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.


Monday, November 16, 2009

I was an asked to do an advice table at the library's Keep Portland Weird Fest last weekend. I may do a comic about it in the future, but for now, here is a list of questions I received, as well as a comic by one of them, which I found online the next day.

Please note that children were apt to ask me questions not related to advice, but to facts like "What is the longest word in the dictionary?", and adults often mistook me for a psychic. Men tried to challenge my "America's Smartest Girl" title, and/or told me I looked pretty before assuring me they weren't being creepy, just telling me.

*******Here they are, 37 quandaries from Portland, Oregon:***********************

Will I find love in the next 3 months?

My hampster died, should I get a new one?

Why did Abraham Lincoln try to save America?

How do I meed Conservative women, as an Atheist?

Does this guy at school like me?

How many days are in a year, because I forget.

Should I leave my job in late December or early January?

My roommate's cat has pneumonia, what can we do to make her comfortable while she finished her antibiotics?

Should I get another dog?

Should we get a new car?

What is the meaning of life?

What should I give my wife for Christmas?

Should I go to Cuba to go to medical school for free?

Should I join the military to pay for school?

My baby waked up 10-15 times per night, what can we do?

Should I meet a guy that I've been talking to on the internet?

My friend keeps meeting guys who just use her. She wants a boyfriend. How can I help her?

What kind of birthday party should I have?

(getting mistaken for a psychic): Should I do the move I've been thinking of?

Is it more important to do something or to have people approve of what you do?

What's the meaning of life (x2)?

How to know yourself?

What's the longest word in the dictionary?

What do you do after you squash a bug?

How many seconds are in 5 weeks?

Should I go to California for my birthday?

What hairstyle should I have?

How do I get women to like me?

How do I make friends in Portland ? (x3)

What can I do for my mentally ill neice?

What makes Portland Weird?

Where is the best place for candy?

How do I find investors for my children's book project?

My girlfriend likes to stare at me. How do I handle this?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Super Mega Advice with special guest TJO

After months of hoarding questions I bring you a jam packed edition of Ask Nicole. An advice round table with special guest Tara Jane Oneil. Tara Jane Oneil is a musician ,but wants me to say "Tara Jane is a friend with really great ideas who is looking for work in Portland this winter." Find her here.

Please come and visit me this Saturday at the Central Library. I'll be doing a free advice table from 12-4 p.m. at Keep Portland Weird Fest. Please please ask me questions because I fear this fest will draw many hackey sacking dudes in jester hats. Thank you.

ALSO, Tonight is the Invincible Summer Calendar Release Party & Squashluck at Reading Frenzy. 7p.m. with special musical guests Key Losers. Bring a squash dish to share! I'm making zucchini bread. Reading Frenzy is providing pine cones to make bird feeders out of. Big Fun!

Now, your questions.

(p.s. thanks to whomever referred to me as a "lazy bitch" in a comment for not answering their question right away. very cool. )

Hi nicole,
So i know lesbian relationships are prone to linger on and on... First girlfriends, exs, then friends, then not friends, etc.

I've had a girlfriend for about a year, but I find myself thinking about my Ex who just stopped talking to me (we left it as "friends")
I only assume she did this because she is happily dating someone else, but I'm left guessing. She wasn't right for me as a gf, and we had a plethora of drama and problems. But I liked her as a friend and person.
Do I just try to overcome my hurt and move on (again?)
When I invest in people in my life, I find it hard to just accept they aren't going to be there in the future.

Lezzie lovelorn

NG: I am going to harp on the Open Hand Concept this week.
The Open Hand Concept is this: It is better to have an open hand and have someone (picture a bird) land there and stay there because they want to and you're providing a pleasant environment , rather than you closing your fist around them to make them stay.

Please keep this image in mind as you let your ex girlfriend fly away to do other things. If you were meant to be friends, she will return some day.

As for you Finding It Hard to Accept that the people you "Invest In" aren't going to be there forever, you need to understand that this person was not a retirement account that you were socking money away in.
They were a human being with the freedom to be around you or not based on how the relationship went. If you had lots of problems during the intimate relationship then the idea of you bouncing back into a lasting friendship right away is pretty unrealistic.

TJ: Sounds like she's pretty focused on the future. She's got to reign it in. Be patient. Be in the now. Outcome, blah la la la la. Reign it in lady, reign it in.

Dear Nicole,
Okay, I'm 17 and started to date my ex's best friend, who is 21.
Things started off well, as in he would usually answer my calls/texts and we would hang out almost everyday.
Oh, keep in mind he's a dj and trying to get his name out there.
Now, about a month and a half into the relationship, he stopped calling me back and stopped responding to my texts. He also would say he wanted to see me, but then never call.
So I was getting hurt every weekend and then he would apologize, blah blah blah. He also told me he loved me, even though we didn't sleep together or anything like that yet.
I'm so head over heels for him it's not even funny.
But last weekend, he suggested that we try the whole relationship thing in a couple months, once he gets everything settled with his music.
And then he tried to make plans with me but never called.
So I left him a message saying we shouldnt talk, he should do his thing and when he's ready, I'll be here.
I also told him I wasn't confident that he was coming back...did I do the right thing?
And do you think that he's legit in saying that he's going to come back to me and that he loves me?


TJO: Oh no he's not! Dear Underage Drinker, you did the right thing. it's very good of you to say "we should talk in a couple of months". You have to exhume your soul and pride from this dude who's givin' you nothing. What a chump! He's out blowin' records every night and she can't even get into the club! He knows this.

NG: Dear Confused, Please don't sleep with this guy.I have dated some performers in my time, even some DJs, and their career had little to do with whether they answered my calls or not. This guy is a dork and you need to move on. Make other plans on the weekend with friends who will nourish your soul and make you feel awesome.

You are a valuable commodity. Don't let someone treat you like less than that.
Right now, DJ Douche Bag is stringing you along with only scraps. You don't deserve his scraps, you deserve the whole dinner, and if you treat yourself with respect and ask for what you want, you will get it! Maybe not from him. Ask the universe. You will get what you deserve.

Reference the open hand policy (see above).

NG: Tara, would you say , as a musician, that "getting your name out there" has nothing to do with...

TJO: with having a relationship? yeah. It's a convenient excuse to ditch her because she can't participate in him "getting his name out there at all". He's full of shit.

TJO: ask her if he has a pony tail.

Hello Nicole,

How do I meet women? I'm a queer woman in her mid-twenties living outside Philadelphia. I've tried (participants all too old or taken), OKCupid (women seem to post profiles but never actually date anyone), going to lesbian bars (this is a terrible idea), and roller derby (everyone was straight?!). All of my friends through college were straight and had mainly straight friends, and I never took the initiative to get involved with the campus GLBT group so now I'm feeling left adrift in the real world. It doesn't help that I have terrible lesbian-dar and flirting skills.

What can you recommend to someone in my situation?

Thanks very much,
Q and A (queer and adrift)

TJO: I don't know . i haven't figured it out either. you're gonna have to start this one Nicole because you know how to do it.
Tell her to host a squash fest. Dear Squash Fest, come put your finger in my pie.

NG:Your first step is to befriend some lesbians, because befriending straight people isn't going to get you anywhere.

TJO: She's going to have to go to some unfortunate lesbian music shows.

NG: She should table at a show or something. (Note to reader: By this i mean setting up a table with pamphlets to give away or zines to sell or baked goods to sell for a cause. Then people will come and talk to you. )

TJO: Skip it and have a kissing booth. Kissing Booth at unfortunate lesbian music shows.

NG: Look on facebook and try to befriend some local lesbos, but not in a creepy way. Don't be pushy. Go to the events that they post.

TJO: Oh yea.

NG : Start organizing or getting involved in things that a lesbian might like to go to.
Click on the picture of the lesbian at the top of your question. Follow the link to Philadelphia's resource center for GLBT youth and volunteer for them.
Oh! Duh.
Find the local Rock n Roll Camp for Girls. Volunteer there. That place is teeming with feminists and lesbians.

Dear Nicole,
A few components to understand before deciphering my question(s).

1) I dated a cocaine addict whom I successfully helped off of cocaine for the 4 months we dated. Then she cheated on me.

2) I had never been cheated on.

3) I broke up with her and pledged to never speak again after bloody my fists on multiple inanimate objects.

4) I was successful at silence for a month until last Saturday night when she freaked out on me to my dismay as she was coked out and punched me in the face repeatedly, which turned me on (I'm sadomasochistic) so she proceeded to drive me back to my house, punch me yet again, then we kissed, and she left.

