Mean Girls Day is so last week: THIS is the most important Lindsay Lohan-related day in October. Because today, my friends, is 11th October. Today is the 29th birthday of those transatlantic twins who started my obsession with having red hair and “taking a whack at” things: the Parent Trap twins.
I watched The Parent Trap so many times in the nineties that I was convinced I could tell the difference between the twins. (I was pretty disappointed when I found out they were actually the same person.) This has affected my life in two main ways. Firstly, it means that I can legit quote it word for word, including the adverts that come before it on the VHS, and people actually quite like watching it with me because I can make it sound like you’ve got surround sound. Secondly, it means that pretty much every decision I have made in my life has been motivated by a desire to be either Annie James or Hallie Parker.
Let’s start with the way I look. My wardrobe style today can pretty much be summed up as “Parent Trap twins chic”. I own a totally uncoordinated mix of laid-back denim jackets and stuck-up headbands; the only thing that unifies the whole look is that it all belongs on an 11-year-old girl. And my hair is only just recovering from the years I obsessively dyed it red; my hairdresser told me I was the first person who had ever brought in a picture of a pre-teen as a style inspiration, but I maintain that this is #hairgoals.
Then there’s how I choose to spend my time. I never knew how much I wanted to be good at fencing and poker until I saw the Parent Trap twins do it. And boarding school was way more fun once we were inspired to start “dormy wars” with each other. We never quite managed to move an entire bedroom onto the roof (that is an impossible feat of awesome, Annie James) but silly string and water balloons played an important role in my school life. And of course, hours of my childhood were dedicated to memorising that handshake.
And then there are the bigger life choices. The Parent Trap was the film that made me want to live in America; I wanted to call people “babe” and pronounce “pasta” as “pah-sta” and be partial to the softer Californian grape. I grew up convinced I would marry an American and move to a vineyard in Napa (Meredith Blake had the right idea), so it’s entirely Hallie Parker’s fault that I married the first American man I met. And of course, it’s Annie James’ fault that I’m now way more tempted by that amazing London town house.
Finally, there’s their whole life mentality. While Hallie and Annie have very different personalities, they share a few key traits. Not all of them are particularly great: I’m going to blame Hallie and Annie for the fact I view lying as a totally acceptable way to get what you want. (That crinkling a sweet wrapper against the phone trick has come in handy more than once.) But most of them are definitely admirable, like forgiveness, for example: I mean, these two never held a grudge against their parents despite the fact that they were totally fine with never seeing them again. And a willingness to try things: “I’ll take a whack at it” is the best catch-phrase I’ve ever pulled out in a business meeting. And problem-solving: when they didn’t want to be separated after summer camp, they had the “brilliant beyond brilliant” idea of switching places. And when they realised they didn’t want to lose each other again, Hallie remembered that Concord gets you there in half the time, and hopped on a plane.
But if I’m not quite as rational and forgiving as Hallie and Annie just yet, I think I can cut myself some slack. After all, their most loveable quality is their ability to take pride in the accomplishments they do have. So as long as I have the confidence to squeal “we actually did it” and fall on the floor every time I do something good, then I’m doing all right.
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