In my dream, he appears at the foot of my bed at 6 am with a silver tray containing coffee and scones. He is taking the day off from managing & supporting the fledgling designers on TV’s Project Runway, and he is here to help me!
“Wake up, sleepyhead,” he says in that soothing, inimitable drawl. “We’ve got a fashion challenge today! To the closet with you!”
In my closet, he effortlessly sorts through my clothes, dismissing all things cheap, dreary, or dull. “The peach tones in this scarf will bring out the color in your skin,” he points out, adding, “At 6 am, we all need a little help.” He gives me a rueful smile — the goofy, rubbery, we-are-all-in-this-together smile.
My outfit is carefully prepared and laid out for me. Tim retires to allow me to eat breakfast and shower in peace.
As I emerge from the shower — fluffy towels and bathrobe have appeared, as if by magic — I hear him outside the door: “Only 30 more minutes! We still have to get you to the Clairol hairstyling table, the Cover Girl makeup gallery, and the Monet wall of accessories. Let’s move!”
With Tim’s guidance, getting ready for work is painless, quick, and trauma free. Sure, there are a few tense moments in the makeup gallery (“Talk to me about this eyeliner color. Are you sure this is really saying what you want it to?”) But eventually, all problems are solved.
I have been Tim Gunn approved. I am ready to go out and face the world.
I don’t see or hear from Tim again until 6 pm, when he shows up at my office. “Why are you still here?” he asks, shaking his head in confusion. Then he looks around, taking in the piles of papers on desk and floor, multiple empty coffee cups, lunch remnants that didn’t make it to the trash can.
“Talk to me,” he says with concern. “Tell me what you’re trying to achieve here.”
I try to explain that I have to teach 3 classes in a row the next morning and simply don’t have everything ready. I need to stay until my work is prepared, I tell him. He nods thoughtfully, considering his words before speaking. “Yes, but this is what concerns me,” he finally says. “You are trying so hard to be prepared, you’re losing sight of what you’re preparing for. You need to be rested for those classes! Otherwise, your mood will be cranky, your skin will be sallow, you’ll be rumpled and wrinkled, and you’ll completely lose the Classic yet Free-spirited American Teacher look you want to achieve.”
Good point. How could I have missed it?
“Time to go! Follow me,” he continues. “Off to the Harpoon IPA pub of coziness!”
He leaves me there, going off to meet a date. Miraculously, my husband and friends are waiting for me inside.
I am stress-free and ready to wind down. And I don’t even care if I lose the competition tomorrow.