Now I am haunted with how small this city is and the nightmares of this beautiful fucked up girl. As I keep running into her and there is the awkward adrenaline and I have to flee! I have two questions,

#1 How do I avoid feeling awkward when I see her and remain without saying a word?¿

#2 How come there are no real screamo babes in Portland?¿

An Overly Sensitive Dumb Wit

Bonus Question
Why is it the people that actually care that get fucked over the most!?¿


NG: If I found a feral dog with rabies on the street, walked it around on a leash for a day, and then got bit in the face by said rabid feral dog, would I have any right to complain that I just cared too much and got fucked over? No! I wasn't using common sense.

It is not the people who care that get fucked over the most. Amma the hugging saint has not, to my knowledge, been punched in the face by a coke head.

If someone has a substance abuse problem, you are not going to be the one to help them. They need to help themselves, which means getting into treatment. The power of love ain't gonna do it. Don't be foolish.
It was good of you to make a boundary with this person after you broke up. Keep it.

Isn't there some BDSM club here that she could join and learn to do things right?
Safe and sane, isn't that the slogan? She isnt' doin any of that. She needs to go to some meetings.

NG: Two meetings for you: ALANON and Bad Girls PDX (which I attended once and met everyone from people into getting spanked by a leatherclad Angelina Jolie all the way to a 24/7 SM person wearing a collar whose master controlled every aspect of their life).
Getting punched in the face by a coke head isn't BDSM, necessarily.
It is low self esteem mixed with domestic violence.

TJO: well said.

TJO: She was also punching inaminate objects. she bloodied herself. ALANON is a good place to start. Therapy, ALANON. for those things. for the punching and the lady, go to a BDSM club and do it right. Safe and Sane. That little slogan is so good. Sane.

Dear Nicole,

My partner dumped of 5 months me the day before yesterday. It was
quite out of the blue for me, pretty shocking. I thought we just
needed a little time apart to get back to our separate lives a little
more, and as we sat down to have a Serious Talk and I began to mention
this, he blurted,
"I don't want to be in a relationship with you. I think it's run its course."
When I tried to press him for reasons he sort of shrugged,
and when I tried to ask him about how long he's felt this way he said:
"i dunno, a while."
I was "warned" that he was super fickle and not good at committing when my friend hooked us up, but still, it sucks.
so, ok. I live right around the corner from him, and
the quickest (and safest) way for me to bike to work is passing by his
house. we also frequent the same neighborhood spots around where we
live. on top of that, my roommate announced he's moving out and I am
desperately trying to find another roommate, which has not been
successful. I do have the option of moving into a house that's
beautiful and vegan (which I am), but it would be pushing it to afford
it, its kind of out of the way from things, and it's also a
straightedge house, which I am not. ok ok, down to my question: I
really like my current spot, but the emotions and stress are making me
feel that i should just get the hell out of there, but i sort of feel
like i'd be jumping from the frying pan into the fire, so to speak.
any tips on how to evaluate the situation without bursting into tears?
what do you think would be the best option?

Thank you!!!

Sandy Eggo (San Diego) Stresspot

TJO: stay where you live and quit riding your bike past his house all the fuckin' time. done.

NG: Truly, the burden of keeping yourself emotionally well in this situation is up to you. Maybe it's not the quickest route, but if you want to live less drama and heart-ache, take the long route. Stay out of the way of his house.

Don't go the places you know he's going to go. Hang back a little bit and take care of yourself with good friends.

Personally, I think you need to move and get a fresh start.

TJO: Whatever. That's just her runnin' around. Remember when i lived...... oh nevermind.

Dear Nicole,
Can you help explain Julian Schwinger's method of quantum renormalization???

No. That's not advice; but here is the wikipedia article:

Dear Nicole,
I have a problem that the only people who want to hang out with me on a regular basis are people who like me in a romantic way. I am new to town and have been dating to avoid loneliness but it doesn't feel right. I could really use a nice crew of friends. Can you suggest ways that I can make more friends?
Lonely Casanova

NG: I say hang out with some people of the opposite gender of those you want to date.

TJO: yeah.

NG: Friendships based on crushes are no good. The "friend" sees you in a weird, candy-coated light and when you don't give them what they want, a surge of resentment will ensue. Yuck! What a waste of time.
Get rid of that sexual tension right away.

TJO: See if you can grow some kind of unattractive, spongey thing on your face. ... just see if you can.

NG: You can usually tell (on some level) when someone wants to fuck you. Do not hang out with people who want to fuck you. Find someone who isn't nervous and twitchy when you're giving them your phone number. Call them "Dude". Give them a hearty pat on the back or refer to them as bro right off the bat. Fart sometimes. Scratch yourself.

TJO : Yeah, that's good. Call 'em Dude. Grow a dumplin' on your face.

Dear Nicole,

My beloved 2-year-old dachshund/beagle mix is gaining a lot of weight, and I'm worried about her back health. She doesn't really over-eat, I think she's not getting enough exercise. I take her on lots of walks and she plays with her doggie friends, but she's not really into chasing balls or toys. How can I get her more interested in exercising? Especially when the weather is so crappy and walks are unpleasant for her. Rainy days=wet & dirty wiener tummy (and she doesn't like to wear clothes, much less a raincoat)!

xo b.

Dear B,
You know I've had several wiener dogs before, and so I come to you with some tough love advice from a place of deep love and dachshund respect. Here it is.

The person controlling your dog's intake of food is..... You.
The person telling your dog whether or not she's going on a walk is.... You.

Take charge, my pack leader friend. Taper Fido's food down a bit (say, by 1/4 cup or so) and don't give in to her wiener whining for snacks in between meals.

Take that girl on a walk every single day.
Don't project your fickleness onto her. I'll bet you one million dollars that to your dog, the excitement of the smells outdoors (whether it's rainy or not) far outweigh the discomfort of a wet wiener tummy. She is still a dog, no matter how small or soulful you think she is.

Keep a towel by the door to dry off her weiner tummy and get her toasty.

It's for her health! You're the boss, in charge of keeping her well, and for a tiny dachshund, that includes saving her back by keeping her fit. Good luck!

Dear Nicole,

How does one go about owning chickens?

I am not at a place in my life where I can do this yet, but I will be
soon, and I want to. I like to think of having chickens and a garden,
because the two go so well together (they eat bugs; they shit out the
bugs and make compost). Also I could become filthy rich selling eggs.

I recently read a New Yorker article about owning chickens that
terrified me, for in it Susan Orleans spends like $10,000 on her
chickens and on a fancy imported chicken house and then her chickens
all die and get eaten by dogs. It seemed very stressful.
Yet when you
write of your chickens it seems peaceful and nice.
How did you get started?
Where did you get your chickens?
How are they housed?
What do
you feed them and how do you give them a water supply?
How do you keep
dogs from killing them?
Don't they peck you when you take their eggs
away and is that scary?
Are they mean?
Do they have names? A
re they
What if you have to go on a trip?
How much time on
an average day do you spend tending to them?
What if I live in a very
cold place, do I need a special heated henhouse (that one's probably
How long have you had your chickens?

Chicken Challenger

Dear Chicken Challenger,

I am here to answer your questions!
Let me tackle them one at a time.

How did you get started?

I first got chickens after interning at Farm Sanctuary. I wanted to bring the farm experience back home to Portland, and chickens are the most compact and low-maintenance of all farm creatures (besides bunnies, but I didn't want a rabbit).

Where did you get your chickens?

I considered getting chicks, but the Pistils (the nearest nursery who sold chicks) gets theirs from a giant hatchery, which is just as good a way to support factory farming as eating a bucket of wings. Since I don't eat eggs, I didn't really need a youngster, and so took on some older (3 year old) chickens from a friend.
In later years, I found spent hens by posting on craigslist and trolling for free birds.

How are they housed?

In a coop! Coops can be fun to build. There are many many books and resources for the backyard birder. I like a book called "Keep Chickens!".

What do you feed them and how do you give them a water supply?
You buy sacks of chicken feed from the feed store or nursery. It's usually $10-15 for a 50# bag. You also buy special chicken waterers. It's like a gerbil bottle, but for a chicken's beak.

How do you keep dogs from killing them?

You mostly have to watch out for raccoons and possums. They love to eat chickens. Build yourself a high security coop. You bury the wire and some metal sheeting so the predators can't dig their way in. Remember that chicken wire is good for keeping chickens in, but not for keeping predators out. Get some heavy duty wire. Don't cheap out when constructing your coop. When you let the ladies out to graze, keep them in an enclosed space or a fenced yard. Otherwise, you are inviting trouble.

