Metatalktail Hour: Mixups and mistaken identity February 8, 2020 2:55 PM   Subscribe

This weekend, Tehhund wants to hear about mixups and cases of mistaken identity. Has anyone ever mistaken you for someone else, or vice versa? Or maybe your email address or username got confused with someone else's so you got messages intended for them? What happened?

As always, this is a conversation starter not limiter, so feel free to tell us what else is up with you. The only rule is no politics please.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 2:55 PM (127 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Tangential to the question- I rang up a woman today who had her chameleon “Spartacus” on her arm the whole time and that’s all I’m going to be able to talk about pretty much forever.

Like I’m struggling to even think about what i’ve done in the garden this week. I harvested some things. I did a captain’s log for early February. I had some fun and games with a weed whacker and gophers. (Not at the same time.) And I repotted my Lemon Verbena.

But like none of that matters! I met a chameleon named Spartacus today! That’s all I’m gonna be able to talk about for weeks.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 3:15 PM on February 8, 2020 [23 favorites]

I have a couple of doppelgangers floating around.

A friend encountered one in Boston. She looked enough like me that he tried to get her attention. It didn't work, and he left a voicemail on the last phone number he had for me, which no longer connected. It was a bit surreal, he said.

Another friend encountered someone who looked like me in Providence, down to a substantially similar tattoo.

Probably the most ironic was when my old roommate was hanging out with an internet date, and apparently I looked exactly like a woman she had previously dated and dumped to be with a man. I was not her, but have had that happen to me entirely too often and really wanted to meet the ex she had dumped.
posted by bile and syntax at 3:44 PM on February 8, 2020 [4 favorites]

There was at some point in the mists of history a front page newspaper story -- really just some pictures used to add interest to a slow news day -- about swimming lessons in my home town, that prominently feature my adorable 2-ish year old self. Except the caption says it was Dixie Charest.

Who actually looks a lot like me now that we are both 40-something years old, and I can easily imagine someone mistaking us, but at the time, she was twice my age, so we should have been fairly easy to tell apart.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:55 PM on February 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

I apparently look a lot like what people think Chris Sullivan looks like. He plays Toby on This is Us. Every week or so I'll catch someone staring at me and trying to figure out if it's really him. A few times people have yelled "Toby!" out of their cars or turn back having walked past me to see if I'm him. I always disappoint.
posted by Uncle at 3:55 PM on February 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

The whole time I was growing up, in the not-so-long-ago-and-yet times before ubiquitous cellphones, my sister and I were constantly mistaken for each other on the phone when receiving calls at home. Naturally, this was particularly upsetting as an adolescent who wants to believe that all things about them are truly original--what an attack on my individuality to be confused for someone else! And my little sister no less, UGH, she is the worst!

I never accepted it until late last year, when I made a weird "album" about a dumb inside joke for a couple of friends. Listening to it back, I was stunned at how much I sound like my sister. I guess it's one of those things wherein you don't hear your own voice very much? And here I had inadvertently made a collection of diverse evidence about how wrong I was. I mean, I sound exactly like her whether singing or talking or rapping or whatever. Even the weird voices and characters I do sound like her weird voices and characters.

So I am apologetic to all my middle and high school friends and all her middle and high school friends who had to hear all those declarations about how, um, excuse me, I sound like myself and no one else. My bad. Y'all were right. Me and that sibling of mine are pretty much vocally indistinguishable.

We have also been mistaken for each other in person; growing up, I thought it was a white-people-can't-tell-black-folk apart thing, but we have both been approached by people the other knows across the country and addressed as the other person. I still don't think we look alike though the evidence points to otherwise!
posted by youarenothere at 4:03 PM on February 8, 2020 [5 favorites]

Hrmm, actually, an archive search suggests it was *not* on the front page.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:05 PM on February 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

My colleague at work and I apparently sound identical on the phone, to the point where we can easily take over each other's calls if the other has to get a snack/use the restroom. The most notable occasion was when her best friend called, I answered, said she wasn't available (cause she wasn't), and then he got mad at her for 'avoiding' his calls. He's kind of an ass in real life, so I wasn't amused by his reaction, although I was amused that my colleague asked me to get on the phone with her to prove to him how alike we sound. The upshot is that she's the only person I've ever met that I can harmonize with, so that's neat.
posted by csox at 4:11 PM on February 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

This happens to me a lot. I have the name of a famous author, and a little of my own fame. And some people are low on their research skills ability, and so send me questions meant for her. She's been dead since 1984, but I briefly interacted with her when she was alive. And also there is another Jessamyn West, alive, who lives in Oregon and occasionally makes the papers. Funnest fact: her middle name is Grace and mine is Charity.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 4:20 PM on February 8, 2020 [27 favorites]

My full name isn't extremely common - I'd guess there are fewer than 100 of us in the world. I waited years after Gmail was launched to claim my address and I still got - no numbers.

But as more people came online, naturally I started to get emails for others who forgot to add their numbers to firstname.lastname. Fine, no big deal - one of us shops at a True Value in northern Wisconsin, another is a kite flying hobbyist who travels to festivals (cool!). The occasional email is kinda entertaining. But one guy just kept. On. Using. My. Email. He even put it on a flyer for an event he was organizing! I figured out his real email included 76 because he once sent an email to himself and addressed it incorrectly. I forwarded the emails to him for a while and thought he'd stop, but he never did and eventually I got tired of it.

So when someone emailed me asking for details of an event he was organizing, I sent it to the right guy but CC'd the sender so hopefully the shame would get to him:

"Since people keep emailing me ( instead of you (, I know an uncomfortable amount about your personal life, family, and purchasing habits. You should probably make sure people include the 76 in their emails to you."

The original sender meekly replied: "Which one of you is a basketball coach in Michigan?" Realizing I'd left out that detail, I told her.

Hours later Mr. 76 replied: "Wow okay". Not an apology but I'll take it.

The emails have almost entirely stopped. He's messed up once since, and I still get occasional emails from his daughter's college, but otherwise my inbox is mine again.
posted by Tehhund at 4:54 PM on February 8, 2020 [17 favorites]

In high school in the mid-late 80's evidently I looked a bit like Jon Cryer... I never saw it. If we go all unstuck in time and not too surprising, my sister once sent me a picture of my nephew side-by-side with a picture of me at the same age and OMG we look so much alike that it's a bit scary.
posted by zengargoyle at 4:55 PM on February 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

My husband, aka Captain Shenanigan, has been mistaken for Kenny G, and has a hilarious story about being run after by a butcher who forgot he had a cleaver in his hand. Captain was understandably quick to deny any association.

At one point, he and a friend were co-published. When the friend and his brother were walking through Wal-Mart, the brother looked up and asked why they got posters. (They were Kenny G posters.)

Apparently I have a face that will remind you of someone, but you won't know who.
posted by moira at 4:59 PM on February 8, 2020 [4 favorites]

Oh, this one time my doorbell rang and some weirdo had to spend a few minutes convincing me he was my friend. It had been a few years and he had lost tons of weight and facial hair and I totally didn't recognize him. I thought there was some elaborate scam going on. It was only like 20 years of overly detailed bits and pieces and an explanation of the weight loss that got me to realize that it was actually them.
posted by zengargoyle at 5:02 PM on February 8, 2020 [4 favorites]

I have a very uncommon name. In the late 1980s, I was on a "student ambassador" field trip in Moscow. We all had specialized name tags with our names etched in. I was waiting for my group in the lobby of the hotel when I see a girl from a different state's delegation... wearing MY name tag. "Give me back my name tag," I said. "This is mine," she replied. We had the same name. I was from Connecticut and she was from Virginia. Her group had been through Scandinavia and was concluding in Moscow; my group started in Moscow and was traveling west across Europe. The two groups overlapped in that hotel lobby for about 15 minutes.
posted by xo at 5:07 PM on February 8, 2020 [24 favorites]

One fine morning in grad school I woke up to the following email from a stranger (reproduced here in its entirety except for greeting and signature):
I was just wondering, what is the new bagel schedule? I literally wake up early on bagel days, and prefer to sleep in on days we don't have them, so it would be really helpful for me to know when they will be delivered, as I get very sad when I wake up early only to discover no bagels (aka the last 2 mondays and this saturday).

Also: I would like to request some cottage cheese please.
I sort of want to stop the story there and let it be a mystery. But it didn't stop there in real life, because I can never resist (and especially couldn't resist when it was an alternative to working on my thesis) an unsolicited opportunity to do some detective work. After a search of the student directory I put two and two together and figured out who the intended recipient probably was. Then I replied to the original sender:
The bagels got held up at JFK. It was a real mess. First the TSA agent couldn't figure out whether cream cheese was a solid (acceptable) or a liquid (forbidden), so he called in his superior. Meanwhile another agent demanded that the lox be removed. The head inspector showed up with drug-sniffing dogs, which led him straight to the poppy-seed bagels. Then, just to be safe, he announced that the bialys would have to undergo a full cavity search. (All they found were onions.)

Thanks to these delays, the bagels' new estimated time of arrival is tomorrow afternoon. But they may not make it that far. I called the airline to inquire about their status. The friendly phone clerk told me that there were no records of any bagels traveling today. Then she burped.

