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Finding Neverland in Tampa

“It just so happens that I’m different from most people,” he said.

The comment was almost unremarkable in its simplicity; however, the simplicity is what made the most sense.

First, a more formal introduction is in order: People know him both locally and worldwide as an eccentric who dresses up like Peter Pan and who goes by the name “Randy Constan.” If you’ve ever visited clubs in Ybor City such as The Castle or Czar, watched late-night TV, read the local papers or, oh yeah, surfed the Web, then you’ve probably come across this guy.

Indeed, Constan has been plenty covered, usually with an obligatorily cutesy sense of humor on the part of journalists and TV personalities such as Conan O’Brien. I generally hope to avoid the standardized mawkish coverage of Randy Constan, so let’s just get used to the following details and move on. He’s 51 years old and, though he looks more like a well-groomed 30, his costumes, all made by Constan himself, are mostly a variation on a theme of skin-tight stockings. He has a flawless, mod-style bowl cut (frequently complemented by the feathered Peter Pan hat) and employs moderate usage of black eyeliner.

Though he’s been thoroughly covered by other media, I still had a nagging curiosity about one thing. I’d heard some things about him and did some research. I finally approached him in person when, fortuitously, I spotted his bright green lycra at Lettuce Lake Park. He was with a woman wearing pixie wings and several children, playing on one of the park’s monkey bars sets. Seeing my camera and my somewhat timid approach, Constan suggested I do more research and contact him at a later time and then gave me his business card, “Randy Constan (Peter Pan): Guitarist, Engineer, Inventor, Eternal Child.”

His Web site, , is like his media coverage in that it’s very thorough. You’ll notice the number of hits it’s received; I was visitor 7,180,796 when I last checked his site, which was originally created to find his Tinkerbell after he divorced his wife of 20 years. Constan is most eager, however, to promote. The most curious item of this page is a link to another site of his called Through the Cracks Ministries, where Constan reveals his personal philosophy: “It is through the cracks in our humanity that the light within often shines brightest.”

His biography is quite revealing: He’s always been on the fringes of the mainstream, especially due to his effeminate sensibilities (although Constan discovered that he was not a homosexual). Other facts in his bio are his mother’s death from a suicide when he was 12 (his father guarded him from the suicide aspect of her death until he was much older) and, in his late teens, his experimentation with LSD. It was after a bad trip on the drug that Constan discovered, through the cracks, his spirituality.

But, my question nagged, what exactly is the connection between Peter Pan and his spirituality?

I ran into Constan again, this time at The Castle. We were among the first people there at about 10:45, standing next to the upstairs dance floor. He expressed his anxiety toward me, intermittently sipping his “sex on the beach” drink. I originally approached Constan with the idea of doing an interview with him in conjunction with another local stand-out, The Senator, a middle-aged man who wears nothing but women’s lingerie (usually just a mesh G-string) at Ybor clubs.

After half an hour of earning his trust, we were finally able to get to the good stuff, but he strongly preferred that I did not tape him, and the conversation went too fast for note taking. He was eager to speak of everything from Jesus to the astral plane to artificial intelligence.

Finally, I got to ask my question concerning the connection between Peter Pan and his brand of spirituality. After giving me a review of his life, it all came down to, “I don’t know if that answers your question. It just so happens that I’m different from most people.”

I was unsatisfied with this circular “it is because it is” rationale. But then I remembered my views on spirituality, that, perhaps, “things simply are” in an infinite continuum; that — perhaps — details like middle-aged men in tights are about as shocking as middle-aged men in fat, baggy khakis.

I don’t know if Constan will approve of this article, in light of his anxiety with the media’s exploitation of him, but at least it was another interesting night out at The Castle.