Don't they peck you when you take their eggs
away and is that scary?

Usually you let the chickens out to graze every morning and snatch their eggs while they're gone. There is something called "going broody", which is when a chicken is under the delusion that she's going to hatch a nest of eggs, and goes sort of psycho when you try to get her out of the nest box. I used a 2x4 to gently push my chicken out of the nest box, locked her out and made her walk around with the other chickens when she was this way. Then i stole her eggs!
Chickens don't usually peck you.
They will even eat out of your hand sometimes.
A chicken peck doesn't hurt. At least not bad enough to be afraid.
A rooster, though? Stay away from a rooster. They've got spurs!

Are they mean?
Only if they're broody or have a mental disorder.

Do they have names?
Usually people give them old lady names.
Once i had a chicken who was very sick. To lift her spirits I changed her name from Bea Arthur to Champion . It worked! She stayed fit as a fiddle for years.

Are they "high-maintenance?"

You have to wake up early in the morning to feed and them, and you have to give the coop a cleaning once or twice a week. You keep a watchful ear out for danger in case of predators (they'll cluck and bawk wildly when scared).
That's it, basically. A Chicken is a pretty easy pet to take care of.

What if you have to go on a trip?

Get a friend to feed them and make sure they are super secure and don't succumb to predators while you're gone.

How much time on
an average day do you spend tending to them?

Twenty minutes to an hour? It depends on whether you clean their box every day or if you let it get super grody (which is bad. it can get rats or insects and it smells just awful. keep it clean!).

What if I live in a very
cold place, do I need a special heated henhouse?

You get a heating lamp for winter. When we had awful ice storms here, some friends brought their chickens in to their basements so they wouldn't get frost bite!

How long have you had your chickens?

I had chickens for about five years before passing them on to a friend who is chicken obsessed. Now they live in the lap of luxury in a fenced in yard full of fruit trees!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Advice from Mexico, re: Butchinsons Disease

Dear Readers,
I am writing to you from Akumal, Mexico, where I am currently on a writer's retreat with Radar Productions. We are snorkeling and eating avocados and feeding this very tattered Orange Cat (named Orange Cat, hence the capitalization of his name).
I am taking a break from my day of barracuda hunting to answer this very important advice from a woman in need. I got some help on this from Michelle Tea, author of Rose of No Man's Land.
I certainly do appreciate the wisdom of Michelle. You will find her advice right after mine, in italics. It is full of vim and vigor.

Dear Nicole,

My girlfriend’s really social, and we hang out with her friends at least two or three times a week. I get along great with almost all of them, but she's got this one friend I can't stand. I know that this person has good qualities, (for instance, when I asked my girlfriend about them she said she was loyal) but she’s also a chauvinist douchebag.

Sometimes she’s so blatantly stupid and offensive that I can’t stop myself from snapping at her; I think this eggs her on.

I know I’m not alone in finding her incredibly annoying but the general feeling seems to be, “that’s just how she is, she can’t help it”. Short of a mass intervention, nothing’s gonna change.

So she’s an unavoidable fixture in my girlfriend’s circle. Should I skip group gatherings for fear of looking like a bitch? How would you handle it?

lesbro sexism still sucks

I dated the lesbro in question (very very briefly!) and ended it because she's such a jerk (and my g.f. does sometimes tell her friend that she's an idiot.)

Dear LSSS,

There are two tactics here:
1. think of yourself in this situation as a separate human.
not your girlfriend's girlfriend.

i would limit the times i am around this person (make an excuse "i'm tired, i have homework, etc") and when i do have to be around them, treat them just as i would if i were somewhere stag and heard them say something fucked up.
Just don't laugh at their jokes and feel free to embarrass them in public or even in private by intervening on behalf of all women when they say something stupid. even, i dare say,
publicly ask the friends why it's okay when they laugh at something misogynist .

2. your boyfriend needs to stick up for you.

if this person says something that is directed at you or personally offensive and your girlfriend knows it, she needs to pony up. why bother hanging out with people who are so invested in their masculinity if they can't even pull out some chivalry when you need them?

love nicole g.

from Michelle:

Oh, GOD! NOTHING is more tedious and boring than an insecure butch who needs a lot of attention.
Sounds like the douche in question.
There's nothing you can do to give this loser a personality transplant. I'm not impressed by his 'loyalty' — loyalty to what? Is your boyfriend under siege? She seems to have no loyalty to manners, kindness, or common sense.

It's a serious bummer that the rest of the group is being so complacent in the face of this asshole. All you can do is make decisions that prioritize your own comfort, since no one else is going to do it.
Of COURSE you don't have to hang out with hostile people who take a third grader's delight in making you feel bad. Whenever you don't feel up to it, don't join the festivities. If you do partake but find yourself hitting a wall with the bad vibes, split. Give yourself permission to take off the second you feel this jerk getting under your skin.

If people think YOU'RE the bitch, they're shitheads. I know I'm being intense and glib, and that it takes courage to stand up for yourself and feels awful to go against your friend group. But you can do it. You no doubt have your own friend group, hang out with them more. Make friend dates with people in that scene who don't suck. YOU are not the problem here, and if anyone tells you otherwise they need to go to therapy and investigate what bad family dynamics they might be imposing on their friends.

It's good to have standards of what kind of people and what kind of commentary you'll put up with, and I hope the experience of taking this bullshit situation into your own hands feels ultimately empowering, and maybe even wakes the rest of the gang out of their zombie stupor. Good luck, sister!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cheating and Dicks.

Dear Nicole,

I've been a queer lady for about six years now, and i'm in a pretty solid relationship with an awesome girl. I have no complaints with our sex life, but I was at a show last sunday night; and while i was trying to watch the girl performing i couldn't stop staring at this boy who was standing outside smoking. for the first time in years, i began fantasizing about hooking up with a boy. this boy. I heard him talking to one of the performers outside after the show, and this made me want it even more, but i bit my tongue and went home.
Is it silly that i feel guilty about having these thoughts?
should i tell my girlfriend?

sincerely, Confused Guilt-trip

Dear Confused Guilt Trip,

Hi there.
Even the most hardcore of lesbians have moments where they've thought about dudes.
Okay okay, not ALL of them, but a good portion of them have.
Some of them justify their dude-humping wants by saying they identify as fags themselves, and the rest just eat their feelings of straight guilt and never tell a soul.
You fall into the latter category.
I think you should not feel guilty.
Don't tell your girlfriend.
There is nothing worse than having to deal with the hassle of having your girlfriend question whether or not you are straight.
No amount of frottage can free you once you've put it in her head that a straight dude could bend you over (in a non-faggy way) at any time.

The want for straight sex, in most cases, is a passing thing.
When you look at that guy and think about him boning you, the next thought i advise is to think of how you'd feel the next day hanging out with him and a bunch of his straight dude friends.
That should chase you right back into the ocean, where you'll swim for the Isle of Lesbos again without looking back.
Good Luck.

p.s. Confidential to butch lesbian readers: there is nothing more insufferable for a femme lesbian than the butch who endlessly badgers her about being straight. If she was straight, she would have bolted at the first sight of your sports bra clad bosom. I promise she can tell the difference between you and a dude, and unless heavily medicated , has made a solid decision to fuck you, a woman, BECAUSE SHE IS GAY.

hey nicole,

my partner and i are at a fork in the road. he's got a serious crush on
someone, and was reluctant to tell me about it, until i accidentally
found out (after they professed their crushes to each other). we've
been having problems, and while he says the crush and our relationship
are independent of each other, i feel they're completely related.

i know he loves me but i feel sad he's just not there when we're
spending time together; i know he's thinking about her. as his best
friend, i want to encourage him to follow his crush and his heart, but
as his partner i feel absolutely crushed by the situation. it's a
classic case of the 'emotional affair' but i suspect that's a
narrow-minded view of relationships. what do you think?

confused and crushed

Hi Confused and Crushed.

Your boyfriend's job (as your boyfriend) is to be there for you.
Physically and Emotionally. Whether or not he is in a sea of someone else's pussy. This would be true if you guys were monogamous or otherwise.

I wouldn't worry that he has a crush. It happens to the best of us, and comes with the terrain of being human.
What worries me is that this is coming to pass whilst you are having problems.
What worries me the most is that he is secretly sort of pursuing it and egging on the intrigue.

