I'm not talking about J.M. Barrie's Pan. No, I'm referencing Tampa's Peter Pan, a man who dresses up as his namesake and makes appearances at clubs and parties around town. As far as I know, he doesn't get paid for these appearances; it's just something he does because he loves it.
I remember when I first found out about Peter. A few friends, a roommate and I were sitting around the apartment eating pizza after a night out when he came up in conversation. I forget who, exactly, brought him up, but I do remember the rest of us had no idea who he was, so, curious, we immediately took to the internet. It wasn't long before we found ourselves crammed in my tiny bedroom, huddled around the computer screen, staring agog at his website.
"Oh my god, that's his real hair!"
"I can't believe he's in his fifties!"
We were captivated. The guy was...colorful, to say the least. His costume arsenal could rival any Hollywood production's. He even had modified versions of the Peter Pan costume so that they would be work-appropriate (his day job is a computer programmer). But what really got us, what we found especially hilarious, was the section of the website dedicated to "looking for his Tinkerbell," and was, essentially, a personals ad he had typed up. After all, what woman in her right mind would go for a man in his fifties who dressed up as Peter Pan?
Turned out there was at least one, because last March, Peter Pan and his Tink tied the knot at the Bay Area Renaissance Festival (BARF--does anybody else find this as funny as I do?). I recently spotted them at a club this past weekend. A small crowd was gathered around them, and they posed for pictures and signed autographs, celebrities in their own right. They looked happy. They looked in love. And I was strangely comforted, because if a 56 year-old Peter Pan can find the love of his life, then the rest of us definitely have a fighting chance.