A real-life Peter Pan looking for a fairy-tale ending
By PAUL LOMARTIRE, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

TAMPA Randy Constan wants you to know he's just a normal guy who feels great dressed as Peter Pan.

And Blue Boy, a Purple Pixie, Little Lord Fauntleroy and, oh boy, a Fairy Princess.

Call up his Web site www.pixyland.org and you'll help push him past the 3.2 million hits he's gotten in 18 months, an e-stampede to see him model homemade costumes and wax whimsical about them: "I found this super starry glitter fabric to make tights, and it turned out super cute!"

Why can't a real man wear tights? This Peter Pan claims he's just a 48-year-old computer programmer who doesn't want to grow up.

"I realize this is my second childhood. I'm in play mode."

Constan's Peter Pan Web site has earned him plenty of publicity all over the planet. There have been newspaper stories from San Francisco to Sydney, London and Calgary, St. Petersburg and Seattle, radio appearances from Howard Stern to NPR.

Winning a Webby last year, the Internet's equivalent of an Oscar, in the "Weird" category made him an instant pop oddity celebrity. At the San Francisco awards, he made a five-word acceptance speech: "Weird? God loves us all."

God might. But not everybody loves this pixie. Constan's Webby win brought reporters, radio guest spots and cheap shots.

Losers.org, which tracks the Internet's "biggest losers," named Constan's Web site one of the top four most pathetic on the planet: "He's PETER PAN! He FRIGHTENS CHILDREN and DISTURBS ADULTS nationwide!" Constan, who is 6 feet tall and sinewy as Tinkerbell, isn't getting his tights in a wad over the insult.

"I was on uglypeople.com," he says. "Let those people make those decisions. I know I'm cute. Put me on idiot.com. Who cares?"

Kim Corbin, a friend of Constan's, is a free-lance publicist in San Francisco. She has a Web site (www.jumpstartjoy.com) devoted to personal happiness.

"A neat part of his message is be childlike," she says, "But there's a deeper message be free and do whatever you want and be secure in it."

If you want to be super cute, what the heck.

"It takes a lot of courage and a lot of guts to do what he's doing with the gender thing," Kim says. "Other people may not understand it, but the world would be a better place if everyone lived their passion."

Esteban Wilson, also known as "Bubbleman," agrees. An elementary school science teacher in San Francisco, he runs a Web site (www.iblowbubbles.com) devoted to the benefits of blowing bubbles.

"He's a fun-loving person," Wilson says of his friend, Constan, "a free spirit who isn't worried about what people think.

"There's a lot of instinct these days to conform."

But, really, how much fun can it be to dress in khaki Dockers every day? Constan's got a rather routine day job so why shouldn't he be free to dress like Little Lord Fauntleroy on his days off?

"What he does with outfits is his feminine side," Wilson says. "Some men are afraid to admit they have a feminine side. He's just being true to himself."

At a Pinellas Park software company, Constan creates computer codes.

His other job is being Peter Pan. Because of the rising cost of his e-fame Web hosting fees, autographed photos he is now selling "Be A Pixie" T-shirts and mousepads at his Web site. Any money past paying Web bills goes to children's charities.

Constan lives in a ranch-style home, and every room shows off his collection of plush rabbits. He lives with his cat, Joshua, and a live rabbit, Pookie. A 23-year childless marriage to Patty ended two years ago.

She got out. He got the house.

"There are times when faith is a good thing, and sometimes it's a bad thing," he says. "(At) the final incident, her announcing I want a divorce, I said, 'I think it's a good time to do that.'

"I'm glad to say we're better friends now."

The divorce created an opening for the position of Constan's personal Tinkerbell, which he is advertising on his Web site. He wants "a life partner, a soulmate," he says.

Every day, the Peter Pan site generates receives about 20 viruses and 80 e-mails, a majority positive, a few threatening.

"If I lived next door to you, I'd burn a cross in your yard and then I'd blow your head off with a shotgun," he paraphrases. "I send those on to the police. That's the person we need to be afraid of, not a guy who dresses up like Peter Pan."

He created the Peter Pan site to get people to his Through The Cracks Ministries! page. Constan has a simple multidenominational message: "God loves everybody, stop judging each other."

He sorts his ministry e-mails into three categories: spiritual people frustrated by organized religion; people wanting to debate theology; despondent people who are suffering.

When he mentions the last group, his eyes fill, his voice catches. "I honestly believe God is using me to bring this simple message God loves us all."

An only child, Constan lost his mother, Florence, when he was 12.

She committed suicide. "I woke up in the middle of the night and there was dad with mom on the floor."

His father, Roy, "didn't tell me it was a suicide until I was 20. It was pretty wise. He told me it was an intestinal blockage, and I bought it."

Constan's father, a toy designer, died seven years ago, leaving Constan with no family. He clearly misses his dad, who never asked his son about the costumes and the gender-bending "until it started to affect my marriage." Growing up, says Constan, "I don't remember my father concerned with the typical father things liquor on your breath or cutting out of school. You dreaded his lectures, not the back of his hand."

Pages of Constan's Web site are devoted to his music. Writing and playing started in Staten Island, where he grew up. A songwriter, his music can be downloaded at his Web site. As a teen, he was a garage-band guitar slinger always tinkering with electronics.

"Guy things. Hangin' out and partying," he says.

He loved bands with "a big, heavy sound" King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Moody Blues, the Beatles.

Teenager Constan began to notice "a left brain/right brain thing with my personality like hair and clothes. The guy side didn't care, the girl side did care."

He loved coming of age in the bright-colors, anything-goes, androgenous, late 60s and early 70s. He sees his life today as a simple return to happier times.

"A lot of them grew up," he says of his friends. "The Peter Pan thing began crystalizing, that cool image, when I was in my 20s. "I have mixed gender feelings," he concludes cheerfully. "I'm kind of an unusual person."

The sex question comes up early and often. Yes, he says, he is heterosexual and, yes, there are women attracted to guys dressed as Peter Pan.

Heterosexual women like this man who hates sports and loves to workout, shop, sew, talk, listen and primp in front of a mirror. They want him to be straight, Constan says.

He explains his appeal to women, especially fortysomethings, this way:
"A lot of women have embraced a lot of guy things, but they're frustrated by men who haven't adopted any feminine things. I have. I love ballet, for instance."

Gay men want this man who hates sports and loves to workout, shop, sew, talk, listen and primp in front of a mirror to be gay. He receives vitriolic "disturbing," he says e-mails from gay men who demand, once and for all, that he come out of the closet and be done with it.

"I'll write back, 'You've been fooled by people pushing stereotypes on you. What does it matter?

And then there are the lesbians who just want to hang with him.

"Some of my lesbian friends want me to go to a Bucs game," he says, of Tampa's NFL team. "I have no interest in sports whatever. I'm a total sissy there, but I never wanted to be the cheerleader either."

On a recent weekend, he headed to Ybor City, Tampa's packed nightclub district, in his Little Lord Fauntleroy costume. At a testosterone-rich pickup place called The Green Iguana, women noticed him.

"Half the guys there came up to me asking how to get this much attention," he recalls with a smile. "I told them, 'What can I tell ya? Put on some tights."

paul_lomartire@pbpost.com

Randy's fashions