Dear Urban Diplomat: Help—my mother-in-law is obsessed with Mikhaila Peterson’s all-beef diet
She’s 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 and yours. 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,
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,
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.
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