Note: In some of the Hebrew words and phrases used below, there is a discrepancy between Hannah’s pronunciation and that of the twins, e.g. Shabbat vs. Shabbos (Sabbath). This reflects Ashkenazi (eastern European) vs. Israeli pronunciation. You’ll observe that she begins using Israeli pronunciations more as she gets to know the twins better.



Four o’clock. Asher and Dov will be home in a half hour. They’ll want a cup of tea and some cookies. Biscuits, they call them. My two British-Yiddish husbands. Or no, I could quickly make scones. The guys wait on me hand and foot these days, but here’s my chance to do something nice for them, a little gesture to show them I love them. I carefully roll my ungainly body off the sofa where I’ve been napping, and waddle to the kitchen. Oof! Little Ezra or Dvorah inside me decides it’s time for womb-zumba again. Seven months down, two more to go. I preheat the oven and mix the ingredients. I try to roll out the dough, but it’s awkward: my big belly is in the way; I can’t quite reach the counter. I was heavy to begin with, particularly in my hips, but pregnancy definitely has altered my center of gravity in unexpected ways. All the little movements have to be reengineered. I have to stand precariously on the step-stool and lean forward over the counter, wielding the rolling pin with one hand while I support my weight with the other hand. Damn, now I have to pee again already. Urgently. Yes, being pregnant is a pain in the – oof! – kishkas. But we really want this child, our first. And believe it or not, Asher and Dov absolutely love my pregnant body. Am I kvelling about my two gorgeous young husbands? You bet your tukhes I am!

It hasn’t been easy, coming out to family and friends as polyandrous. Our liberal rabbi is fine with gay marriages, but a polyandrous wedding in his congregation would be beyond the pale. My Tibetan friend Dolkar, in the religious studies department, is the only one who really gets us: she grew up in a fraternal polyandrous family, a mother and three fathers. So how did a nice Jewish girl – well, a lonely, overweight, thirty-something Jewish woman – end up with not one but two hot young husbands? The simple answer is that they wanted me. Who was I to say ‘no’ to such nakhes?

*First meetings*

Asher and Dov Ben-Nahum are brothers, identical twins. I already knew Asher from the university. I’m an associate professor in psychology, having just gotten tenure here at UPenn. Asher is a PhD student in computer science. I met him in the winter term of my third year here, at an interdepartmental reading group in cognitive computational modelling. He was simply the most gorgeous man I had ever seen, like a young Leonard Cohen, with warm brown eyes, a crooked smile, and tousled brown hair. Not a vain pretty-boy: he dressed simply, his wardrobe from thrift stores. But when he smiled, those leading-man dimples gave me a twinge of lust that made my knees go weak. Mid-twenties, medium height, toned but not muscle-bound: just perfectly proportioned male beauty. And when he spoke, this charming, crisp British accent came out, with a trace of Israeli Hebrew underneath it. Intelligent but not arrogant, with a playful, self-deprecating sense of humor.

To my pleasant surprise, Ash started coming by my office, to talk about my research at first. Once or twice a week. More often as time went on. There wasn’t really that much overlap between his research focus and mine. But we’d talk general methodological issues. Broader philosophy of science questions. Ethics. Politics. Ah, politics! We are both pretty leftist, it turned out. I’m a Sandernista socialist, Asher is more left-libertarian. His arguments began moving me in that direction. His family was from Haifa, but his parents emigrated to the UK when he and his brother were kids, repelled by the rightward turn in Israeli culture. Later they moved to the US; his father now teaches sociology at the New School in New York. Asher is staunchly anti-occupation, pro-BDS, active in Jewish Voices for Peace. His brother was in Israel at the time, doing some kind of human rights work.

I keep a little espresso machine in my office, and I’d make us a demitasse or two to sip as we kibbitzed. I supposed the free coffee was part of the draw. I tried to keep my feelings well under wraps. Asher was way out of my league, clearly. I’m thirteen years older than him. And if Ash looks like the leading man in a wedding rom-com (well, a thinking-woman’s Jewish wedding rom-com), I’d be the wise-cracking, overweight bridesmaid sidekick.

I’d been in a long-term relationship of sorts with a fellow-student named Raymond during grad school, but there had never been much spark there. Ray’s virtues were that he was calm and methodical – and that was about it. It ended with the proverbial whimper (we hadn’t banged in quite a while) when I moved here to Philly to take this tenure-track job. As for my biological clock, well, the alarm was now ringing, loud and shrill. But, Gaziantep Evi Olan Escort focused as I was on getting tenure, I was not yet ready to put energy into the dating scene again, with its inevitable disappointments and humiliations. Did I mention being overweight?