By the way, the reason you are getting this whimsical but not entirely helpful response is that you have contacted [aws17576], ex-co-oper and loather of the boiled bread products which he has been known to call "disappointment doughnuts." I think you want some other A——, perhaps the A—— who orders food for your co-op. But I thoroughly enjoyed receiving your misdirected inquiry, to the extent that I will consider bringing you some bagels and cottage cheese the next time I'm in your part of town.
(I never did.)
posted by aws17576 at 5:10 PM on February 8, 2020 [11 favorites]

Another story! For years mutual friends told me about L, my doppelgänger. Same interests, same mannerisms, same face (I never thought so in the photos they showed me, but he was always looking slightly away from the camera in the photos, as though to elude being pinned down; I was told the resemblance was uncanny in person). I lived on the West Coast and L lived in New York City, so we never crossed paths directly. So when I finally was going to visit NYC (for other reasons), I just had to contact him and propose a meetup. He agreed right away, saying the same friends had been telling him about me and he was curious to meet his double. We set a time and place.

Then he stood me up.

Of course!

You can't meet your double.

There's probably a mundane explanation of events, but I never tried to find out. Why bother when I already have the only explanation I can believe?
posted by aws17576 at 5:22 PM on February 8, 2020 [13 favorites]

I’m part of a community theater and often perform in shows as well as produce them. A good friend of mine also performs in shows and often choreographs them. I’m a little taller than her and probably a good fifty pounds heavier than her. We both have reddish hair but mine is a natural shade and hers is dyed with a magenta tone most of the time. Our faces also don’t look alike. We are often called by the others name, or our jobs are confused. I don’t get it, but now it’s a running gag that we are the same person. (And that her 12 year old daughter is sometimes my child.)

Years ago someone told me that I looked EXACTLY like her younger sister, except for the small detail that I’m so white that I glow in the dark and she and her sister were black. I would have loved to see a photo to see if the facial features really did look alike, but alas I only met her in passing and never saw a picture.

Finally, apparently my teaching assistant and I sound the same on the phone. (We totally don’t but apparently they said the same thing about her and my predecessor as well. I guess it’s hard to judge based on the three words we say when we pick up the phone.)
posted by firei at 5:29 PM on February 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

People I have been mistaken for in Real Life, to varying degrees of certainty:

A guy who was in jail with another guy just a week ago, no, dude, that was you, it had to be you, why are you sayin' it wasn't you? (While I was wandering around the county courthouse to pay a parking ticket or report for jury duty or something.)

A good friend of mine who is a drummer rather well known in the Cleveland "heavy" music scene. (This one has happened more than once, they are very disappointed when I turn down their compliments for that awesome gig I played in like 2002.)

Another soundguy who works for another company in town. (Who I have never met, despite knowing many other people at the other company, and the Cleveland sound tech community is not exactly huge.)

A guitar player in a band I was on tour with. (Periodically it was amusing to tell drunk people that I really wasn't him and to watch them try to figure out if I really wasn't him, or if I really was him and fucking with them for some mysterious reason. Mostly, though, I just said, "Hey, thanks! Glad you liked the show!" and disappeared.)

In my younger days when my beard was shorter and redder, MeFi's own Adam Savage. (OK, admittedly mostly this was "Hey, did anyone tell you you look just like that guy? The one who blows stuff up?" But I got asked this kind of a lot, by random strangers, and a few pushed it a little - "For real? You're not him? Are you just fuckin' with me? Are you really him?"
posted by soundguy99 at 5:30 PM on February 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

I'm actually Johnny Wallflower. I like poop posts.
posted by Fizz at 5:35 PM on February 8, 2020 [19 favorites]

Well, not actually mistaken for, but for many years I had a steady stream of people telling me I look like Dana Delaney (China Beach, Desperate Housewives, etc.). My mom was always sending me pictures of Dana Delaney in the mail. No comment, just a photo cut out of a magazine. It’s been about ten years now since I’ve gotten a comment so either I don’t look like her anymore or no one knows who she is anymore.
posted by HotToddy at 5:47 PM on February 8, 2020 [5 favorites]

One time I was sent a check for the president of my college's Queer-Straight Alliance, who has my same first name and the same first two letters as my last name. It was a reimbursement for the sex toys she had bought for our sex education week raffle. I'm asexual, so it was extra funny. (Yes, I returned it. I was also the public relations officer of the QSA at the time, so it wasn't a particularly unreasonable mix-up.)
posted by brook horse at 5:51 PM on February 8, 2020 [4 favorites]

I evidently look “just like” a random person known to almost every person I ever meet. A lot more often than not, a person I’ve never met before, on being introduced, will let me know what random acquaintance of theirs I remind them of. It’s uncanny.

I’m also lousy with names and faces, and it takes repeated meetings for me to internalize someone’s name and face, but somehow I’ve become memorable to people, so a lot more often than I’m comfortable with, I have to do that dance where someone starts talking to me and I act like I know exactly who they are.

And then the vaguely terrifying, which happened on Friday: someone coming up to me and asking directly, “hey, are you (my first name)?” and it’s someone where it’s clear I never met them before. Freaks me out entirely.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:01 PM on February 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

A few years back, a fellow conference attendee came up to me, introduced herself, and said, "oh yes, I recognized you from the photograph on your blog."

The photograph is of my great-great-grandmother. It was taken sometime in the 1880s...
posted by thomas j wise at 6:11 PM on February 8, 2020 [21 favorites]

A clerk in an outlet mall near Park City thought I was Meryl Streep out shopping. She didn't want to believe that I was not Ms. Streep. So I showed her my driver's license. I am like, so are we all clear on this, I am NOBODY, but, I want to buy this set of glasses...
posted by Oyéah at 6:16 PM on February 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

I was just innocently pumping gas one evening when this dude rolled up on me and urgently informed me that I look just like Velma from Scooby Doo. (I'm dumpy and wear glasses?)

I own this shirt and people do kind of low-key do double takes.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:17 PM on February 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've been told several times throughout several years that I look just like someone's cousin. Not the same cousin, but several different cousins from several different people. *shrug*

When I was a years younger and had redder hair, I was told a few times that I looked like Claire Danes.
posted by cooker girl at 6:26 PM on February 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

When I was younger, I used to get Winnie from The Wonder Years all the time. It was even stronger when I had bangs. Nobody tells me I look like Danica McKellar anymore, alas.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:36 PM on February 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

I think I have a very common face/body type. When I was younger, strangers would mistake me for someone they knew at least once a year. I even went to high school with a doppelganger who was in the year ahead of me. It's very disorienting to meet someone and they have very specific and insistent memories like "Hey we met at summer camp last year! We did the potato sack race together! You dated my brother!" Sometimes they'd get a bit angry when I would deny it, like I was pranking them.
posted by muddgirl at 6:37 PM on February 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've received 100s of emails for the actor that I share a name with. Not so much recently, but back in the early days of the Internet some website that claimed to catalog celebrity email addresses had my email listed for him. Also, I received an email invite for a very nice father's day steak dinner in NYC one year from a father who was apparently organizing with 3 or 4 adult kids. I responded that he had the wrong person and he replied back I had the right name so if I was around NY I was welcome to join them. I looked him up on LinkedIn and he was either a rather high power attorney or a Venture Capitalist.

I didn't join them.
posted by COD at 6:56 PM on February 8, 2020 [6 favorites]

As a teenager, I looked a lot like Molly Ringwald. It probably didn’t hurt that I liked to wear dramatic lipstick, wear vintage dresses, and make sarcastic comments. Strangers brought this up really frequently for a few years. In my early 30s, though, I once had brunch at the table next to hers for an hour and a half and didn’t even notice until someone told me.

I look like everyone’s long-lost friend, too, so I must have several doppelgängers out there. So far, no one has been right that I’m their childhood bestie. But I did a huge volume of trainings for large groups in a previous job and total strangers sometimes do recognize me from that and approach me about it.
posted by centrifugal at 6:58 PM on February 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

Tangential but related: I'm a college advisor, and before I moved to an all online program, saw a lot (a lot a lot) of in person advising appointments, and periodically would get someone who would say that they had heard great things (or bad things, not everyone loves my style and I know it) about that Professor Healy, and figuring out how to let them know "it's a me!" non-awkwardly (and with the "it's okay, not everyone loves my style") disclaimer was always, well awkward.

(More awkward: when students would complain about one of my coworkers who is also one of my best friends, not noticing the pictures of her, oh, in her Halloween costume right above my desk. Especially when I'd gotten her much more detailed version of events shortly beforehand. I'm a pro, I always seemed to handle it fine, but for people being trained to be professional observers... well, their skills are still being developed.)
posted by joycehealy at 7:01 PM on February 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

People looooove to tell me we've already met when I go to introduce myself, but it usually just means they've met a dark-haired Ashkenazi Jew before. (In college, they had usually actually met S., the other Jewish girl in my year.)

We did get to meet once and we looked nothing alike. It was disappointing!

It makes me really homesick when it happens. Massachusetts is very bigoted and gross underneath the progressive veneer, and I hate it when people take it on themselves to remind me.
posted by marfa, texas at 7:06 PM on February 8, 2020 [8 favorites]

There were a few years where I was constantly being mistaken for another guy, or he for me, who evidently lived or frequented the same neighborhood I hung out in. I was told a number of times by co-workers they saw me at place X, where I hadn't been, and tried to say hi, but "I" ignored them. Even the person I was dating at the time said they saw me on the street and tried to get "my" attention one time, which is kinda eery when it's your significant other making the mistake.

But the weirdest time was when I was in a gas station and a couple women came up to me and started getting aggressive. I was alleged to have dated one of them and them disappeared or some such, and this lasted for some time before the one "I" dated all of a sudden realized I wasn't him and they walked away. Being an adoptee makes those kinds of close encounters feel extra fraught with possibilities, but given that last situation, not necessarily in a good way since it sounded like the other me was kind of a dick. I tried to keep an eye out to spot this fellow, but never saw him myself, but then again it probably isn't all that likely I'd mistake someone else for me anyway, being me and all, since if I did, that'd be really creepy.

