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.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Teen Punk Rebellion

Dear Nicole,

   When you were punk, what exactly did you do? Were you rebellious towards your parents? Did you think everyone/everything was shit?


 Enid Coleslaw

Dear Enid,

I still *am* a punk!!!
Being a punk can include being polite to senior citizens,
being on time to meetings, wearing party dresses and singing along to Taylor Swift if you so choose.

When I was a teenage punk, I was horribly unkind to my parents, and I was rude to society at large.
Now that I am an adult punk, I realize that my limited ability to empathize as a teen was a big problem.
Because no person, including  my parents (as imperfect as they were), or the random person on the street (who may look like a "conformist") deserves rude treatment.
 Even from someone with a mohawk!
There's something elitist or arrogant about thinking you have it So figured out that everyone else deserves to suffer. They may not have had access to the same ideals, or they may just not agree with you, but they're still human people who were once children and who are just trying to do their best.

I agree with the rage that goes along with punk. When the scales drop from your eyes and you see what is really going on around you, with societal  norms & power structures, it makes complete sense to start screaming and thrashing and slam dancing! BUT I also admire or idolize a kind of punk that takes that rage and constructs something out of it, instead of just tearing the world down. The thing you construct could be so cool that people identify with and find shelter in it. Who knows, maybe your contribution will change society as a whole for the (punk) better.

People I recommend you (as a young punk) look up, or look up to :
Ian Mackaye from Minor Threat, Fugazi & Dischord Records,
and Kathleen Hannah, whom you can watch all about in the movie "The Punk Singer" (by Sister Spitter Sini Anderson) , which is streaming on Netflix RIGHT THIS INSTANT.
They are people who felt the same teenage punk rage you do, and built something out of it that changed the world.
I know it changed mine, for the better!

Take Care, dear Enid.
You are not alone!


This photo, of your friend Nicole (center, with Aly & Rita) was taken in KC when we were 18, by Tae Won Yu, another person you should look up!!! 

p.s. You asked what I did as a teenager. Besides being a rude dude and playing pranks on society with my best friend Aly, I did these things:
-Traveled to political rallies and tribunals
-Joined & ran Food Not Bombs in Kansas City
-Made a zine that I sold and traded at punk shows
-Interviewed bands for my zine, with varied success (got yelled at by the singer of The Scofflaws for asking inane questions like "What's your favorite kind of cheese?")
- Had leopard printed shaved-head hair
-Threw rocks at some children who called me "A Ugly Boy" for having a shaved head
-Ran a friend's hardcore punk VHS distro out of my bedroom for a summer
-Started a "Girl Positive" discussion group (where we watched homo-erotic videos and talked personal politics)
-Watched Matlock
-Went Vegan
- Ate a lot of veggie-chili fries at Ottos Malt Shop. 
-Organized a zine conference in KC*
-Was on a panel at said zine fest with Jello Biafra, who was a dismissive jerk
-Organized a "Rock the Vote: Rock the Nation" youth forum for kids who weren't old enough to vote but wanted social change.*
-Drove around all night with my friends who did a zine called "Sleep Is The Enemy"
-Met Ian Mackage, who was exceedingly patient to these same friends as they interviewed him about the value of sleeping vs not sleeping. 
-Stopped shaving my arm pits
-Tried out not wearing a bra, which was a mistake given my particular chest situation
- Had a short-lived band called "The Yikes's" who sang songs about guys I worked with at Subway
-Ran a zine distro called The Pippilotta Delicatessa
-Traveled to shows and hardcore punk festivals
-Drove really far, alone, to see the band Avail
-Got into a horrible car accident, after-which I broke my veganism to eat a package of Milano cookies.
-Made vegan burritos for traveling bands
- Wore a cow suit (from PETA) with my friend Aly to protest the National Cattleman's Beef Association. 
- Went on a cross-country activist tour to protest primate experimentation
- Picked up Henry Rollins from the airport* (this is in there for no good reason, has nothing to do with what I did as a human being, I just wanted to tell you that strange fact).

