Brand & Martinez for September 5, 2012

The thing about twins: How they fascinate and freak us out

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"Come play with us": Stanley Kubrick's "Grady twins" continue traumatizing us in internet form.

Last night at the Democratic National Convention, Julian Castro was introduced by his identical twin brother, Joaquin.

The two wore identical suits (except for their ties, which were different colors) and on Twitter the reaction to the twins was... creepy.




Twins in general have a long, sordid history of both fascinating us and kind of freaking us out. Think of the Diane Arbus photo of the little girls or the Stanley Kubrick film, The Shining.

"Twins creep me out too," laughs Randy Sklar (who has a twin -- and comedy-mate -- in brother Jason). "I think the thing that allows us to work together today is that Jay and I had separate rooms. We could close the door."

The Sklars didn't find out they were identical until a blood test proved it when they were "28 or 29." And, he says, it's not uncommon for them to take part in some stereotypical twin behavior -- including finishing each other's sentences.

"It feels like we've been married for 40 years," says Sklar. "The people that know us best can tell us apart over the phone. That's it."

Some sets of twins actually bond over their unique genetic circumstances, and Sklar points out that at least one "twin convention" happens yearly in Twinsburg, Ohio where "about 6,000 pairs meet up."

Dr. Nancy Segal is a professor of Psychology at California State University Fullerton and author of the book Born Together-Reared Apart: The Landmark Minnesota Twin Study. She's also heard of the Twins Day Festival. And she's been there.

"They don't attract 6,000 pairs of twins," she points out. "They attract several hundred."

Segal describes the convention in Twinsburg as "a great way for people to express their twinship."

"It's a great opportunity for these twins to bond," she says. Segal agrees with Sklar that folks are fascinated with twins -- but not that they're a little freaked.

"We're not creeped out at all," she insists. "Twins today engender a trust that people crave; they increase the feeling of belonging."

And even though he admits twins are "a little weird," Randy Sklar has to admit that he agrees.

"People always tell me that they want a twin."


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