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.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I'm not technically doing anything relaxing, but it is currently calendar crunch time mixed with a trip to San Francisco and the last week before tour...

This week i didn't post any advice. If you send me really excellent questions, we can talk about sustaining relationships, teacher- student boundaries and MORE very soon.

Thank you very much.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Harshing All Kinds of Mellows

Dear Nicole, can a person be in love with someone they've never met, only emailed, texted and spoke on the phone with? Also, how long does it take a person to fall in love with another person? Is there any data on this? I might be in love but it seems impossible. If so, do you have any ideas about what my deal might be?
Thanks for your help.
Absolutely Cuckoo.

Dear Absolutely Cuckoo,

No. You cannot be in love with someone you've never met. Sorry, internet romancers.

Please humor me and imagine someone you know who might be good on paper but is SO ANNOYING in real life. Maybe they photograph well and can talk a good game, but you know that they are hideously destructive or codependent or have really really bad breath. This could be your long distance lover!
Do i think you should give up on love and be a miserly curmudgeon?
But i do think that we should differentiate so as not to build a cardio house of cards.
Your heart is important and should be protected with something more sensible than dirty texts and myspace comments.

I diagnose that you are In Like with this person, and maybe even Infatuated with them.

You want some data on the difference between Like and Love? Here you go, straight from (it gets a little flowery, but we're talking about love so i think you'll be okay):

Infatuation vs. Love

Infatuation is instant desire - one set of glands calling to another.

Love is friendship that has caught fire. It takes root and grows, one day at a time.

Infatuation is marked by a feeling of insecurity. You are excited and eager, but not genuinely happy. There are nagging doubts, unanswered questions, little bits and pieces about your beloved that you would just as soon not examine too closely. It might spoil the dream.

Love is the quiet understanding and mature acceptance of imperfection. It is real. It gives you strength and grows beyond you - to bolster your beloved. You are warmed by their presence, even when they are away. Miles do not separate you. You have so many wonderful little films in your head that you keep replaying. But near or far, you know they are yours, and you can wait.

Infatuation says, "We must get married right away. I can't risk losing them."

Love says, "Be patient. Don't panic. Plan your future with confidence."

Infatuation has an element of sexual excitement. Whenever you are together, you hope it will end in intimacy.

Love is not based on sex. It is the maturation of friendship, which makes sex so much sweeter. You must be friends before you can be lovers.

Infatuation lacks confidence. When they're away, you wonder if they're cheating. Sometimes, you check.

Love means trust. You are calm, secure and unthreatened. They feel your trust, and it makes them even more trustworthy.

Infatuation might lead you to do things you will regret, but love never steers you in the wrong direction.

Love is an upper. It makes you feel whole. It completes the circle. It fills the empty space in your heart. Love is elevating. It lifts you up. It makes you look up. It makes you think up. It makes you a better person than you were before. If you have love in your life, it can make up for a great many things you don't have. If there is no love in your life, whatever else there is has a lot less meaning.

In other news,

Think of the pheremones! Have you ever dated somebody and thought they were okay, but then your smells didn't match up? That is nature trying to tell you that something is awry.
What if their hair smells like barf to you? You don't even know it, because you've never met.

As for your deal? Maybe your deal is that you're stressed out by seriously dating people in your area, and you're looking for a little recreation (which this person seems to offer).

Enjoy yourself, be open to the idea of learning more about them and considering together where this should go, but don't put your eggs in a cyber basket or close yourself off to options at home.

(Also, get some references. Ask around, see if you have any mutual friends or acquaintances by which to judge their suitability for companionship)

Dear Nicole,
I have a friend who has chosen to maintain a friendship with an ex of
mine who royally and horribly hurt me.
The friend and Wet Brain (my
ex) were not friends (had never even met) prior to our dating, and
didn't hang out besides briefly with me about two times while we dated
(which thankfully only lasted three months).
My friend has mentioned to me how hot she thinks W.B. is.