*These organizing activities were only possible with the support of genuinely engaged and interested adults in the Kansas City Area, particular Ann Winter and Culture Under Fire, an anti-censorship non-profit and festival.

p.p.s. Be warned: not all punks share the same ideals! There are plenty of misogynist, alcoholic, shit-head punks out there. They may be wearing the same cultural markers of punk, but they can exhibit the same frat-boy posturing that you find in your own high school!*
 I went to plenty of punk shows as a teenager (or even into my 20s) where gross dudes threw their beer on me, shoved their way to the front, and basically took up as much or more aggro, homophobic and woman-hating space as the people who I hid from as a teen in Kansas. All while having crusty-punk dreadlocks and butt-flaps!
Keep your eyes open, and take care of yourself! If something is making you uncomfortable at a show, leave! (I guess you could speak up, but if people are having an idol-worship mob mentality around a band of shit-heads, you might be wasting your breath.) Leave unsafe spaces, go listen to a Bikini Kill record in your room, and try again at a different show. Find a different scene! They're out there, even if you can't see them readily from your town. You could create that space!  Even if it's just you and one friend moshing in your basement, or watching "Suburbia" in your Mom's den, it's better than letting your heart get knocked around in a cool-looking sub-culture.

*Riot Grrl was created in response to this behavior, but it still exists and thrives in different places!
The mainstream culture of oppression being handed down to it's scrappy-looking heirs.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Serving Up Hard Advice About Your Partner's Self Esteem

I have a new bit of advice up on Bitch Magazine for you to read.

In the meantime, here is my unsolicited advice of the day:
If you are feeling blue, give someone a gift (without expectations of a response), get outside with the dog, read a chapter of a book about something bigger than you, and watch your favorite t.v. show. It may not chase the blues away entirely, but at least you will be spending your time well instead of digging around in the dumps (or on the internet).


Thursday, March 20, 2014

New Advice Comic Up at Bitch!

Greetings, Earth Friends!

I have a new post up at Bitch Magazine's website. It is a comic about how to combat sexism at your service job.



Saturday, February 15, 2014

We're Going BIG TIME. Bitch Time.

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,
I have big news for you:

I am going to be doing advice for Bitch Media, purveyors of Bitch Magazine!!!
HERE is the link.

And here below is their blog post about it. Check it out and send in questions, specifying they're for me (or go ahead and choose one of the other licensed advice professionals).


Submit Questions to Our New Feminist Advice Columnists

Ms. Opinionated logo
Let's face it: All of us need a little help sometimes.
That's why we launched a feminist advice column, Ms. Opinionated, back in October 2012. Writer Megan Carpentier served as Ms. Opinionated advice columnist for a year, penning thoughtful answers to questions like "Should people getting married consider how much it will cost their friends to attend the wedding?" (answer: yes) and "What should I do about my friend's 'personal brand' being a slur?" (answer: Listen to this They Might Be Giants song).
Now, we're relaunching Ms. Opinionated with three great new columnists. You can send in a question on any topic and one of these three smart folks will field it.
sydette harry
SYDETTE HARRY is a writer, performer, and nerd. She tweets and blogs under the name Blackamazon and performs with The Body Ecology Performance Ensemble in New York. She manages it all with ADHD pride.
nicole georges
NICOLE GEORGES is an artist, illustrator, and long-time zinester. She has numerous creative projects, including touring twice with the Sister Spit roadshow and creating adorable animal calendars. Her graphic novel memoir Calling Dr. Laura deals with family, queerness, and identity and was published last year. She is currently a Fellow at the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont.
andi zeisler
ANDI ZEISLER is a co-founder of Bitch and our current creative and editorial director. She's the author of the book Feminism and Pop Culture and editor of BitchFest: 10 Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine.  She passes her non-Bitch hours watching television, hanging out with her family, embroidering portraits of dogs, and subscribing to whatever magazines are left on Earth.
Email in your questions right here. Don't be shy—feel free to ask about big issues like race, gender, and sexuality or personal things like dating and family. Your identity will always remain anonymous. Feel free to address your question to a specific columnist or leave it open to any of the three to take it on.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Halloween, Vegan Tips from the 90s, and Your Girlfriend's Friends

UNSOLICITED ADVICE OF THE DAY: Pick up your loved ones from the "Departures" area of the airport, as opposed to "Arrivals" in order to save time and beat the crowd.

