Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gunn-ing It

Been reading a lot of books lately.  For two reasons.  One, I love to read.  Two, I have oodles of free time.  I've got this take-care-of-the-baby thing down.  I've just been using my "me-time" so poorly.  I think it's because I was referring to that time as "me-time."  When isn't all my time my own?  I can do with it as I will.  Kole spends a lot of my time with me.  And that's fine by me.  He's just about my only friend these days.  My anxiety and lack of ability to talk on the phone has chased most others away.  Let's get back on track. 
I just finished a book by Tim Gunn.  Tell me you know who he is.  Please.  I loved him before I read Gunn's Golden Rules and love him even more 250 pages later.  It was in every way a guilty pleasure.  But, I feel no guilt.  It was delightful.  I felt like I was sitting having tea with him.  (I'd have to have peach iced tea- because I don't like any other kind.)  He is so proper and refined in the way he speaks.  And he's not even British.  Love it.  The book was a mix up of an etiquette guide, a fashion dos and don't, and a gossip column.  My favorite tips from the book.... hmmm.... let's go with Top Ten.  I love top ten lists.  I struggle picking one thing of anything.  ie- favorite color, food, TV show, movie, song.  But I can roll out my top ten in any category like *that*. 

Anyway TOP TEN:

1.  You should not have your hair past your shoulders if you are over 30.  Interesting, huh?  I can think of a few exceptions to this rule- but most often and there should be a huge emphasis placed on most-- hair below the shoulders after 30 is a big no no no. (Karlenn... I'd put you in as a exception.  Your hair has a very mature look.  But I never think of you as thirty...or thirty plus four.)  When I turn thirty.  SNIP!  It's off.
2.  I'm going to quote right form the book on this one: "In Life's Little Instruction Book, which has sold more than ten million copies, the writer advises us to: 'Compliment three people every day.'  Well, maybe, but only if they are worthy.  "Buy great books even if you never read them.' 'Own a great sound system.' 'Sing in the shower.'  Really, it's like: 'Act aggressively happy whether you are or not.' A lot of that book is about busting out of social constrictions and getting all touchy-feely and feel-goody.  Well, I think a lot of people feel entirely too good about themselves and bust out of social constrictions entirely too much....People need boundaries and rules.  Society does too.  You don't flourish if you're left to do anything in any situation.  Amen, Tim!  And can't you just hear him saying all that?
3.  You should dress and groom every day.  Does it take time? Yes.  But you need to make that commitment.  Taking a shower takes time, but if you never take one, you won't be invited out very much, so you'll have plenty of time left over.  Mothers of young children often say "I don't have the time."  Tim Gunn's advice?  "If you think about your family as a brand, are you not a brand ambassador?  When I see frumpy mothers out with impeccably turned-out children, I think they're making their children the family ambassadors, and that's too much pressure on someone who still picks her nose."  You can be in jeans and a T-shirt, but you'll look good if you're paying attention to the shape and size that's right for you.
4.  Beige dresses things down.  Really, a good rule is no beige after five.
5.  Be a good guest or stay home.
6.  Texting and e-mail are not appropriate for somber situations.  If you win a Bloggie by Patty- tweet about it.  But if you're talking about a death or an illness.... you need to use more formal channels.  No facebook, e-mails or Tweets.  For example:   You can ask someone out through e-mail... but not break up with them.  You can promote an employee via e-mail but you can't fire them.  Good rule of Gunn:  Happy occasions can be casual.  Sad or serious ones require a personal touch.
7.  "That person is living in the monkey house."  Let me explain... when you're at the zoo and first go in to see the monkeys in the Monkey House I think it is natural to exclaim "This place stinks!"  but after 15 minutes it doesn't smell as bad and after a half hour... it doesn't smell at all.  The trouble is: It still stinks.  You're just used to it.  So if you started doing something you don't like (a job, gaining weight, etc.) and one day you think "This isn't that bad."  You're fooling yourself.  You are living in the monkey house.  And you shouldn't.  Move out of that situation.  You don't deserve it.
8.  You should spend one night in the guest room at your house.  Then you know how your guest feels and you know if they need anything.
9.  You need to differentiate between good, mediocre, and poor.  They took school ranks away because "It made students feel bad." Well, if they're in the bottom 5 % of their class maybe they should feel bad.  Everyone needs a push to reach what he is capable of.  Self-confidence should be earned.
10.  You can be too rich and too thin, but you can never be too well read or too curious about the world.

I just loved reading the entire thing.  It was written in his voice, with his mannerisms, and wit and charm.  A couple other interesting facts:  Time Gunn has not been in a relationship since 1982 and prefers to be alone.  Tim Gunn was not paid for the first 2 seasons of Project Runway.

This book is free to check-out of Patty's Library for The Less Educated Than She at any time.  Getting a card is just a few forms away.


DoublClik said...

Ahhh I want to read it! Wish I had it for the plane!

Karlenn said...

Uh-oh. I think Tim Gunn would hate me a whole lot. :) I really do need to cut my hair. I just think my hair looks really crappy above the shoulder. I don't know. I'm always having an existential hair crisis. I always hate it. Always. Short or long, hate. But here's what I think - I'm going to keep it where it is, just below the shoulder. Kind of like Kelly Ripa. Hers has a long "look," but it's not really long. It hovers just below the shoulders. Long enough for a good ponytail, right? Ben wants me to get an a-line, like a major one. Like the girl on Aeon Flux. I just don't know if I'm ready. I used to be so much more adventurous with my hair... And I am soooo one of those women whose kids look awesome and she looks like crap. Yikes. Something to work on. Sorry this comment is like ten billion miles long.

Julia said...

LOVE the new blog layout Patty. It is a great reminder of my award. Tim Gunn is genius. I know that I would thoroughly enjoy that book. The part that stuck out to me is letting little Greta represent us, which I normally do. I try to make my t-shirts look fashionable by pairing the with my skinnies, which are my most comfortable pair of jeans, and some flats and a velour zip up, but let's face it--I'm a mess and no one is fooled.