The "Boyfriend Twins" Phenom and Why We Want to Get With Our Doppelgangers

We interrupt your regularly scheduled life happenings to bring you the strange fascination that is "boyfriend twins." And while it's not as creepy as it sounds—thank god!—it is still pretty damn weird: a Tumblr site featuring gay partners who look exactly alike. (Like, crazily, wildly alike.) (Seriously, check it out, wow wow wow.)

While some of the resemblance on the site is superficial—the same clothing, say, or identical hipster beards—many of the couples boast freakishly similar facial features and physiques. Which raises a question that has long fascinated psychologists while seriously weirding out everyone else: are we attracted to people who look like us?

The answer? Absolutely. And the reasons why may surprise you.

First, let's establish that this bizarre attraction drive exists. One French study found that men were far more likely to dig photos of women whose features had been digitally altered to match their own. Another study out of the University of Illinois, which included both genders, revealed the same, kind of eerie thing: people were more attracted to photos in which the face had been altered to look like theirs.

The easiest explanation for this, of course, is that we're all egotistical nepotists—and narcissism does indeed play a role in the phenom. But, for better or worse, there's more to the story than that.

A less narcissist reason for the attraction is that we simply feel more comfortable with people who share our physical traits. Research from Behavioral Ecology suggested that women in particular like men who look like them because they are inclined to mistrust masculine characteristics, and similarities help mitigate this response.

Then there's this explanation (which I almost hesitate to bring up because it is just so, well, major ick.) What we're actually responding to is that look-alikes remind us of our family members. The University of Illinois study revealed that not only are people attracted to those who look like them, but that they're attracted to those who remind them of their parents. So basically, Freud was right, and we're all just Oedipus/Elektra complex incestuously-driven freaks.

Whatever the reason—and for the sake of our sanity, we're gonna pretend the Freud thing is just not true—we give props to those who have smartly capitalized on this weird science. The dating site, for instance, uses facial recognition technology to match you with your doppel-ganger. So far, it has attracted about 50,000 customers.

People. are. weird. But then again, where would we be without "boyfriend twins" in our lives?

Image: Tumblr

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