Dear Urban Diplomat: Was I wrong to answer my phone on the subway platform?
The other day, as I was waiting for a rush-hour subway at King station, I answered an important call from a client. I talked for a minute or two and then hung up when the train arrived. As I was boarding, a man who’d been standing nearby chewed me out for taking a call on such a crowded platform. I told him, if the TTC didn’t want me using my phone, they wouldn’t have installed service at track level. He grumbled and we both stomped off. What’s the etiquette for making calls in subway stations now that we can?
—Called Out, Downtown
Normally, I’d say cellphone chatter on the TTC—no matter the content—is a no-go. But between screeching trains and sappy busker covers of “Wonderwall,” subway stations are high-decibel locales. Adding a 60-second business call to the din shouldn’t ruin anyone’s commute, this particularly cranky rider notwithstanding. That said, I recommend texting whenever possible. If you must take a call, keep it quick and quiet.
Dear Urban Diplomat,
I rent the first floor of a house with two apartments. The upstairs tenant must be part reptile, because she insists I keep our thermostat, which is in my unit, at 17 degrees. Who does that? Anytime I crank the heat—even just a degree or two—she complains it’s “sweltering” up there. This winter has been particularly frigid, so I’ve tried to get the landlord to mediate, but he told us to sort it out ourselves. Do I have any recourse? Or am I doomed to shivering (or nagging) every time the mercury dips?
—Cold Comfort, Brockton Village
Going easy on the heat in the winter is a noble and economical move. Turning your place into a walk-in freezer, however, is lunacy. Invite her over to show her how frosty your apartment is; she may not realize you’re living in Winterfell just to keep her comfortable in her (presumably warmer) apartment. If that doesn’t sway her, explain that, according to the Residential Tenancies Act, units should be kept at a minimum of 20 degrees between mid-September and mid-June. Assuming she doesn’t ask you to break the law, set the dial at 20 and call it a compromise. Better to bundle up than deal with more heated arguments.
Dear Urban Diplomat,
I started dating a great guy three months ago, and he recently asked me if I want to be “exclusive.” I’d be thrilled if not for one thing: his anime collection. Despite being in his late 20s, he has posters all over his bedroom, many of which feature sexed-up, infantilized women. He’s nothing but respectful toward me and other women, but still, the pictures creep me out. I told him that if he wants to get serious, he’ll have to redecorate. He said that was unfair. Am I asking too much?
—Objectified Opinion, Agincourt
Your request is entirely reasonable: no woman wants to wake up in a room that looks like it belongs to a 12-year-old fanboy. But what’s more worrisome than his decor is that he doesn’t seem to get why it bothers you. Before you commit to a relationship, explain that it’s the fetishizing artwork—not his geeky love of Naruto—that upsets you. If he can’t understand that, be wary. His lack of maturity is bound to manifest again as things get more serious, no matter how decent a dude he may be.
Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at email@example.com