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