If your boyfriend wants to be with you in a monogamous way, I say he quits this girl cold turkey until such a time when you feel comfortable or he has doused the flames of his desire (this could be months or years depending on the dude).

If you want to open your relationship up, the best time to do that is when you are tight with each other and trusting. And it doesn't feel like right now is that time. If you decide that it's something you want to do, your dude needs to understand that you will be needing his attentions when you're together, not the scraps he has leftover from the La La Land that accompanies a new, uncomplicated crush.

If your boyfriend chooses none of these options, then ball up and bail out. It takes some courage, but is ultimately better than a life lived on scraps.

Duck Portrait by Ali Liebegott

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Support Your Local Advice Columnist

Hi Friends. Though I have not been giving as much online advice lately, I WILL be giving advice on June 20th with special guest Michelle Tea and at a Live Event!

Please click on comics below for more information. Please come! Bring your problems! All problems will be submitted anonymously, answered publicly.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Short , unhelpful Advice

Dear Readers, I've been busy making comic books with children all week, and am thus feeling very worn out. I wanted to hand you some advice, though, so here you are. Short, sweet, knee jerk advice.
Send me more questions!

Dear Nicole,
as a feminist, what's your take on having a girl's night out? just one or two nights a month where any self identified boys can't come?
- Feminist in Fresno

Dear Fresnan,
Sure, why not. What’s the issue? Of COURSE you should have a girl’s night out.
Don’t trip.

Dear Nicole,
my roommate and her boyfriend have the loudest sex ever. i feel like a prisoner in my own home when they are banging. I can't read or watch tv or even go into my room because of how loud they are!
What to do?
Eve S. Dropping

Dear Eve,
Bang the ceiling with a broom when they’re having sex. Or do something to kill the magic so they know you’re listening. Knock on the door and say “You have a phone call”. Or “Do you know where the Anusol is?”

If you want to be more practical,
let your roommate know that you can hear them by dropping some wordage the next day.
“So, sounds like you and Mr. McGillicutty were really getting wild last night. I'm glad that you're , um, 'In Love', but I don't want to hear what you're doing. It's distracting and the sound carries throughout the entire house. “

This is a basic point of maturity and respect. Your roommate is acting in an inconsiderate way and invading your personal space. Give your roommate a little reminder that you're here, you have ears, and they need to get used to it.

side note:
Once I had one very rude roommate who told me it was my problem if I didn’t want to be woken up by my bed rocking from HER getting boned on the other side of the wall.
Now I live alone.

Dear Nicole,
Should I buy a condo or is that just dumb? Cheaper than rent but not the cottage in the woods that I want but cannot afford. Puts my kids in the right school district.
-Confused in Kentucky

Dear Confused,
I don’t know much about real estate, but I say Sure. Why not.
There are no perks to renting, in my opinion.
Buy a condo.
If you hate it, just sell it later. People seem to like condos.
Then you can use the credit you’ve built and maybe buy a (drafty) house (in need of repair) that you like better.

Dear Nicole,
Should I take an anonymous tech job in the suburbs or a public job as a barista at a hip coffeeshop? I am over thirty.
- Quizzical in Quebec

Dear Quiz Master,

As someone with a "cool" job who hasn't eaten a tortilla chip in over a year based on my lack of dental coverage, I say
Take the job in the suburbs.
You’ll have health insurance , there’s room for advancement, and you can set a good boundary between work and real life.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Reverse Psychology (with special guests Graham & Diane) Boom.

Dear Faithful Readers,

This week I am honored to present a video installment of the advice column, starring special guests Graham and Diane.

Graham and Diane are a duo from Toronto who produce my favorite videos on the internet week after week.
I was lucky enough to borrow some of their time to answer your questions about eyeliner, baby talk, and love.

If you would like to see more videos of Graham and Diane in action, please visit them here .

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Migraines, Dyke Drama, Polyamory, Wieners and More!

Dear Readers,

I have been plagued by migraines the past couple of Tuesdays, and unable to answer your queries. To make up for it, I present you with a super sized advice column this week! Also, I have put an "ADULT ADVISORY" setting on my blog, as I am currently teaching school and want no youngsters traipsing into the advice column reading about rock hard boners. Thank you for your understanding! Hopefully having to admit to being 18 before reading my blog will make you feel like a bad-ass, not just a shifty pervert.

Hi Nicole,

Recently I started seeing a really awesome, sweet guy who's been a friend for a long time. We took things a bit slow (in my world) and went to bed after four or five dates.
It was a disaster.
He wasn't able to maintain an erection and we both ended up frustrated.
He attributed it to nerves and the fact that he hadn't been intimate with a woman in a long time, so I rolled with it and just accepted that the first time isn't always great. But it's happened again...and again. And it turns out this has been a recurring theme for him.
The one time he was able to actually stay hard long enough to fuck me, I have to be honest and say that it wasn't great either. He has a small penis and I barely felt it (I'm a pretty small girl but the last lover I had, I suppose, was a lot bigger and that's what I'm used to). I wanted to get on top so I could come, but changing positions made him lose his erection yet again.
I think his problem might be due to his smoking (which he's trying to quit) and drinking habits. He has agreed to see a doctor about this.
I'm just wondering if perhaps we're just not sexually compatible. If I am perpetually dissatisfied, I won't be a very happy or honest girlfriend.

Is it horribly shallow to break up with someone because of bad sex? I've been in long-term relationships before. I'm a single woman in my early thirties who lives in a big city, loves books, writing, electro, coffee, traveling...and I think I'm okay-looking, too. I want to find a partner for life. This guy is lovely in so many ways. He's bright and funny and creative and we have a great flow of conversation. We have a lot in common. But sex is very important to me and I want to be blown away (no pun intended) in bed. I'm just underwhelmed and frustrated and we haven't even been dating for more than a month now. Do you think it's worth it to stick with it, or just cut my losses and find someone who's awesome, hot, intellectual AND good in the sack?

Frustratedly yours,

Dear X,

Here are your options
1. fight
2. flight

As with all things, don't stick around and complaining like a giant baby if you're not getting what you want. Either commit to be with this guy and try to turn that frown upside down, or leave him alone to find someone who appreciates him the way that he is.
Saying that you're going to be an unhappy and dishonest girlfriend because of his erectile dysfunction is completely ridiculous.
Come on.

If you decide to fight (and i mean this as in The Good Fight, not as in "arguing"), here is my advice:
The wiener does not need to be the main course. It is not the life of the party, and if you give it too much credit, i think you're going to be disappointed. You just need to use your imagination. There are about a million other ways to Have Sex without standard intercourse. Sit on his face. Slap him around. Make him use his hand on you. What-Ever!
Lots of people live their entire sexual lives without giant rock hard boners in play. Join the party!

Regarding his erectile dysfunction:
If you are a hot girl going to bed with a nervous guy and giving off harsh vibes that he is inadequate, what do you think his penis is going to do? It is going to tuck its tiny self back into its shell and hide from your judgmental gaze. If you want to stick around, I say learn to love his small member, make him feel GOOD about it, throw some Viagra in his drink, and see what happens! Nobody wants to "perform" when they feel judged or like they're doing everything wrong. Give this guy some positive energy. He sounds like a nice person.

I would give him a couple of months to Go See A Doctor, and to see if he responds to your new positive attitude.

It is far easier to find a person to have sex with than it is to find someone you're super compatible with.
You could have sex with any dude off the street and find a large member, but someone who is kind and bright and funny and creative and has a good flow of conversation? Not as common.

2. With all that said, you do have option two.
Dude has absolutely no control over his penis being small.
You have the right to get what you want in this world.
If what you want is a naturally large wiener that is ready to go at your beck and call, then I say go for it.
Do this guy the service of leaving him now before things get ugly, and go find some studly dude to service your needs.

Hello Nicole,

Recently, my boyfriend of 4 years broke up with me by explaining that he had been cheating on me with a male. I was devastated to know that he had cheated and very sad to not be with him anymore, but at the core of it, we are close friends and I wanted to be there for him. He was going through a lot mentally by coming to terms with his sexuality. It took some time, but we are now close friends once more.

The problem that I am having is that since being single, I've had some serious questions about my own sexuality. I'm beginning to explore my own preferences. We've basically been together since I was 14 years old, so I guess I never really realized that I was a lesbian until losing my long-time male companion. He is still very touchy if the end of our relationship is brought up, and is very reluctant to tell me anything about his new relationships. My sexuality is something I would like to discuss with him, but I am afraid that he will be angry and tell me my feelings are just being brought on by the fact that I'm still pretty newly single and still pretty hurt.

