America's Smartest Girl

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portland, oregon
America's Smartest Girl, Nicole Georges, channels her powers for good as she drums up answers to the world's most complicated questions.

Romance, Career, Health, Pets, Finance. Send questions to Nicole via twitter (@nicolejgeorges) or addressed to her via No suicidal inquiries. Please limit all questions to 150 words or less.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A sick rabbit, a misanthrope, and the sailing ship of Romance

Nicole, how are you?So it's midnight, and i'm getting into bed in my new apartment in sf. it's so cute, i love it! it even has a backyard. and my sheets are clean, and i'm kind of excited to get under my covers and fall asleep- it's going to feel so good- and i have a big day ahead of me tomorrow. but holy fuck nicole, the guy who lives above me snores like a goddamn jackhammer. he just moved in this week and is our landlord's grandson, and last night i barely slept.
so what do i do? i need my sleep.
i have my fan on high for noise pollution and radiohead playing, too, because they're nice go to sleep music, but i can still hear it. it's so loud and once i hear it, i can't ignore it. it's like pg&e is outside my bedroom drilling. did i mention, i'm wearing ear plugs- these foamy things. i hate them. and they don't work all the way because i can still hear the low rumble (it's like subterranean), and they hurt my little ears. nicole this snoring frequency could be on a sitcom. what do i do? if i don't get sleep, i might kill him.
thanks! Sincerely, Sleepless in San Francisco

Dear Sleepless ,

I'm tired, but luckily i live alone with no snorers to be heard, thanks for asking.

What a mess! Well, my friend, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that you have options in this situation. The bad news is, they all involve a level of discomfort on your part. It's just a matter of choosing which discomfort you prefer.

1. Emotional Discomfort:
The first thing i would try is calling the landlord. I would ask them if they could help you find a solution to a problem you've been having, and then explain that there's a loud snoring sound coming from their grandson's apartment every night and it's been keeping you up. Is there anything they can think of ? Would they mind talking to him? I would completely roll over on my back for this one and try to sound as non threatening and polite as possible. You could even lie and try to sound like you're completely understanding : "Yeah, my dad used to snore like that!" . Something to take them off-edge.

If this fails, then go on to options 2-5

2. Financial Discomfort:
You could try an actual white noise machine (there's a psychiatrist in my office building who has a white noise machine outside of his door and it really does work. i never hear anyone talking, crying, or screaming in his chambers.) and some high quality earplugs. The earplugs are $15.00, which seems like a lot for earplugs, BUT they provide more comfort and sound control than the foamy kind. Take a friend with you to the store for these items and try them out. Stick some plugs in your ear (if that's possible) and have your friend mimic the snoring noise as loud as they can while your back is turned. Do you hear it? Do the same with the noise machine. If you take it home and it doesn't work, please be a bossy grandma and take it back to the store to get a refund. "I demand my money back!" . Because those are expensive.

2.. Emotional Discomfort:
I would put on my most non threatening and peace-seeking face and walk downstairs with some cookies or something.
"Hi", i'd say, "I'm Nicole. I just moved in Upstairs and wanted to introduce myself."
Maybe at this point he'll mutter something about a hello.
"I know this sounds crazy, but can I ask you about something?"
"I need your help. I'm having a hard time sleeping because there's a snoring sound coming from your apartment at night. And i know it's none of my business, but i was wondering if there's anything we can do to work this out. What do you think?"

4. Feng Shui Discomfort:
Put your bed in the living room and put your t.v./hostessing supplies in what used to be your bedroom.
Unless you live in a studio apartment, i guess.

5. Financial Discomfort:
Find a new place to live.

Dear Nicole,
I have been single for 6 months and want a girlfriend.
Unfortunately, I have a chronic case of misanthropy and tend to only
leave my house for food or when bribed. Also, the mere thought of
being flirtatious with someone new sends me into a panic-induced
frenzy. How do I transcend my fear of getting acquainted? Did I
mention I don't like dating and have IBS (Incapable of Being Slutty)?
How do I meet an attractive lez who loves cats and all things
domestic? In addition to the above issues, I also have a very specific
type. Am I hopeless? Where do I find intelligent/cute/available andros
who are looking for the same? Help!

Sincerely yours,
Single and not loving it

Dear Single,
The good news is that you get to use my favorite slogan : "I'm Single and Ready to Mingle!!!"
Print up some tee shirts, make one of those giant buttons, get a visor, and tell the world that you're ready to take it on!

That advice probably sends your body into convulsions of discomfort,
so, here is some different advice.

