fun already, and then someone starts the twin questions; we just answer and have fun.

Much later in the evening, we meet one of these people on a staircase. He’s gotten pretty drunk in the meantime. He stops us and chats with us, and we convince him that he’s seeing double and that he’s only talking to one person who isn’t even a twin.

We overheard him telling this to someone else afterward. It sounded like he believed it.