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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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Dear Urban Diplomat: how do I tell my boss that he’s not welcome in my carpool?

Dear Urban Diplomat,
Two of my coworkers live near me in the suburbs, so we drive in to work together. Our boss just moved into the neighbourhood and is poking around for a carpool. He hasn’t straight-up asked us yet, but it’s only a matter of time. The problem is, the commute is the only chance we get to vent about him. We can’t swap that cathartic bliss for two hours of awkward silence. What should I say if he asks?

—Shark in the Pool, Too risky to say where I live

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Dear Urban Diplomat: how do I keep well-meaning neighbours from touching my newborn baby?

Dear Urban Diplomat: how do I keep well-meaning neighbours from touching my newborn baby?

(Image: Ben Spark)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My husband and I live in a condo and just welcomed our first baby, a girl. Maybe she’s just irresistibly cute, but every time we load her into the stroller and bring her in the elevator, someone grabs her hands or strokes her cheeks. It’s really bad when newborns get sick. How can we pre-empt these well-meaning strangers without seeming like germ­aphobic nutters?

—Babe Alert, Liberty Village

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Dear Urban Diplomat: what should I do with neighbours who still have their tacky Christmas decorations up?

Dear Urban Diplomat,
Christmas 2013 is long gone, and yet the house on my corner remains festooned with yuletide paraphernalia: a giant Santa, an inflatable candy-cane archway and reindeer—plus, inexplicably, Cookie Monster, Big Bird and Snoopy figurines. The scene looks like some hillbilly carnival and is no small source of agitation for my wife and me. I want to tell these purveyors of bad taste to pack it up. How should I do it, and is there some bylaw with which I can arm myself?

—Ixnay on the Xmas Stuff Already, Beach Triangle

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Dear Urban Diplomat: should I let my son’s 18-year-old friend drink while he’s travelling with us in Mexico?

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My wife and I are taking our son and our good friends’ son to the Mayan ­Riviera. They just told us their kid is not to have a drop of booze under any ­circumstances. But since they’re 18—the legal drinking age in ­Mexico—and we don’t intend to hover over them, we can’t promise no liquor will touch his lips. Plus, we’re okay with our son having the odd beer, as long as he’s responsible. What do you suggest?

—Niños Will Be Niños, Rosedale

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Dear Urban Diplomat: I’m tired of every suburbanite in my office “working from home” when it snows. How do I complain without being a jerk?

Dear Urban Diplomat: I'm tired of every suburbanite in my office "working from home" when it snows, how do I complain without being a jerk?

(Image: Logan Ingalls)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I live and work downtown. Many of my co-workers commute from Mississauga and Hamilton. Every time the forecast calls for the tiniest bit of snow, half of them announce they’re going to work from home. It’s annoying that they get a mini-holiday every time there’s a dusting. Is there a way to make things fair without seeming like a jerk?

—Justice Is Snow-blind, Queen West

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Dear Urban Diplomat: my cyclist husband risks his life by purposely ramming into cars. How do I get him to stop?

Dear Urban Diplomat: my cyclist husband risks his life by purposely ramming into cars. How do I get him to stop?

(Image: Brent Grandby)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
Every day—in rain, sleet, snow—my husband cycles to work along the Harbord bike lane. And every day he nearly gets killed because he says he doesn’t have to yield to vehicles turning right. Of course, most drivers turn without looking, and he rams into them on purpose. I’m terrified he’ll get beat up or run over. He says he’s not wrong so he won’t stop. First, is he really right? Second, how do I persuade him that risking his life to prove a point is moronic?

—My Husband’s a Cyclepath, Dufferin Grove

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Dear Urban Diplomat: I’m eight months pregnant—can a waiter refuse to serve me a glass of wine?

Dear Urban Diplomat: I'm eight months pregnant—can a waiter refuse to serve me a glass of wine?

(Image: Alex Ranaldi)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I’m eight months pregnant and recently went out for dinner with my girlfriends in Leslieville. I ordered a glass of wine, and the server—a poncey kid of maybe 22—said, “Sorry, I’m not comfortable with that,” and cut me off. I was floored. Can he do that?