I guess the thing is, I would like to discuss what's on my mind about my own sexuality to someone I consider my best friend, but I feel like there is too many bad possible outcomes.

I would love your advice on how to go about this.


Gay & Gayer

Dear Gay and Gayer,

I know it seems unnatural to no longer be best friends with the person you just spent four of your formative years with, but i have to tell you, it's for the best. Space is natural after a breakup. It helps you both learn to live independently and helps you figure out who you are after all of this, gives you space to view things objectively, be mad, sad, remorseful, whatever, and THEN come back to the friendship with a clean slate. Without taking everything he says to heart, without bringing up old wounds, etc.

So. If i were you I would ask for some space, express that you still love him as a friend and will always be there for him but just need some time to get your head on straight (har har),
and THEN start your new career as a lesbian!

Once you do, I suggest giving some tips on sex without a dick to person X (see above advice), because she apparently needs it.

Welcome to the Isle of Lesbos! It's nice to have you here.

Dear Nicole,

I've started dating a really cute girl. She's very smart and also funny and likes to do cool things like eat food, walk around the city, and make out with me for five hours. She has a girlfriend and they're polyamorous and I am wondering, what's the etiquette around asking her what their boundaries are? Is this a second date conversation? A third date conversation? An after we have sex conversation? But, what if the boundary is no third dates? Or, no actual sex? Shouldn't I know everything I could ever possibly need to know immediately? Or is it not my business? At what date does it become my business?
Sister Wife
PS I know you hate polyamoury.

Dear Sister Wife,

Though I am a hater of polyamory, it's only through years of trial and error; so while bitter, i still feel equipped to answer your question.

While it is the responsibility of the person IN the primary relationship (herein referred to as your Really Cute Girl) to communicate and keep the boundaries she set with her partner, it doesn't hurt to cover your ass by asking up front.

I say, you should ask once going to first base. Ask if what you're doing is allowed. And while you're at it, what else is allowed? Disallowed?
It may be disappointing to find out you'll never get a third date, but it's like ripping a Bandaid off- find out up front so you're not devastated later when she has to cut things off or leave you hanging on the verge of sex when she remembers that she's not allowed to fuck you.

You can choose whether to ask her all these things over dinner or whilst in the throws of first base.
Just remember the old t.v. PSA jingle:
"The More You Knowwwwww" .

Dear Nicole,

I'm 5' 9 and 110 pounds, an art student in a big city, and am
constantly running around. I've been skinny all my life and have dealt
with many people putting their two cents in on the subject: from
teachers pinching me and frowning on the street to first dates watching
me closely over dinner (for god's sake I'm nervous!).
I always defended myself, knowing I'm not anorexic and I eat when I'm
But since I moved away for school it's gotten worse. I am constantly
working and being so busy that I easily forget to eat. (I am also a
The happiest I was about my weight was when I was in Europe for 3
weeks, last winter. I had no responsibilities, and was able to eat
wonderful big meals 3 times a day out at nice restaurants. I gained 12
pounds and it was awesome.
Back here though, I can't afford the convenience of eating out and I
have no energy to cook anything. Because I can get away with it I'll
spend money on art supplies over food. It's horrible feeling as though
I can't take care of this basic need that is such a no brainer.
What's worse is I tell my friends I'm trying to gain weight and
everyone doesn't want to hear it. "Don't let anyone hear that", "Why?
Want to switch places?". I've been trying to eat more but it's not
easy--stress eats up my hunger.

Starving Artist Not Starving

Dear Starving,

I don't get what your question is, Starving Artist Not Starving. It sounds like you ARE starving, because you said you don't eat.

Though it may sound at first exhausting, I would like you to stop and take in people's commentary as genuine concern.
Women in America are valued for their bodies, and thus many starve themselves into being as thin as they can to get the rewards that go along with this.
With this knowledge in mind, people who don't know you well, but genuinely want the best for you, may be hoping that somehow they're helping or de-enforcing the praise that society bestows on the thin.
Think of taking in their sincere motivation as You being zen. Or somehow enlightened.

It could also be said that it is none of people's business what you do with your body, and so please could they just leave you alone.

With that said:

Quit spending food money on art supplies.

Make a food budget and stick to it.
Don't buy art supplies with your food money, or you could do irreparable damage to the only thing keeping you on this earth: Your Body.
That's it. That's all that is keeping you here. It won't last forever.

If you aren't eating, you aren't thinking clearly, and your art is suffering.
Keep snacks around. If you don't like to cook, but you know you'll get hungry, go buy some Luna bars or Lara bars, or snack mix or crackers and keep them within arm's reach at all times so that at the very least you don't slip into a blood sugar coma in between meals.

Find at least one friend whom you can confide in and talk to about your struggles with food or judgment. Tell them that you need to be really honest with them without getting weird comments, and that if they are deeply concerned about their weight of course they should tell you, but otherwise, you just need a friendly ear and someone to stuff some trail mix in your mouth if you get too busy to snack.
Let them keep you in check.

Take care.

Dear Nicole,

Do the straights have drama like the gays have drama? Is there any drama like dyke drama?

Signed, Curious and Curiouser

Dear Curious and Curiouser,

Let me generalize here and say that men are less comfortable talking about their emotions than women.
Take two women and put them together and what do you have? Two people who love talking about their emotions.
AND whose emotions fluctuate , quite literally, with the tides of the moon.
THEN add in some Queer Subculture Extras like polyamory or the fact that everyone's dated everyone else, and you're stuck with days of processing the finest of details and interactions, deconstruction of every word, mood or action, many tears and an abundance of "I Statements".

This formula leads me to believe that dykes have the most drama of anyone.
Or at least, they take would-be drama, blow it up and discuss it to death.
Which seems like more than what most straight people do.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

later today!

sorry for being such a slacker, everybody.
I am dog tired!
New Advice coming soon. I have your questions, I have answers.
Stay tuned.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Look At This Cool 'Zine Guy'

I have advice on this week!
You can find some zine-related advice from myself, John Marr, Ciara Xyerra, and more!

Monday, April 6, 2009

B12 Vitamins, Brokeness, Prudishness, and Boundaries

Dear Nicole,

I have just moved to a new city, a new country actually, I have been here for almost 2 months now and I still haven't found a job. I'm not being picky, I have a degree and I am experienced and have applying to every fricking job I come across! It's totally depressing and I am slowly but surely running out of money. I was just wondering if you have any advice on what I could do for a bit of cash in the mean time?



Dear Broke,

Here are a couple of ideas.

-dress in a weird costume and let people take polaroids with you for money in a -downtown tourist area
-Sell Crafts on the street
-sell baked goods on the street
-dog walk
-apply as an on-call caregiver
-become a "phone actress"

Dear Nicole,
I have been dating a woman for a few months now and I have very strong feelings for her. However, we have only had sex one time, early on in the relationship. After that time, she revealed to me that during sex, my male identity was triggering for her (I'm ftm and she has been lesbian identified since she was a teenager and has not dated an ftm before). She obviously cares for me as well as we have continued dating and we are very affectionate in our relationship. I am missing having a sexual connection with her and would like your advice on how to bring this up without feeling like I'm pressuring her or giving her an ultimatum. In no way do I want to coerce her or make her feel like it's her job as my girlfriend to provide me with sexual gratification, but this is something that I'm sad we are not experiencing together. I'm just confused about how to open up dialogue about this and express my sexual desires without seeming like a douchebag. Any help
would be greatly appreciated.

Nonsexual in Northeast (Portland)

Dear Nonsexual,

It sounds like if you want to have sex (and comfortable sex, not feeling-weird-about-your-gender-because-you-might-be-triggering-someone sex), then this is not the person for you.
If you keep dating this person and never have sex again, I'm going to feel really bummed for you.

In a perfect world, the girl you're dating would be writing for advice, not you.
If she is uncomfortable having sex with a man, why date a man? Maybe she thought it would be different because you were an ftm and then realized she was mistaken. The onus is on her to be the responsible one and break up, not to prude out and make you date her anyway!

Being on the other side of a frigid partner is insecurity food. Get out of there!

It is not crazy, selfish, or wrong for you to want to have sex with the person you're dating.
Sex is what takes her from being a friend to being a date.
You're not obligated to stick with someone who's not meeting your needs. That's what dating is for, to suss out potential partners.

What is sex good for? It's good for bonding. It's good for relieving stress. It's good for fun.

This person sounds like a really good friend, not a long term partner.