Thankfully I moved and it only happened once since then, a barista in a different state blushed bright red when I went up to place my order as she thought I was someone she had dated. Evidently other me is quite the player. Oddly I've been told I look like anyone famous or otherwise get more general claims of likeness, just the more intimate kinds. So I guess I don't look like a lot of people, but the few, two?, of us who share likeness are really hard to tell apart.
posted by gusottertrout at 7:33 PM on February 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

During college I worked as a TA for my econ professor's Stats 101 class, along with a classmate who coincidentally shared my (not very common) first name. Apparently it took the students in the class half the semester before they figured out that the person marking the homework was Lexi B, so complaining to study section tutor Lexi G about the grading was useless.
posted by Lexica at 7:34 PM on February 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

When I googled my name was I discovered there was another person with my same first and last name who had done illegal things in the Midwest. That was disappointing.

I’ve got 11 more days in Colorado with my dying dad who was rejuvenated by his field trip home for a couple of hours yesterday. I’ve been here about 2 1/2 weeks and I’ve never seen him as lively or as verbal as he was last night at dinner at his nursing home. The hospice service arranged for the field trip. It involved a wheelchair transportation van and driver, plus my dad‘s hospice RN, plus my dad‘s hospice social worker, plus my dad‘s hospice aide.

So my dad enjoyed telling me with great and righteous indignation that his home visit probably cost $1000 and that was ridiculous and all he needed was a driver. Also, my dad told me he is ready to move back home. Sigh. A few days ago he told me he wanted to die before I go home. Now he’s back in denial mode and convinced he’s ready to go home and be independent. Poor guy! He doesn’t walk anymore and he hasn’t for maybe six weeks. He can barely stand. He needs spotters when he goes to the toilet and when he moves from the wheelchair to the bed.

I got his medical records from his stroke in early December and it was really touch and go about whether he would survive. He seems to suffer a fair amount from anxiety, which is not surprising given that he is dying from congestive heart failure and COPD. So I am watching remodeling shows to decompress from the stress of advocating for my dying dad, hanging out with him, doing work for my client, and pondering the slow-mo collapse of our democracy.

Also, the moon tonight was amazeballs. Go take look if you haven’t. Happy weekend, MeFites. Hang in there, everyone.
posted by Bella Donna at 7:35 PM on February 8, 2020 [23 favorites]

I'm often mistaken for someone who gives a shit.

That's just my little joke, there. My only other anecdotes for this topic are boring as hell and hardly bear mentioning...and to prove it, here I go anyway:
- There's apparently another person with my first+last name who works at my large parent company, and I sometimes get meeting invites for departments I have absolutely no connection with. Those confused me at first, but now i just flag delete 'em and move on. Nobody's ever followed up with a "where were you" message, so it's clear I've never been missed. *pout*
- I share a first+last name with a cartoonist of some note, such that anyone trying to Google me gets results filled with their info instead. If they dig deeper, all they'll find is corny jokes I posted ages ago* in the old rec.humor Usenet group. By the way, that doesn't mean I'm complaining about the relative online anonymity this affords me.
- Apparently my appearance is...unique; I have yet to ever be mistaken for anyone else in person, leading joke aside. Ditto for IRL relative anonymity.

*predominantly the same corny jokes I've reposted here years later, to be quite Frank.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:36 PM on February 8, 2020 [4 favorites]

I was always mistaken for a boy growing up, due to my androgynous haircut and un-feminine features. As soon as I could, around age 7, I demanded slightly longer hair and no more bangs; it worked.
posted by Melismata at 7:47 PM on February 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

Apparently my appearance is... not unique; every year since I turned 18 I've had at least 6 people say "haven't we met?" Sometimes it's a bit weird but usually it just turns into a brief but polite chat, so no complaints.

This just makes it even more surprising when someone stops me on a hunch and it turns out yes, we really have met.
posted by Tehhund at 7:48 PM on February 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

I should mention, too, that my sister-in-law’s father is a faaaar-right Republican and also a dead ringer for Bill Clinton. He has been mistaken for Bill Clinton in public several times. He hates this, and it makes the family members of our generation cackle with glee.
posted by centrifugal at 7:50 PM on February 8, 2020 [10 favorites]

In undergraduate I lived in a dorm with someone who shared my first name and whose surname was only one letter different. We majored in the same subject. Our final exam results got put in each other's mailboxes, which were next to each other. We opened them before realising. She had failed all her exams, and I burst into tears thinking they were my results. I went to find her, and she had opened my results and not realised they weren't hers. I still had tears on my face when I handed her envelope over, so it was clear it wasn't good news...

Nowadays in my department at work there are three people with my first name, and our surnames are all two syllables, ending in -ry or -ly. We get each others mail, including emails, a lot. Often it's pretty confidential.
posted by lollusc at 8:07 PM on February 8, 2020 [5 favorites]

Kieffer Sutherland, all through university, my god you like....🕛🕐🕑🕒🕓🕔🕕.
posted by clavdivs at 8:18 PM on February 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

I have a first name last name combination that is fairly common in Norway, and since I happened to be the first one of us to register a gmail account (and various others) under that name, I get a whole lot of communications meant for someone else.

Now, there happens to be a person with my name living in my city who is also born in the same year and month as me. He died a few years ago.

At the time I was going through a period of severe depression and not responding to/looking at mail and facebook etc. My best friend from high school (who was at the time living in the US) gets a message from his mother about my apparent death (newspaper notice) and tries desperately to contact me for several days. Finally he concludes that I am indeed dead. He contacts a few of my other US friends and they send flowers to my supposed funeral.

He also sends nice words about me to his entire contact list.

My cousin sees this and responds with a "say what now!?! We had drinks last night! Is this some morbid joke?"

Well, at least my namesake got some beautiful flowers and his parents learned that he was loved by people they'd never heard of.
posted by Dumsnill at 8:31 PM on February 8, 2020 [16 favorites]

Nowadays in my department at work there are three people with my first name

Oh that reminds me, one summer in high school I worked at a restaurant (full disclosure: dishwasher) where by some stroke of luck (?) something like 4 or 5 other people working there shared my first name. We rarely all worked the same shifts, but even so we all had to have unique nicknames. Mine was Grog, which I volunteered for on the basis of my enjoyment of old B.C. comics.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:38 PM on February 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

My sister said "hey look it's you" and it kind of was-same hair, fashion sense and walk. I did not like it at all!
posted by freethefeet at 8:39 PM on February 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

I have a lot of doppelgangers, which I attribute to having features that are both distinctive but part of a "type." (Fat white dude, brown hair, extremely curly beard. (If you image search "neckbeard," you will get an idea pretty quickly.)

However, last year we moved across the entire damn country and managed to land in a neighborhood where not only is there another person who looks almost *exactly* like me, but has a little black dog that is at least part chihuahua, just like ours. Except his dog is an asshole and barks at/tries to bite everyone, whereas ours is a nervous little sweetheart. I spent months getting people I'd never met telling me that my dog was in such a good mood today.

ETA: Grog is by far the best thing that comic ever produced.
posted by Scattercat at 8:45 PM on February 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

My mother and I, in the late 80s, both had VERY big auburn-colored hair and were close in age. Living in the south, I can't tell you how often we were told we looked just like country singers The Judds, or straight-up mistaken for them. We both sing, and I have the GlamourShots (tm) to prove the resemblance.

Being 18 years apart (much like The Judds) meant I was clearly the chubbier Wynnona to my mother's Naomi. I was deep in the throes of an eating disorder, so the comparison was not ideal. Now I look back at photos and realize we were just a really attractive, 80s-haired lookalike mom & daughter. Perspective, y'all.
posted by smb0626 at 8:52 PM on February 8, 2020 [8 favorites]

I think I look like a lot of people: I don't necessarily get mistaken for other people that often, but I do get "I'm sure I know you from somewhere" from people who I probably don't know from anywhere. My last name is not very common, and for various reasons it's especially not-common when combined with my first name. However, there is a fairly important Christian religious thinker who had the masculine version of my first name and my last name, and I occasionally get asked whether I'm named after or related to him. I have learned that this question is actually a giveaway about people's religious orientation, which is kind of interesting. I'm not related to my theologian namesake, and in fact I'm Jewish. I finally asked my parents if they were aware they were giving me the same name as this semi-famous Christian guy, and my dad said that he was vaguely aware of it, but as far as he knew the semi-famous Christian guy was unobjectionable. (By this, my father means he was not particularly antisemitic, which as far as I can tell is entirely true.) So yeah. I occasionally have to tell people that I am in no way related to a semi-obscure theologian, and then I ask them whether they attended divinity school and are members of a particular denomination, and they generally say yes to both questions, and then we have a nice conversation about their religious journey.

So the big, not-very-cheerful news for me is that my mother has a brain tumor. I have not really processed this yet, and it's not really possible to process it, because we won't know what it really means until she has a biopsy and the results come back. And apparently the results take weeks, because they have to genetically sequence the tumor. But it's not good. I think I may be changing up my metafilter participation a little bit, because I don't think I'm in the right headspace to argue about politics right now. It may be all recipe-related AskMes and comments on cute-dog-related posts in the blue for me for a while.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:59 PM on February 8, 2020 [17 favorites]

Back in the early 90's I was only able to buy the .net version of the domain I wanted as my personal one.

The person who owned the dot com domain was a badger breeder in Australia and whenever one of my friends would accidentally send their email to me to his domain, he would reply with vulgar invectives.

I googled him a few years ago and found his obituary. I have no desire to claim my .com.
posted by bendy at 9:06 PM on February 8, 2020 [7 favorites]

I worked at a food co-op for many decades and a few years ago a woman asked me a long series of questions about joining. We talked for about 15 minutes and then she told me, "You must like working for the co-op better than the job you had at local GIFT SHOP. You never smiled and always seemed so down."

