Dear Urban Diplomat: My boyfriend is becoming my clone

Dear Urban Diplomat: My boyfriend is becoming my clone

He dresses like me, grew out his beard like mine and even wants to get matching tattoos. How can I get him to stop?

Two men dressed similarly in a suit store

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I’ve been seeing my boyfriend for about a year, and it’s going well—maybe too well. I’m starting to worry we’re turning into that cliché: gay twins. He borrows my clothes, has grown a beard like mine and has adopted my love of casual blazers. But the sirens really went off when he suggested that we get matching “His and His” tattoos. Should I tell him that he’s becoming my reflection? More importantly, how do I stop it?
—Attack of the Clone, Parkdale

It sounds like your boyfriend may be mimicking your style because he has yet to establish his own. If you confront him head on, you risk coming off as a paranoid control freak and making him feel like crap. Instead, mount a subtle campaign of well-chosen gifts, joint shopping sprees, and gentle nudges toward a new and different look. And I hope it goes without saying, but that’s a hard no on the matching tattoos.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I have a thesis adviser at U of T who goes to the same gym as me. I admire him greatly, but he’s one of those older guys who happily wanders around the change room wearing nothing but a towel slung over his shoulder. It’s a sight I can’t unsee and one that makes me feel ­awkward. What is it with senior men wanting to chat, brush their teeth and shave with everything hanging out? I’d tell him to cover up, but I worry it’ll affect our relationship and maybe the success of my thesis.
—Naked Ambition, Brockton Village

There’s a teachable moment here about all bodies being beautiful, but I’ll spare you that lecture. Different people have different standards around nudity. These days, it sometimes feels like we’re entering a new period of prudishness, but that doesn’t mean everyone is obligated to modify their behaviour for your comfort. It’s a change room; nudity is part of the deal. If you don’t want to see your adviser naked, look at the floor.

More Urban Diplomat

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My daughter recently had a sleepover at a friend’s house and, a few days later, sprouted a headful of lice. When I told the parents, they apologized and said they should have mentioned the parasitic infestation earlier, but they had already paid for the pizza and didn’t want to disappoint their daughter. In other words, they knew! I’m beyond furious. Yes, lice are an unfortunate reality of junior school, but this was a breach of parental protocol that I can’t forgive. I want to steer my daughter away from this friend. Any advice?
—Buggin’ Out, Richmond Hill

Your outrage is understandable, but your problem is with the parents, not the child. Is their dubious judgment reason enough for you to avoid entrusting your daughter to them? If so, you can decline future sleepovers and play dates, but if your daughter ends up missing her friend, you’ll soon become the villain. My advice is to lay down some ground rules with the parents and then act according to your kid’s wants and needs, even if it means dealing with pests from time to time.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I have a colleague who brings his electric scooter into the office. It never used to bother me, but after that e-bike burst into flames on the subway, I’m worried his could blow up at any moment. To make matters worse, he parks it in a storage closet that’s loaded with toilet paper and paper towels. When I suggested he leave it outside, he said he didn’t want to risk it getting stolen and acted like I was freaking out over nothing. Am I?
—Spark Notes, York Mills

The subway incident was indeed terrifying, but unless your office has a rule against bringing scooters inside, you’re out of luck. Your best bet may be to persuade your colleague to leave it in plain sight—rather than in that closet of kindling—where people would quickly notice if it spontaneously combusted. You should also know that lithium batteries caused 55 fires in Toronto last year, so it’s not nothing, but they’re still relatively rare.