I would cut and run; but if you want to process about it (which you undoubtedly do since you live in Portland and have used the word dialogue), I would sit her down and say (this is the run-on sentence version):

"hey, i really like spending time with you. i'm sorry to say, i don't think this is going to work doesn't seem like you're comfortable having sex with a man, and i can completely respect that, but you need to respect that i am a man and like to have sex and especially right now need to feel validated as a sexual guy, so i want to keep you in my life as a friend. because i really like you , blah blah blah etc etc. "

Good luck!

p.s. I know you asked for advice on how to approach her, but if after three months you've only had sex once and she doesn't seemed bothered by this, it just doesn't seem a natural match.

Dearest Nicole,

After four solid years of being a vegan, I decided to switch back to vegetarianism. For the most part, my diet hasn't changed much and I still eat the same stuff as before. I love yummy vegan food! mmm...
The reason why I decided to become a vegetarian again is because of this internal debate I've been having (pretty much for the last few years) about whether or not veganism is right. There are so many arguments in support of veganism, showing that it's morally right and sometimes also arguing that it's a more natural and healthier diet than eating meat and dairy. However, there are other arguments that would suggest otherwise. For one, the human body needs B12, which is only naturally found in meat, eggs and dairy products. This kind of destroys the idea that veganism is the *right* and *natural* diet for human beings.

Although, even without any of this information, there's still the issue of animal cruelty on dairy farms. What bothers me the most is the human race's general lack of respect towards other living things and the idea that everything is ours for the taking. Sometimes I feel like if humans just made a point to always treat animals well, even in places like dairy farms, then maybe the idea of eating dairy wouldn't be so bad to me. Because at least there's that respect.

I feel like I 'm rambling. I think of it a lot, though. Maybe I think of it a little too much, but I feel like slightly over-thinking it is still better than just becoming a vegan because that's the hip thing to do. blahhh.

I guess my questions are:

1. What is your take on veganism as a natural, healthy diet for humans and the arguments for and against veganism as the 'right' diet?
2. Would you be more comfortable with the idea of eating dairy if animals were treated well on dairy farms? Or are you just generally against the concept of eating anything from an animal no matter what?

-Vexed former Vegan

Dear Vexed,

I appreciate the amount of thought you've given to the question of how we treat animals and what we put in our body.
That said,
Let me address your pointed questions, and follow up with a short rant.

1. Veganism is a fine diet for humans.
Take a supplement and don't stress about the evolutionary aspects of vegan vs not vegan.
You do plenty of unnatural things every day (ride in an automobile, stare at a computer, hold a cell phone to your head, run on a treadmill, live your life according to clocks and calendars and not the cycles of the sun and moon) , so why draw the line at a b12 supplement and leave the animals to get fucked with?

While i'm at it, how "right" or natural is it for animals to live in cages their whole lives for human convenience and profit?

If you're going to get Adam and Eve about things, you need to go all the way or just take responsibility for arbitrarily taking evolution into consideration. If you want to eat cheese because it's easier, just say so.

2. I live in America, and so 99.9% of the dairy and eggs I come across will be from factory farms.
Thus, I need not ponder question number two. It's like asking if i was in a raft with a cow , would I eat him to survive? I never plan to be at sea with a cow, let alone in a life raft, so why wonder.

Here is my issue , VfV, with people who start incorporating cheese and eggs into their diets. Say at first you just buy goat cheese at the natural grocery store, you buy free range eggs, etc.
Once it's Okay in your mind to see these things as food, it's a slippery slope from scrambles at home to scrambles at restaurants. And most, MOST restaurants use the cheapest, most efficient dairy and eggs available to them. Thus, you are supporting the meat and dairy industry. Same with bakeries, candy bars, etc.

Maybe you have your own chickens, maybe you live in the hills of Italy with an abundance of milk giving goats who don't mind you taking a little off the top. Sure then, have an egg and cheese sandwich.

Otherwise, please remember that Free Range eggs come from chickens who are forced to lay eggs until their bodies are used up and then butchered for soup and pot pies, and that dairy is taken from animals who've been forcibly impregnated and then had their calves, kids, etc taken away from them. The milk is made to feed their young. Not me.

Dear Nicole,

I'm 25. I slept with an 18 year old high school senior. Is Jesus sad?


Dear Confused,

Yes. Go find someone your own age to sleep with.

Dear Nicole:

I have been friends with this guy for close to four years now. I told him last year how I felt about him and he admitted that he felt the same way and that I deserved someone better than him and then denied saying that.
Although it was painful for me to be so honest, he continued to be my friend and now considers us to be best friends (his words not mine).
He seems to be getting what he wants and I’m just confused. He cares about what my friends think of him, he pays me compliments which I can’t take. He and I are constantly hitting each other and I sometimes feel like its middle school again and he is trying to pull my pigtails. Whenever I have liked someone before and it didn’t go anywhere, I avoided those guys like the plague to let myself get over it. But he... he doesn’t disappear. When I don’t want to talk about something... he keeps pushing until I talk about what is bothering me. He is always around and I find I can’t move on. I need
to move on but he is big part of my life now. I care about him a great deal... but I don’t think its enough. How do you tell someone that they are doing you more harm than good? How do I explain that his actions towards me at times is not ‘best-friend’ behavior?

What’s a girl to do?

Dear Girl,

This guy seems great at getting his friendlationship needs met , but what about you? Where did your needs go in this situation?

Do you really want to date a guy who "keeps pushing" when you don't want to talk about something?
I know i have limited information, but he sounds like a boundary crosser.
Also, If dude doesn't have the confidence to date you, if he needs to act like a child around you, or if he wants to dominate your time without giving you what you want, then i say Cut Him Loose. If it turns out that someday he's ready to date and you guys are a match, it will just happen.
In the meantime,my advice (in the words of the very wise sts):

If i were you , I would e-mail him and say
"Hey, I need some space from you right now. I'm not mad at you, but i need some time . Thanks."

Then stop picking up the phone when he calls, do not agree to have "a meeting" or fall for any of his manipulative b.s.
Be Strong!

If he was the dude for you he would have actually jumped on your request to date, not strung you along and pushed your boundaries. Find some guy that listens to your needs, respects them and gives you what you want in life.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Special Guest Michelle Tea on Potheaded Fathers

Dear Friends,
My "powerhouse" is truly smoked this week from doing too many pilates. So tired am I , that I am passing off this week's advice column to Special Guest Michelle Tea, author of The Chelsea Whistle, Valencia, and Rent Girl.
You can find Michelle and myself on the Sister Spit European Tour this September, or as she traverses the U.S. in October!

In the meantime, I'll try to do fewer "Seal Puppy" exercises next week, so that my brain will be functioning to answer your queries.


Dear Michelle,

When I married my husband last year I was pregnant and he promised, promised, promised me that he would quite smoking weed once baby was born... He did manage to for a bit, but baby rearing is kind of stressful and the sobriety didn't stick. Whenever I mention that his smoking bugs me he gets very angry and yells and attacks my personal flaws (like that I leave dishes in the sink, don't take the trash out ever and generally do not keep the house clean enough). I sometimes try to avoid bringing things up b/c of this reaction, but baby is getting bigger and she loves daddy and wants to do/say/act just like him and this really concerns me b/c there is a strong family history of substance abuse on his side of the family. Do you have any ideas on how to proceed, when hubby doesn't want to spend any $$ on Marriage Counseling?

Sober Wifey

Dear Sober Wifey,

There is a twelve-step program for people whose partners won't go to a
twleve-step program. It's called Al-Anon. Check it out! It's
recommended that people go to like six different al-anon meetings in a
close time span, because different meetings have different vibes so you
should observe out a few before you make any conclusions. Like, some
al-anon meetings recite the serenity plan everytime someone sneezes,
and have very tight, controlled, humorless vibes. Maybe you won't like
that one. Others have super wise, deep and helpful vibes, and some have
light hearted
vibes (those ones tend to have lots of members who are also alcoholics
and/or gay men). Basically, you go to al-anon and get a waaaaaaaaay
better practical understanding of how to deal with the fact that you
can't control your husband's pot smoking and nothing you can do or say
will ever make him stop, because he's an addict, and addicts only get
sober on their own time, if they ever get sober at all. Basically,
addicts HATE when you sort of point out that oh maybe they are um
addicts, and pot addicts are among the worst because so many people are
in denial about the fact that pot is a drug and potheads are drug
addicts and that it has an affect on the quality of their lives and the
lives of the people close to them. But your happiness doesn't need to
be al
l tied up in his bong! Sit in on some al-anon meetings, raise your
hand as a newcomer, try not to barf in your mouth when everyone holds
hands and says the Unity Prayer, and really just listen to what
everyone talks about. If you hear things that make sense — and I am
pretty sure you will — hone in on someone who seems especially
excellent, like they have a handle on life and speak about it in a
style you can relate to, and ask them to be your sponsor! That's when
shit gets wicked fun. Truly. Al-anon and twelve step programs in
general are magical little cauldrons of good vibes and positive
intention where individuals learn about their patterns and how to take
responsibility for their own happiness. Very great things happen. Good
luck! It will be so awesome for your kid to be raised by a mom in


Michelle Tea

Nicole Interjects:

Though damaging as a drug-addled father may be, in this case (as he is a Good Dad) it seems to me less damaging than a divorce on the psyche of your young child. Listen to Michelle, for she is good and wise.