I knew that she was mistaken since I smile almost all the time, have a sunny disposition, and have never worked at GIFT SHOP. I had a hard time convincing her that it wasn't me she saw.

So one of my friends and I want by the gift store and there was a woman who looked eerily like me except she never smiled and had a sad expression. It was a little unnerving and I didn't say anything to her. My friend said it was like looking at a pair of Comedy and Tragedy faces.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 9:18 PM on February 8, 2020 [9 favorites]

One time I was visiting a friend in college. My friend had a friend, let's call her Laura. She was cute and friendly, and I knew they were not a couple. I did NOT know that she was in the process of leaving her bf to get with my friend. Anyway, we hung out for the day getting high and talking about Negativland or some shit, then go to the computer lab. These were the days when nerdy friends might just go to the computer center to sit at different workstations separately together for awhile, why not. Like to find and print out the anarchists cookbook or work on a MOO or play bolo or something. I didn't have an account at my friend's school, but he logged me in with his account.

Anyway, there I am telnetting or whatever, and I get an ntalk request from Laura, who was sitting across the room IRL but out of sight. She starts to tell me that she likes me, she likes me maybe a lot. I start blushing and type something like, "That's pretty fast. I like you too." We keep talking... See, then, there's a part that has been scribbled out of my memory, which is bad from a storytelling point of view, but it was pretty humiliating to actually live through. You can fill in the progression from "hey ;) ;) ;)" to "..huh?" to "SHITTTT" yourself.

We agreed never to talk about it again, but wound up being friends anyway, somehow.
posted by fleacircus at 9:52 PM on February 8, 2020 [7 favorites]

On the mistaken for someone else side of things, I realised that I needed to stop wearing the shirt that was the same particular shade of blue as our school uniforms (I'm a teacher). I was supervising a classroom lunchtime gaming club, and another teacher came in to growl "hey, you aren't allowed inside without a teacher! ... oh hey freethefeet."
posted by freethefeet at 11:58 PM on February 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

My name is one letter different from a man's name, and I sometimes get emails meant for a man with that first name and my last name. The oddest was an invoice from a golf resort in South Africa - I cannot imagine anything further from my interests.

I don't have any look-alike issues of my own, but my boyfriend has had to gently let down multiple teenage girls who mistakenly believed him to be John Green.
posted by naoko at 12:50 AM on February 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

I don't get mistaken for anyone, but I have successfully denied I am who I am. A person I worked with briefly about 5 years before stopped me on the street. I was a few beers in when they said, "Aren't you AugustWest?" I denied it. August who? He kept insisting and I kept denying. Finally, he got frustrated and said that I certainly looked and sounded like AugustWest. I walked away to get another beer.
posted by AugustWest at 12:56 AM on February 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

My friend was a pale, skinny teen boy with a swoopy emoish haircut, blonde. He went on a trip to Indonesia, and when the adults he was with realised that he was being mistaken for Justin Bieber, they would lean in to it and say things like "hey Justin over here!" He was swarmed by screaming Indonesian girls despite his protests that he wasn't the Canadian singer. There are some fantastic photos!

(he doesn't really look that much like Bieber but close enough.)
posted by freethefeet at 1:01 AM on February 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

In my distant past, I was mistaken for my brother. In one incident, a large school notebook was crashed down upon my head by some ogre-sized guy. In another, a pool cue was swung just past my head from behind as I casually bought a beer.

More recently I just get email mix-ups that involve old bastards with my name but a lot more money than I've got. One is (or was; I think he has died) a viscount, for example, so I'll be addressed or cc'd in email exchanges about him buying antiques, arranging to meet his remaining old chums at 50th reunions of the old school, and setting up rounds of golf at expensive clubs, because he or his friends botch his email address.
posted by pracowity at 3:01 AM on February 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

Heh, pracowity, you "travel" in heady company...
posted by mightshould at 3:23 AM on February 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Someone knocked on my door in the evening. I wasn't expecting anyone, I was confused because random door knockers don't usually call in the evening, and I momentarily forgot which pocket my door keys were in.
So I opened the window, poked my head out, and the caller (a complete stranger) made a cheery effort to engage me in a LONG conversation about motorbike exhausts, as if we knew one another.
After quite a while of this I put two and two together and asked "Did you come to talk to (neighbour)?"
Yup he mistook me for my neighbour, who is over twenty years older than me, and not the same gender. I don't know why he thought that someone he apparently knew would choose to conduct a conversation with him through the window.
posted by quacks like a duck at 4:04 AM on February 9, 2020 [8 favorites]

A person in my town and I have a similar address, and we're always getting mail addressed to the other. Over the years we've become acquainted as we alert each other about mail and occasionally see each other when we pick up from the other house. Crazily, I ran into them while on vacation 500 miles away and my first thought was, "Sooooo, who's getting the mail...?"
posted by cocoagirl at 4:42 AM on February 9, 2020 [8 favorites]

I've been watching British panel shows when I can find them on YouTube, and I swear Phil Wang looks like a younger version of me. If I let my hair grow out, the resemblance is more striking.

As far as weird mistaken identities go, we tend to get a lot of (physical) mail with our address but destined for people who, as far as I can tell, have never actually lived here. Despite all my trying, the post office won't take them back and I can't figure out how to get them to stop coming. The weirdest one just recently arrived, actually - the intended recipient's name was nearly unreadable (it looked like it was written by a child), no return address. I opened it just to make sure there wasn't anything sensitive inside, and it was... a generic greeting card ("Thinking of you!") with three circles drawn inside. No note, nothing. Stuffed inside the card was a scrap of paper torn out of a Stop and Shop mailer.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:21 AM on February 9, 2020 [5 favorites]

Tehhund and LobsterMitten, I've been enjoying this thread a lot -- thank you for starting it.

Every once in a while I am told that someone knows someone who resembles me, but I don't think I've gotten to meet them yet; maybe I have and it's been so unnerving that I blotted it out of my memory! Sometimes the resemblance is to my "energy." Years ago somebody mistook a friend of mine for me, or vice versa, and I think we looked vaguely similar at that time from far away.... In recent years people have ruefully noted that, at scifi conventions I attend (which are all in the US and whose attendees are mostly white), some attendees confuse fairly prominent black women attendees with each other, and I think some similar things have happened regarding people of South Asian descent. I'm trying to remember whether anyone has actually confused me with Mary Anne Mohanraj; perhaps that just nearly happened.

When I was in college in California, I often went to a particular restaurant and was often served by the same seemingly grumpy waiter. Then one day, just after the winter break, I went to eat there, and he saw me and told me: It's you! I was on vacation in Florida and I thought I saw you, and I thought, "I'm on vacation on the other side of the country and I still can't get away from regulars at the place where I work." And then I went up to you to say hi and it wasn't you at all and I said hi and backed away like a crazy person. And I basked: I'm a regular! And he doesn't hate me!
posted by brainwane at 5:42 AM on February 9, 2020 [7 favorites]

10 or more years ago, I would periodically get a voicemail message from an elderly man who apparently thought my number belonged to his son Mike. Nothing earth-shattering but it drove me crazy thinking that this poor old dude probably thought his son was ignoring his messages. I called him once to let him know he had the wrong number, but he seemed very confused, and I kept getting the messages. I only hope that his son was involved with him anyway and the missed messages were not preventing them from connecting. The voicemails continued for a couple of years until I eventually changed plans and got a new number.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 6:25 AM on February 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

When I was a teenager, another teenage person came up to me at an amusement park and greeted me enthusiastically as if we were friends. I did not recognize them, and when they realized this said, "it's me, Terry Smith!" Still nothing, I had no idea who this person was. I think I said some incredibly awkward version of "oh hey, how ya doin" and kept moving.

It has bothered me all these years as to who this person might have been. Did they mistake me for someone else? Had I completely forgotten someone I'd known and been friendly with? Were they just fucking with me? If so, it was a very effective prank as I still think about it from time to time, some 40 years on.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 6:33 AM on February 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

I have one of those faces that makes strangers think we've met before, but my favorite mistaken-identity experience was when I walked into a 7-11 a couple of decades ago to buy cigarettes and the cashier did a double-take at my face, peered at my license, peered at my face again, and said, "Damn! For a second I thought you were my cousin Judy, but you're just a white girl."
posted by palomar at 6:48 AM on February 9, 2020 [11 favorites]

Oh, another one. Several years ago I was chubby, blonde, wore bright lipstick, colorful clothes, and had these bold blue eyeglass frames (slightly before everyone was wearing fun glasses.) I noticed I was getting stared at a lot when I was out in public, like at the grocery store, and chalked it up to the glasses which were pretty eye-catching and different.

Then one day a guy came into my work where I was the receptionist, and said "oh my god, you look like Garcia!" I had no idea who he was talking about, and he told me she was on the show Criminal Minds. I had never seen it, so I was concerned he might be comparing me to someone funny-looking, but he said "no, Garcia is hot! She's quirky but it's super cute." So naturally I watched the show and was very flattered to have been compared. It happened a few more times after that. One day I mentioned it to my husband, then later that evening we went out to dinner and our waitress said "Did anyone ever tell you that you look like Penelope Garcia?"

Now that I'm older I never hear that any more, sadly.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 6:53 AM on February 9, 2020 [8 favorites]

As an adult, I somewhat frequently get mistaken for other blonde fat ladies that people know. The concierge in my condo building used to try to give me packages belonging to the other blonde fat lady, for example. But the weirdest one was when I was at my cousin's wedding.