While all my friends have had no problem avoiding Wet Brain,
this one friend has kept a connection open and it
feels crappy to me. I don't think she's dumb enough to date WB,
so I guess my gripe is with loyalty, a dubious concept anyway.
What do you think?
Haver of Feelings

Dear Haver of Feelings,

I have my own opinion on this matter, but took it to the Elderly streets of Portland to get some wisdom from people 70 years old and above.
Marc and I rephrased the question for ease of communication. Also (and don't be mad) we changed the gender of Wet Brain so that the seniors could focus on the problem and not sit aghast at the gay factor.

Nicole and Marc: "Hey guys, what if your friend had a horrible break up with someone- they cheated, weren't very honest, something like that. Most of person A's friends don't talk to person B ("Wet Brain") anymore; But one friend still does. What is the etiquette?"

Mavis- So you don't want to be friends with either of 'em?

Marc- No, no!

Mavis- Nothing.

Walter- I suppose it depends on what they did.

Henrietta- Show love and respect, don't turn your back on 'em. You can't control someone else. Just because you found out they did wrong, you can't mistreat em. You don't know both sides of the story!

Mavis- Depends on what they did. if they were cheating and lying about it, then they deserve to be ignored.

Henrietta- Sometimes you think you know a person, and you don't know htem. If they did somethin' real bad, like murder someone, i wouldn't be in their face, but I don't wanna mistreat 'em. You can know someone real long and not know 'em.

Estelle- Be polite, say hello, don't snub him. Depends how big of a jerk he was.

Marc- what if he was real bad? what if he stole money from her?

Estelle- Stole Money? Oooh Boy. Call the Sheriff!

Confidential from NG to Haver of Feelings: Don't let your feelings of betrayal transfer on to someone who has otherwise been a good friend to you in this situation. If you are around her and she says something about them being hot, I think it would be fair to pipe in that it's painful to hear that regarding the person who wrecked your heart. Otherwise, you are lucky to be rid of this person, and you seem to still have a lot of great friends around so focus in on them. If your friend starts dating Wet Brain, THEN you have a reason to cause a ruckus. Otherwise, stay still!

Dear Nicole,

My heart recently broke itself, and I therefore find myself on a quest to mend it as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Would you say that a relatively shallow rebound relationship is a decent way to mend said heart? What if the likely co-participant in such a relationship is a new addition to a group of friends to whom my heart's breaker and I belong?

(do I really make up a name for myself?)
"pea-brained in portland"

Dear Pea Brained in Portland,

"A cure for a break up is a hook up"

so says Silver from the newest incarnation of 90210.

With that logic in mind, I say go for it.
If the person is a NEW edition to your friend group, all the better.
But, seeing as it is a rebound, be sure to keep it shallow so as not to incur any casualties.


Dearest Ridiculously Awesome Lady,

I've adored PDX forever, and last month I took my BFF to experience its majesty.
She fell in love too and we made plans to move there with two other friends (we range 16-19).

My friends' families had money, and they could move right away while I'm really poor.
They knew I couldn't move soon but said "oh girl, we'll make it happen! we'll get an apartment for a bit, wait for you and then all get a house".
Yet all three of them started conspiring without me knowing while my friend and I were still in town, and signed a YEAR lease on a 3-bedroom apartment without me.
My 'bestie' didn't inform me until a week before her flight there. They're all there now, chilling with drag queens, seeing Gogol Bordello and setting up house while I'm looking for a job.
I felt horribly betrayed, but they sent me an apologetic "sorry, we should've told you! we just didn't want to hurt your feelings because we have more money than you!! you can sleep in the living room, we love you! GET OVER IT." email.
They had to act or they wouldn't have found a place, and I'm still going to live there. But they didn't TELL me, so I still feel hurt about the miscommunication!
It's not like they said they got me Soy Delicious and ate it, it's like they said we could all leave our parents and obtain housing together and.... ate... it. I'm in Missouri filling out applications and selling everything I own, while they're already in my dream city that I introduced them to in the first place!

Am I being petty and jealous and childish, or were they just being dicks?

~midwestern meltdown

P.S. you are pretty much the most ideal superfox in the whole world ever, inside and out. Keep being unbelievably badass.

Dear Midwestern Meltdown,

Keep your chin up, friend!

