America's Smartest Girl

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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.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Polyamory and K'vetch Questions

Dear Advice Loving Friends,
I read last night at K'Vetch in San Francisco. K'vetch is a queer open mic night hosted by Tara Jepsen and Kirk Read. At the end of my story (during which i wore a towel, as we were at a gay man bath house) , i took rapid fire advice questions from the audience. Here are a few:

Q: Why don’t girls just tell you what they want?

A: Maybe they’re afraid of you. Are you a rage-a-holic? Learn to listen and not talk over them or offer unsolicited advice every time they do talk.

Q: Are all the dykes really moving out of San Francisco?

A: How should I know? I live in Portland.

Q: What should I Do tomorrow?

A: Come to my art show at The Lexington Club from 7 to 9 p.m.!

Q: How do I like myself?

A: Look at one thing you do well. Look at it really hard. Do more of it. Get feedback only from supportive positive sources. Do NOT listen to Debbie Downers or even ask their opinions.

Q: What is your take on open relationships/polyamory?

A: If you like processing, then polyamory is for you. I estimate five to ten hours of processing for every one hour you get having sex with someone else.

Q: I have a hard time being serious. How do I change this?

A: Seriousity is over rated.

Q; Is it worth changing your personality for your girlfriend?

A: No.

Q: Where is the fountain of youth?

A: Portland, Oregon is the fountain of youth. There is no sun, so you don’t need to worry about getting wrinkles, and people there have a Pleasure-Island quality of never growing up. You could be 72 and have a paper route!

And Now, Some Advice From Questions Sent In:

Dear Nicole,
I’m falling in love with a straight girl that has a live in boyfriend of 6 years. She flirts with me. What do I do?

- Falling in Florida

Dear Falling, Give her your phone number and tell her that if she ever breaks up with her boyfriend she should give you a call. In the meantime, you need her to leave you alone and vice versa.

Dear Nicole,

I'm in need of some tough love. I am 19, currently in a monogamous relationship of 2 years with a guy I really care about, and would like to stay with (we also live together.) I've had bad past experiences with monogamous relationships, and have tried before to just stay single and stop trying to date every man in my path, but it never goes according to plan (of course.) When we started dating, we both wanted something casual and fun, not looking for long term, but we never stopped hanging out. Things changed, and now here we are all coupled up. I want to be more independent, which is completely possible while being in a monogamous relationship, but I've noticed that I am always more outgoing and confident when I go to social gatherings without him. I read some literature on polyamory and open relationships, and I was definitely interested but felt it was not the right time for me to try it. I know from talking about it hypothetically with current partner that he would not be interested in trying it with me.

My partner has been away traveling, and a good friend of mine was in town visiting. I have been friends with him for many years, and only in the last year have I been aware that my feelings towards him were becoming romantic feelings as well. We were hanging out a lot this past week, and I discovered that he felt the exact same way. He practices polyamory, and at first I think he was under the impression that my current partner and I might have recently became polyamorous since I told him I felt the same way about him. When he found out that we weren't, he was totally fine with it, and explained that his feelings for me most likely wouldn't change in the near future, but that he was perfectly fine with me continuing to remain monogamous with my current partner. Basically, he was completely respectful about it, and he is most likely doing the right thing in this situation from my point of view.

The problem now is that I just don't know what to do. Ideally, I would love to be polyamorous, with my current partner as my "main" partner. I'm quite certain he wouldn't go for this, but I also don't want to completely end our relationship that I am otherwise happy with. I also don't really want to keep things how they are and suppress my romantic feelings for my friend. I feel like this situation means that I'll have to end up really hurting someone, myself included.
Californian Cohabitant

Dear Californian Cohabitant,

What a nightmare.

Here’s the deal: the absolute worst time to open up your relationship is when it is in crisis.
A polyamorous relationship is HARDER work and requires much more trust, honesty, communication and personal responsibility than a run of the mill monogamous relationship. It is the K2 of dating.

Right now it sounds to me like you are not taking a lot of personal responsibility with your romantic situation as is, and THUS adding another person to mix will only serve to truly fuck up what you have.
Which is maybe what you want.
If you are feeling like sabotaging yourself out of your current live-in relationship, maybe you need to honor that feeling and break up with your dude in order to date others, casual and unencumbered. Otherwise, here's my advice.

This has nothing to do with polyamory vs. monogamy. It has everything to do with living together and engaging in bad patterns.
You could monogamously live together, hang out alone in your city or with your friends independent of your dude, then come home and F each other’s faces off every night if you wanted to.
OR you could live together, suffocate each other, and then go get face crabs from every guy on the street and still not feel fulfilled.

Living together based on convenience, or financial need is The Stupidest reason a couple could choose to take this step. Why? Because you’re basically married. It costs money to break up, and one of you could wind up homeless.

You shouldn’t have been engaging in an intrigue with polyamorous dude behind your boyfriend’s back, my friend. That is number one.
What you need to do is tell that polyamorous guy to cool his jets while you hunker down and work on the relationship you’ve already started.
Make boundaries. Make rules for yourself. Make dates with the dude you’re living with, and when you don’t have dates, go out by yourself.
It’s a new era, starting now.
Insist that you both get some nourishing, independent friend and solo time from each other. Don’t get lazy, fall into a codependent routine, and then resent your partner in routine based on your own lack of discipline.

