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Masengale said he used to care a lot about what other people thought; now, however, he's comfortable being himself.
East County Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015 3 years ago

Mr. Crazy Pants: Bradenton resident promotes self-confidence with clothing

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Three years ago, Gary Masengale got a leg up from a cotton candy-colored pair of pants and has continued his collection.
by: Jessica Salmond Staff Writer

You’ll see his pants before you see him.

With everything from checkers to dots, swirls and squiggles, it’s impossible not to stare when Gary Masengale walks past in a pair of his outrageous slacks.

Although Masengale received his first adult pair of crazy pants in 2012, he recently found this photo of himself at age 4 with some fairly crazy plaid pants. "Crazy pants since 1975, baby!" he said. Courtesy photo.
Although Masengale received his first adult pair of crazy pants in 2012, he recently found this photo of himself at age 4 with some fairly crazy plaid pants. "Crazy pants since 1975, baby!" he said. Courtesy photo.

Masengale, a Manatee County EMS paramedic who is also the musical consultant for Braden River High School’s Marching Band of Pirates, said his collection of wildly colored and patterned pants started in 2012, but he honestly can’t remember how he acquired his first pair (nicknamed “Cotton candy” because of their bright pink hue). Regardless of how he got them, it was the beginning of an obsession. Barely three years later, he’s the proud owner of 16 pairs of crazy golf pants.

“They’re my social pants,” he said. “It’s an automatic conversation starter.”

The Bradenton native wasn’t always so free-spirited, which was part of his motivation to shed his shyness and embrace his inner crazy pants. He realized that no matter how much he worried about it, he could never change what other people thought about him.

“I used to be really caught up in what other people thought about me,” he said. “Now, I’m my own person. I’m very

Masengale wears his pants anywhere — here, he's coaching the Braden River High School dance team before the half time show during the game against Lakewood Ranch High School Friday, Sept. 18.
Masengale wears his pants anywhere — here, he's coaching the Braden River High School dance team before the half time show during the game against Lakewood Ranch High School Friday, Sept. 18.

comfortable in my own skin.”

He wears them everywhere — when he’s out with friends, on a date or even to church when his mom is visiting. He even has a few special occasion pairs, such as a clover set for St. Patrick’s Day, and a school pride pattern for Florida State University, his alma mater.

Masengale’s britches come from two brands: Loudmouth Golf and Royal and Awesome, and cost anywhere from $40 to $80 a pair.

Courtesy photo
Masengale's friends donned their own pairs of crazy pants for his birthday in June. Courtesy photo

Masengale got three pairs for this year’s birthday. And he’s spreading the love — or at least his friends humor him. All of his friends have pairs that they’ll wear for him on his birthday. He even successfully proposed to his girlfriend, Kristina Erdmann, in red and white Hawaiian-legged glory.

“She hates them … so I wear them more,” he said, laughing.

She’s trying to persuade him to wear his signature pants only to their reception, but he’s banking on the full effect and swears he’s buying a new pair for the wedding.

Masengale said he’d let her pick the colors, though.

 a skull pattern to represent Braden River High School, where he works as the musical consultant for the marching band.
Although he already has a St. Patrick's Day and Florida State University pride pair, Masengale is ready for his next: a skull pattern to represent Braden River High School, where he works as the musical consultant for the marching band.

 

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