We needed a new mattress for our bed a month or so ago so George and I went shopping. It’s one of those things that could have turned out awkward at the shop for two men trying out a mattress together but I was pleasantly surprised at how things turned out.
The furniture shop was on Mombasa Road where a friendly young guy named Patrick showed us what we were after. He said casually to George, ‘Boss, this will be great for you and your woman’ as his hands pressed down a heavily quilted orthopaedic number. George sat down on one side of the mattress and I followed him rolling from the other side when he dropped the bombshell on the assistant, ‘No, it’s for us!’ And it came as an equal shock to me too the confident way George said it. What struck me even more was that Patrick clearly understood that we were a homosexual couple. He looked at both of us briefly still smiling warmly and nodding then recovered quickly to say, ‘Come let me show you one which is stronger and better if it’s for you two guys to sleep on!!!' Then, 'Hakuna shida' (no problems) followed by a wholly appropriate wink! You could have knocked me down with a feather! For once a stranger who is cool with gays. Wonders never cease in this Nairobi.
It turned out to be a delightful Saturday shopping trip for us. Patrick’s smile and service were indeed exceptional. We ended up getting also a pair of cushions and an exquisite Jali Indian bookcase that I instantly fell in love with for the lounge. George and I both felt special being treated with respect and dignity and not having to lie about who we are to each other, just like any other ordinary couple. Finally we paid for our goods and the shop even threw in free delivery which was very nice. We thanked Patrick for his help and happily left him a handsome tip as we left the shop.
Seems like when you’re paying no one is going to be too bothered, everyone, even gays are welcome with open arms in most places. And charming, chilled guys like Patrick are what make life taste that little bit sweeter.