Dear Urban Diplomat: I think my neighbours might be exhibitionists

Dear Urban Diplomat: I think my neighbours might be exhibitionists

I’m forever trying to keep my son away from the windows. How can I impose some privacy?

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Dear Urban Diplomat,
I live with my wife and six-year-old son in an apartment that overlooks a central courtyard, and our new neighbours across the way leave their windows open 24/7. Fine. The thing is, they like to have their adult fun right in front of said windows, in broad daylight, all the time. I wonder if it’s a kink, because I’m sure all the other tenants can see them too. I’m forever trying to orient my son away from the windows, and it’s exhausting. Help?
—Porn Free, Roncesvalles

Since your neighbours are doing their business in their own home, they are within their rights. My advice: write a diplomatic note telling them what you and your family can see, and slide it under their door. If this is news to them, they will likely stop. Of course, if being seen was the goal all along, your note will not deter them one bit. In that case, you have two options: invest in some good blinds or move.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I am the lead software salesperson on my team. I get along with everyone, including my boss. But the other day he mentioned that I look angry when I think and that my grumpy countenance could deter potential clients. He suggested that I mention my “face problem” as an icebreaker whenever I start a virtual meeting. This advice, and the mere fact that he brought it up, bothers me. Is there a good way to broach this subject?
—Resting Witch Face, Canary District

He crossed a line, and you could report him to HR. But think about it first. If you rolled your eyes unwittingly whenever a client spoke, he’d be justified in telling you to cut it out. Is this situation all that different? Try recording yourself and watching it back with a critical eye. Any feedback about one’s appearance can be difficult to take. And the words “face problem” should never be uttered by a boss. But consider whether his suggestion was warranted before escalating the conflict.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I recently moved to a quiet residential street in the west end. The night before my furniture was to arrive, I put out pylons and an explanatory sign blocking off two parking spaces. Later, one of my neighbours moved the pylons and parked there anyway. She sent a note to our neighbourhood group chat saying she had a minor kid crisis on her hands and would move when asked. She eventually did, but I don’t like the entitlement. I moved to this street for the sense of community. How should I address her antics?
—Bumper to Bump Her, Long Branch

It’s ironic that you moved for the sense of community—because your neighbour was behaving as a model member of one and you were not. When it comes to parking in Toronto, there is no home-court advantage, and you don’t have the right to reserve a space, let alone two. Moving the pylons and owning up to it on the group chat was both justified and neighbourly. If you want to keep the peace, apologize for any inconvenience you may have caused and be sure to smile and wave next time you see her.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I have a friend who was my wing man pre-Covid. After work, we’d party in my neighbourhood, and when he got too drunk, he’d sleep on my couch since he lives in the suburbs. The problem was that he always got too drunk. In fact, when lockdowns hit, I was secretly relieved that I’d no longer have to drag him back to my place. But, since things opened up, he’s texting me every other day about late-night drinks. I’m getting too old for the endless bacchanalia, and more importantly, I want some privacy. What’s the move here?
—No Vacancy, Kensington Market

The pandemic forced many of us to take a good, hard look at our physical and mental health. It also forced a lot of people to grow up. It sounds like you’ve made the shift to maturity while your buddy has not. Tell him you still want to hang out, but at normal hours and without the sauce. If he misses you, he’ll accept that and be happy. The move—into a downtown apartment—is his to make, not yours.

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