Hi crush monsters, this is Straddler On The Street, a feature where I celebrate all of you incredible Autostraddle readers by hunting you down, demanding you chat with me, and then writing about you on the Internet so we can all crush on you. Get excited, because butterflies in your stomach 24/7 is a fantastic way to live.
Header by Rory Midhani
Straddler On The Street: Maile, 20
Maile (we’ll get to the pronunciation in a moment!) is a liberal arts student at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. Hailing from Chappaqua, NY, she says she’s “partial to Cherry Chapstick, playing hooky, pop music, bikram yoga, Soul Cycle, rhinestones, post-modern literature, and feminist theory.”
She first stole my heart when she said she’s been reading Autostraddle since she was “a wee closeted baby dyke” and she won me over when she told me she “continues to be a diehard fan.” What can I say, I’m predictable. Now let’s meet Maile!
Hi! Okay, so, embarrassing question first. How do I pronounce your name?
Haha, I figured that one was coming. It’s pronounced like Miley. I would like to say though that I was born one month and twelve days before Ms. Cyrus.
So you are the Original.
Yes. My parents should have had that one trademarked!
Ha! I spend a fair amount of time hoping Ms. Cyrus is gay.
I’m waiting for the day she comes out of the closet. It’s only a matter of time, I think.
THANK YOU! I am so glad you feel me on this.
Oh, totally. One hundred percent.
YES! So you are a student at Bard College. Do you like it?
It’s beautiful and perfect and I can’t believe I only have 2.5 more semesters there.
Are you already thinking about what you’d like to do come graduation or is that an awful and cruel question on my part?
Not at all! I’m a written arts major so, you know, the job market is going to open right up for me… right? Hopefully? A girl can dream… I’m going to take a year to try out the whole starving artist gig. Hopefully my senior project will turn into something that I can send to a publisher or two. I also started writing a screenplay, so we’ll see what happens with that. If writing doesn’t work out, then I want to go to law school and eventually be a literary agent.
Wow okay I definitely don’t feel bad for asking now, you sound more together than I am, and I graduated two and a half years ago. Do you wanna move to do the whole starving artist thing or are you going to stay put?
Chappaqua is a very arts-heavy community and I was extremely lucky to have been raised here and to have gone to a school that really valued the arts, but I think that I’ll end up moving to NYC. I hope that’s not too Hannah Horvath of me.
I mean I live in Brooklyn and I’m a writer so if either one of us is guilty of that… Anyway! You’re studying poetry and gender. Can you tell me some of your favorite poets and theorists?
Oh man, I could talk about these things for hours. My favorite poet is Charles Bukowski, hands down. Also Audre Lourde, Tracy K. Smith, and someone recently turned me on to Wislawa Szymborska.
I’m not sure if I have any favorite gender theorists, but my two favorite books surrounding gender issues are Dude, You’re a Fag by C.J. Pascoe and Killing the Black Body by Dorothy Roberts. Pascoe is a sociologist and Roberts is actually a law professor.
On quite a different note, tell me about some of your favorite pop music!
OH MY GOD POP MUSIC. Sorry. Just so many feelings.
My favorite pop artist is Ke$ha. Since her album came out during my senior year [of high school] I’ve had this weird obsession with her. I actually sent her one of my wisdom teeth in the mail. I’ve seen her in concert five times. I’m such a fangirl. And then obviously Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, I’ve recently gotten really into Rihanna. Her new album gives me goosebumps.
Um, so this might be an overshare, but I kept my wisdom teeth and did a weird photography project with them that grossed out all my friends.
I just recently made a plaster cast of my entire mouth in my sculpture class. I like teeth, I guess.
Fair enough! What do you and your friends like to do for fun?
But actually, I feel like most of our plans revolve around what and where we’re eating. We also really enjoy arts and crafts, playing Cards Against Humanity, and shopping. So much shopping. When I’m home and can get into the city more easily I’m a total museum junkie. I try to see as much theater as possible, too.
What sort of stuff do you like to do in your alone time?
I try to get alone time at least once a day, and I usually spend it writing slash reading slash going to the gym.
Do you have any celeb crushes?
I have so so many, but lately I’ve been all about Kristen Wiig. I have crushes on anyone who can make me seriously laugh, and that woman is just so beautiful and smart and funny. I can’t even.
Do you have any go-to or must-have items of clothing?
I’ve been wearing the same pair of Frye boots since my freshman year of high school. They’ve kind of turned into “my thing” at school. I’m also a denim junkie. I have so many pairs of jeans, but my new favorites are the Blank NYC spray on skinny jeans. I have them in five colors. Also blazers. All of the blazers.
My goal in life is to find the perfect blazer! I didn’t know I needed one until Lizz told me so, but now I feel like I need a million. So far I have two, both from J. Crew.
The J. Crew schoolboy blazer is one of my favorites. I have it in grey and navy. I have this white BB Dakota blazer that I’m absolutely crazy about. I’m actually wearing it right now.
Ohhhh. I’m wearing pajamas right now! How did you discover Autostraddle?
Oh man… I think one of my friends sent me a link, way back when, to one of the calendar girl posts? It was love at first click.
Did Autostraddle play a role in your eventually coming out?
It did. I think reading Autostraddle really helped to root me in the queer female community. It was nice to read about culture through a queer lens without it having to be, like, “QUEER CULTURE,” you know? It was nice that anyone could read and relate to Autostraddle, not just lesbians. Like, I could send my mom articles from Autostraddle without it being awkward or alienating.
Did you slash do you send your mom articles from Autostraddle?! Because I will die of happiness if that’s true. But no pressure…
Oh, all of the time!
Oh my goodness, my heart is so happy right now.
Yay! I have just a couple more questions. What do you want to be when you grow up?
This is something that changes for me a lot. At this point in my life, things are really up in the air. Ideally, though, in five years I’ll have gotten some of my writing published and I’ll live in a little apartment in SoHo with matching silverware and a pug. I’m not sure I can decide what I want to do much past that. Thinking of my thirties and beyond makes me anxious.
Understandable. The SoHo pug situation sounds pretty perfect though!
Any situation with a pug is perfect.
Amen! Anything else you’d like to share with the Autostraddle community?
Yes. To the LGBTQ community in general, I just think it’s important that we remember that we’re a community as a whole. I feel like every sub-community has its own agenda and people get really caught up in that and we tend to forget the bigger picture. I think we need to remember, every once in a while, that we’re really not so different, and that we’re all working towards the same thing in the grand scheme of the LGBTQ rights movement.
If you would like to be featured as a future Straddler on the Street, please email vanessa [at] autostraddle [dot] com. Include a few photos, 3-5 sentences about yourself and put “Straddler Submission” in your subject line. Approximately a million people have submitted so far, so please be patient as Vanessa goes through her inbox — you’re all sexy with really smart brains, and don’t you forget it!