I was introduced to the mother of the groom early in the day (my cousin was the bride, obviously I already knew her mother), we chatted briefly for a minute or two, and then she moved on because she had lots of other people to meet. Then later in the day, she came up to me and was super effusive and happy to see me, and I was like "Wow, this lady really likes me! I mean, I'm pretty great, but am I this great?" and then a few minutes into our conversation, I realized she thought I was a member of the wedding party.

I later met that member of the wedding party, and she turned out to be a blonde fat lady.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:09 AM on February 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

We are on a ‘ski trip’ with a bunch of people we don’t know - and, uh, we speak with each other (this is my sons and I) in English because I don’t want to speak with them in German and, frankly, they don’t want me to speak with them in German either (hehe.) so apparently a few people were wondering what that was about - the funniest take that was shared with me was the supposition that I was Belgian (I am not Belgian.)

A long while ago I was in the city center and saw my old neighbor and friend’s doppelgänger - but my friend’s younger self doppelgänger, not his current self. It was dizzying and intense, as though time had folded back on itself somehow. My friend’s father’s family were all killed by the nazis, yet here he was (but not was) in Berlin. (I thought it at the moment -‘fuck you, nazis, his genes live on despite you. Losers’)

I am never mistaken for anyone else but I met a cousin a couple years ago who I clearly share dna with and the resemblance was unsettling.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:15 AM on February 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

One time when I was visiting my dad with my husband, I looked up to see who I thought was my husband with his back to me as he walked to the kitchen. A second later I realized it was actually my dad, and for the first time I noticed that the shape of his body was incredibly similar to my husband. It's a very disconcerting moment in life when you realize you think your dad has a nice ass.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:22 AM on February 9, 2020 [12 favorites]

Like jacquilynne, I get mistaken for other people a lot due to having fairly generic looks. People will also be insistent on telling me I'm a dead ringer for someone else. There's one person in particular who works in the same field as I used to that I've never met for some reason and about whom people say the resemblance is really uncanny. But there have been lots more. Once at a conference, a guy was looking at me intently and it turned out he thought I was someone he knew and didn't understand why I didn't speak to him. At that same conference, a couple kept referring to me by another name-- another person they thought I was, not the same person the other guy mistook me for.
posted by BibiRose at 7:31 AM on February 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Before I started grad school, I got an email in mid-March from the then-head of the graduate program. It said that he enjoyed meeting me at the admitted students weekend, he hoped I had a good visit, and finally, that he was sorry to hear about my foot injury. The problem? I didn't attend the weekend! (And I didn't injure my foot.)

It turns out that one of the people who did attend, and ended up entering the program and becoming a friend of mine, had done a handstand in his hotel room, fallen over, and gashed his foot on the corner of a table, after which one of the senior students helping to run the weekend had to rush him to urgent care -- an episode that remained part of department lore for a few years.

The coda is that since he and I were both dudes of short to moderate height with long curly blond hair, we proceeded to be mistaken for one another for several months after we had both arrived as well.
posted by egregious theorem at 9:09 AM on February 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

I have a common name / email address. I got an email from a guy asking for a date. So I responded, saying unless he was looking for a 40-something married pharmacist in Virginia, he should check that he typed the right email address. He answered "OMG, thanks!! I would have thought she was blowing me off!" A couple hours later he emailed that she said yes, and they were going out that night.

The next day he emailed saying that they did go out but - funny story - she ended up making out with one of his female friends and saying she wasn't really into guys. I responded, "Bummer. Maybe your subconscious was telling you something when you mistyped her email."

And he emails me back a list of reasons why he is a good catch!!!

I emailed back something vaguely encouraging. (Which is, in retrospect, insane. But I hadn't heard of emotional labor yet.)

He emailed me back a few more times with supporting evidence, including a photo of himself. He was somewhat conventionally attractive, and there was a dog in the photo, but I still think my name-twin dodged a bullet on that one.
posted by selfmedicating at 9:09 AM on February 9, 2020 [6 favorites]

I used to have google dominance for my name and now I do not. The main Jessamyn now is a fat femme yogi (her words!) who has an excellent social media game and is all around terrific as near as I can tell. Her email address is so I get a lot of her email from people who assume there is a space in there. I have a canned response in my gmail, it happens so often. Social media influencers get weird email.

There is another jessamyn who is a psychologist in the Seattle area and I think somewhere in one of her contact forms, she has my email address and not hers. So I get some heavily personal email sometimes. I have a very gentle email that I send these folks.

Just today someone signed up for a account with my email. Very exciting. My sister, on the other hand, is dealing with this. So tough to not be able to tell if you have a person with a wrong number or a creepy stalker.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:20 AM on February 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

After living where I am for, oh, three or four years, during which time I'd regularly stop to chat to my neighbours when I ran into them, including one older gent who I helped out a few afternoons fixing his van on his drive, my landlady (and former housemate - we he lived here a few years before I moved in, and she moved out a year or so after I moved in) came to visit, and at one point mentioned that one of the neighbours had had an odd conversation with her. We thought nothing of it. Later that week, I ran into my neighbour, and he was surprised I was back from the north, in fact I must be travelling a lot since he sees me all the time.

He thought my landlady and I were the same person. We have different haircuts (mine is blonde and was like three feet long, hers is brown with a prominent pink highlight and shoulder length), I'm about a head taller, and we have very different body shapes. We have substantially different accents. But we're both early thirties trans women. I guess that was enough? After literal years, and spending a fair bit of time together.

People are strange.
posted by Dysk at 9:51 AM on February 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

(To be fair, I can't actually remember the dude's name, though I am bad with names generally. He's always just the guy with the sideburns and the van in my mind.)
posted by Dysk at 9:52 AM on February 9, 2020

I have been mistaken for both Ali Campbell from UB40 and Graham Norton at different points in my life. Both times it was by drunk people.
posted by Chairboy at 10:19 AM on February 9, 2020

There is a guy who frequents a coffee shop on my campus who looks a lot like a young Mr. eirias. Whenever I see his time-shifted doppelgänger, I get this little frisson reminding me of the days when Mr. e was just this cute guy I wished I knew, and it's like time collapses for a minute.
posted by eirias at 10:20 AM on February 9, 2020 [9 favorites]

Oh, the lady living across the road from my friend thought we were the same person. We're about the same build, and both of us would let ourselves in and out of my friend's house, sometimes toting her kid.
We had completely different hair at the time and are visibly not the same ethnicity.
posted by quacks like a duck at 12:05 PM on February 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

I am Cortex.
posted by Wordshore at 1:13 PM on February 9, 2020 [9 favorites]

ArbitraryandCapricious, jedi hugs (if you want them) for the stressful news of your mom's tumor. Puppies seem like a good mode of MeFi interaction.

I am getting mistaken for my friend by her youngest child. I guess we are similar from the waist down in general shape and in that we wear jeans? And then the 3 year old looks up while hugging my legs and recoils. Hey kid, don't blame me if you didn't bother to check my face before deciding I'm your mom. I apparently mixed up my dad and my uncle all the time as a kid, presumably for similar reasons of build/pants.
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:27 PM on February 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

Oh right, drunk people are a whole other category. In 2016, in Austin, Texas, I was chatting with other OSCON acquaintances in a hotel lobby and was interrupted by a drunk white woman who called me "Mindy Lahiri" (a fictional character, played by Mindy Kaling, in The Mindy Project).
posted by brainwane at 1:44 PM on February 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

I am Cortex.
posted by Wordshore at 1:13 PM on February 9

Menger sponge cake or it didn't happen.
posted by eirias at 1:50 PM on February 9, 2020 [9 favorites]

I evidently look “just like” a random person known to almost every person I ever meet. A lot more often than not, a person I’ve never met before, on being introduced, will let me know what random acquaintance of theirs I remind them of. It’s uncanny.

A quarter century ago, I had a similar issue come up all the time: with no exaggeration, maybe five times in the first year I lived in Toronto, someone said to me some variation of, "I saw this guy on the subway yesterday who I could have sworn was you, but his hair was darker than yours." In the fullness of time, I learned it was a biological cousin whom I had never met. On the other hand, I have also seen false positives for doppelgangers.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:52 PM on February 9, 2020 [5 favorites]

I picked up as a mailing list (redirecting to my actual username) at some point. For a while, every parent with offspring having that name seemed to assume that their child was The two most notable misdirected emails included financial aid info (which I obviously redirected appropriately) and a wedding invite (no, I didn't go.)

Someone recently told me that they'd seen my doppelgänger in New York. I was pretty surprised, and I rather wished they'd snapped a photo or something - I have a relatively distinctive hair cut/color and set of facial piercings, so I don't think I've actually had one in real life before.
posted by ASF Tod und Schwerkraft at 2:09 PM on February 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

At the university where I worked, our email addresses were our initials plus a number, derived how many others with those initials were in the system. So, if John Moses Blankenship was the 53rd J.M.B. to get a net ID, hid email would be

For about a month, I got group emails from the person with the address one digit lower than mine. But he was part of this really exciting-sounding theoretical mathematics team, which was far more interesting than my administrative drone work, so I kept putting off saying anything. Finally I had to come clean; I didn't want this poor guy missing meetings or anything. The group leader got a big laugh out of it and said I could be an honorary theoretical mathematician.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:43 PM on February 9, 2020 [7 favorites]

In college I received a very unsettling phone call from a woman who addressed me by name, claimed to be my mother, and proceeded to guilt me about not contacting her in the most character-assassinating, horror movie mom way possible.

Now, I talked to my mom by phone every week or more at the time, but a) this woman's voice was close enough to my mom's to make me think maybe... somehow... it was her and something was terribly wrong and b) several factors about my upbringing predisposed me to being a setup for this type of guilt trip. My real mother was never that awful, though, not even close.

