Making It Work
By Bill Keith
And how do they do that?
How do the judges drive me to total despair? By smoking crack! By making decisions I can�t fathom.
Any particular time you�re thinking about?
Only once have I said with complete impunity that I knew that someone was going home. It was when Alison and that horrible Vincent were on the chopping block over the Waste Management recycle challenge. When they voted Alison off, I was dumbstruck.
We all were, Tim.
Alison�s model may have looked a little like Minnie Mouse, but it was an ambitious design that was extremely well executed. I marched into an executive producer�s office and said, �Why did you do this? You just did this because you think Vincent�s a good character!� But he showed me the judges� ballots, and they�d voted to send Alison home.
Bravo has done such a great job of presenting exceptionally talented gay people to mainstream America.
I�m so proud to be part of Bravo largely because of that. They�ve totally demystified gayness. Of course, the striking element about Runway�s third season was that the two male finalists were heterosexual. That was really weird and unexpected given the pool, but it happens.
The gay-friendly vibe on Runway must not have been much different from the environment at Parsons.
You�d be surprised. When Parsons began offering an architecture degree, a reporter asked the dean why we�d decided to open the department. Right in front of me the dean said, �I�m interested in getting more guys into this school. The kind of guys you find in shop class. We have far too many guys here who have been in home ec.� I recoiled with a visceral reaction. I couldn�t believe he could be such an oaf.
What year was this?
This was the early �90s! So I said to the dean, right in front of the journalist, �You may have lost some of those guys who were in home ec class, but you just picked up a lot of girls from shop class.�
Fantastic. So what can Tim Gunn not write a guide to?
Any number of things�you name it.
How�s your romantic life?
I haven�t been in a relationship since 1982. God, that sounds pathetic. But I was so severely hurt that I�ve never, ever gotten over it. I was so madly and desperately in love that I didn�t see the end coming. It was a routine night on the couch watching television, and he turned to me and just said, �I don�t have the patience for you. I can�t do this anymore.� After nine years. I still remember leaving his apartment, driving down Rock Creek Parkway in Washington, D.C., thinking, Maybe I�ll just drive right off the bridge.
Or you could have thrown him off of it.
Yes, then I got very mad. This was the advent of AIDS, and I found out that he had been sleeping around with everybody imaginable. I couldn�t believe how he put me at risk. Thankfully, I was perfectly healthy, but when I came out of the relationship I was so aware of how AIDS was devastating the design industries, and that was enough of a reason to stay away from any kind of a relationship. I�ve flirted with a couple of relationships over the last 24 years, but I can�t go there.
Well, undoubtedly you�re leading quite a full life.
In some ways I feel terribly selfish saying this, but also terribly honest: Having a relationship takes time, and I don�t have any. I�d have to give something up, and I don�t know what I�d be willing to give up. But I�m the luckiest guy in the world. There�s something about living in a gay mecca that�s very purging and cathartic. I�m thrilled that all these people are having relationships and relieved that I�m not being asked to leave somebody�s home because they�re over me.
For more with Tim Gunn, visit Out.com tomorrow Wednesday, September 5. Tim Gunn's Guide to Style premieres Thursday, September 6.