Robbie, Stuart and Nick from our MGE team in Stockholm in 2016. (Photo: Beate Tecza)
That extra gay friendly something
There are two types of “gay friendly.” There is those who welcome us because of our pink pound, and then there’s those who are genuinely friendly. Looking back over the years of Mr Gay Europe, there is especially one company that comes to mind.
“Excuse me, could you please help me with a laminate machine?” The woman at the service desk at the lobby of the hotel in Stockholm where we were staying during Mr Gay Europe 2016 did not even blink. “Just a second Sir, I think we have one at the back office.”
“Yes, and by the way, I was also looking for a pair of scissors, an iron board and an iron of course. And some extra paper to write on and some sort of necklace for the ID cards; 20 of them? Please.”
“So working with these Mr Gay Europe guys really keep you busy, huh?” the woman smiled once again and exchanged a few words in Swedish with her colleague. The guy blushed and smiled towards me, and my Clarion Hotels helping angel was more than eager to inform me that her colleague was a fan of the Mr Gay Europe guys. “They are so handsome and charming,” she added, “and we are really happy that you stay with us.”
I smiled back and told the two of them that I am actually Norwegian and understand Swedish very well, and of course her colleague could get a selfie with the guys.
After some more blushing, laughter and chitchat in Swedish-Norwegian I got my laminate machine, the scissors, the paper, an iron and some ribbons for the ID cards.
What I am getting at? First of all, the warm welcome the MGE delegates and staff got from our hosting hotel in Stockholm, Clarion Hotel Amaranten, and the feeling of being specially cared about without being awkwardly special, if you know that I mean.
I have been part of Mr Gay Europe for more than ten years now, and we have been welcomed by all the hotels we have been staying at, professionally and service minded, but our stay in Stockholm was still something special.
I could use words like “we felt really at home”, “everyone was so nice” and even “we all fell a little bit in love” and still it would not justify this really nice feeling we all got. The hotel is situated in of the largest Scandinavian cities and one should of course expect a certain standard from a professional hotel, no problem there whatsoever, I am talking about the extra something that actually makes you consider to come back.
Sure, I could write about the fabulous breakfast, the clean rooms and the good advices regarding how to get around in Stockholm, but that is more for TripAdvisor and that kind of websites.
That extra something is always difficult to define but if could be the fact that most of the staff knew from which countries the different delegates came from, the questions from the staff that showed that they actually were interested what MGE is all about, the dialogue I overhead when another guest at the hotel asked “who are these people?” and the guy (another one than Mr Blushing) at the desk enthusiastically explained about Mr Gay Europe in a way that made me feel proud about the organization.
And you may have to be gay to understand the significance of the next piece of information; I later accidentally learned that the guy warmly talking about MGE in fact was straight. That really warmed my heart.
Tore Aasheim, MGE President