Asher, I presumed, had a girlfriend, though he never mentioned one. Or maybe he just preferred casual sex. A guy like that could have any woman, or man, he wanted.

*0th date*

I was in the student union cafeteria one day, picking up some salad for lunch – OK, yes, and a large order of onion rings – when I spotted Ash at one of the tables. My eyes were playing tricks on me: there where two of him. Dumbfounded, I cautiously drew nearer.

‘Oi, Hannah!’ one of the Ashers called out, waving me over. ‘Dov, this is Dr. Hannah Epstein, leading light of the psych department here. Hannah, this is my brother Dov, just returned from ha-Aretz. We were about to drop by your office so I could introduce you.’

OK, yes, I wasn’t seeing double then: Asher number two, Dov, was a bit better-dressed, with different glasses, hair a bit shorter. He sprang to his feet to shake my hand. Well, I assumed he’d shake it when I held it out, but he gallantly kissed it instead, like Mr. Knightley out of Jane Austen.

‘Hannah, wow, yes, Asher has told me all about you. Delighted to meet you at last!’

If Ash is a young Leonard Cohen, his brother was young Leonard Cohen channelling young Peter O’Toole: charm radiated off him like heat off a blast furnace. Directed at me. Why?

At last, Asher asked, ‘Hannah, are you all right?’

‘There’s two of you … ‘ I muttered, still half-stunned. The other half of me was melting in a puddle of inarticulate lust. And I thought, did that guy just say ‘wow’? About me? WTF?

‘Identical twins, I’m afraid. Didn’t I mention my twin brother to you?’

‘I don’t think I knew you were twins.’

‘Dov here is my older brother, by ten minutes. Which he never lets me forget. Please, join us,’ Ash motioned toward an empty chair.

I wanted to join them all right: I wanted to run off to Bora Bora with them. But my shyness kicked in.

‘I was just going to take this back to the office. I’ve got a pile of midterms to grade.’

‘Very unhealthy, eating lunch at your desk,’ Dov scolded. ‘You’d be more productive if you took a proper lunch break.’

‘Dov’s a doctor, a medical doctor,’ Ash explained.

‘A lowly resident, for my sins.’

‘Well, um, nice to meet you, Dov.’

I scurried away back to my office, wondering why Ash had bothered to tell his brother about me, as though I ranked as a significant person in his life. I could still feel Dov’s kiss tingling on my hand. But mostly, I was thinking: OMIGOD THERE’S TWO OF THEM!

*1st date*

At 11:30 the next day, they showed up at my office door.

Asher: My dear Hannah, Dov and I are concerned about your nutritional well-being. We’d like to take you out to lunch.

Dov: Consider this an intervention. We’re not taking ‘no’ for an answer.

Me: Aw, guys, that’s sweet of you, but I’m just too busy. Some other time, OK?

Asher: I happen to know you’ve got no classes this afternoon. The reading group isn’t till 3:00. C’mon Hannah, you can spare us an hour or two. We’ll have a nice, leisurely, convivial meal, a glass of wine, we’ll get to know one another a little better, you’ll get your mind off work for a little while, and come back to it refreshed. Does that sound so bloody awful?

Me: OK, OK already, I give in. Just let me duck into the women’s room first.

After peeing, I rinsed my hands and brushed out my mop of black Jew-fro ringlets, beginning to go gray. I sighed: not much else I could do. I stood back and looked at myself in the mirror. My face is not so bad, but I wished I could instantly lose a hundred pounds. My tits sometimes attracted attention from mouth-breathing guys with a large-breast fetish, but then they got a look at my thick waist and extra-wide ass and crawled back under their rock. This train of thought was getting me depressed. I quickly plucked a few stray eyebrow hairs and then rejoined the twins.

They took me to a charming little Greek restaurant a few blocks off campus. Over dolmades and moussaka, Dov told me about his recent trip, a stint working with the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, documenting torture of Palestinians detained by the Israeli military. They needed credible foreign doctors to examine the victims, as most Israeli doctors were reluctant to get involved. Then the authorities threatened to arrest him for failing to do his military service, and so he had to leave the country earlier than planned. His residency at the university hospital here would resume next month.

Dov’s Palestinian stories were heartbreaking, even stomach-turning at times, but they got my mind out of the gutter, and I began to admire Dov as a person. I had just met him, basically, but my friendship with Ash – yes, apparently it was a real friendship now, if he presumed to barge into my office and whisk me off to lunch – somehow seemed to transfer automatically to Dov as well, as though we were all close friends now. Especially with a glass of retsina inside us.

