Had you told me when I thought up this blog, that I would meet Tim Gunn right in the middle of it and get to show him my work, I would have thought you were Crazy. That's right, capital "C" crazy. I mean, what would the odds be?
However over the weekend (the one that most recently passed), my husband came home from running errands and asked me what I was doing on Tuesday. I replied that I didn't really have plans. He proceeded to drop a local paper face down on my work table. There on the back cover, I saw that Tim Gunn would be at the Mall of America doing a book signing on Tuesday, September 14! My response quickly changed to, "I mean, I will be doing that!!!" I then had to e-mail my friend Alison who asked me to introduce him to her when I got on Project Runway. Just in case, I wanted to make sure she got to meet Mr. Gunn. Then, I began to think about the event. What would I wear? Obviously not clown clothes! Could I drop fifteen pounds by then? Probably not. How could I casually and eloquently plug my blog while seeming witty and delightful? I had no freaking clue!!!
I desperately wanted to wear the bridesmaid dress challenge outfit, but due to coughing my head off and ridiculous work hours that was not going to happen. I love the orange dress, but still hadn't solved the bra problem. So, I decided on the outfit from the Philip Treacy challenge. Alison and I coordinated our meeting after studying the event outline. Aside from mildly panicking, I was ready.
The day of, I worked from five in the morning until half one in the afternoon. Due to previously mentioned coughing in epic proportions, I got roughly an hour or two of sleep. I managed to squeeze in a cat nap. Then I had to get myself prettified. The thought of meeting Mr. Gunn, for real, made my brain malfunction. I hopped in the shower and my ultra-efficient routine for showering in a flash left my head. What did I need to do again? Maybe not put face scrub on my toothbrush. I managed to pull myself together and prep relatively unscathed. To save some time, I did my makeup in the car while my husband drove. I was terribly worried that somehow I would miss out on a coveted wristband guaranteeing me a moment with Tim Gunn.
We arrived and met up with the lovely Alison. There were not a lot of people there. I was flabbergasted. I thought people would be camped out, waiting with hushed anticipation of the one-and-only Tim Gunn. I purchased two copies of the book, one for myself and one for my friend Brooke who was unable to come. I secured my wristband and wrote out a question for the Q&A session. (What is your all time favorite Project Runway look? (Season 8 spoilers excluded, of course.))
Because there was not much of a line and the event was over two hours out, we decided to grab some coffee. As long as one member of the party stayed in line, one could go grab a beverage or use the restroom. We thought it would be nice to put off standing for a bit and caffeinate. We sought a Caribou, beveraged up and made our way back to the rotunda. There were a few more people there. Perhaps a gaggle. We figured we may as well hunker down and wait. The hubs went off to run errands and such, and Alison and I pulled up a patch of floor, trying to be as ladylike as possible in our skirts. I lamented not having brought a stool or something though I couldn't possibly have found something attractive enough for the event. We eyed a woman in front of us who brought a painted portrait of Tim. She painted it herself to give him. Suddenly I felt unprepared. Maybe I should have brought a casserole? Some loon potholders? A bespoke three piece suit? At best I could have given him my lint brush or some false eyelashes. I think he would have put together that I fished them out of my purse. Awkward.
The longer we waited, the more anxious I became. I tried making small talk with Alison to ease the pressure. The butterflies still fluttered in the pit of my stomach. I felt like I was in an oven and was constantly blotted, worried I would have to apologize to Tim for the moist dust jackets on my books. Security told us we could no longer sit at a certain point. I then committed a cardinal sin. I took my shoes off. I allowed my stockinged feet to settle on the floor of the mall. I generally frown upon this practice and judge those who de-shoe at weddings or other semi-formal to formal events. Yet, I was one of them. Somehow I did not factor in the standing in one spot for hours. The moment I took the shoes off, I felt like I had made a mistake. My feet hurt worse. Eventually they settled down and stopped trying to escape my body.
Finally, Tim Gunn was welcomed to the stage.
He was just as handsome, charming, and gracious as I had expected. The question and answer session was oddly brief, but Alison's question was the first one asked! (What is one piece of wisdom you regret not putting in the book?) He was nearly speechless! He said that there was nothing he felt he left out, but time would tell.
Then, it was book signing time!!! I thought I was nervous before! The longer I had to think about what I was going to say, the more keyed up I was! Alison and I realized that maybe we should have queued up sooner. Then there would have been less time to mull such things over. We waited, occasionally asking ourselves questions about Tim Gunn. What music does he listen to? What sort of dinner parties does he throw? The scenarios were endless. We watched the woman ahead give Tim her portrait. He was so gracious about it. He held up the painting so everyone could see it and take photographs. We scouted what everyone was wearing, surprised that people were not better dressed for the occasion. We noted that everyone must have come after work or school because suddenly there were many there.
Then, it was our turn! Tim's assistant (or agent or liaison) took my books and I had a small warm up chat with him. I politely waited for the woman ahead of me to finish her precious time with Mr. Gunn. I saw stars briefly as I walked over to stand next to Mr. Gunn. I introduced myself and we shook hands. We posed for a picture together, our arms around each other as though we went way back.
He took my books to sign them, and I started speaking. I prayed the words tumbling out of my mouth were coherent and interesting while my brain concentrated on keeping me from vomiting. I told him about my goals and my blog. I handed him my card with my blog address on the back and asked him to check it out. I told him that the outfit I was wearing was from the Philip Treacy challenge, and how I figured out which hat I would choose.
Tim Gunn: Well you certainly did better than Casanova did.
Amanda: Thank-you. But, Casanova had that Joan Collins/Dynasty thing going on.
TG: I know. I always tell him, "When you're not designing for old women, you're designing for hookers.
(Tim and Amanda share a light laugh.)
TG: (motioning to friend/agent/liaison) He's met Joan Collins.
He proceeds to introduce us. We wrap up, I tell him I would love it if he visited the blog, and that I hoped to work with him soon.
I then managed to make my way to my husband in an absolute daze. I was so keyed up the rest of the night! I met Mother-fracking TIM GUNN!
Wow. The rest of this blog has a lot to live up to. I somehow doubt that bridesmaids dress stands a chance now, but I will make it work. You will see it very soon, assuming I can stop coughing long enough to take photos.