—Wine Not, Distillery District

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Dear Urban Diplomat: how should I fight people sneaking onto the streetcar without paying?

Dear Urban Diplomat: how should I fight people sneaking onto the streetcar without paying?

(Image: Chris Smart)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I ride the King streetcar every day, and lately I’ve noticed people sneaking on through the rear doors without paying. I know it’s allowed on Queen Street if you have proof of payment, but it’s not allowed on my route. I mentioned it to the driver and he said, “Nothing I can do.” The price of the Metropass just went up again. It’s unfair that honest riders have to subsidize the scammers. I want to do something, but what?

—A Streetcar Named Defrauder, King and Sherbourne

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Dear Urban Diplomat: Should I ask my 72-year-old mom why she’s taking STD medication?

Dear Urban Diplomat: should I ask my 72-year-old mom why she's taking STD medication?

(Image: dvortygirl)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My 72-year-old mother recently moved into a retirement home. On our last visit, I noticed her taking a new medication. She wouldn’t say why, but I googled it and found out it’s to treat an STD! My mom is very private so I can’t ask her what’s up. What should I do?

—Assisted Living Misgivings, Mimico

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Dear Urban Diplomat: Can Porter Airlines really demand that I pay for food with my credit card instead of cash?

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I was flying to Montreal on Porter Airlines recently, and when I went to the ­terminal snack bar to grab a chicken wrap for my pregnant wife, the cashier rejected my $10 bill. “Oh, sorry,” she said. “We don’t take cash.” I half-expected Ashton Kutcher to jump out from behind the almonds dispenser. Cash, the transactional medium that predates Jesus Christ by 700 years, not welcome? I threw a mini-fit, during which I might have taken J. C.’s name in vain, which in retrospect wasn’t so dignified. But seriously, can they do that?

—Flying off the Handle, Upper Beach

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Dear Urban Diplomat: My friends’ kid damaged my basement wall, but they didn’t offer to pay for the repairs. What gives?

Dear Urban Diplomat: My friends' kid damaged my basement wall, but they didn't offer to pay for the repairs. What gives?

(Image: slworking2)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My partner and I recently had friends and their two boys over for dinner. While we ate, the kids played in the basement, and one of them threw the other into the wall, badly denting the drywall. The parents seemed vaguely embarrassed but mostly amused, and didn’t offer to pay for repairs. We’re incensed. What should we do?

—Double Income, Definitely No Kids, Davisville

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Dear Urban Diplomat: I cleared my neighbour’s snow last year just to be nice. This year, he expects the same again. Am I obliged?


Dear Urban Diplomat,
I have a snowblower, so as a favour I did my neighbour’s driveway a few times last year. In the spring, he thanked me with a nice bottle of Scotch. Great, right? Well, last week he dropped off another bottle with a card thanking me, in advance, for doing his driveway this year! It’s shockingly presumptuous, but did I ask for it? What can I do?

—Winter Is Coming, Cedarvale

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Dear Urban Diplomat: How do I respond to my neighbour who is threatening my (admittedly very loud) dog?

Dear Urban Diplomat: How do I respond to my neighbour who is threatening my (admittedly very loud) dog?

(Image: dagnyg)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My husband and I received a note in our mailbox saying, “If you don’t shut your dog up, something bad is going to happen.” I suppose our dog does bark a lot—we’ve become sort of immune to it—but this seems like an overly aggressive way to let us know. We’re not sure what to do next: ignore it, call the cops, chat up the neighbours and look for signs of thuggishness. What do you recommend?

—Ruffed Up, Corso Italia

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Dear Urban Diplomat: I’m a Jew. Do I really need to participate in the office Secret Santa?

Dear Urban Diplomat: I'm a Jew. Do I really need to participate in the office Secret Santa?

(Image: AmandaB3)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I don’t want to participate in my office Secret Santa because, ta-da, I’m Jewish. I’m not offended by it; I just don’t feel right taking part. Unfortunately, the organizers did the draw without asking and, of course, I got my boss. Any tips on backing out without attracting all kinds of weird attention?

—Who Wants a Dreidel?, Markham

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