There was a lull in the conversation. Both twins were warmly smiling at me. It should have felt awkward, but it didn’t, oddly enough. It felt … warm and exhilarating. Nevertheless, I cast about for another conversation topic, landing on the obvious one.

Me:So, I know there’s a large body of developmental psych literature on twins, but it’s kind of outside my area. If you don’t mind me asking, what’s it like being identical twins? And don’t tell me that one of you is the evil twin.

Dov: Haha, well we’re both evil twins, according to the Israeli government.

Asher: So, you probably know that there’s a strong emotional-psychological bond between twins. With identical twins, the bond is often even stronger. It’s a kind of … anchor. But twins often spend their lives fighting that bond, pushing against it, trying to carve out independent lives and identities for themselves. But for Dov and me, that struggle for separation has always seemed, I don’t know, destructive and pointless. We seem to be happiest and function best when our lives are shared. Sometimes we feel more like one person in two bodies, to be honest. We’ve each got our own careers supposedly, but the truth is that both of us have studied computer science, and both of us have learned medicine. I’m not saying I could do surgery, but I’m nearly as good as Dov at diagnosis; and he can certainly write code as well as I can. When Dov went off to Israel for four months, we were in touch everyday by email and phone, but still we were climbing the walls. It was hard on us. Does that make sense?

Me: Yes, I think I understand. That’s actually … quite touching. It’s beautiful, really, to be that close to a sibling.

Dov: Hey Ash, I think she gets us! For the sake of others, we have to keep it toned down a little: I don’t flaunt my computer science knowledge, for example; we avoid wearing similar clothes; we try not to finish each other’s sentences. That seems to –

Ash: – really get on people’s nerves.

I laughed, and squeezed both their hands. ‘Thank you for bringing me here, guys. You had to push me, but I’m grateful.’ They beamed at me again, like – wow! I was wet.

As we got up to leave, Ash asked, ‘So Hannah, might you be free Friday evening? Come to our place for Shabbat. It’ll give us some incentive to clean our flat.’

‘Um, you know I’m not exactly frum, right? I’m not shomer Shabbos.’

‘Shomeret, for a woman’, Dov corrected. ‘Neither are we. This is just an enjoyable cultural thing. But we need a woman for hadlakat nerot. That’s the lighting of the candles.’

‘I know what hadlakas neros is. I said I’m non-frum, not a shiksa. So, lighting candles, is that all you guys want me around for?’ I quipped, fishing for a complement and then mentally kicking myself for being so obvious.

‘My lovely Hannela,’ Dov replied slowly, ‘we want you … we’d be delighted to have you as our treasured guest, our orech Shabbat.’

As we approached my office building, I reached out to give them each a friendly goodbye hug, and it quickly turned into a three-way hug. Which I was very reluctant to let go of. God they both smelled so good!

Dov: See you Friday, before sunset, Hannela. Our flat is on Spruce and Cyprus Streets. We’ll email you the exact address. Bring your toothbrush and pyjamas. Or whatever you sleep in.

Me: Sorry, what?!

Asher: Well, if you’re our orech Shabbat, you can’t leave after dinner; that would bollocks up the whole Shabbat vibe. Preferably you could hang out with us the next day too. It’ll be fun, we’ll get to know each other better. A crash course, Ben-Nahum twins 101. But we promise: nothing uncomfortable, no liberties taken with your virtue.

Dov: Though if you wanted to take liberties with ours, we wouldn’t complain.

That was an unambiguous flirt. But did it mean anything, or were they just being playful? As they headed off, my mind was confused, but my pussy knew exactly what she wanted. I locked my office door, yanked off my soaked panties and ran my fingers over my wet, engorged clit, replaying my memories of the Ben-Nahum twins, wishing it was their fingers touching me. Then I made myself an espresso, hoping the coffee smell would mask any … female smells, in case any students or colleagues came by.

I tried not to think about the twins over the next few days. Mostly unsuccessfully. By Friday, I had run down the batteries of my vibrator.

*2nd date*

They were wearing yarmulkes (kipot, they called them) when I showed up at their apartment late Friday afternoon. They welcomed me in with another warm three-way hug, exchanging ‘shabbat shaloms’, and again I didn’t want to let go. The table was all set with kiddush wine and a challah loaf, and a large tureen of gefilte fish, which Dov had made from scratch, as well as various veggies. They had me recite the hadlakat nerot, reminding me of the words, as I lit the candles. Then the kiddush, the washing of hands, and blessing of the challah. Now the meal started.