Oh My God, I WISH this is the costume the person below was writing about. I'd snatch that crabby girlfriend right out from under them if I saw her punching the air in this Venom suit! 

 Dear Nicole, 
My girlfriend says her Halloween costume is too small and she's fat and she doesn't have time to come up with another one before tomorrow night and I told her she is really hot and too small clothes is a bad feeling but doesn't say anything about her and offered another two suggestions for costumes and she said I don't understand and she spent money on it and I don't know what else to say. Like she's all angry and it's just a Halloween costume! 
 Haunted in Hooverville 

Dear Hooverville,
 Step away from the angry girlfriend. Just put your hands up and back away slowly as she thrashes and tears at her poly/rayon blend alone, muttering and cursing Jack Skellington's name.
This problem has less than nothing to do with you.
 You've done an adequate job trying to say something nice, which is within your jurisdiction as a girlfriend, but aside from that, bitch has to reconcile with her own Halloween Higher Power.

 It's good that you are there, and not I. I would personally suggest she be a ghost under a sheet. And then she would probably slug me. And then we'd have to have a community forum on whether she's allowed in "Safer Spaces" or not, and on and on and on.



This is a typo- it should say VEGAN! 
Dear Nicole, 

I've recently seen "Faces of Death", and I have decided to become vegan. I am trying to take this VERY seriously. But I was just wondering, you started becoming vegan when you were a teenager right? How did you do it? What gave you inspiration? What products do recommend now at stores such as Target or Vons?
Sincerely, Vegan Vexed

Dear Vexed, 
I am not sure what Faces of Death has to do with being vegan, unless you've been dining exclusively on monkey's brains, but I'm with you. I support you.
I became vegan as a teenager. In Kansas. In the 90s. I am currently experiencing a 1990s vegan renaissance in my new "historic village" of White River Junction, Vermont. Asian food is my dearest friend, and when offered the chance to check out "really cool diners", I relegate myself to a fantastic portion of french fries and salad. This is what you will do.
You will also learn to cook for your self. You will get a book like Veganomicon, and learn to cook vegetables.

They are sold virtually everywhere. It's not hard. Eat vegetables at home, eat beans at home. I don't care if you cover them in ketchup, just eat them.

I believe (through my divine powers of clairvoyance) that you are a teenager.
When I was a teenager, I made a lot of Boca Burgers and chili. I ate so much chili. On top of french fries. I am not sure how I am still alive, but I survived on Veggie Chili Fries and Chocolate Cokes. A chocolate coke is a coke from a soda fountain (ask your grandpa) with chocolate syrup in it. There gets to be a chocolatey froth on the top, and it is really delightful. I also dined upon Mexican food.

When you go out (to a restaurant), do not ask the waiter if they have something vegan. That's not going to fly in a small town. Look to the vegetable section of the menu (or the "sides" section, in some dire cases) and parcel something together. Ask if it is vegetarian, or if it has dairy. That is a parlance that most people waiting tables understand.
If you are at Indian, ask if there is dairy. If you are at Thai, ask about fish sauce. If you are at a Chinese restaurant, ask if it is vegetarian (you will thank me for this tip after viewing a dish of tofu covered in pork crumblins).
I will gladly stitch together a meal of sides. Beans, salad, home fries, no problem. Also remember that you can eat when you get home if you need to. And always carry a snack. If you find a store with tons of things you would love to eat, like a mountain of Luna Bars or a jar of almond butter, buy as many as you can fathom wanting at the time, and leave some in your bag. This way you will never be the whiny vegan, or the hungry one. You will be the "food hoarder", but at least you won't be HANGRY.

