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Dear Urban Diplomat: My best friend relegated me to the online guest list for their wedding

Dear Urban Diplomat, My childhood best friend was supposed to have a huge destination wedding in the Caribbean last summer. Of course, the whole thing was postponed, but I’ve been looking forward to her rescheduled nuptials for what feels like forever. Now, she and her fiancé have decided to hold a hybrid wedding—part IRL, part Zoom—and I’ve been relegated to the online guest list. I’m totally offended and feel like boycotting the whole affair. Thoughts? —Wedding Banned, Deer Park

A boycott would likely be ineffectual. If you skip the Zoom proceedings, the couple won’t even notice; and if you never send a gift, it will ultimately make you seem like a petty jerk, not a righteous protestor. Just suck it up and participate. You may feel slighted, but the situation is definitely much worse for the bride and groom, whose wedding was supposed to be a tropical extravaganza, not a glorified livestream. If you can’t shake the FOMO, round up some other (potentially disgruntled) online-only guests and throw your own off-site celebration. 


Dear Urban Diplomat, My neighbour got his son an electric scooter for his ninth birthday, and the kid has been riding it 24-7 ever since. He zooms along the sidewalk and up and down random driveways as if he’s in The Fast and the Furious, all without wearing a helmet. It’s only a matter of time before he—or someone else—gets hurt. What should I do? —Scooter Tutor, North York

Usually, I’d say, “Not your kid, not your problem.” But in this case, you may have a legitimate reason to intervene. E-scooters are prohibited in Toronto—city council voted to uphold the ban in May, citing safety and liability concerns. The next time you see your neighbour, politely give him a heads-up about the rules and suggest that, if his kid is going to be breaking a bylaw, he should at least obtain cranial protection.


Dear Urban Diplomat, Two weeks after my roommate and I got double-vaxxed, he started going to hush-hush raves in Riverdale Park with hundreds of unmasked partiers. He says it’s safe, but I’m not so sure. On one hand, huge gatherings are still illegal, and he could be putting people (including me) at risk. On the other, I feel like we should get some freedoms back as inoculation rates increase. How should I handle this? —Rave Reviewer, Moss Park

Full vaccination may not offer 100 per cent protection, but it reduces your risk of transmission and makes infections less severe, according to Ontario Public Health. If that’s still too much uncertainty for you, frame your request as a favour: would your roommate consider attending only above-board bacchanals for now? With restrictions lifting, there should be enough lawful EDM elsewhere to tide him over until warehouse parties return.


Dear Urban Diplomat, During Covid, my friend lost his job as a restaurant server. He started collecting CERB and fell into a bit of a funk—think Cheeto-stained sweatpants and Netflix all-nighters. He recently started looking for work, which is great, but he can’t seem to get past the Zoom interview stage. I think I know the problem: he hasn’t had a haircut since the start of the pandemic, and now he looks like a Neanderthal. Should I bring it up? —’Dos and Don’ts, the Beaches

It sounds like you just want the best for your buddy, so lean into that. Rather than focusing exclusively on his locks, offer to help him prepare for his next interview. Run through some mock questions, ask what he plans to wear and then gently inquire about his caveman coif. Has he thought about styling it? How about chopping it off? If he doesn’t take the hint, explain that not every hiring manager will fully appreciate his prehistoric hairdo. That way, he’ll reserve his resentment for them and, when he eventually lands a new job, save his thanks for you.

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Dear Urban Diplomat, It’s been great reconnecting with friends this summer, but every interaction I’ve had recently seems to end with an awkward dance between me and my pals as we try to figure out whether we’re hugging, shaking hands, bumping fists, tapping elbows or waving from afar. I always walk away feeling socially inept. How should I greet people in the post-pandemic world? —Awkward Encounters, Vaughan

First, figure out what you want. Then the trick is to be assertive and act as early as possible. If you’d like to maintain your distance, stop short of your friends and give them an exaggerated wave. It should communicate that you’re not ready for body-to-body contact. But if you’re prepared to take your post-vaxx greetings to the next level, when you’re a few feet away, spread your arms as wide as possible and ask, “Can I give you a hug?” If they’re still Covid-conscious, they’ve got a chance to politely opt out.

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