Eat His Fairy Dust

Randy Constan is Tampa's very own Peter Pan.

click to enlarge HE CAN FLY! HE CAN FLY! Randy Constan in his getup. - Randy Constan
Randy Constan
HE CAN FLY! HE CAN FLY! Randy Constan in his getup.

Fourth house on the right, the directions say, not second star on the right. But Tampa's Randy Constan, who goes by the nickname and the look of Peter Pan, does not disappoint. Dressed in a green dashiki, pointy green shorts and matching slip-ons, he looks remarkably like the photos on his popular Web site.

And if the messenger happens to be wearing a Peter Pan costume or, at the very least, an all-green ensemble that will make some people laugh, he's willing to let them laugh, as long as they get the message of being open-minded.

"Seek God, love life and be happy," he says.

Constan is now enjoying — well, sort of enjoying — his 15 minutes of fame. The address of his self-professed vanity site, pixyland.org/peterpan, is currently leaping from e-mail to e-mail faster than a virus warning. With hit rates at about 10,000 a day, he's had to replace his five-digit counter with a six-digit.

The site contains photos of Constan in Peter Pan dress and other costumes, including Little Lord Fauntleroy and the Very Lovely Fairy Princess. He also discusses his positive outlook on life, his religious views, attempts to stay young, interest in Peter Pan and his search for Tinkerbell.

In the last few weeks, radio morning programs, newspapers and even Comedy Central's Daily Show, have come a-courtin', all hoping Constan will provide interviews and, let's face it, laughs.

More than anyone probably assumes, Constan, is acutely aware of the hilarity of a 47-year-old divorced man trying to stay young through imitating, and dressing like J.M. Barrie's fictional boy who lived in Neverland. "I laugh at myself all the time," he says.

Still, the fuss surprises him, and he's being selective about whose interview requests he'll indulge.

"I know I have a vain streak," he says, "but either the world is extremely bored, or there are really slim pickings at Blockbuster Video, or maybe I've touched on something really universal. Because outside of a comparatively small amount of just nasty, hateful mail, most of the response I get is extremely positive. I mean, people are gleaning all sorts of good stuff out of this.

"They're seeing somebody, whether they agree with me or not, being real about themselves."

And in the meanwhile, he's making some new friends, one of whom, it may just turn out, might be the Tinkerbell he's been looking for.

Bright green running shorts stitched into pointy shapes, baggy green shirt, and green slip-ons from Wal-Mart transform this computer programmer into a likeness of Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up. Belying these pixieish leanings is the thick accent of a man whose childhood was spent in New York boroughs.

"I was born in Brooklyn. I grew up — sort of — on Staten Island." He also lived on Long Island for 12 years. That's where his fixation started.

None of this, of course, answers the burning questions everyone wants to know. When did his fondness for Peter Pan come up?

"I guess I must have resonated with ... what I perceived to be an androgynous quality," he says, "even as a very young child because I remember my mother reading that story to me, and I'm not sure how old I was, but I was pretty young. Of course, it was a children's version, a much more simplified, simple story for a kid.

"I remember her reading to me about how we all come from this magical land and then we're born as humans, and this kid just wouldn't settle for that, and he just broke out and went back, and so all the fairies waved their wands and said, "OK, you can be a little boy fairy and stay here forever.'

"I remember asking my mom, "Hey, I didn't know boys could be fairies, too.'"

"And she said, "Well, in this case, yeah.'"

She probably didn't know then that her son had just discovered a life calling. To Constan's mind, going clubbing in a Peter Pan outfit, or going to work dressed from top to bottom in green, is akin to other guys wearing cowboy boots.

"Everybody has a little bit of fun with the images they see that they resonate with a little bit. So I thought, "Yeah, this is pretty cool.' It's something that I guess stuck with me. It's one of the easiest costumes in the world to create. All ya gotta do is wrap a belt around your shirt and you're halfway there."

With a surplus sewing machine he bought years ago, Constan became a self-taught seamstress, albeit not without a lot of elbow grease, swearing and sacrificed clothing.

Along with his monochrome wardrobe, a moppish Beatles-style cut long enough to cover his eyebrows, adds to his youthful appearance.

Now if he could just do something about the circles under his eyes. Since getting divorced last year after 23 years of marriage, he's been going out several weekends a month to Ybor's La Femme Buvette. He pulls out an ad for the club he clipped. It describes every sexual label one can imagine. It does not, however, mention boys.

"So I called 'em: "Well, are boys allowed?' They said, sure come on down.'"

He's met some nice girls there, but no potential Tinkerbells: "I keep fallin' for girls who like girls."

He wasn't so lucky at a club in Carrollwood. After enjoying himself one Friday, he returned the next, only to be turned away at the door. The doorman, he says, told him, ""Sorry, you're not the kind of clientele we're looking for.'"

Among other excuses, he was told the club's policy forbids sneakers. "I wasn't wearing sneakers," he says. "My shoes looked like if I clicked 'em three times I'd be going home."

His humor didn't win the guy over, but Constan's found many people supportive of his lifestyle. Including his father.

"My father was definitely a kid at heart too. Very open minded." When Constan was 5, he told his dad he wanted to be a fairy.

"Some fathers would probably smack the kid in the head. My father took me to his big, wonderful workshop and made me this big ridiculous glittered wand and said, "Go have fun.'"

And he has.

Contact Features Writer David Jasper at 813-248-8888, ext. 111, or [email protected].

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