 LASTLY: Sit down with yourself, take a look inside, and decide what you truly care about.
When I first went vegan, I would make myself CRAZY reading labels in the grocery store, and then come home to find that I'd trucked back something with a minute amount of honey included. I think I started open-mouth crying at some point based on this mistake.
 I had to say, "Nicole, do you care this much about honey?"
I answered, "I know I am supposed to, but I don't think I actually care.",
So I read as many books and pamphlets about honey as I could. I studied honey, to see if it was worth it to have a mental breakdown over graham crackers. At the end of this research I decided that though I would not seek OUT honey, or chug a honey bear at random, I would also not beat myself up if honey was an incidental. My mental health and longevity as a person with a plant-based diet was more important.
I have not had meat, dairy, or eggs in coming up 17 years, and the only way I've done so is by being fair and easy on myself. Be fair and reasonable, and good luck! Being vegan is really fun, especially with modern fake cheese technology.

P.s. Go look up Isa Moskowitz, and purchase her entire catalog. She is your new queen.

Good Luck!
Love Nicole

Your Girlfriend, Giving You the Scoop on Her Hateful Friends' Every Thought About Your Job. 

Dear Nicole, 
 My date is friends with a bunch of heinous second wave feminists who think the sex industry should be abolished,and say that white women sex workers ignore the mass rape and kidnapping inherent in the sex industry. She doesn't agree but I don't get how she reconciles these idiot friends with dating a sex worker. How can I talk about this or am I just being too controlling? 

Annoyed by Dworkin Dorkin' 

 Dear Dorkin',

A couple of thoughts:

 1. You can't control any of these things.
You can have conversations with your girlfriend and explain to her your politics and reasoning and thoughts about sex work. You may even be able to convince her of a few things. Her friends, however, are out of your jurisdiction. She likes them, she chose them, and they are separate human beings who are free to form their own judgments about whatever they like. If you complain to her that they are idiots, you may cause a rift within your relationship (she chose them, she likes them).
You don't want to isolate her from her pack, because being someone's only pack-mate is a little Misery-esque and too much for most of us to handle.

Conversely, If she chooses to inform you of every hurtful thing they say about your job and industry (and self), then she's obviously not done baking and needs to go back in the oven.
 OR, she needs to be told that it is hurtful and you don't need to know every single thing that every idiot says behind your back.
She's not a fucking reporter, tell her to take the "SCOOP" sign out of her fedora and chill out!

2. It is a bad sign if you detest the friends of the person you are looking to date.

You will have to be around them A LOT.
You may have the idea that maybe you could get around this, but only in the most casual, hook-up arrangements is this so.
 People like their friends. They make them feel good. They like to be around them, and they would probably like to blend their friends with their date. Otherwise, it's awkward.
If you'd like to keep seeing this person (and have to be around her friends) , it would serve you very well to repeat that not everyone has to agree with you, and come to a place of peace with the fact that these people have their own opinions on something you feel very strongly about. Then leave it. If you commit to staying in this relationship, and joining this person's community, that is what you are committing to do. To leaving this topic off the table in lieu of peace. This sounds very hard, because your job is very personal and (through my clairvoyant powers, I know) well-considered. Never being able to talk about your industry in front of these people (say at parties or a holiday gathering) without a fight is filling me with a stifled, tense feelings, and I'm not even you.

Good Luck!


Friday, May 24, 2013

My Top Ten Favorite Things/Feedback to the "You Belong To Me" video by Taylor Swift

Dear Readers,
I have been on a real Taylor Swift jag this year. Her songs once personified my insecure teenage dog (to whom I sang "Fifteen" after she turned fifteen), and now that my dog is gone I am still afflicted with the Swift. I love her. I buy into her whole thing. I buy into her image of being a tender-hearted song-writer who flings herself into love and then responds to the outcomes through her art. Great.

With all that said, this blog-post is just to let you know the top ten thoughts I have on the Taylor Swift video "You Belong To Me", which I have watched over and over and over again over the course of the past two years.

