Seeing double

Sunday, February 4, 2007
Jan Fulton, right, often plays the role of drill instructor and drags her sister Jean to the gym. "I hate the gym," said Jean, while using the elliptical machines Wednesday at HealthPoint Fitness in Cape Girardeau. They switch positions, though, as Jean becomes the pace-setter for the twins' 5K runs, Jan said. (Kit Doyle)

As young children, Jean and Jan Fulton were never allowed to compare -- only share.

Even now, the 38-year-old identical twin sisters continue to share everything from their matching wardrobe to their bank account.

If you thought you were seeing double -- you might have if you've met the Fulton women.

Last week, Jean and Jan worked out at HealthPoint Plaza in Cape Girardeau. It's something the sisters have been doing together since May.

The women were dressed in matching black shorts and shirts. On their feet, they wore the same gray and yellow tennis shoes with short white socks, which showed-off their matching butterfly tattoos on their right ankles. They even sported the same iPods.

"We buy two of everything," Jan said. "It's easier that way."

After about one minute of working out on the elliptical machine, their legs started moving in the same motion.

"We don't notice we're moving the same," Jan said.

Twin sisters Jean and Jan Fulton often match, sometimes without even realizing it. However, they did mean to get the same tattoos, including butterflies on their right ankles.

"Yeah, we just try to breathe," Jean said.

The Fulton twins have been working out daily to train for 5K races. Last October, they competed in their first -- a 5K race in Kansas City, Mo.

Despite their regular workout's at the gym, Jean doesn't enjoy exercising.

"I only do it because Jan is my drill sergeant," Jean said.

But the workouts are paying off. Both women said they feel healthier since beginning a regular routine at the gym. However, Jean has lost more inches and Jan has lost more weight.

"I haven't lost as many inches because I sit all day," said Jan, who works as a social worker for the state of Missouri.

"And I'm up playing with kids all day," said Jean, who works at Kid's Corner day care.

From their matching wardrobe to their five matching tattoos, the Fulton sisters enjoy being identical twins. The women, both single, recently purchased a Cape Girardeau house together.

"We like hanging out and being together," Jan said. "It's been this way ever since we were little."

The women attended elementary school in Sikeston, Mo. Their parents asked the school to keep them in separate classrooms. Although they did try switching places for one day in fourth grade.

"We got caught," Jean said. "That was one rule during school, we were never allowed to be in the same room."

When the Fulton twins graduated from high school, they attended Murray State University in Murray, Ky., where they lived together in the dorms.

The twins have been apart from each another for only a month, and that was during college when Jan did an internship in another state. Even if they are apart, the sisters say they can sometimes sense what the other is doing.

While attending college, Jean was a trainer for the school's football team. During the games, when Jean would run across the field to take a player water, Jan's legs would hurt. When Jean is eating a potato, Jan knows.

"I get that taste in my mouth," Jan said. "So I'll call her up to find out if she's eating a potato, and sure enough she is."

Although the Fulton twins look identical and share many of the same interests, they do have their differences.

Jan likes basketball and Jean likes football. Jean loves children and Jan doesn't want children. Jan, who was born 14 minutes before Jean, is more protective.

"We don't think we're very similar," Jan said.

Just by looking at the twins, who dress alike most of the time, it's confusing to tell them apart.

"Sometimes we forget we're dressed alike and people stare at us," Jean said. "But once you get to know us, you can tell us apart."

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