Afternoon InquisitionSkepticism

AI: Mistaken Identity

On Friday night I was going for a walk when I was accosted by a complete stranger who bounded over and hugged me. I’m rarely one to refuse a hug, but I was quite startled.

Her excuse was: “You look exactly like my best friend in Wisconsin!”

Okay, perhaps she was a wee bit drunk too…

Have you ever been mistaken for someone else?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) be a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

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  1. I am occasionally mistaken for others, but most times my problem is being recognized by people I don’t know.

    I recently moved to be closer to the school where I teach 1st grade, and all the kids that live near me go to my school. This is only my second year working there, so I don’t know very many students, but they sure know me. I often hear, “HEY, MS. FOX!!” from across the parking lot, or get random hugs from students in the hallways who know me, even though I have no idea who they are (yet).

    So far, this is a good thing.

  2. One time a woman came up to me and said, “You know, you were a total bitch.” I sort of blink and stammered, “Excuse me?” She walked closer and kind of tilted her head. “Oh,” she said, “Did anyone ever tell you that you kinda look like that girl Jess on this one VH1 show?” No one had. I informed her I don’t watch VH1. She shrugged and walked away without another word.

  3. I have one of those bland, generic faces that causes people to think I look like someone but they’re never quite sure who it is. Consequently, I’ve been told I look like Michael J. Fox, Elijah Wood and Colin Firth, despite the fact that they look nothing like one another.

  4. Yes, all the time. Most of my friends know somebody who looks ‘just like me’. I actually know one of the people who looks like me, and I did a double-take the first time I saw her. It was sort of creepy.

  5. On occasion, I get mistaken for a woman.

    Every time I grow my hair long, I have to deal with it about once every 2 months.

    The last time, I was at the zoo, taking pictures of monkeys. Some of you may have seen said monkey-pictures. Up from behind, a little kid wandered up and started to fall on me as I engrossed in monkey-photography (monk-ography?). The kid’s mother said “Watch out for that woman taking pictures, Julie!”.

    I stood there, unsure of how to react….

    I knew I had to make my move, as I said in my most deep voice I could muster,

    “Watch out for that man taking pictures!”.

    It was….


  6. Once a woman bounded up and turned me around and then said “Oh, I thought you were my friend who is Dutch, but your teeth are much nicer.” Then she walked off without saying another thing.

  7. @Some Canadian Skeptic Well, your hair is ever so pretty!

    @Lilo I responded, “Well, now you’re hearing my accent you know I’m definitely not her!”
    Then she said, “Keep on being great!”
    So I’m trying…

  8. I get mistaken for my best friend, who is also my roommate. When we’re out and about together we get this usual progression of questions:
    “Are you guys twins?”
    “Are you related?”
    -No, actually.

    I think the only similarity between us is our hair, in that it’s long, and a bit reddish. That’s pretty much it.

  9. Once, at a Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester event, one of the organizers started to go on and on about how glad she was that I was there and how grateful they were and whatnot and my mother and I looked at each other and said, “uh… I don’t think she is who you think she is.” They thought I was some hotshot lawyer or something. When I assured her I was not, she asked if I was sure. :-) Then she showed me a picture of the woman and yeah, looked nothing like me.
    A man in Paris also once asked me if I was Angelina Jolie, but I’m pretty sure he had ulterior motives.

  10. Yes. About a week ago. The aliens intended to abduct my crazy neighbor, but they were given the wrong apartment number and abducted me instead. Took me 9 hours to convince them they had the wrong guy.

  11. Apparently I look like every red-headed woman on the face of the planet because people mistake me for other people all the time. From the back anyway. “Oh look red hair, so it MUST be that red head I happen to know. ‘Cause there’s only one. Oops.” :)

  12. A high school friend of mine was a dead ringer for John Schneider, then famous for ‘The Dukes of Hazzard.’ Even signed an autograph for him, once.
    (More recently, Schneider starred in Smallville)

    A work buddy of mine, named ‘Chris Ledoux’ was once mistaken for the folk singer, by a travel agent. – “Hi this is Chris Ledoux, I’d like to book a flight.” .. “Wow Chris Ledoux, I’m like your biggest fan …”

  13. I am frequently confused with my identical twin brother :P

    My friends are apparently rowdier than his though. I just get people saying g’day, but I constantly here about my friends stalking him in the supermarket calling out my name while hiding or throwing things at him thinking he’s me.

  14. Never been mistaken for someone else, though people have mistaken my cell phone number for someone else’s on multiple occasions. I also saw a guy who could’ve been a dead ringer for me back when I had a goatee, and was a wee bit heavier, when I was at the Maryland Ren Fair. That was rather disconcerting.

  15. One 4th of July years ago there was a really drunk guy on the Metro who swore up and down that I had to be Chris Elliot. All the good looking male celebrities out there and I get Chris Fucking Elliot. The really sad thing is that he probably really is the closest thing I have to a celebrity doppelganger. Sigh.

  16. I had my butt pinched by a woman who mistook me for her husband from behind.. thats actually happened at least twice :-/ its odd that it happens to me though, since I’m a head taller than most people in any bar I go to

    I also took over my last position at work from a guy people swear looks exactly like me. That was 4 years ago, and people in the company still call me Nick every now and then!