1. This blond guy belongs to himself. Obviously.

2. I love, LOVE how the blond person is portrayed as being the underdog. REALLY? Really, T.Swift? It's so hard to be a mousy blond in this world, having to compete with raven haired girls wearing contact lenses. If only he could see the girl behind the blond! If only....

3. The wig on evil Taylor? It is remarkable. Like, maybe a Halloween wig from Rite-Aid.

4. The way that Evil Taylor greets her teenage boyfriend, by rolling up in her convertible and straight up grabbing his head for a very sensual mid-afternoon kiss.

5. Why does being a cheerleader make her evil? I was a cheerleader, and I'm not evil.

6. It seems like this blond fellow has been opening up to blond Taylor about his relationship in an inappropriate way. She shouldn't need to know the issues going on in his relationship with Evil Taylor.
It sounds like he is talking trash about his own girlfriend, when he really should be either working to resolve his problems or exit the relationship so she can be free to date someone whose humor she gets and whose music she likes.

7. If I may take a note from Dr. Laura here, it can be problematic to have a close friendship with someone of the opposite (or your sexually preferred) gender while in a relationship.
Don't get all twisted- I'm not talking old friends here, I'm talking (in regards to this video) someone whom you would fuck if only they weren't wearing American Apparel fashion glasses.
If you need to vent, vent to a friend, not some vulture who is circling your relationship,  ready to pick at it's bones and rip off your football jersey at every mention of tension between yourself and your plastic-haired girlfriend.

8.Taylor Swift needs to mind her own business. He chose the evil Taylor. If he doesn't like her, that's his problem. No one's holding a gun to his head. He CHOSE that situation. She should really look at that.

9. Sisterhood is Powerful. Let no man tear you asunder, blond Taylor and brunette Taylor. He's not worth it. You have more to gain from remaining allies with other women, than from creating animosity based on their footwear and high/low femininity.

10. The "I LOVE YOU" signs at the end? Really? You LOVE him? LOVE? There's really nowhere to go from there. If you tell an acquaintance that you love them, then okay, what next? Where in the world can a teenage relationship go if you've brought home plate to the first date? I would advise Taylor to really consider who this person really is. If he is willing to talk about his brown-haired girlfriend behind her back to a love interest,  then he is surely capable of doing the same to his new blond-haired girlfriend. Who's to say there isn't a ginger-haired Taylor waiting in the wings to pounce him at the next dance?
Consider it, Taylor. Just consider it.

In summary:
Boundaries and feminism. That's all.
Also, better wigs.



p.s. I'm printing a zine/comic anthology of my six years of experiences at a senior citizen day center.
You can pre-order it, or just support it here:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

4 Geniuses for the price of One! Borderlines, Bi-Phobia, Crush-killers and more!!!


Now that we've taken care of that...

Dear Readers,
This week I am delighted to offer advice from four certified geniuses instead of just one.

We are here to tackle your advice questions from our respective hometowns in California, Oregon and New York. 

Kirk Read (San Francisco) is a performance artist, all around great guy, and author of the book  How I Learned to Snap .
Tara Jepsen (Los Angeles) is a comedienne, and a brilliant writer. She & Kirk Read previously hosted Kvetch in San Francisco. Photo by Amos Mac.

 Amos Mac (New  York) is a photographer at large, and editor of OP: Original Plumbing  and Translady Fanzine.

and me (Portland), literally THE smartest person in America, aside from these three. 
Photo by Amos Mac.



Dear  Nicole,
How do I stop having a crush on someone? I legit wanna be friends with this girl because she's awesome in a particular way that other people in my life aren't and she's said she cares a lot about me and really wants to have me in her life as a friend (and I believe her - don't think she's being polite), but I can't kill this crush I have on her. We've hooked up several times, had romance-y things, but she's on the other side of the country, in grad school, and not available for any of that anymore. Under different circumstances, I'd wanna be girlfriends. Right now I'm just not talking to her, but I don't wanna cut her off forever and I also don't wanna be in hard crush agony. Help!
Hard Crush Agony

Kirk Read:  Have anonymous sex because it will help you shake off this cross country emailing friend.