I have been making lots of stuffed animals lately, which you can find in my Etsy shop. All creatures are handmade at home whilst listening to the radio or watching The Amazing Race.

it's tuesday, so....

advice is coming by the end of the day!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bangs, Fake IDs, Relationship Recovery, and some Really Really Long Letters.

Dear Nicole,
A little over two years ago I dated a woman whom i fell very much in love with. I told her this after 7 months of dating, and she did not return the sentiment (but i didn't need her to right then). 3 weeks later she went out of town, and upon her return, told me that she couldn't be in "a couple", and to give her some time to think. After a month of waiting passed (in which I felt like i was dying), I felt I had to break up with her. I never cried so much in my life.

We didn't see each other for a few months, during which time I started dating someone else, whom I broke up with after 6 months , telling her I was still in love with my ex. That night i went over to my aforementioned ex girlfriend's house and slept in her bed. We didn't do anything, but it felt like a really strong painkiller.

She told me that she was going to therapy and was going through her childhood (which was really traumatic and involved abandonment issues, having to act as a parent after her dad ditched, and her sister being molested) , and felt like she was making progress. I asked her if she ever thought we'd date again. She said she didn't know.

It has been a year and a half and throughout all the flings and attempts at romance with other people, I have never been able to get her out of my head.

So... you are now like... what the fuck is this guy's question?

1. How can I let her go on with her life, but at the same time let her know I'm always here for her without seeming too pathetic?

2. I got invited to her sister's wedding.
At the wedding how should I act? Should I not tell her again that I love her?

3. The gift for her sister is going to be something I made... and it will be something that will be really great, and will most likely be on her sisters wall for the rest of her life. Is that manipulative that I just want her, when she goes to her sisters house to have a reminder I exist?

4. If I do well in my own life for the reason of staying in her consciousness is that fucked up? I think I would do what I'm doing regardless... but in my head it's a bonus that I will haunt her. Haunt her in a good way. On a global scale it's hard to impress people anymore. You have to always think big...

Don't be TOO hard on me...But do not hold back. I need some advice.


Lovestruck in Long Island

Dear Lovestruck,

1. You can tell her ONE, and only one more time, in no uncertain terms: So and So, I am still in love with you. If you ever want to give it another shot, please come and find me.

Then wipe your hands , wipe your nose and your eyes of her and be free.

You, my friend, need some serious therapy.

You need to know that if she wanted to be with you, she would.
Whether or not she had a fucked up childhood, whether or not you're the sweetest guy in the world, she knows you're there and is not currently choosing you.
You've got to accept it.

As much as you love this woman, the truth of the matter is that your soul mate*, the person you're actually supposed to be with, wouldn't treat you this way. They would CHOOSE YOU. There wouldn't be all this yearning and longing and feeling so torn and confused and sad.
The longer you dwell on this lady, the further away you are from achieving your future greatness.
So get it together, friend.
Call up a therapist, sit on their couch, and give them a chance to weigh in.
What's the worst that could happen from that? You get some kernels of wisdom and build your self esteem up SEPARATE from her and the things she is into.


2. Be chill at the wedding. Bring a friend as a date who can snap you out of it when your eyes well up with tears and you get on bended knee to ask the ex for another chance. Do NOT bring drama to someone else's day by telling this girl you love her again. If you're going to tell her at all, do it via email after the wedding. Or in a letter.

3. It is manipulative for you to want to haunt her. Yes.
Honestly, i think you should get them some bed sheets, a toaster, and be done with it.

4. It is fucked up to want to do good things just to stay in her consciousness, BUT if it's making you do good things, by all means, keep doing them.

You are obviously a very kind and loving person.
I promise you will find someone out there who deserves and WANTS what you have to offer.

Take care.

*Note: Each person may or may not have a dozen different soul mates, OKAY, but you get what I'm saying. The best you can do is NOT someone who is uncertain about you. If the relationship is right, it's right. If it's not, then move on. The best advice I ever heard from my friend ERF was
"Anything other than 'Yes' means 'No'."
Trip on that.

Dear Nicole,

How come it's ok for dudes to have long hair but it's not okay for them to have long hair with bangs?

Quizzical in Quebec

Dear Quebec,

Think of the Ramones, for goodness sakes! Hotter punkers I cannot imagine.
Other than that , though, no way.
I have no idea why.

But you know what, anything could happen. Dudes in Portland are walking around with beards like Father Time right now, and are wearing clothes so distressed, they may as well be wearing a barrel with suspenders. And that's the cool guys!
cross your fingers if you're a fan of bangs.
They're probably right around the corner.

Dear Nicole,

I am not America’s Smartest Girl. In fact, I’m not even in the top five! I am, however, pretty good at broadcasting my deficient smarts/morality/adult priorities across the Internet via blog.

Things with my blog are going swimmingly.

The thing is, Nicole ,
I’m afraid my blog has given people the wrong impression of my true character.

Unaware readers may think that I'm a herpied womanizer who keeps hairnets on my bedside table because I don’t want anyone’s DNA on my pillowcase even though I’m perfectly willing to have it in my mouth. And the thing is, I don’t even have herpes!

Or one might get the impression that I menstruate because I wrote an incredibly long and detailed blog about bleeding on the mattress that my ex-girlfriend and I might have borrowed from our friend Mary Ann, when everyone knows gays don’t menstruate!

And I wouldn’t really care,
but I’m currently in the market for a Real Live Girlfriend
and I’m afraid my blog will scare any potential lifers away.

And, yes, I could neglect to tell Imaginary Future Life Partner about my blog, but I want her to know that all this finger-tapping I’m doing while she folds laundry isn’t poetry or some shit.

See my problem? How do I continue the blog but convince people it’s all just a persona?


Over-Sharer in Carrboro

Dear Over-Sharer,

I'm really confused as to why you don't menstruate. You either weren't born with ovaries, are a gymnast/ballerina, or post-menopausal. True?
none of that matters, because i'd give you the same advice whether you were a bleeder or not.
I would keep the blog to yourself until you have someone roped in to really really liking you. You can tell them that you're a student (which you are), and a writer (also true).
After , say, three dates, you can tell them that you are a blogger on the side, and then introduce the Pathological Liar "Character" to them.
Whoa ho, isn't it funny? Regale them with your mail and let them know that you have a great sense of humor and are just trying to have a good time like anybody else!

If they don't approve of your blog, you could scream:
"Having Fun Isn't a Crime!!!!" ( then beat the table for emphasis.) "I don't like being treated like a CRIMINAL!!!!" before storming out of whatever office/restaurant you've broken the news at.

Or not. I just thought that would be a funny scene.

I want to note that Tracy Egan from Jezebel had a blog called "One D At A Time" , in which she talked about sleeping with many many dudes. Tracy met the man of her dreams and realized that if his mother found this blog she'd be mortified. She had gotten all she could out of writing out her sexcapades and so put it to bed, even changing her name on Jezebel from SLUT MACHINE to her given title.

on a different note,

Lisa Crystal Carver not only stayed as raunchy as ever once she married, but she got a column on noted sex website and went to town documenting her sex life and that of her husband, Dave (until he asked her to stop mentioning him, ahem ).

Before moving on, consider this question:
Is the short term benefit (comments from strangers, minor internet fame) enough to merit the potential consequences of your blogging?
ANYONE can find this blog. Not just dates (who will probably have a sense of humor about it), but employers, the parents of the kids you will want to babysit in the future, the parents of your dates, etc.

My advice? Get a fake name. It's never too late.
(Unless you're me)

p.s. If you want to date a lesbian, I'd be more careful about throwing around disparaging remarks regarding poetry.

