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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: -3°C
AP/Press Association Images Richard Norris before his face transplant. The quote in the headline comes from Randy James, who was born with Goldenhar Syndrome.
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3 Midweek Longreads: 'I used to tell bullies I was mauled by a tiger at the zoo'

Longreads to savour or save.

IF YOU WANT a juicy longread to sink your teeth into, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are three to save for a moment of peace, or devour straight away.

1. Living with a serious facial disfigurement

We live in the age of face transplants – which helped Richard Norris, pictured – but many people live with the agony of serious facial disfigurement.

(CNN, 31 mins)

Why are distorted faces so frightening? Freud classified certain objects as ‘unheimlich,’ a difficult-to-translate word akin to ‘uncanny’: strange, weird, unfamiliar. Waxwork dummies, dolls, mannequins can frighten us because we aren’t immediately sure what we’re looking at, whether it’s human or not, and that causes anxiety. A surprisingly large part of the human brain is used to process faces. Identifying friend from foe at a distance was an essential survival skill on the savannah, and a damaged face is thought to somehow rattle this system.

2. I’ve worn the same outfit as my husband for 35 years

Don Rutherford, the inventor of the plastic pink flamingo, died this week. Back in 2013, his wife Nancy wrote about how they always dressed the same.

(The Guardian, 6 mins)

Now, 35 years on, we have four wardrobes of twin outfits, hanging two by two, organised by season and occasion. I always make myself a feminine version of Donald’s outfit, though; it’s not unisex, because I like ruffles and girly things. I’d describe our style as traditional – we’re not concerned about following fashion.

3. Tampons and toxic shock syndrome

Model Lauren Wasser was just 24 when she started feeling unwell. She had contracted toxic shock syndrome, and ended up losing a leg. Now she’s suing a tampon manufacturer.

(Vice, 14 mins)

Later that night, she decided to stop by her friend’s birthday party at the Darkroom on Melrose Avenue. “I tried to act normal,” she says, though by that point she was struggling to stay upright. “Everyone was like, ‘Dude, you look horrible.’” She drove herself back to Santa Monica, took off all her clothes, and fell into bed. All she wanted to do was sleep.

Love longreads? Check out Sitdown Sunday every week>

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