I hung up the phone, shaken, and told my roommates. Over time I realized that the caller was likely a really sick person who was just going through the student phone book (remember those?) and getting some free sadistic jollies. But it was disturbing as hell at the time.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 2:45 PM on February 9, 2020 [5 favorites]

But also, my sister and I have rhyming names that even our own grandmother could never keep straight, and we sound exactly the same and look similar, so people have been mixing us up all our lives. Didn't help that Mom was a twin and didn't know how to raise two close-in-age kids not as twins? So we spent our formative years dressed alike, joint birthday parties, etc.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:46 PM on February 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

I was at an all-staff meeting for my division, standing in line to get coffee, and someone walks up behind me, puts their hands on my shoulders, and says something like "I'm so glad to see you! I wasn't expecting you'd be here today." I turned around and she got very embarrassed and mumbled something about mistaken identity. I never did find out her name or who she thought I was.
posted by mogget at 3:28 PM on February 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

No one ever mistakes me for anyone else, which is weird because I am very usual looking. I do have the opposite problem, where people I know (even know well) will not recognize me. I regularly change my hair style and facial hair, and 99 percent of my clothes come from dumpster diving which means I "shop" based more on size than any particular style. Combined, these factors lead to occasional confusion.
posted by Literaryhero at 3:34 PM on February 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

I used to be a television program director (not someone who directs shows, but the person at a TV station who buys and schedules shows). Each year, I'd go to the National Association of Television Programming Executives conference, where we'd be wined (I'd be dietCoked) and dined and get to meet TV stars. I met a lot, and got kissed (chastely) by Henry Winkler and (semi-oddly) by William Shatner. But one of my most memorable experiences was when they were in the process of selling The Larry Sanders Show in syndication.

The usual shtick is that you and/or your general manager stand in line, and when it's your turn you get a handshake and a photo. Some stars really want to chat and be treated like normal people, some are kind of jerks. (And you'd often be wrong about which are which.) Because of the timing, there weren't a lot of people in line for the photo ops for TLSS, and both Shandling and Jeffrey Tambor were in directors' chairs (with an empty one between them) turned to their respective "people." I got put in place, the camera person was fiddling around and walked away, so I just waited.

Tambor finished his conversation and turned toward me with a plastered-on polite smile and then his smile got BROAD and he almost bounced in his seat and started asking how I was and as I gave a response, he had this quizzical look. I said, "I'm not who you thought I was, am I?" and he said that he'd been SURE I was "Susan" (someone, I've forgotten the last name) and it was mind-blowing how much I looked and sounded like her! We chatted amusingly for a few minutes, the camera dude came back and everyone snapped into place.

Shandling turned to me, again with a polite, plastered-on kind of smile and then when he turned fully, got that same delighted, happy smile and started to say, "Oh my goodness, I didn't know you were..." and Tambor leans right across me and says, "It's not SUSAN! She's not Susan! Isn't that wild?" And then Shandling is leaning in and squinting and my boss is off on the side, laughing, because I was always getting into these wackadoodle situations. (I fixed Carmen Electra's hem. I knocked David Hyde Pierce down with my boobs.) I was convinced for a while that it was a bit that they did every so often, but I watched from a corner on and off over a few days and they didn't do it to anyone else, and I told the story on a committee call with other TV stations once, and nobody had heard of them doing it to anyone else.

Anyway, somewhere out there in TV land is a beloved woman named Susan who looks (and sounds) enough like me that I probably could have done a prince-and-pauper switch.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 4:27 PM on February 9, 2020 [18 favorites]

My gf thinks I look like Richard Gere when I wear my glasses, but I think she just wants me to say she looks like Julia Roberts.

I tell her. It works for both of us.
posted by AugustWest at 4:55 PM on February 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

Anyway, somewhere out there in TV land is a beloved woman named Susan who looks (and sounds) enough like me that I probably could have done a prince-and-pauper switch.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese

Too bad you weren't the right kind of cheese...
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:29 PM on February 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

When I was 4 or so I got separated from my dad in a store. As soon as I found a blue-jeaned leg that looked like his, I wrapped my arms around its thigh. Spoiler alert: it wasn't my dad.
posted by bendy at 6:01 PM on February 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

Some years ago I bought a Swiss Army knife of a kind that wasn't being made any more at a flea market from a guy that looked quite a bit like me (I'd thought so and my partner commented on it unprompted), and who made kind of a noise of distress as I handed over the money and picked up the knife.

When I got home and started cleaning it up, I was irritated to see tiny letters scratched into one of the red plastic bolsters that I hadn't noticed before and which would have kept me from buying it if I had; as I peered more closely, I saw that they were a name — my name, both first and last.
posted by jamjam at 6:20 PM on February 9, 2020 [29 favorites]

I share a first and last name (common in his country, rarer in mine) with a very prominent-on-twitter anti-fascist academic and activist, who gets relentless, directed, and genuinely scary hatred directed his way. When I used to be on twitter I used to get misdirected hate, which is really unpleasant even when I know it's not for me; I wish him only the best and don't understand how he copes.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:22 PM on February 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

Well, jamjam, not to worry! Exchanging money for a knife with your doppleganger is considered the standard way to sever yourself from them and to keep them from following you and assuming your life.

You, uh, did complete the ritual when you got home, right?
posted by Ghidorah at 6:41 PM on February 9, 2020 [17 favorites]

(I fixed Carmen Electra's hem. I knocked David Hyde Pierce down with my boobs.)

I continue to be gobsmacked by the variety of experiences MeFites have had. More stories!
posted by Bella Donna at 7:18 PM on February 9, 2020 [8 favorites]

We had a male friend of our daughter stay with us a number of years ago, he was around 20 at the time. He met this girl and brought her home. They immediately went to hang out in the bedroom, while I was in the kitchen. The way our apartment is laid out, the kitchen door is directly across a narrow hallway from the bedroom door.

A few minutes later she started to walk out of the bedroom at the exact moment I started to walk out of the kitchen, and we both stopped short. A look of pure confusion came over her face, and she stammered, "I uh... thought I was looking in a mirror!" At that moment I realized how much we did look alike, in spite of the 20 year age difference. About the same height, both chubby, with blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, glasses, no makeup. She was horrified and fled, never to return. The boy had no idea what happened... lol.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:35 PM on February 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

I have the reverse problem to many in this thread. I grew up extremely rural and had met very few people until I was in my twenties, and I therefore constantly think I recognize people I've never met.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:21 PM on February 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

I never heard that, Ghidorah! How fascinating — and I did actually later have the strong impression that the new girlfriend of a friend claimed to know me and had an unfavorable opinion of me, even though we'd never met, because she was confusing me with that doppelgänger, so whatever the completion of that ritual was, I must not have done it. I presume it must have something to do with blood, and while I can't remember cutting myself with that knife, I did stab myself on the ball of my thumb with the scissors of that knife just last week when I was trying to cut away the outer rubber sheath of a power tap strip electrical cable, and that bled a lot.

I have heard that "the gift of a knife severs a friendship", so when someone gives you a knife you have to give them a penny if you want to keep them as a friend, but that's the limit of my knowledge.
posted by jamjam at 10:40 PM on February 9, 2020

Just remembered that I used to be in the same bowling league with a man that looked exactly like MuddDude, but aged up by 30 years. This was in the era of cargo shorts and polo shirts, and he had the same thick, long blonde hair and curly beard. MuddDude has had a bit of a glow-up since then so I don't think the resemblance is close any more, but at the time it was uncanny.
posted by muddgirl at 1:57 AM on February 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Approximately many years ago (ten? maybe?) I was crossing the road from The Cut to Waterloo station.
Someone on the other side of the road waved in my general direction, but I didn't wave back because I didn't know them.

I crossed the road and the waver ran up to me, threw her arms around my neck and kissed me!

I was alarmed at this interaction, because the person I was dating (and am now married to) has quite a lot of very distinctive red hair. This person did not. She has a normal amount of neat brown hair.
Said person then berated me for "Being Weird"

I looked blankly at her.
She looked at me more closely and said something along the lines of
"omg you're not chris!(or a name to this effect. I couldn't quite hear) I'm so sorry" whilst making a fairly rapid retreat.

So. Somewhere there is a doppelganger of me and I have (unwillingly) kissed their girlfriend.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:56 AM on February 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

I have a very unusual name (Scandinavian spelling of first name + Irish spelling of last name = weirdo), which appeared to be unique in the world until around 2004, when my upstart British doppelganger reached grade school and started showing up on Google searches. I'm, and occasionally get his stuff, but only for the most unexpected peripheral shit. (I'm looking at you, Irish Railways who sent me trip updates and then spammed the hell out of me for months from half a dozen email addresses before the unsubscribes went through). His Google cachet started to creep up when he started playing music on a YouTube channel under his real name, and for a while we shared the front page of Google results. He either stopped playing or switched pseudonyms when he graduated from college, though, so his stuff is starting to age out of relevance with the search algorithm, and my nerdy CS papers from undergrad have retaken the lead.

Here's where it gets weird. My postal carrier and chatted a bit once last year when I was on the porch as he was delivering the day's mail, and he asked if I was Firstname Lastname. When I replied in the affirmative, he squinted at me for a second before saying "Ah, OK, I thought you were someone I knew." Apparently he had lived (!) with my doppelganger somewhere down near NYC for a short time, where Mirror Universe Me lived in a crappy 3-bedroom flat in New Jersey, playing local gigs four nights a week to make the rent. It didn't occur to me to ask him about the exact circumstances in which he fell in with said doppelganger, and he swapped postal routes soon thereafter so now I never see him to ask all my followup questions, but this guy just happened to have close contact with the two people in the world with my exact name.
posted by Mayor West at 6:18 AM on February 10, 2020 [10 favorites]

I just remembered another from long ago. When waiting for a friend alone in a bar in Utica, NY, I looked up from my beer and newspaper to see a beautiful young woman looking into my eyes and weeping and explaining stuff to a grim man sitting next to her. I tried to keep reading, but when I looked up she was still looking at me and crying and whispering something to her grim friend. I thought I was a dead man.

