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Coming Out at the Guesthouse

14 Mar Posted by in • Guest Writers | Comments Off on Coming Out at the Guesthouse
Coming Out at the Guesthouse

By Abil Bradshaw

They say, once you come out, you are always coming out. In 2015, my wife and I started an Airbnb guesthouse. We struggled to pay our mortgage, so we leaped into the short-term-rentals hot-air, balloon basket, pulled the burner-handle, and away we went. This risky ride has been exactly as one would expect, some unforgettable, vista views of a beautiful planet, and some unforgettable dives to the earth, saved only by hard work and a soft, landing pad, courtesy of our mother-ship: Airbnb’s liability insurance.

Abil Bradshaw and El Gato

We started 2015 with a minor remodel of our 1903, Victorian house. We are squarely in the oldest, residential neighborhood in Seattle. From our home, it is a modest walk to the Pike Place Market, restaurants of many cultures, pubs, breweries, bars, bookstores, a vinyl record store, yoga studios, and weed shops. For your trouble of a short walk, you are rewarded with amazing vista views of the Olympic Mountains, the Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier, and yes, the Seattle Space Needle. There are even majestic, evergreen cedar-trees dotting our neighborhood, scenting the air. Everything Pacific Northwest is here. If you ever hoped to see Sasquatch, it would be in our neighborhood.

With our remodel completed, we opened for business in December. We were a bit nervous about how guests would react to our Lesbian-ness, but it bothered us less than how they would feel about our cats. Should we disclose the fact that we had, not one, but two, rescue cats? What if the guests had cat allergies or disliked cats for no, particular, reason? Is that felinophobia? Should we not say anything and let them figure it out? After all, the cats do not go into the guestrooms, they stay in their own places, sort of like…umm… a closet. Of course, in the end, we came out as cat-people, and posted photos of their resting, bitch faces on our listings (It’s hard to get a cat to smile).

We had been open six-months, when we realized the cats were not a liability, but an asset. Guests were requesting to book because we had cats. Bros would arrive all big, buff and stoic, and during the tour of the house, as soon as they saw El Gato, the snoring, orange-and-white-former-bully-on-the-block, they would squeal with delight and aim their squiggly fingers for his fur. Over the years, many guests have taken their picture with EG, posted him on their Instagram, hung in the kitchen petting The Cat, so grateful that they could have this surrogate kitty when they were away from their own Pooky. We have gotten several reviews that mentioned what a cool cat El Gato is. Perla, the other rescue, rarely makes an appearance, but when she does, and if the guests get to pet her, we let them know how rare that is, and the guest feels like a cat-whisperer who should have their own TV show. Thank you, kitty cats, for finally paying your way.

So, the cats could stay, but what about the Lesbians? We were, mildly reticent about our visibility on Airbnb’s world stage. I say ‘mildly reticent’ because we couldn’t change our sexuality, so we had to just open ‘er up and see what happened. As you do. We posted a Lesbian photo of us laughing in the most Lesbian of ways, at a Lesbian party, with Lesbian cake, and a Lesbian cake server in our Lesbian hand. We figured this would do it. And, indeed, we have been knocked out by the outpouring of indifferent acceptance of our status as wives. But, every now and then, we get a request to book that gives us pause. For example, we thought the family from Kentucky, who all had White-Jesus hair, pictured in their Airbnb photo with rifles and a dead elk, would rather stay with someone more…snuff-dippin-friendly. We sent them an email reminding them, that we were a married Lesbian couple, and asked them if they were okay with that. We were totally surprised by their answer: “Abil, we do not care in the least about that, and we are sorry that the world is as it is, and has made you have to ask.” We hit the accept button. When we finally met them we realized, these people were a fun, loving family who laughed easily, and smoked weed together, non-stop.

We are a married Lesbian couple, learning about acceptance, one booking at a time.

To find out more about Abil and Melissa’s Guesthouse see below.

Sweet Suite

Special Events Venue and Guesthouse

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