Urban Diplomat

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Dear Urban Diplomat: can’t sidewalk-hogging joggers save it for the side streets?

Dear Urban Diplomat: Can't sidewalk-hogging joggers save it for the side streets?

(Image: Marc Falardeau/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I was window-shopping on Queen West last weekend, when a neon-clad sprinter came bounding along and bumped my daughter into my stroller, nearly spilling hot coffee on my newborn baby. The guy was incredibly apologetic, until I said, “Why the hell are you running on a busy sidewalk in the first place?” He snarled that the street was as much his as mine, then re-inserted his earbuds and jaunted off. Shouldn’t runners be banned from using busy main streets?

—Street Fighter, Little Portugal

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Dear Urban Diplomat: can I ask my neighbours to cover up their naked kid?

Dear Urban Diplomat: Can I ask my neighbour to cover up their naked kid?

(Image: Amanda Tipton/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My neighbour’s little boy is four, and he’s been running around our street in his birthday suit all summer. It’s getting a bit weird. At what point should small children be clothed when in ­public? Is there a law?

—Unfree Willy, Riverside

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Dear Urban Diplomat: how do I get my cottage-hogging brother to play fair?

Dear Urban Diplomat: How do I get my cottage-hogging brother to play fair?

(Image: Stephanie Pakrul/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
A few years ago, my brother and I inherited the family cottage, on Lake of the Woods near Kenora. He and his family live a half-hour away and use the cottage a lot. My partner and I can only make it out there about three times a year. My brother told me he’s buying a new $850 barbecue for the place, and he wants me to split the cost with him 50/50. I don’t feel that this is justified. Shouldn’t I be paying less? How should I respond?

—Weber Warfare, Richmond Hill

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Dear Urban Diplomat: what do I have to do to get my neighbour to stop being such a butthead?

Dear Urban Diplomat: what do I have to do to get my neighbour to stop being such a butthead?

(Image: LawPrier/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I live and work just steps from Pape and Danforth. One of the business owners smokes on his stoop near the library, which is irksome enough. Even worse is that he discards the butts on the sidewalk. This is not a smoker versus non-smoker issue—it’s about littering. The sidewalk is not his personal ashtray. How do I convey as much without sounding like a total buttinsky?

—Butting Heads With a Butthead, Danforth

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Dear Urban Diplomat: what’s the proper dinner-guest etiquette for Ramadan?

Dear Urban Diplomat: what's the proper dinner-guest etiquette for Ramadan?

(Image: Rebecca Winzenried/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My wife and I were asked to a dinner party by some neighbours. The invite said 7 p.m., but it will be during Ramadan, when we can’t eat or have a drink until after sunset—so around 9 p.m. I mentioned this, and they said to just come along and they’ll serve dinner late. We don’t want to be the recipients of sideways glances from famished, clock-watching guests all evening. Should we decline, go over after 9 p.m., or what?

—Unfashionably Late, Upper Beach

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Dear Urban Diplomat: how do I get my boyfriend off my sports team?

Urban Diplomat: Ultimately Embarrassed

(Image: Nathan Rupert/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
After dating this great guy for three months, I invited him to join my ultimate team. Turns out he’s the John McEnroe of Frisbee. He makes terrible calls and then argues with the opposing players for what seems like forever. He’s lovely otherwise, and I don’t want to stop dating him. How do I jettison him from the team without deep-sixing our relationship?

—Ultimately Embarrassed, Chinatown

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Dear Urban Diplomat: what do I do about that unscooped doo-doo?

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I live kitty-corner to St. James Park. There’s a mobility scooter–bound senior in my building who leaves his dog’s doo-doo unscooped every morning, often on the main park path, which is also my route to work. I don’t enjoy navigating a minefield every day, but what can I do?

—Crappy Commute, St. Lawrence

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Dear Urban Diplomat: should I tell my new husband that his teen daughter’s on the Pill?

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I recently married a man who has a 15-year-old daughter, and I accidentally discovered she’s on the Pill. Her dad would be apoplectic if he knew. She begged me not to tell him and said she’d never forgive me if he found out. What should I do?

—Contraception Interception, Bennington Heights

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Dear Urban Diplomat: how do I tell my neighbours to cut their axe-throwing out?

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My neanderthal neighbours—three 20-something roommates—have caught on to the recreational axe-throwing phenomenon and have begun doing target practice in the backyard. There’s a six-foot fence between us, but that’s small comfort for my wife, toddler and me. An indoor league exists for this kind of thing. Surely there’s a law against doing it alfresco. They won’t take kindly to my cease and desist request. Any advice on how to go about it?

—Axe to Grind, Crescent Town

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Dear Urban Diplomat: is it wrong to let a big box store undercharge me?

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My husband and I were at a big box store looking for office chairs recently. They only had floor models of the one we liked, so we negotiated a 25 per cent discount. I went to pay while my husband wandered off to another section. Somehow, the cashier charged half of the after-discount total. We just about got the chairs for free. I said nothing, paid and left. When I told my husband the good news, he said he was ­disappointed in me. I argued that it’s not like I caused the under-billing, and besides, big box stores are awash in profits. Deep down, I know he’s right, but in a way, so am I. Right?

—Chair Lift, Leaside

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Dear Urban Diplomat: is it okay to demand weird things from restaurant servers?

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I recently went to the Octagon steak house with a friend, who asked that her rib-eye be cooked in milk and red wine. Weird, I know. The waiter politely refused, explaining the process is carefully thought out by the chef. My friend bitched about it the whole meal. I think her outrage was unjustified, but I could use some backup. What say you?

—Minor Beef, King West

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Dear Urban Diplomat: should I tell my friend her boyfriend is on Tinder?

Urban Diplomat: Tinder AppDear Urban Diplomat,
I use the Tinder app to find eligible guys in my area. Last week, up popped my friend’s long-term boyfriend. His profile said he was “looking for a hookup.” I know they’re not in an open relationship. Should I tell her? If so, how?

—Bait and Snitch, St. Clair and Spadina

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Dear Urban Diplomat: should I confront my brother-in-law over a shoddy home inspection?

Dear Urban Diplomat: My Brothers Keeper

(Image: tamasrepus)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I hired my wife’s brother, a certified home inspector, to look at a west-end semi. He gave it a full pass, so we bought it. Trouble is, we’ve since discovered a leaky roof, cockroaches in the kitchen and cracks in the foundation. It’ll cost upwards of $20,000 to fix it all. My wife wants me to suck it up and not confront him. What do you suggest?

—My Brother’s Keeper, Runnymede

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Dear Urban Diplomat: should I stop my atheist roommate from joining a Christian talent agency?

Dear Urban Diplomat: Jesus Would Freak

(Image: David Clow)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I’m sure you’ve seen the billboards around town for the Christian talent agency AMTC (Actors, Models and Talent for Christ). My roommate, a struggling theatre grad and devout atheist, auditioned because he’s desperate for work. He even prepared a speech about being a “follower of the Lord all his life.” I’m appalled and think he’ll get outed. What do you recommend I do?

—Jesus Would Freak, Corktown

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Dear Urban Diplomat: what do I do about my wife’s erotic CBC fan fiction?

Dear Urban Diplomat: CBC Fan Fic

(Image: Peter Rogers)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I discovered my wife’s erotic fan fiction starring a certain personality from CBC’s The National. It’s astonishingly steamy stuff. What should I make of it?

—Fiction Friction, Summerhill

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