Turns out I was a dead man: I looked exactly like her uncle, the one who never came back from Vietnam, and she was drunk enough to half think I somehow was him come back from the grave to see her.
posted by pracowity at 6:40 AM on February 10, 2020 [6 favorites]

rather be jorting, I've been confused for at least three other female East Asian attorneys at my (former, for other reasons) firm. And then there was the time that people kept mixing up a Vietnamese-American litigation partner for the Vietnamese-American guy who did the mail cart. Like, repeatedly stopped in the hallway and asked whether packages had come in. Multiple times.

But maybe it wasn't entirely racism? Because the (white) chairman of the same firm once stopped a (white) second year associate in the hallway and had an entire conversation with him, leaning forward and saying to the associate, "I've heard such great things about you! The firm is so lucky to have you."

And the associate is like ??????????? I've just been allowed to start making photocopies without having the partner's secretary check every page???????????????

But then, eventually, halfway through the conversation, as the associate put it, "I realized he was talking about the business partner that'd just been elected director. Because we're both fat white men."

The second-year associate didn't know how to correct the fucking chairman of the firm, who is famous for being super fucking awkward and really, really mean. (He, also, incidentally, is very thin.) So the chairman left with the impression that he'd just done some top-level gladhanding, but said associate then had to make a very uncomfortable visit to the actual, recently-elevated dude's office to give a precis of the discussion, including the compliments that had been delivered, because the chairman had said he had a matter he wanted the newly-elevated director to handle.
posted by joyceanmachine at 8:25 AM on February 10, 2020 [7 favorites]

There's a guy with my exact same name somewhere in England, and for awhile I was getting email meant for him - someone was clearly guessing on gmail addresses. I'd regularly respond with "hey, I think you meant this for someone else" and they'd stop for awhile and then resume.

Finally a message came in that was pretty personal - related to planning a will and so on. I responded again (look I'd really hate for this to go unanswered it looks really important but I'm not the guy) and they finally stopped altogether. It was weird, though. When I got an invitation to brunch on etime I wished I was wealthy enough to just zip over and show up.
posted by jquinby at 10:22 AM on February 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

There was also the co-worker who kept calling me by a completely dissimilar name - like imagine calling somebody Doris instead of Michelle? At first I didn't realize and thought he was talking to someone else, and then I didn't want to correct him because he'd wonder why I didn't correct him sooner, then he'd brought his out-of-town parents to the office and introduced them to "Doris," and I started worrying that it would make him look bad to the boss ("Oh, I gave my paperwork to Doris." "Who the heck is Doris? Why didn't you give it to Michelle?" "Who the heck is Michelle?") And finally another co-worker called me by my right name in front of him and I fessed up and we all had a good laugh.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:16 AM on February 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

Many years ago I went to the Empty Bottle, a little dive bar / indie music venue off Western Ave in Chicago, to see a band named Crooked Fingers. Opening for them was a duo out of Athens Georgia name of Azure Ray. Mostly I went to see Crooked Fingers, always been a fan of Eric Bachmann, but also at the time I had a bit of a crush on Maria Taylor, half of Azure Ray.

After the show (during which I very nearly set fire to the venue, which is a story for another time) I was bundling up and following my friends out when I heard my name. I turned and there was Maria Taylor. "Thank you for coming to the show," she said, and smiled. I stammered something about how I enjoyed their set, smiled back, and turned to go (because naturally, twenty-something me was too dumb and starstruck to do anything else but walk away).

After some reflection with my friends,we figured it out. A pretty well-known DJ at one of the alt-rock stations in town not only shared my name but looked an awful lot like me, right down to the facial hair, a fact that I found irritating (I'd been wearing that name and face in Chicago well before he ever moved there) but which up until that point somehow had not led to a clear case of mistaken identity. Ah well.

If you're out there Maria, sorry about that. I still think you're pretty great though.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 12:17 PM on February 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

1. This past weekend, on my (wildly successful!) ski trip, I accidentally took the wrong helmet to the slopes and only found out an hour and a half later when the woman who I had only met the day before texted me to ask "hey grumpybear69, did you take my helmet?" I looked at it and immediately recalled the prior evening when I remarked that our helmets were very similar and we'd better point out all of the differences, which I apparently promptly forgot. It was an awkward exchange which thankfully evolved into an amusing anecdote by the end of the evening.

2. There is a guy with my exact email address, but at, for whom I have gotten employment application confirmations, tracking information for gun purchases and other potentially compromising information. Each time I have informed the sender of their error. I can only presume that he keeps fat-fingering the address.

3. There is a guy with my same first and last name who owns a pizzeria about fifteen minutes from one of my uncles' houses. I only found out about him while researching lost trust accounts. At first I thought it was my grandfather, but I later discovered the truth. The next time I went to visit my uncle, I went to the pizza shop and met him, much to his surprise. We are not related, but are of similar age, build and hair. We took a photo. I still follow his pizzeria on Facebook.

4. In high school I was at the music department awards ceremony, about to receive an award for Most Goody Two-Shoes Who Sings or something similar, when the announcer - an assistant principal - called out my father's name. I just stood there, dumbfounded, until he called it again. So I walked up the podium and took it. To this day I don't know how they made that mistake since my dad lived in a different state and never, AFAIK, interacted with the school system.

5. There was a period of my life when I apparently looked enough like Paul Rudd that people continuously commented on it, to the point where I was standing outside of a club and some guy in a Jeep yelled out "Yo, Paul Rudd! I love you, man!"
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:58 PM on February 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

My sister, mother and I sounded identical on the phone when we all lived in the same house (we probably still do, in fact). This was not usually a problem, except when my grandmother called. She was quite deaf but unwilling to accept this fact, and would just carry on her conversation with whichever of us she thought she was talking to, regardless of who it actually was.

My mother and I look very alike, though she is 25 years older than I am. We share the same hobby, which is a small enough world that we regularly run into the same people. A couple of times a year I'll meet someone new who looks at me funny, and I just know that they once knew my mother and are trying to figure out whether I'm her.
posted by altolinguistic at 3:32 PM on February 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

First year in college: massive large class of some required nature: in auditorium; next seat frosh introduces self and me likewise. We exchange course notes and also home phone numbers in the days before cells.

I get message from my roommate the coursemate called wanting class notes: and roommate kept telling classmate my correct name. Seems the first letter of my name was mistaken by classmate. Soooooo awkward. So: in class (to seatmate) I was person x while in reality I was person named y.

I was so shy and introverted and embarrassed that I could never correct classmate. And I was too ashamed to tell roommate so I simply lied and said that the other name was a "joke" name to each of them. Social ineptness for the win!
posted by mightshould at 3:52 PM on February 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

Somewhere around age 2 or 3, friends of my parents mailed them an ad they'd clipped from the local paper. It was a "please sponsor this child!" pitch from one or another of the various charities that were dedicated to helping the poor in Central America in the late 60s/early 70s. The Hispanic child pictured in the ad looked A LOT like me, a tiny Ashkenazi Jew from New Jersey. To make sure my parents understood JUST HOW MUCH this kid looked like me, the friends helpfully added a caption ballon: "Hey, mom and dad, I figured out a new way to scam the goyim out of their money" (or words to that effect).

Mom and dad, of course, thought this was HILARIOUS, framed the picture, and it's been on the wall in their house as long as I can remember.
posted by hanov3r at 4:25 PM on February 10, 2020 [9 favorites]

I have a "once removed" version of this.

My child is like a preteen version of a small town mayor.
We can't go anywhere that they don't run into someone they know.

Every walk to school, we're greeting classmates, teacher's assistants, parents of 12th graders.
If we go skiing, guaranteed they once went to summer camp with the person on the chair next to them.
I kid you not, we were once walking through Heathrow airport (we live on the west coast of America) and the person sitting across from us in the gate area was the cook from their preschool. 8 years ago.
My kid knows people is what I'm saying.

The point is, though, that I am often in the same places as my child. Sports, I'm there on the sidelines. Camps, I'm picking them up, school, I'm handing out lunches, etc.
And since I am a SAHD, I am often the only male at dance class or at swim lessons.
But I don't really interact, I'm just kind of there, on the periphery, watching practice or in the waiting room.

So, when I am about without my child, at a grocery store, I often catch adults, especially moms, kind of giving me a sidewards glance, like "I know that guy. Where do I know him from?"
Often, the recognition is such that they aren't confident enough to come up and say "Hey, how are you?" but it's strong enough that you can tell it bugs them they can't remember.