Hello Nicole,

I broke up with my boyfriend of 4ish years a few months ago. We had been living together for much of that time. As far as breakups go, it was not too bad, it was fairly mutual and we both really want to stay friends.
Until recently, we have been getting along fine, we hang out and see each other a lot and share the same group of friends. People have commented on how well we get along for exes.

However, lately he has started seeing other people. I really want to be mature about this, but whenever I hear anything about him dating, I get all hot and feel crazy angry jealousy coming on.
I really don't want to feel this way,
a) because it's very painful,
b) because I have zero interest in getting back together, and
c) I feel uncomfortable feeling jealousy/temporary hatred towards other girls over a boy.

I end up doing stupid crap like myspace stalking him and his dates, or being mean and immature towards him and inevitably feel like I want to puke and cry and then puke some more.
I thought about not seeing him for awhile, but this is difficult because we have all the same friends and frequent the same places.
In my ideal world I can just stop feeling this way and me and him and all his stupid dates can be a big happy stupid family. Do you have any advice on how to get over this kind of jealousy?
I also tend to have jealousy issues when I'm in a relationship. It is lame.
Thanks for any help you can give.

Signed, Jealous in Johnson County

Dear Jealous,

Okay. You need to make some space from him. Let him know that you are stoked to be on friendly terms, but that you need some time to mellow out about the situation.
Here's the deal: You're the one with the problem. You're the one who's uncomfortable, and so YOU need to make the changes necessary to live a comfortable and not woe-begotten life.

SO. Take the road of less drama.

As much as you will hate to miss the best parties and shows,DON'T GO if you know he's going to be there.
If there's something you really really really want to do , consider calmly asking him if he can give you the space to go there and not see him. If he says no, don't worry about it, just stay home and jerk off or make long distance phone calls .

You can keep your same friends, but do things with them separately.
Take Charge!
Have a clothing exchange party, a potluck, a movie night. INVITE THEM OVER TO WATCH TOP MODEL.
Make everybody dinner (i shouldn't have to say this, but DON'T INVITE YOUR EX ) and practice using ESP on each other.

Reach out to your closest few friends and tell them that you really need their support right now, that you're feeling a little nuts about your ex, and that you need opportunities to hang out with them without him.

You're not boarding a train of hatred for him or his dates, he's not doing anything wrong, you're just carving out a new life for yourself that is not so slogged down with the past.

Good luck.

P.s. As quoted from 90210: The best cure for a breakup is a Hookup. Consider.

Dear Smartest Girl in the U.S. of A.,
I am looking for a fake ID. I recently moved to a larger city where most of the nightlife is 21+ only. Not that I don't enjoy what is offered to all ages crowds, but sometimes it feels just terrible to be stuck at home when my favorite band is playing down the street- age and a bouncer being the only barrier. Any tips? Thanks!

Dear Young-un,

I feel your pain. When i moved to Portland i was 19. I started dating someone older than myself, and was beyond embarrassed as I was escorted out of food establishments and theater pubs in front of my date and their friends for being underage.
I would have liked to enjoy a taco at ten p.m., or a movie for three dollars.
I had no fake I.D.

Wait, I had a really awful fake I.D. when i was a teenager in Kansas.

I used it to get into The Bottleneck to see Possum Dixon when i was 17 (you had to be 18), HOWEVER, when i tried the following week to see Sleater Kinney and Built To Spill at the same venue, my i.d. was taken and i was stranded , as my of-age friends were already inside and were my ride home (45 minutes away). I sat with other woe-begotten teenagers at the back door behind the stage, cursing the doorman and not seeing the band, but seeing the audience and they mouthed "This is the best show EVER!" and danced their aged faces off.

Here's what i'm saying:
We've all been through it.
I can't advocate using a fake I.D.
I work with kids, for goodness sakes, and fake I.D.s are illegal.

Maybe the years that separate you from 21 will fill you with enough rage at the injustice of it that you will take up the torch for all ages shows even when you are allowed to become a bar fly yourself, and you will open the most bitchin venue that your town has ever seen.

In the meantime, get into your local music scene and go to house shows. There are always amazing punkers playing downstairs or in the garage, you just have to find them.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Economy, Portland,Bisexuality, Blah Blah Blah

Dear Ms. Nicole,
So I've started this new job. The girl that trained me openly told me
she was bi three days into us knowing each other. I found her
attractive but didn't want to act on it. Now her friend has started to
hit on me. And I've seen her at the bar a couple times. Unfortunately,
I'm not attracted to her. As the month has gone by I have been more 'in
to' girl #1. I have only been with 1 other girl a year ago so I'm not
familiar with hitting on girls. The only thing she really does is
comments how large my breasts are and that she likes them, so I don't
even know if she's interested. What do you suggest I do to let her know
I'm interested?
Bi and Curious,

Dear BC,

Keep shutting her friend down (because you know that sleeping with the friend will eliminate your chances with #1),and get bold with your crush. Just get it out of the way. Say "Would you like to get a drink with me after work?" and maybe wiggle your eyebrows or otherwise let her know that you mean "A drink. Just the two of us". When you get there, BUY her the drink and do things to denote that this is a date. Try to flirt openly, see how it goes, and if she shuts you down, so be it.
Get back to work.

p.s. You may wonder if this is completely unprofessional, asking this woman on a date. It is, but i sort of think that her commenting on your chest and outing herself as bi on the FIRST DAY negate standard professional protocol.

Dear Nicole,

Last week I was fired from my job. My managers arranged a meeting and pulled out my Spring Break zine I had wrote last year that had some funny little anecdotes about the customers at my ex-place of business. This zine was a part of your Spring Break project. They thought it was offensive and canned me.
I had never before considered the ethical backlash of being an independent publisher of zines because I always figured no one would read my zines anyway. My question is: are there ethical standards for zines? Would you advise never to write about ones place of business? How ought ones writing being censored if one desires to "put it all out there?" I notice you use different names for your friends and draw carrots for people you don't like. What other ethical policies do you adhere to?
TMI in Tennessee

Dear TMI,

I can't believe you got fired for a zine.
I am so, SO sorry.

I noticed in your original letter, you signed your real name. That is your first problem. You need to stop using your real name in public forums!
If i had it to do over again, I would never have used my real name for any of my zines.
With that said, here are
My ethical standards for zines (All learned the hard way!):
Never use people's real names
Do not mention your place of business by name
Don't use your zine as a sounding board for how much you hate a certain person (like, during a break up).

Keep your friends and keep your job by following the Georges Method!

Oh, Nicole,

So I know the economy is totally crashing and burning right now, but in a massive stroke of luck I just got a job which offers a pretty serious adult salary. I was pretty psyched until I realized that everyone else I know is in danger of losing their job, has lost their job, or can't find a job to save their lives. So instead of psyched, I'm feeling serious survivor's guilt. I can't even ask any of my friends to go out for dinner with me because they are all broke and refuse to let me pay.

What do I do? I feel really bad about feeling good.

Dear Overwhelmed in Illinois,

The only thing you can do is take care of number one and keep trucking.
You deserve the good things that are coming into your life, and should take a moment for gratitude in the place of survivor's guilt.
Guilt won't help anyone.

Make dates with your friends that they can afford.
Offer to split something at a restaurant,or go out for burritos. Offer to make dinner together or go to the dollar theater. Surprise a broke friend sometimes by paying for their movie ticket, but don't make it a habit.

Good Luck, and congratulations on your newfound fortune!

Dear Nicole,
How can i convince my creative, liberal friends that they shouldn't move to Portland? if everyone who makes a difference in their community moves to Portland to be with "like-minded" folk, what good does that do?
and why do these people have such a problem being around others who aren't exactly like them in their city/state of origin? thanks!
Shoulder Chip

Dear Chip,
It's fine if your friends want to move to Portland. In Portland, they can finally rest easy knowing that if they want to see something radical, they don't have to be the one organizing it. They can relax as a participant, knowing that the good fight is being waged somewhere with or without their micromanagement.

As much as I understand the want for keeping radical people close to you, I also understand that it is very stressful to be one of only a handful of a certain subculture. It feels really really nice to find your pack, and unfortunate for our smaller city friends, sometimes Portland is the landscape in which the liberal pack thrives.

If they move away from your community, they will only be leaving a legacy and room for growth, in which new people will step up and take on the cause.

Don't stress out so much!

In a larger city, your friends can grow up a little and decide if its for them. if there was something nourishing their soul about their place of origin, they'll return. I'll tell you one thing, though, flies to honey my friend. If you're as bitter when they visit as you are in your letter, you may find the trips home few and far between.