If you want to find a mate, and assuming it's somebody you don't already know, then you're going to have to Man up (or Moman up, as it were) and deal with the discomfort and awkwardness of getting to know somebody brand new. Tuck some Rescue Remedy in your cheek, swig some wine or a grail of mead, and just do it.

1. Do you have any trusted friends who could set you up on a blind date? Just ask them. The lesbian circuit is very closely connected. Somebody has got to know a person with whom you could be a match.

2. I know you're going to hate this, but.... look on the internet. I know, I know. That's why i suggested this second and not first. If i were you I would sign up on a reputable dating site, but also go low (and accesible) like craigslist. I would be incredibly specific, so as to sift through the many heinous e-room dykes that will undoubtedly respond to your query. I happen to know at least three decent people off the top of my head that have found excellent dates through the internet.
At best, you find somebody you like. At worst, you have a fun new hobby of laughing at the people who responded to your ad.
Make them send photos with their emails. Seriously.
And if your friends find out that you have an online profile.... So What. Who gives? It's not like they caught you staffing a glory hole or something. It could be worse.

3 &4. Take some downers and go out with your friends (or a friend you feel comfortable with).
Go to a party. Go to Homorobics. Volunteer somewhere with a high lesbian quotient.

Make sure that you are flagging "available" when you do go out. If i even see people together in a grocery store i imagine they're married

For example:
If you need someone to go to a gay club with, go with a fag. That way , nobody will presume you're boning the person you showed up with, and they'll feel more comfortable talking to you.

5. You are going to be nervous and shy and bumbling. It's a fact. If you are on a first date with the right person, they will find this endearing and it will put them at ease in some way, because at least you're not a stone cold Rico Suave Player (friend, the person for you is not going to want to date Rico Suave. They're going to want to date somebody who has "IBS" and gets nervous when trying to flirt with strangers). Also, the right person will put you at ease somehow.

If they decide not to date you again, who cares. They obviously can't hang with the awesome jam you are providing, so it's for the best.

6. Open up your "type". Everyone has a type in their mind. BUT you might be shutting out somebody awesome that could become your New Type if you're not careful. Keep in mind your core value deal-breakers, of course, but if somebody has Blonde Hair instead of Black, or wears a skirt sometime instead of pants, and they still want to date you, jump on that shit and see if it works. Open your mind, man.

7. "My grandmother always says 'Never Refuse an Invitation' "
somebody told me this once and i think about it when people invite me somewhere and i'm on the fence. accept generosity and friendship. It will lead you to good things.

8. Stop focusing on finding a date and build yourself up more so that when you do meet somebody, you're a total powerhouse of treasure.

Through the return address on your email combined with my mental powers of psyhic-osity , I can see that you are a Catch! A very cute and charming human being for whom the right person will come along. Mark my words!


I have a f*ck buddy etiquette question.

I am a lady who usually has sex with men. I have a good guy friend and we've been pals for five and a half years. We live in different cities and visits are scarce, however, this January a trip to his town unexpectedly turned into a mega-sex fest. It was awesome, and we discussed that it was okay and wouldn't mess up our already solid friendship. A few months go by, I date a few folks, but upon my next visit to that town in May, I am suddenly single again, and a sexy weekend is ours once more. This Monday, I was dumped via text message (rude!) by a guy here where I live and I am suddenly single yet again. I am heading back up to the town in a little over two weeks, and even though I have my heart set on hot action with this guy, I don't want to get my hopes up.


I want to make sure my special friend is single and is still feeling the whole hot-action-with-me sort of thing before my plane lands in town. How do I delicately (he is kind of a sensitive guy) ask him, "Hey are we gonna do it this weekend or what?" without making him feel obligated or weird and without me looking like all I want from him is sex. Because I don't! In fact, I have the utmost respect for him and might actually be madly in love. But that's a side issue. Or is it? Oh brother.

-- Bewildered in the Bay Area

Dear Bewildered,

Why do you need to know in advance?
Just curious.

I think that you could be fairly straight forward here.
"I'm coming to Portland next week. Do you want to get a drink?"
"I'll be in town next week and I have a hotel room. What do you think? Consider it! Just saying..."
"You are so hot, i can't believe i go to have sex with you when i was in town last time." (and see how he responds)
"It sure was fun doing it with you when i was in town last time." (and see how he responds)

If he's engaged or something he'll tell you so, and you can plan accordingly.

Good luck. I'm sure he'll want to bone you again, even if he does have a girlfriend.
Just kidding, i think home-wrecking is anti-feminist.
But yeah, he'll probably want to do it with you again.
And feel free to put something more appropriate or adult than "Doing It" in your texts if you think that's a dumb way of saying "Intercourse".

Please wrap your giant brain around this problem.