On more than one occasion, I've had someone do a loop around the aisle so they can double check.
posted by madajb at 4:46 PM on February 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

Lots of people have thought that old pictures of my great-grandmother were old-timey photo booth pictures of me.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:20 PM on February 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

A decade-ish ago, I got bcc'd at my address. The message was sent from a US-based webdev guy, in response to a Germany-based webdev guy. The German webdev was asking how much longer it would take to get their .de page moved to something else, because the German gov't/registrar was cracking down on cults. Understandably, the US webdev was annoyed because the alien ships were due to arrive in Arizona in 6 weeks, so what the fuck does this German webdev care about their fucking domain for their 6 remaining weeks on Earth??? Anyhow, the US webdev was bcc'ing me because the person he intended to reach (who, weirdly enough, actually appears to have a different firstname lastname from the ones in my gmail address) was a high-level prophet in the cult. Every year since then, at Christmas-time, I still get an e-card at my gmail address that is addressed to the prophet, that is seemingly not from either of the webdevs.
posted by unknowncommand at 6:53 PM on February 10, 2020 [14 favorites]

(Also, Google shows that the domain got changed, and the cult still exists, but the alien ships have never landed.)
posted by unknowncommand at 7:00 PM on February 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

I think last time this happened to me was in college. Me (not Jeff) and a couple of mates were walking off campus when we heard this second-floor shouting at us: "Jeff...! Jeff...! ...Jeff!". My mate knowingly nudged me, "I think they're calling for you!"

Me without looking back, fully aware that there was more than one pointy-nosed, denim-jacketed, longhaired dude around, "Yeah, I know!"

posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 9:04 PM on February 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

and we sound exactly the same and look similar, so people have been mixing us up all our lives. Didn't help that Mom was a twin and didn't know how to raise two close-in-age kids not as twins?

A friend of mine has spent his life in exactly this situation with his brother, who is eleven months his senior. They both have distinctive first names that would stand out of a crowd of kids named Robert and David and Michael but are similar to each other. And with the minimal difference in age, they passed their childhoods having variations of this conversation with neighbours and teachers and such:

“So tell me, how old are you?”

“I am eight.”

“And that would make YOU eight also, right?”


“Are twins common in your family?”

“What? No, we’re not twins.”
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:57 AM on February 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

I get mistaken for Jodie Foster A LOT. The most memorable being from a flight attendant who said he was surprised I was in coach, and another at a friends house for dinner, where both of a couple kept staring at me, were is disbelief that I was not Jodie and insisted on having a photo taken with me to show their friends, to which I kindly obliged.
posted by waving at 11:44 AM on February 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

One week at summer camp, three completely different people at three completely different times all stopped mid-conversation with me, squinted at me a bit, and then said "you look like my friend's sister Debbie." It was always their friend's sister and it was always the name Debbie. These three people did not know each other. I still don't know what that was about.

When I was in my teens, I apparently sounded exactly like my mother on the phone, especially when we first answered the phone. This lead to a potentially awkward moment when I answered the phone with my usual "Hello?" and it was my father, calling from work - and he had a particularly flirty note in his voice that made me realize he thought I was Mom. I very very very quickly said "Hi, Dad, how are you!" before he could say anything that would embarrass us both.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:57 AM on February 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

Oh! I nearly forgot this "mistaken identity" tale -

I had an old roommate who was really active in live-action role-playing gaming, to the point that some people knew him only by his character name, but not his real name. He also had a big passel of college friends who all had creative nicknames for each other.

So for the first couple weeks that we lived there, every once in awhile I'd answer the phone and be thoroughly confused by someone asking for "James Webster" or "Andrew" or "Pookie" instead of for [his name]. And when he heard me saying "I'm sorry, did you say you were looking for 'Pookie'?" he'd say "oh, sorry, that's for me," and come to take the phone.

I quickly adopted a policy that when I answered the phone, if the person on the other end asked for anyone other than me, I'd just hand the phone to my roommate. And that's exactly what I did when someone called asking for "Andrew" one afternoon. Except - in that particular case, it was legitimately a wrong number, and it took my roommate and the other person a good minute and a half of conversation to figure that out.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:02 PM on February 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

I very very very quickly said "Hi, Dad, how are you!" before he could say anything that would embarrass us both.

Good thing he didn't call you Debbie.
posted by pracowity at 2:10 PM on February 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

One week at summer camp, three completely different people at three completely different times all stopped mid-conversation with me, squinted at me a bit, and then said "you look like my friend's sister Debbie."

So, you went to the summer camp from The Parent Trap?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:19 PM on February 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

This thread reminded me of this Rolling Stone story about how a woman's marriage was upset by a case of mistaken identity.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 7:05 AM on February 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

palomar: I have one of those faces that makes strangers think we've met before

A few years ago, something like this happened to my wife, where she was mistaken for someone else a few times in a week. We were talking with her parents about this, and her mom said "you must have one of those faces you see on every street corner." We all laughed, and my wife asked, "are you calling me a prostitute?" Every now and then, we mention "a face you see on every street corner."

Back in college, I had a doppelganger, who confused my friends when they saw him at a distance. I don't think we ever ran across each other. Also in college, I was at a club in San Francisco, and a young lady came up to me and asked "don't I know you?" I said I didn't know her, but she persisted a bit. Eventually, we parted, but later I realized she might have been flirting with me, and I felt dense.

Otherwise, I've been mistaken for someone who would have, or possibly sell, drugs, while at festivals and even an indoor concert. I generally consider myself a rather standard-looking white dude, but for a few years (also while in college), this happened once or twice a year.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:30 PM on February 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

When I was in my teens, I apparently sounded exactly like my mother on the phone, especially when we first answered the phone. This lead to a potentially awkward moment when I answered the phone with my usual "Hello?" and it was my father, calling from work - and he had a particularly flirty note in his voice that made me realize he thought I was Mom. I very very very quickly said "Hi, Dad, how are you!" before he could say anything that would embarrass us both.

To this day, my father and I are apparently nearly indistinguishable on the phone. Luckily, I have never been in your situation -- I did share a house with my father for a year or so when I was around 25, but he and my mom were long-divorced by then (but amicable), so small chance of your situation coming up.

That said, A year or so after I moved out from Chez Papa, I came by to pick up some items including an answering machine. Now, back in the days when we wore onions on our belts, the answering machine was a physical tape recorder gizmo that played its outgoing message if the receiver was not picked up after four rings or whatever, and then another tape recorded the incoming message. Of course, if you picked up the receiver once the process was underway, you ended up recording both sides of the call. Many of you know all this, of course -- for a few of you, though, I have just made some old sitcom plots intelligible at last.

Anyway, I picked up the answering machine and later played back the tape that was in it. It had caught a call from my mom (that is to say, my dad's ex-wife) calling the house a year earlier. Once the answering machine had kicked in, the call was picked up at our end, but for the life of me, I cannot tell if it is me or my father she was talking with. Nothing in the context shed any light on it -- there is just a brief exchange to effect of "Are you still coming by Thursday?" "Yeah, I will be there around six." "Great -- I will have the casserole tray ready for you." "Sure. I will also bring along the book I borrowed from you last time," or something of the sort.

Fortunately, in light of EmpressCallipygos' possible near miss, neither my then-girlfriend or my old man's then-girlfriend ever called the house and found herself speaking inappropriately to the wrong Biscuit in any kind of quasi-Freudian mix-up.

As if to highlight the situation, my first unedited typing of those last few words read, "any id of quasi-Freudian mix-up."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:24 PM on February 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

Metafilter: Speaking inappropriately to the wrong biscuit
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:54 AM on February 13, 2020 [7 favorites]

So glad to read all this.

I've wondered if I'm a shapeshifter or an alien of some kind. I have spent my whole life being mistaken for famous people, not famous people, and at the same time people I have met, sometimes several times, do not recognize me, especially if I change any of my appearance.

The list of celebrities I'm mistaken for has changed over the years (getting less flattering unfortunately) but in most cases I don't look anything like the person, which makes it extra weird when people keep saying that I do. In one case I've actually met one of the people and it's not that far from the old "Twins" movie.

I don't get out as much these days, but I still get several times a year "You look like..." or "Are you..."
Actor, singer, brother in law, mechanic, guy who works at the deli...

I once got a haircut and walked up and sat down next to my best friend, who was waiting for me to show up, and was there for several minutes until I said something and he recognized me.

One time I had 3 different people ask me if I was "famous person", the same person, while walking through an airport. I've never been compared to that particular person again.

Still not convinced I'm not an alien shapeshifter.
posted by bongo_x at 11:58 PM on February 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

I've posted about one of my weird mix-ups before when I got a phone call from a woman who was convinced we had dated in the past.

I often have people remark that I look familiar, but not from where. The absolute weirdest/most awkward one was when I was being fitted for a tux for my brother's wedding; the lady measuring me was about my age, attractive, and when she got down on her knees in front of me to measure my outseam, she looked up and said "You seem familiar; have we met before?" (Reader: we never had) Of course, my future sister-in-law standing about five feet away and immediately started laughing as I blushed and stumbled over some kind of response.
posted by nubs at 8:31 AM on February 18, 2020 [3 favorites]

My partner has a very common Japanese name, and has been receiving emails for four or five years from the French arm of a Japanese company that has an employee by the same name as him. The emails include urgent requests, company bowling nights, the Dropbox username and password. He's emailed them in English and in Japanese, repeatedly, to let them know that he's a random stranger but it hasn't worked. Another friend of mine with a fairly common British-y name gets email for five or six other people she's name-twins with. One is an attorney, another's a cam-girl, another's an artsy weirdo who buys really similar things as she does (my friend gets a lot of her receipts) but lives in the midwest. I think she's given up notifying the senders and intended recipients by now, too.

For my part, I have an uncommon name (it's pretty ethnically specific, and people occasionally remark that I "don't look like" someone with that name, which is both bothersome yet I also sort of agree). After we got married, I toyed unseriously with hyphenating to take my partner's last name, which would make me look even less like my name. But usually I'm the one mistaking other people for someone else; I'm cursed with the white person version of "wrong Asian." Especially in dumb action movies, there are always two or three handsome dark-haired white guys in their mid-thirties who look basically alike to me, and I'm constantly clarifying which one they are.
posted by tapir-whorf at 3:33 PM on February 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

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