• Hannah Shields

DON'T BE A DRAG

Her hair is curled to perfection and lacquered within an inch of its life. It’s half L’Oréal Elvive advert; half Barbra Streisand circa 1984. Highlighter dusts her temples and underneath sit two baby blues, courtesy of Acuvue.


“I wish I had your figure.”

“Really?”

“Well, except for the vagina. I don't know what I'd do with that.”


It’s the grand finale of Cum As You Are - a variety show hosted by our local cabaret club. I'm sat

backstage gazing into a mirrored tile, with the infamous drag queen, Roxie Fart, assisting in a rogue eyelash emergency. It's triggered her conjunctivitis.


I tell her she's a sight for sore eyes but she's not impressed. I suggest an eye patch à la Gabrielle but apparently that’s not going to work for a Britney medley.


“How's things with Jamie?”

“They're good.”

“How long's it been?”

“3 months.”

“You're practically married in gay terms.”

“Stop.”

“Are you official?”

“We’re exclusive.”

“Good. You should think of your ovaries.”

“I’m -”

“Practically 30.”

“Reckon I’ll just freeze my eggs.”

“Oh, really? Well, if you're going to do it anyway. Do you mind if I have one?”

“One what?”

“One of your eggs.”


It's nearly Roxie's turn. I spy a pair of rhinestoned tights and a latex bodysuit descending the stairs before coming face-to-face with tonight's emcee. I ask him how the audience is. Apparently, there's 6 people and a dog. Word must have got out. It's a much better turn out than last week.


I'm hairspraying Roxie's back so her fake tan doesn't run when she starts sweating under the stage lights. We're trying to avoid a repeat of the semis where she came off stage looking like she'd fallen into a vat of gravy. I can feel the emcee getting closer to me, wig in hand.


“Do you mind leaving so I can get changed?”


I tell him not to worry and that I've seen it all before. He's not amused. He says: "this is the guys dressing room... And I'm not one of the guys". I tell him: "I know that, I'm just helping my friend, I'll be out in a minute." He says: "this is a competition for drag queens and you shouldn't be occupying this space." I tell him that: "I wear heels bigger than his dick," and leave. He's right. I'm not a guy, I'm a woman who doesn't need to pad to achieve the waist to hip ratio he's sporting right now...

When I was 22, I slept with a guy who was 35. He said he knew my age because I was far too insecure to be anything else. We met in a bar and I went home with him because I knew it'd make a good story. He lasted 4 minutes which was long enough for him to say, "I didn't realise your thighs were so big. You have a really pretty face." And short enough for me to catch the last bus home without having to fork out for cab fare. Considerate, really.


Jamie likes my thighs. He says they're strong, which everyone knows is a polite way of saying big. They're also pasty - I'm talking anemic twink in winter and just a touch past alabaster in summer. Then any time I go on holiday, they sprout freckles so it looks like I've been sunbathing under a sieve. He doesn't mind though.



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