  17. I went to a LARP event in England the last weekend of August with a couple of friends. The odd thing was that we saw quite a few people who looked like or reminded us of LARP-ers we know in Belgium, knowing very well they couldn’t possibly be there. This then promted us to start looking for as many lookalikes we could find, and at the same time wondering whether somewhere there was an english LARP-er looking just like us …

  18. My avatar aside, I have one of those faces that is very generic. I have several times been told I look just like “this guy I know”, and more often than not it is followed with “I hate that guy.”

  19. I get John Cusack a lot. I really should stop carrying the boombox around. Could be worse, I suppose. At least it’s not Joan.

    At a big costume party once (the theme being the movies), I was dressed as Lt. Dunbar. I had this 8 year-old kid following me around, jaw on the floor, swearing I was Kevin Costner. Cute at first, creepy after an hour.

  20. Yes.

    My identical twin sister.

    Whenever I visit my home town, where she still lives, I confuse people. We’re 28 now. She’s has two kids and has lived a much harder life than I have, so we don’t really look identical anymore. We look an AWFUL lot alike, but if you see us standing side-by-side you can see the difference.

    But when we’re apart, it’s hard. Last time I visited my home town, I was fake-tripped by at least two people, I went to eat breakfast at a little cafe and the cook thought I was Raelee, and I confused at least 2 people in the grocery store. “Wait…you’re…wait…Rae…no?” lol

  21. People constantly mistake me for an IT support guy. (It probably doesn’t help that one of the actual support guys at work *does* look a bit like me.)

    On a sadder note…One of my Dad’s adopted greyhounds, an incredibly sweet dog named Chamberlain, was abused by a previous owner. Apparently this person was heavyset and balding, with a goatee. The poor dog used to bolt out of the room when he saw me; in recent years he’s gotten better, even lets me pet him sometimes, but he’s still really nervous when I’m around, and still avoids me at times. It’s absolutely heartbreaking. :(

  22. I had a woman run up to me at the bar the night before NECSS. She gave me a huge, slightly uncomfortable hug and told me that she just got back from London, and it’s so good to see me again, and she was just chatting with my husband about something or other. I had no clue who she was but I rarely remember faces, so I politely probed to see if I could recall how I knew her. “You saw my husband? In London?” “No, right over there!” “Um…” “Wait, are you [NAME THAT IS NOT MINE].” “Um, no.” “Oh. Sorry!”

    I normally wouldn’t be annoyed, but I hadn’t had enough to drink to be interested in hugging anyone yet. Sober me hates hugging.

  23. Also an ex of mine looks a LOT like Dylan from 90210.

    Apparently a group of drunk girls at some random hotel in Vegas SERIOUSLY thought he was Dylan and they even took pictures. He was drunk and unsure of what to do – tell them and risk pissing them off, or just go with it? So he went with it.


  24. @Cleon: Does the greyhound only do that with you or all men that resemble you?

    Many dogs hate one gender or the other because that was the gender of the abuser. It can be trained out of them – and it’s a good idea to do that because of the stress the dog undergoes when he sees you. If you sit and give him good treats (like bits of cooked chicken) several times, he will associate you with good things and start to relax.

  25. One of the drunks outside (hey, this is Scotland) used to think I was the dead one from the Bee Gees. I tried telling him I wasn’t but he always used to ask me to sing. I have no idea which one he was talking about either, but he was pretty certain.

  26. @QuestionAuthority: Okay, my name *is* “Garry” (with 2 r’s, like Trudeau), but this woman I worked with years ago used to mistake me for a “Dennis.” What’s funny is I never bothered to correct her so to this day if I see her, she still calls me Dennis, and I just smile and wave. I don’t know, maybe I look like a Dennis.

    When I had my goatee I would get mistaken for Bun E. Carlos, the drummer from Cheap Trick. That was kind of cool, but no “intimate overnight adventures” ensued. Dang it.

    Oh, and the BeeGee who’s dead is Maurice.

  27. Oh my first name is Marilee.

    I get called Marley (as in Bob Marley) a LOT, in e-mails, on the phone, in person. I don’t look anything like Marley. I mean, they even SPELL it Marley. It cracks me up.

    You know when you print your credit report and it has a list of variations of your name, when people fuck up? Everyone screws up my first and last name, so the list is huge. It’s hilarious.

    One includes “Manlee”.


  28. @Tim3P0: I got that once before as well, back in college when I had long hair and a goatee. I met a guy who looked a lot more like the Jesus of the paintings, he did an art piece on the metal band Mayhem using a kitschy cross he had invertedly hanging in his apartment. Best. Jesus. Ever.

  29. @marilove:
    Oh my first name is Marilee.
    You know when you print your credit report and it has a list of variations of your name, […]

    One includes “Manlee”.
    Actually, in print, and depending on the font used, the difference between “Marilee” and “Manlee” is really not that big.

    And if you’ve ever had to hand-write your name somewhere, chances for misinterpretation/misreading are even higher.

  30. @marilove: I used to answer the phones here at work and someone once called for Fiona Squires asking for “Frona Squirrels.” The worst part is, every communication we send out has a printed name on it, whether it has an illegible signature or not.

    And, years ago, I had someone call my private work number -answering a letter I had sent out, with that number, with my name, “Lauren,” on it- and ask for “Paul.” Maybe my signature is a little funny, but my full name was printed out on every blessed letter right underneath the signature, and the man continued to insist that I was “Paul.”

  31. Hi there!

    Sorry for the late response, I didn’t see this one all the way down here before.

    People tell me I look like Tim Robbins ALL the TIME. I’ve had people come up to me in restaurants and ask me.

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