Ur­ban Diplo­mat

Ad­vice on how to be a civ­i­lized Toron­to­nian

Toronto Life - - Imperial Plaza - Send your ques­tions to the Ur­ban Diplo­mat at ur­bandiplo­mat@toron­to­life.com

The other day, as I was wait­ing for a rush-hour sub­way at King sta­tion, I an­swered an im­por­tant call from a client. I talked for a minute or two and then hung up when the train ar­rived. As I was board­ing, a man who’d been stand­ing nearby chewed me out for tak­ing a call on such a crowded plat­form. I told him, if the TTC didn’t want me us­ing my phone, they wouldn’t have in­stalled ser­vice at track level. He grum­bled and we both stomped off. What’s the eti­quette for mak­ing calls in sub­way sta­tions now that we can?

—Called Out, Down­town

Nor­mally, I’d say cell­phone chat­ter on the TTC—no mat­ter the con­tent—is a no-go. But be­tween screech­ing trains and sappy busker cov­ers of “Won­der­wall,” sub­way sta­tions are high-deci­bel lo­cales. Adding a 60-sec­ond busi­ness call to the din shouldn’t ruin any­one’s com­mute, this par­tic­u­larly cranky rider not­with­stand­ing. That said, I rec­om­mend tex­ting when­ever pos­si­ble. If you must take a call, keep it quick and quiet.

Dear Ur­ban Diplo­mat, I rent the first floor of a house with two apart­ments. The up­stairs ten­ant must be part rep­tile, be­cause she in­sists I keep our ther­mo­stat, which is in my unit, at 17 de­grees. Who does that? Any­time I crank the heat—even just a de­gree or two—she com­plains it’s “swel­ter­ing” up there. This win­ter has been par­tic­u­larly frigid, so I’ve tried to get the land­lord to me­di­ate, but he told us to sort it out our­selves. Do I have any re­course? Or am I doomed to shiv­er­ing (or nag­ging) ev­ery time the mer­cury dips?

—Cold Com­fort, Brock­ton Vil­lage

Go­ing easy on the heat in the win­ter is a noble and eco­nom­i­cal move. Turn­ing your place into a walk-in freezer, how­ever, is lu­nacy. In­vite her over to show her how frosty your apart­ment is; she may not re­al­ize you’re liv­ing in Win­ter­fell just to keep her com­fort­able in her (pre­sum­ably warmer) apart­ment. If that doesn’t sway her, ex­plain that, ac­cord­ing to the Res­i­den­tial Ten­an­cies Act, units

should be kept at a min­i­mum of 20 de­grees be­tween mid-Septem­ber and mid-June. As­sum­ing she doesn’t ask you to break the law, set the dial at 20 and call it a com­pro­mise. Bet­ter to bun­dle up than deal with more heated ar­gu­ments.

Dear Ur­ban Diplo­mat, I started dat­ing a great guy three months ago, and he re­cently asked me if I want to be “ex­clu­sive.” I’d be thrilled if not for one thing: his anime col­lec­tion. De­spite be­ing in his late 20s, he has posters all over his bed­room, many of which fea­ture sexed-up, in­fan­tilized women. He’s noth­ing but re­spect­ful to­ward me and other women, but still, the pic­tures creep me out. I told him that if he wants to get se­ri­ous, he’ll have to re­dec­o­rate. He said that was un­fair. Am I ask­ing too much?

—Ob­jec­ti­fied Opinion, Agin­court

Your re­quest is en­tirely rea­son­able: no woman wants to wake up in a room that looks like it be­longs to a 12-year-old fan­boy. But what’s more wor­ri­some than his decor is that he doesn’t seem to get why it both­ers you. Be­fore you com­mit to a re­la­tion­ship, ex­plain that it’s the fetishiz­ing art­work—not his geeky love of Naruto—that up­sets you. If he can’t un­der­stand that, be wary. His lack of ma­tu­rity is bound to man­i­fest again as things get more se­ri­ous, no mat­ter how de­cent a dude he may be.

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