Maybe you're a gang of street toughs or something, but I am going to assume that for most of you, this is the first (or close to the first) time you've lived outside of your parent's homes and had to actually negotiate being renters. Am i right?
I want to use that as an excuse for your friend's behavior. They encountered a stressful if possibly uncomfortable situation (that being that they all had the resources to move before you, their friend, did) and took the path of least resistance, the path of least communication!

I just reread your letter and wanted to make clear to you that most places ask for a year lease. It is very standard, and if your friends have little to no rental history, it may have been their only choice. Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em! These ladies need a home too! They are three different humans who all took your advice and wanted to live in glorious Portland, Oregon, and had no responsibility to wait for you, as sucky as that might sound.

If you want to keep these people as friends, and you want to be able to know them once you are in Portland , then it's time to process on through.
Express your feelings, take the high road, don't be a dick, and use "I" statements.
That being where you express your feelings and don't lay blame. As in : "When you make a group decision behind my back, it makes me feel betrayed."
So you're stating a behavior, and then your reaction to it.
It's not pointing fingers, but it is letting them know what about the situation gets your goat. If they're good friends, they'll take it to heart and maybe next time they'll pony up and talk to you about an uncomfortable situation.

In the meantime, don't let those assholes get you down.
Get another job, get some money, and come to Portland! There are plenty of places to live and things to do.

It's nice of them to say you can live on their couch.

Good luck!

Special Guest: Tara Jepsen

Dear Readers, This week we are surely blessed to have San Francisco Dreamboat Tara Jepsen answer a question for y'all!
Tara Jepsen, Ass of Largesse
Disabler of Smoke Alarms
Loner, Partner, Loaner of Partners (permanently)
Porky Pigger
What more could you ask for?

Dear Nicole,

I recently started super crushing on my ex girlfriend's good friend and confidant. He feels the same about me, but this situation is made complicated by the fact that said ex is nowhere near being over me. Needless to say, she feels betrayed by her friend for perusing "her woman" and both my new love interest and I feel very guilty for hurting her, but don't feel like we can deny our feelings for each other.

How would you handle this situation in a mature and healthy way? Also, should I be suspicious of new love interest's behavior...I don't think he is being a very good friend to her by perusing me either. Or should I simply understand that he is probably a better lover than friend?

Yours Truly,
Torn and Wary

Dear Torn and Weary,

It would help to know how long you gals have been broken up, and I'm going to guess about 3-6 months.

In my experience, the majority of the Inappropriate (because of friend and ex connections) Romances of the World are ill-conceived and acted upon too quickly, and lead to substantial loss. Most seem to happen in your 20's, before your heart has been relentlessly trampled by other developing hearts and alcoholics, and the bone-deep understanding and acceptance of your solitude hasn't set in yet. When I say "solitude" I just mean that it is just you making your way, it's not noble or terrible it just IS. Solitude brings stability and empowerment and ultimately a reliable skill set for being a healthy/loving/reliable partner.


I do find that most people absolutely love the feeling of inevitability (in this case, that you MUST be with her confidante), and passion is stoked by its forbidden quality. What a bunch of Catholics.

My recommendation is that you don't leap into anything. I would take time, gather information, get to know this guy better. It does not scream integrity or kindness that he wants to pursue his good friend's ex. I would not have sex with him or get too close for about three months. Just to really get a feel for him and your connection. If it's real and special and you are going to be together, you will have years and years to spend screwing and living and loving and you will value the process of entering the relationship thoughtfully.

There IS the rare instance of true love. You could be an amazing match for each other and it could be that the circumstances are crappy but worth wading through to build something with this person. I would still spend time getting to know him so you can decide if it's worth hurting your ex and potentially not even ending up with the dude anyway.

I would act out of kindness, not guilt, toward your ex. Think of how you would feel and how you would like to be treated in her place.

Have fun, and also think of your long-term fun and joy goals.


Episode 3! Condoms & Finger Bangs

Featuring Special Guests Lucas Taylor and Beija Georges, produced by Winner. In which i mispronounce someone's pun-laden name as Condominium instead of Condominimum, and talk for a really long time.