I have always been the type of person who keeps strong boundaries between lovers and friends, so as not to get pulled in to the lesbian dating trap, until I broke up with my Long-term girlfriend. After the hideous bar crawling that required long dark nights of the soul, I accidentally ended up in 'romantic therapy' with a good friend of mine. It was fine and lovely for the first couple of months, but now I feel my feelings waning. What is the best way to deal with this situation, hopefully not hurting my friend (whom I bloody love), make my other friends mad (they all love her too), or generally ruin my life.

Thanks for yr time,

Lost in London XX

Dear London,

I can't remember the exact situation, but i know that i have sent somebody a text message saying this:

"I'm so glad to have you in my life, but I think our romantic ship has sailed."

and it seemed to work out okay.

If you need to be more specific, I'd say
"I'm going through a hard time right now processing my break up and everything, so I think that we have to cool it sex-wise. I really like having you around, but I'm going to need a couple of weeks to get my head on straight before we jump back into our day to day friendship. I hope you understand. "
You could also give her some flowers to express "no hard feelings".

The bravest thing you can do in this situation is to be honest with your friend (while considering her feelings).

Dear Nicole-


I like reading your column, thank you for doing it! I have a question that is a total downer and awful and actually pretty resolved but I feel crazy that so few people talk about this and it is hard to balance my sense of animal rights with my desire for life to be a little more natural with love. And I feel like these are all things you feel pretty strongly about and am certain that you would be a great help.

I have lived with a very dear rabbit for seven years now, he is nine years old and one of my oldest and absolutely my truest friend. Recently he was struck by a parasite called E cuniculi which most rabbits are exposed to during their lifetimes but only 1 in 10 are affected by. Anyway, it's affected his nervous system in a way that he tilts his head all the way to the right, like he has water in his ear that he's trying to drain or he's trying to get a real good look at the ground. For the first couple of weeks he had a terrible time getting around, stumbling and falling every few steps. It was heartbreaking to watch and a onetime energetic rabbit was spending hours curled up on the floor. I took him to the vet immediately where after a series of xrays and bloodtests determined that he was infected with E cuniculi, and they prescribed five different medicines for him. They also charged me $1200, which is a lot of money for me. At the end of the cycle of
medicine, he seemed more active, happier, and healthier, but he still holds his head with the tilt. The vet has offered to see him again and suggested a CAT scan, but also said that many rabbits keep their tilt after being cured from the parasite. He still gets off balance every once in awhile but I feel like he's adjusted to the tilt and worry that the trauma of another vet visit with no guarantee of a change isn't worth it. I also have no idea how to come up with $2000 for the CAT scan. I'm also very aware that at 9 years old he has reached the expected life span of a rabbit. Of course I would like him to live forever, but I am more concerned that he's happy during his life. What are the ethics of pets and medicine? It kills me that I can't just ask him what he'd like to do.

Nicole I'm sorry to go on for so long. Thanks for your attention.

Dear Rabbit Lover,

Honestly, I wouldn't get the CAT scan if i were you. He's more active, happier and healthier, and he's come to accept his new tilt.
His career as an animal actor is probably over at this point, but it sounds like his quality of life is as good as can be expected considering the circumstances.
He is so lucky to have you.
It's time to let him relax and live out the rest of his days at a tilt as long as he is comfortable.

Now i just want to throw some general pet advice out there for my reader friends:

The first thing to remember is that your pet is counting on your, one hundred percent, to take care of their health.
They have been domesticated and put into our hands. It's a big responsibility!

Questions to ask yourself when dealing with a pet medical situation:

- Would you do the procedure if money wasn't an issue?

- Would you do the procedure if it was for a human?

After answering these questions, you need to equate in the animal aspects. Those being:

How close is my animal to their life expectancy? Will this improve their quality of life? Is the procedure worth the discomfort it will bring on my animal?
If you've done all you can , sometimes you're just postponing the inevitable by chalking up more and more vet time.

Last summer my 13 year old dachshund Lambchop died very quickly, and I was devastated.
That weekend while he was sick i was making mental plans to sell my car, thinking of who i could beg money off of, phone sex, anything for the money to fix him once we found out what the problem was.
What i realized in all of this was that, though he hadn't spoken up, Lambchop had a sense that he was dying a lot longer than I did.
So while i was running around traumatized and trying to solve his medical issues at the last minute,
he was quiet and calm, resolved and had accepted what was happening.
It was me that couldn't accept it.

I'm not trying to imply that you should throw up your hands and take a "That's God's Will" stance on pet care,
but that you need to stop and think about the big picture and your animal's life versus your own wishes in the situation.

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