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  • Writer's pictureHannah Shields


Updated: Mar 20, 2020

Jamal Thomas is the only man I know who can wear fishnets to the office and get away with it. Probably because he works for The Guardian. I tried it once. My manager said, "it was nice of me to make

an effort".

I hadn't even made an effort... In fact, I hadn't done a dark wash in two weeks. I should've just gone in bare-legged but I was working towards a promotion at the time. That was the day I learnt that when a man wears fishnets he's a trendsetter; when a woman does it, she's a tart.

I should have just owned it, but I couldn't bear Steve eye-balling me every time I walked to the

printer, so I spent the whole day sat in a thick winter coat from lost property, looking like Divine

in a furnace, and fielding questions about why I was wearing an anorak indoors in July, and if I could

smell mothballs...

Jamal could have talked his way out of that. He's that kind of guy. You know, the type that wins competitions he hasn't even entered, celebrities ask for photographs with him, and he always gets a free coffee from Pret. I'd hate him if he wasn't my fiance.

"By the way, I've put your name down for Mykonos."

"For the last time, I'm not going on a cruise with you?"


"Because -"

"But think of all the friends you'll make!"

"I have enough friends."

"When did you become so boring?"

We made a pact that if we were both 40 and single we'd get married - except Jamal cashed it in early on account of his dying grandmother and the Baptist Church. I was fine with it. You see, I was very single at the time. It was one of those periods where finding a bad track on Gaga's The Fame record was easier than finding a man. And that's a bloody hard task, let me tell you. (It's a dream of a debut album!)

I met Jamal in Miss Bell's drama class aged 14. He was the Tony to my Maria and we'd been pushing platonic love to the limits, ever since. That part made sense. There was just the small issue of biological


"Have you told Mike about us?"


"Don't you think you'd better?"

"I don't want to complicate things."

"Can you please get over the fact that you actually like this guy and stop burying your head in the sand?"

I hate it when your best friend has you sussed. That's the thing with Jamal. He just 'gets it'. Every expression, every feeling, every obscure WOW Presents Plus reference. He laughs like a loon at my Liza Minnelli impression and doesn't find it weird when I do chaines turns down the yogurt aisle in Asda. Sometimes he even joins in. No judgement.

We know each other better than anyone else in the world. He knows when I've borrowed his Moschino crop top to impress the audience at karaoke and I know when he's posted a picture of us on Instagram where he looks like Mr Gay UK and I look like Mr Bean in a wig - even before I've received the notification. He's also been known to lend me his Boots card so I could use the points to pay for my Christmas presents. Now that's love.

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