Amos Mac: Watch a few seasons of a favorite guilty pleasure t.v. show within 48 hours to "get your mind off of things" then post 3 different Craigslist casual encounter posts using 3 of your most diverse personality traits, but allow them all to go to the same email address.
It works. At least for like 3 days.

Tara Jepsen: Just stop it. Don't over-think. If you won't let go, it's a surrogate for other feelings.
Call it what it is and keep it to yourself. Don't make it the other person's problem.

Nicole J. Georges:
"The quickest way to get over someone is to get under someone else."
It is true! It is wise.

More remedies for heart-sickness include:
-Loud punk music
-Really good books
-Hanging out with old friends who can give you a little perspective on how small a blip this is on your   epic timeline
-Volunteering at a place where you are interacting with other humans and can't think of the person.
-Throwing yourself into something you're good at.
-Parceling out how much of this crush was projection and how much was reality.
-Look at really awkward photos of them online.
-Watch the saddest movie of all time, Grave of the Fireflies, and remember that there are bigger problems in the world than your love life.
-Falling asleep really early
-Make a list of all the people you've ever had crushes on, so you can get a little perspective.
 Ask an old friend to help you compile this list so you can feel the hot shame of having been head over    heels for some truly rank individuals.

Dear Nicole,
Is it true that Portland lesbians will not date femmes who dated transguys?  if so, what is the reason?

Potential Pariah

Kirk Read: It's true. Portland is full of ruined women and these lesbians are just holding a line.

Amos Mac: This is a true or false question? I have no idea what Portland lesbians do. Sounds complicated and none of my business. Who cares who dates who... date who you LIKE regardless of gender... or don't. Did I even answer that?

 Tara Jepsen: That is stupid shit that doesn't matter in the world. When the right person comes along, you guys choose each other.

Nicole J. Georges
: My research indicates that having dated a trans-dude is not a barrier to dating lesbians in Portland, Oregon. The greater issue, in my opinion, is the idea that having dated dudes, you could identify as bi-sexual. *That* can be sticky when it comes to the Gold Star crowd.
In my experience, this community is more bi-phobic than they are trans-sensual-phobic.

At the end of the day, whomever you are dating or wanting to date needs to Take You or Leave You as you are.
You are not going to change the past, and you don't need to spend all of your time calming someones anxiety about it.
If you wanted to be with a dude you'd be with a dude, but instead you chose to date the person at hand,
so they just need to be able to sit with that and absorb your awesome summertime love vibes while they can!



Dear Nicole,
My friends always try to set me up with unmotivated slackers who work in the deli at New Seasons. What gives?!
Where can I meet a tall hot motivated guy who likes it rough?

Tara Jepsen:
Don't let your friends set you up. Wait for the right dummy to knock on your door like the rest of us.

Kirk Read: Don't try to marry hot sex, have it on the side. Dress more slutty if you want someone to be rough.

Amos Mac: What is "New Seasons"? Where do you live? Deli guys can be hot AND rough... maybe you just need to find a more motivated deli guy, or move to Brooklyn.

Nicole J. Georges: I think the deli counter at New Seasons could be JUST the place to find a tall hot guy who likes it rough. Am I wrong?
As for the motivation part, welcome to Portland. I'm afraid I may be the wrong person to ask about where to find motivated men. The City Grill????
I'm sorry I've failed you, kind reader.


Dear Nicole,
What if after many years of very questionable borderline behavior on the part of your parent, you just can't take it any more and you need to cease communication?
How would you say that without triggering your bad boundaries parent into acting out worse and showing up at your work?!

TJ: You can't control your parent. Do what's right and if they show up at your work keep doing your job. Let your manager knock when and if it happens, but not before.

KR: Parents are important. Figure this out with them without burning the bridge.

AM: A mediated break-up therapy session with the parent and a therapist.

NG: I suggest a certain anonymous fellowship whose members have sometimes had experience cutting troublesome parents out of their lives in order to maintain their own sanity.
Make boundaries, keep them, and steel yourself to the results. She may freak out but you do not have to react.