My "quickie" with Tim Gunn
A few weeks ago, my friend Melisa (@melisaw) and I met at Anderson's Bookshop in downtown Naperville for a book signing with Project Runway's Tim Gunn. I've watched Project Runway since the first season (the 10th season is currently airing), and I have always admired Tim's mentoring of the contestants. Whether he is offering them objective critiques on their projects or hugging them with tears in his eyes as he sends them to the work room to "clean up their space", Tim's warm heart and keen sense of fashion knowledge have made him one of the most respected people in the industry. As soon as Melisa clued me in to this event, I pre-ordered my book over the phone to secure my number in line (#66) and was definitely IN. I was excited to meet him and have a chance to chat with him.
We both arrived within a few minutes of each other - and a few past the listed start time of 7:00pm. The book store was crammed full of people, and some were already leaving with their signed book. What was going on??? As I nervously approached the pre-order desk to pick up my book, I discovered that Tim had started the signing at 6:30pm, and they had already called numbers 1 through 100. I grabbed my book and got in line, and Melisa was right behind me. We overheard that Tim was not posing for pictures, but candid pictures were okay. As we scoped out the situation, we discussed who's camera we would use (hers), where we would put all of our stuff that we didn't need (my huge bag), and who would go first (Melisa). We were two well-prepared women with a solid game plan.
And then we were up! Melisa went first, chatting casually with Tim about the unusual spelling of her name, and I snapped as many pictures as possible. Before I knew it, it was my turn! I introduced myself, Tim greeted my warmly and shook my hand, thanking me for coming. I told him that I was thrilled to meet him, and that my best girlfriend (also Jennifer) owned a fabulous boutique in Naperville (shout out for Clothes Attic'd) and wasn't able to make it. But I had this great Project Runway bag from her store, would he be able to sign that? He politely declined, apologizing that he couldn't and then as he handed me my book I realized that it was over. My close encounter with Tim Gunn was coming to a rapid end and I wasn't finished having my conversation with him - telling him how spot on I thought a lot of his critiques were of the contestants, how brave I thought he was for including so much personal information in his last book, how his laugh in the store sounded exactly the same way as it did on tv . . . . . I had at LEAST five minutes of sparkling conversation ready to go. As I came out of my fog, I heard Melisa beckon me to look over so she could take a picture. Take a look:
I look like I'm saying "Wait, it can't be over yet!". And I love the look on Tim's face - was he enjoying our conversation and it was the handler that was rushing him along? Is he is fascinated with my awesome earrings? Amused by my witty personality? I'd like to believe all of the above! At any rate, it was over. Book in hand, I was moved off as the next excited fan took their turn. Melisa and I walked past a red velvet rope, out a doorway and . . . . in to the alley behind the store. Seriously.
I stood there in shock for a minute, unsure that it was really over that quick and we were just escorted out the door in to the alley. It kind of felt like end of one of those really bad "dates" that you may have experienced when you were younger (that you don't like to admit to your friends), and you are doing the "walk" across Q lot and 3am with your stockings in your purse. It was an odd feeling and we weren't quite sure what to do with the adrenaline high that we felt, which was completely out of place in the location we were standing in. We decided to go to a local club-ish bar above a yummy restaurant on the next block, re-group, and spent a good fifteen minutes trying to rehash an experience that totaled two minutes between us. If that. We were soon joined two fabulous ladies - Serena and Jen (@TheNextMartha). I laughed so hard I cried, had a cocktail or two, listened to the craziest story I have EVER heard and cannot repeat, played PI's on our smart phones, and ate the most DE-LISH dessert that Jen ordered from the restaurant downstairs and had delivered to us upstairs. (Folks - that's a PRO!)
Overall, it was a great night with a wonderful group of ladies, and a really cool 60 seconds with Tim Gunn. I'll keep being a fan and watching Project Runway - especially since he now knows my name!