Dear Urban Diplomat: How should I respond to “It’s just vape, bro”?

Dear Urban Diplomat: How should I respond to “It’s just vape, bro”?

I work in one of those beer-fridge offices everyone loves to hate. I think it’s great, but a few weeks ago, I was there late and my colleague decided to whip out his vape—which I thought was going too far. When I called him out, he said it’s “just vapour, bro,” and now he’s made a habit of it. Until we know the effects of second-hand vape, I’m not comfortable with his indoor indulgences. Should I narc on him?
—Vapes of Wrath, Liberty Village

If you really want to avoid harshing your office’s mellow, try appealing to your colleague one more time. Even if he doesn’t care about your lungs, there’s more at stake. Not only is your co-worker setting himself up to get in the boss’s bad books, he’s also gambling with landing a $1,000 fine. In Ontario, cigarettes and vapes are treated the same when it comes to where you can and can’t partake, and office buildings definitely aren’t on the permitted list. It would be wise to remind him that although it’s “just vapour, bro,” his job could evaporate like a big old cloud of, well, you know.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My daughter just started the third grade and my wife thinks it’s time for her to learn to take the subway to school. When I objected, she shot back with a rant about how helicopter parenting is ruining a whole generation of kids. I know my daughter’s not ready—how do I convince my wife?
—TTC ABCs, Yonge-Eglinton

The TTC has no minimum age for solo commuters, so whether or not kids are allowed to ride the rocket alone is left to parents’ discretion. I don’t blame you for being cautious. The last thing you want is to end up dubbed “world’s worst parent” for losing your kid in the underbelly of the city (like the 11-year-old Brooklyn boy who spent five days on the NYCT subway). Sure, it’s a lot harder to get turned around on the TTC’s measly four lines, but that’s beside the point. Tell your wife that before you hand your daughter her own Presto card, you’d prefer to give her some smaller tasks (like, say, walking to a friend’s house down the street). There’s nothing wrong with making sure she can spell “stranger danger” before you start asking her to regularly assess it.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I’m a hugger. I go in for an embrace with anyone I feel comfortable with. At a recent job interview, I hit it off with the interviewer. I stood up thinking I had the gig in the bag and instinctively leaned in for a hug. My interviewer courteously laughed it off, but she was clearly taken aback. Should I email to apologize?
—Hands-On Learning, Long Branch

Hugging a prospective boss after an interview is definitely weird. Following up, however, will only make things weirder. You screwed up, so I’d move on. In the (unlikely) event that you get called in for a second interview, limit all physical contact to a handshake and count your lucky stars. In the meantime, it would behoove you to consider the possibility that plenty of people, from interviewers to Facebook acquaintances you haven’t talked to in years, aren’t huggers like you and would prefer you keep your arms to yourself.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I’ve been living in my apartment for two years and just renewed my lease for another. Every January, I give my landlord 12 postdated cheques for the first of each month. Weirdly, he hasn’t cashed one yet this year. When I asked him about it, he brushed me off, but last week, he tried to deposit a bunch of them at once. I don’t keep a floating balance that high (it’s set aside in a TFSA), s0 they bounced and he filed a nonpayment order with the Landlord and Tenant Board. I think he’s trying to get me evicted. Can he?
—Chequed Out, Davenport

If this is a sneaky tactic to evict tenants, it’s one that could easily backfire. In order to nail you for nonpayment of rent, your landlord will have to schedule a hearing with the Landlord and Tenant Board, which is bound to take a couple of months. They’ll hear your case and decide whether your “failure” to pay warrants such a drastic step. Come prepared to show proof that you had the requisite account balances at the time rent was due. Your landlord would also be wise to learn how cheques work, since most banks consider them stale-dated after six months.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
A friend of mine is trying to move past a difficult divorce, so I set him up with an online dating profile. We were both pretty giddy at first—online dating wasn’t really a thing the last time either of us was single. Now he won’t stop sending me screenshots of women’s profiles along with some pretty cruel commentary. He’s not exactly a 10 himself, and it feels a little Mean Girls to me. How can I tell him he’s trying to punch above his weight?
—Swiper No Swiping, Pape Village

Your friend needs to tone down the sass. If he keeps treating the experience as a game of hot-or-not, he’ll wind up perpetually single. Feel free to tell him that. While you’re at it, politely decline to participate. Explain that you’d love to hear about the people he’s connecting with, but you have no interest in assessing their pictures, and remind him that what’s truly unattractive is being a judgy jerk who thinks he’s god’s gift to the world.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at