I’d grown up with store-bought gefilte fish from a jar. Dov’s was infinitely superior, firm of texture and fresh of flavor, in a delectable broth. I closed my eyes as I savored the taste against my palate. ‘Mmm, I think I’m in love with this.’

Dov laughed, ‘I never thought I’d be jealous of my own gefilte fish.’

‘No, not just the gefilte fish, I mean this whole spending-Shabbos-with-you thing: you were right, this is lovely, and you two are sweet. I’m in love with the whole package.’

‘The feeling is mutual,’ said Ash warmly. ‘We’re so glad you’re here, our precious Hannela.’

A warm thrill went through me. Am I falling in love with these guys? I wondered. That’s meshuggah. I tried to stuff the thought back down. No way these guys could be interested in me that way.

We spent the rest of the evening discussing Finkelstein and Silberman’s synthesis, which Dov had recently been reading, of the archeological evidence on ancient Judean history and the writing of the Hebrew Bible. The stories of the patriarchs, Moses, the unified kingdom, were all ahistorical, composed in the seventh century BCE, to give religious support to King Josiah’s attempted extension of Judean power into Samaria, after the destruction of the northern kingdom and the collapse of the Assyrian empire. The ancient Judeans didn’t really settle into monotheism until the exile brought them in contact with Zoroastrianism. YHWH Himself originally had a wife, a goddess named Asherah.

We hadn’t gone to shul, but I was getting a deeper understanding of and appreciation for Judaism just from hanging out with these two. It was reassuring to be reminded that there have always been and will always be many different interpretations and expressions of Judaism, not just what a handful of alter kocker rebbes proclaim it to be.

Around 10:30 they unfolded the living-room sofa-bed for me and made it up with sheets and a blanket. I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth and change into my nightgown. It was basically an oversized t-shirt that came down to my knees, nothing glamorous or provocative. But Asher and Dod stared hungrily at me when I came out, eyes glued to my chest. I guess the lack of a bra underneath was obvious. My girls were bouncing around pretty freely, nipples standing out like bullets. I started to blush with embarrassment, but suddenly it occurred to me that, fuck it, no: I enjoyed the way they were looking at me. I loved it in fact. I decided that men with a large-breast fetish maybe aren’t so bad after all. Especially if the Ben-Nahum twins were among their number.

They had stripped down to t-shirts and boxers. Without their distinguishing clothes and glasses, they really were two peas in a pod. If it weren’t for Dov’s shorter hair, and a small scar beside his eye, I couldn’t tell who was who.

‘Guys, promise me something. Don’t ever play that trick on me, pretending to be each other. Because I’d totally fall for it, and I want to be able to trust you.’

‘We promise, sweet Hannela. We’d never do anything to upset you,’ said Dov. ‘Now give us a goodnight hug.’

Another long three-way hug. Heavenly. I fought the impulse to kiss them.

‘Shabbat shalom, and sleep well,’ said Asher.

‘Shabbat shalom. Thank you guys.’

The next morning, we lounged around, eating bagels and lox, drinking lots of coffee. The bed was eventually folded away, turned back into a sofa. Then we curled up on it to binge-watch some old Danny Kaye movies: the Inspector General, the Court Jester, and Me and the Colonel. The last one, about a growing friendship between two men who loved the same woman, kind of got me hot. Especially sitting on that sofa with a gorgeous twin on either side of me. At four, they had to have their afternoon tea. It fascinated and charmed me, this incongruous (to my mind) British-Yiddish mixture in their backgrounds. Before I knew it, it was sundown, time for the Havdalah. We said goodbye to Shabbat, and wished each other a good week. They double-hugged and kissed me goodbye. It was getting harder and harder to let go. I reluctantly cycled home, missing them already.

*3rd date*

The next few days, I was busy getting a poster presentation together for the APA conference that weekend. But I got a steady stream of emails and texts from them that kept me entertained. By mid-week, though, I was going crazy, I had to see them again. I invited them over for dinner Thursday night, and this time I cooked, home-made Sicilian pizza, which is one of the few things I do well.

After dinner, my heart pounding, trying to sound casual, I said, ‘Something’s been puzzling me.’

Both: Yes?

Me: If it’s not too personal … I haven’t heard you mention any girlfriends. Or boyfriends. And I’m wondering how two gorgeous guys like you could be unattached.