Ur­ban Diplo­mat Ad­vice on how to be a civ­i­lized Toron­to­nian

Toronto Life - - Contents -

I’ve been look­ing for a new apart­ment in the west end for the past two months and fi­nally found one I like that’s in my price range. I’ve got­ten used to all the hoops that land­lords make you jump through dur­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion process, but this one asked to see six months’ worth of bank state­ments, which seems ex­ces­sive. That said, I don’t want to jeop­ar­dize my chances of get­ting the place. Should I com­ply with his re­quest, and is it even le­gal?

—Home Run, Duf­ferin Grove

There aren’t any rules specif­i­cally bar­ring land­lords from ask­ing to see bank state­ments, but there’s also no law that re­quires you to dis­close how much you spent on lat­tes last month. Even if you love the place and are suf­fer­ing from apart­ment-hunt­ing PTSD, ask your­self whether you really want to deal with such a nosy land­lord. I am guess­ing the an­swer is “Hell no” and urge you to keep look­ing un­til you find some­one who re­spects your pri­vacy. Re­quest­ing your ref­er­ences, credit his­tory and pay stubs is fine; ask­ing for your med­i­cal his­tory, a DNA test and copies of your jour­nal en­tries is not.

Dear Ur­ban Diplo­mat, My mother-in-law re­cently be­came ob­sessed with that Mikhaila Peter­son all­beef diet. She has been on it for a month and won’t shut up about the good it’s do­ing her. It’s ir­ri­tat­ing, but I’m mostly con­cerned about our kids—they spend a lot of time at her house and I don’t want them sub­sist­ing solely on red meat while they’re vis­it­ing. My hus­band asked me to keep the peace, but it’s hard to hold my tongue. Is it worth con­fronting her?

—Om­ni­vore’s Dilemma, Ron­ces­valles

As ab­surd as the fad may sound to you, if your mother-in-law wants to live her life as a card-car­ry­ing car­ni­vore, that’s her busi­ness. Try to re­spect her di­etary choices and hope­fully she’ll do the same for you. Ex­plain that, while an all-beef diet might be work­ing for her, your young­sters are do­ing just fine with

mixed fare. If she keeps in­sist­ing on feed­ing them steak—and noth­ing but— for din­ner, sched­ule meal­time vis­its at your house, where you can con­trol the menu. I pre­dict she’ll grow bored of the in­ces­sant meat mantra soon enough and the is­sue will re­solve it­self.

Dear Ur­ban Diplo­mat, A friend of mine re­cently opened a café close to my of­fice. I try to swing by a few times a week, but when­ever I buy some­thing, she makes me feel bad for not or­der­ing more. A few days ago, I or­dered a bagel and she said, “What, no cof­fee with that?” And just this af­ter­noon, she guilted me into buy­ing a muf­fin. I want to sup­port her while she’s get­ting things off the ground, but I’m an­noyed. Should I say some­thing or switch back to Star­bucks in­stead?

—Up­sold Out, Re­gent Park

Your friend seems pretty blunt, so she can prob­a­bly han­dle an equally di­rect re­sponse. Be­sides, tak­ing your busi­ness else­where could re­sult in a much more awk­ward con­fronta­tion the next time you see her. She’s not forc­ing any­thing down your throat, so be firm: if she tries to con­vince you to buy some­thing else, tell her “Thanks, but no thanks.” Hope­fully, once she’s set­tled into her new busi­ness, she’ll stop ha­rass­ing you with baked goods and go back to be­ing your friend.

Send your ques­tions to the Ur­ban Diplo­mat at ur­bandiplo­mat@toron­to­life.com

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