Dear Urban Diplomat: How do I offer my streetcar seat without offending anyone?
Dear Urban Diplomat,
I recently offered my streetcar seat to a woman I was convinced was a mom-to-be, then smiled cherubically at her tummy. She politely declined and then, realizing my motivation, hissed, “I’m not [bleeping] pregnant!” and moved to the back. I was mortified. I’d rather be a gentleman than a coward, but I may never offer my seat again. Any advice?
—Recovering Samaritan, St. Clair West
Vacating the seat was the right move—don’t go all PTSD over this. Some ground rules for future engagement: never make heroic gestures toward the empty seat, don’t tsk tsk your neighbours for their lack of chivalry, and for the love of all that is proper on public transit, don’t ask how far along she is. Just leave the space open and let her make the move. Whether she’s with child or with pasta, you’ll have done a good deed for a fellow rocket rider.
Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at email@example.com