Tis not easy, but if you want to stay with this dude, I think you would be best served by trying to nourish the foundation of your relationship before you even THINK of triangulating or including other wieners in your situation.

Good luck and let me know how it’s going. I would love to lecture you any time.

Sincerely yours in tough love,


Hi Nicole.
I need major big time advice. I have an older brother who is a prescription pain pill addict. Last night I noticed I had four missed calls from him. When I called him back he was drinking at a bar in the small town we grew up in. He stepped outside to talk to me. When I was a child I was a victim of sexual abuse. My brother was at this bar trying to find the person who did this to me so long ago (we're talking over 20 years ago). He was running through all these names of people whom he thought may have done this and told me he was planning to kill them at the bar tonight (if they show up but so far they haven't shown up!?) and explained that I don't know what he is capable of. I spent the next several minutes trying to talk him down. Obviously you can't reason with a person who has taken numerous pain killers and is now drinking alcohol on top of that. I am doing fine these days and have moved on with my life. I feel fortunate to be in such good shape. This phone call from my brother obviously really upset me. I was literally shaking. He has this deep seated belief implanted with the help of my parents that I am gay because I was abused. It haunts him. I don't know how I would cope if my brother killed someone or did something just as crazy because of all of these feelings he has over what happened to me that I don't even really care about anymore. What the fuck do I do?


Desperate in Detroit

Dear Detroit,

1. You need to contact your brother during the day when he is sober, or at least not rip roaring drunk. Call or write and tell him that you absolutely do not support his vigilante style justice and that it has nothing to do with your wishes and is doing you no favors, only making you feel uncomfortable and creeped out.

2. If you really think your brother is capable of murder, it is your responsibility to call the police in your area and let them know what is up. If they pick him up and take him in, it might knock some sense into him about the reality of what he’s getting into. Seriously. It’s better than being silent and watching him receive a life sentence.

3. Go to an ALANON meeting. ALANON is a group for people who are friends of family of addicts. It will help you to understand better that you have no control over him, and will give you tips on what you Do have control over in the situation. Helpful support. Free. Do it.

Dear Ms.Georges,

I met this hotter than hell older professional art lesbian Saturday night. I could tell she liked me and thought I was funny and seemed to laugh at most of the shit I said. But I don't know if she just thought I was funny in that Joe Pesci meets woody Allen sort of way, or I might have a shot at something. She seems out of my league. Many people have tried to convince me that there are no leagues. But it’s been a hard sell. What would be the most tactful way of putting my self out there? What should I do next? She does not live in my area, but frequently visits from the country and is my friend on facebook.
Thank you for your community service,

Dear Baffled,
To you I recommend using THE SECRET. Think positive. Imagine someone who IS in the League of this older professional art lesbian. Then, imagine yourself as that person. As even better than that person.

Approach her with confidence, like you’re offering her something great.

Because you are! You are great and if she doesn’t see that, then she is obviously not the one for you.

Say that you had a nice time talking with her the other night, and you wonder if she’d like to have a drink with you when she comes back into town. Whether or not she drinks, this is the universal sign for “date” , and will tell you her temperature regarding this affair.

I warn you, though you are confident and in fact, BETTER than someone in her league, do not cross the line into Cocky. Confident and cocky are not at all the same, and so for those unfamiliar, may require a little bit of practice. Think of the Dog Whisperer, or Oprah. Both Confident people who are at the same time humble or quiet when they need to be. They don’t act like they have something to prove. They’ve already proved it.
Calm, assertive leaders. That could be you.

Good luck and good greatness,



Nathan Backous said...

All great advice NJG, but I wondered about this statement from Californian Cohabitant:

"I've noticed that I am always more outgoing and confident when I go to social gatherings without him."

Does CC go to different types of social gatherings without the dude? Does CC socially gather with different people with the dude? Does CC feel socially dominated by the dude?

I've noticed in most relationships there is a definite Johnny Carson/Ed McMahon vibe in effect. One is the loud-mouth and one reacts. This isn't bad (I mean, who would want to hang out with two Chelsea Handlers?), but someone that is too bossy in public settings and actively over-shadows their partner could mean bad things are ahead... Conversely, someone that has a hard time being a socializing-partner (jovial sidekick) with someone else should either work on it, or always lone-wolf it. Warning, it didn't work for Andy Richter.

Ask Nicole said...

solid commentary, Mr. Backous. I always feel like it forces you to come out of your shell to go places stag, whether you are a Johnny or an Ed.

Anonymous said...

The right answer is clearly that the reason the older professional art lesbian is into being an artist is so that she could meet hot young babes. That's why anybody does anything.

Adult Child said...

For Desperate in Detroit:
If ALANON does not work for you, try to find a therapist that is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC). They are trained in dealing with the family issues around addiction, and will likely be far more helpful to you than a therapist who is not a CADC. Call your local 311 line (a social service hotline run by the United Way) to find low-cost therapists and counselors.