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.
I send her a lot from the “Things I Read That I Love” series and also anything that has to do with parents of queers.
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!
The question about Autostraddle playing a role in her coming out made me laugh as I recalled how this site was the reason I came out due to my mom somehow finding my profile on it, browsing the site – and putting together the pieces. She promptly came knocking on my door crying (“Tegan & Sara are LESBIANS?! What L word are they referring to!? ANSWER ME!”), which made it easier for me as I basically waited until the end of her questions and responded with “…yes.”
Am I the only one who gets really peeved when people want to have a romp near the poverty line? Am I supposed to find it flattering that my inability to pay for groceries is something others want to emulate in their romanticized version of what it’s like living in Brooklyn?
I’m so effing sick of hearing people talk about how they’re going to take a year out of their lovely privileged life to see what it’s like on the other side, the side where we will continue to live after you’ve come to realize that there’s nothing fun about actually starving to pay for this city life. I love Brooklyn but damn, the people it attracts just make me insane!
I agree, people always seem to forget that Hannah Horvath is supported by her parents and that whole show is about rich people pretending to be poor. It is so annoying.
If I were you, I wouldn’t comment about my privilege without knowing exactly where I come from. I was raised by a single mother who couldn’t necessarily afford to raise me and my brother in the affluent community we lived in. She spent every penny she had raising us in a community that would give us opportunities and experiences that would help us later in life. We spent a great deal of my adolescence living near the poverty line. I know what it’s like, and I know it isn’t fun. I am only able to go to the school I go to because I work several jobs, have taken out loans, and have earned scholarships. And when I do graduate and move to Brooklyn, I will be supporting myself while trying to make it in a field that few succeed in. So let’s not make assumptions, boo.
I think this was less about judging your personal privilege as much as the general and naiveté and set of associations that comes with the usage of the phrase “starving artist” as a desired lifestyle. I wish you success in being an artist, just hope you won’t be starving while you’re at it :)
Logged in so I could vote for this. Yeah, it’s annoying when people who have never experienced poverty romanticize it, but a lot of us starving artists were starving first. Don’t be so quick to judge. It’s one of my pet peeves that people saddle young people with any artistic ambitions as automatically naive, romantic, or worse, privileged, lazy & condescending. In an economy where everyone in every profession is struggling (unless they have a trust fund), this kind of thinking is just as irrelevant as it is toxic. Anyway, someone’s gonna be the next great American writer. Why not Maile? If it doesn’t work out I’m sure she can figure things out on her own.
You’re a writer. Words are your medium, yet you choose ones that display a sense of insensitivity for those of us who didn’t choose this lifestyle and don’t have the means to pull ourselves out of it.
“I’m going to take a year to try out the whole starving artist gig…If writing doesn’t work out, then I want to go to law school and eventually be a literary agent.” Do those sentences not convey a sense of privilege? I’m happy you had a mother to support and nurture you on your path to becoming a writer. I’m glad that you were able to earn scholarships based on your merit, be able to work several jobs, and be in a position to qualify for loans. But that doesn’t negate the fact that the position you hold is still one of privilege.
Since I know nothing about you, only what’s written in this article my original comment was less about your personal privilege and more about the way you addressed your desired lifestyle; Gisela worded it perfectly in one of the later comments “I think this was less about judging your personal privilege as much as the general and naiveté and set of associations that comes with the usage of the phrase “starving artist” as a desired lifestyle. I wish you success in being an artist, just hope you won’t be starving while you’re at it”.
I too wish you success and happiness in whatever you choose to pursue, but when I logged onto Autostraddle this morning trying to distract myself from not being able to have breakfast the last thing I wanted to read was a comment about how your dream was to move to NYC and “try out the whole starving artist gig”…
Maile, I definitely thought you said that you spent your alone time writing slash, reading slash, and going to the gym. Clearly I’ve spent too much time in fanfic circles.
Wow. . . I didn’t get that there aren’t any commas until you pointed it out. Guilty x2.
Oh god so did I! I had to actually scroll back up like ‘wait that’s not what she said?’ /o\ Too much time in fandom indeed…
no that’s my fault re: editing! i like writing things out when i transcribe interviews, because when one speaks one does not make a / noise, ya know, but i didn’t even think how it could be confusing! this made me giggle though so i think it is okay ;)
“Autostraddle really helped to root me in the queer female community!” and sending your mom articles- yes, yes, yes, yes.
I was all- “queer, what is queer? Wait- I AM QUEER?!” and then “MOM, I AM QUEER”
And lastly- hey girl, heyyy. You work that selfie OUT. Unf.
Autostraddle has helped me adopt the term “queer” when I felt the term “gay” was lacking for all the reasons relative to me (you do you!).
Explaining it to my mother was hilarious because my mother said simply after a 5 minute speech on my end about my feelings of the whole lesbigay-queerness was, “If you tried really hard people won’t think you are odd, in fact you can be quite likable, like Ellen!”
EVERYONE IS SO GOOD LOOKING, MY SWEET UNICORN GOD! THE CALENDAR, STRADDLER ON THE STREET, THE STAFF, YEEEESSSS!!!
Speaking as a college freshman myself… Autostraddle has definitely helped root me in the queer female community. I’ve only discovered it recently, but it was also love at first click. The kind of squee!-I-have-found-my-people love at first click. So I get this girl. :)
My girlfriend’s sister goes to Bard! Y’all should definitely meet up!!
All of those poets. Szymborska is the bossiest Polish poet, I love her. Bukowski, pulls all the hearts out , high-fives them, and talks about how terrible Mickey Mouse is over a twelve-pack of beer. Audre oh-my-Lorde! I taught a course in queer poets/poetry in March at a local publishing house and fell in love with her all over again.
Also, I highly recommend “Bukowski: Born Into This.” It’s on Netflix, and is such a nice insight to his life and works.
Can we just talk about poetry forever? Can we?
I will talk about poetry with anyone forever.
(gorgeous name by the way)
have you heard of Marie Howe.. there’s an amazing segment on NPR with her that had me in years.. she’s also super sweet.. I emailed her telling her she made me feel and she wrote back thanking me..
anyways check her out.. and check my blog if you’re interested in exploring articles on women’s physical appearance and power. blog.daniellesonnenberg.com
cheers and good luck! go for it!
“Practicing” is one of my most favourite poems ever! Have you read any Leslie Scalapino? Do it do it do it.
Okay. You sent a wisdom tooth to Ke-$-Ha? You need to elaborate on that story.
haha when i first read this comment i was beating myself up for being a bad interviewer and not following up on that statement, BUT THEN i realized i’m just a regular ol’ weirdo because i didn’t even think it was a weird thing to do. WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT ME?
maile is so cool you guys. just fyi. now seems like a good time to throw that in here!
I read one time that someone sent Ke$ha their teeth and she made them into necklaces. WAS THAT YOU OR IS THAT A THING PEOPLE DO FOR KE$HA?!?
THAT WAS ME! Other fans followed. It was kind of a post-wisdom tooth surgery/possibly still woozy idea. No regrets.
I really want to high five you.
ok, so I’m sort of in love
Me too ^ :)
Maile, I feel like I need to have a stern talking to your friends. That photo so doesn’t constitute any teasing of any kind.
Hey girl hey definitely!
“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.”
Marry me? Or at least come along and speak at my University.
get it gurl! i’m glad to see this on AS because it’s important to remember that we can be socially conscious badass queer activists who also love ke$ha. those things are not mutually exclusive but sometimes people act like they need to be.