Straddler On The Street: Vanessa

HELLO, CRUSHMONSTERS! It’s the one-year anniversary of Straddler On The Street! That means Vanessa has crushingly, lovingly interviewed 52 of you weirdos. It’s quite an occasion, so we figured we’d do something a little different to celebrate. Back in October, everyone’s favorite commenter duo, Cat and Kathryn, came to visit Boston. They somehow got Vanessa into an Irish pub, where they revealed their hidden plan: they had brought along bribes, a tape recording app, and some hilarious interview questions. They wanted to ‘straddle the ‘straddliest ‘straddler of all — and they succeeded. The results speak for themselves, so I’ll let them take it from here. – Cara

Header by Rory Midhani


Straddler On The Street: Vanessa, 24

by Catjay and Kathryn

Okay queermos, prepare to have your hearts explode with the burning love of 80000000 suns, because today we present you with an interview of epically amazing proportions. We cornered Autostraddle’s very own Vanessa and bribed her with sweets, alcohol and our undying love to reveal her innermost self to us.

When we visited Boston we took Vanessa to an Irish pub, bought her beer, laid out ten Cury Wurly chocolate bars on our table, and told her we were going to interview her. For each question she hesitated on or refused to answer, a Curly Wurly was removed! This is groundbreaking journalism at its finest.

Sit back Straddlepants, bring some snacks and get comfy because you are about to find out just how funny, adorable and drunk Vanessa is in real life.

Vanessa at A-Camp in a floral print dress

Vanessa at A-Camp in a floral print dress

Vanessa, what are you doing with your life?

I’m currently living the dream. I quit my job and moved out of Brooklyn and moved back home with my parents and my younger brother just outside of Boston. I will be traveling and WWOOFing come January and I am just trying to figure it all out.

[Lifting a question] from everyone’s favorite dating website, what are six things you couldn’t do without?

Autostraddle, my phone, the internet, my friends, sex or masturbation and orgasms, and writing.

What’s your favorite book? TV show? Movie?

Book: The Good People of New York by Thisbe Nissen. TV show: True BloodWait, no, BUFFY! I really like vampires, especially when they’re gay. I hate movies, but I like My Girl. I also like Grease 2 better than Grease.

What do you spend a lot of time thinking about?

I think about how I can make the world a better place, and also why people are so awful.

I have these spirals where I think about how I can lose weight, and then I think about why I care about losing weight, and then I think about why the world is so fucking awful and I think about why I buy into it, and I think about all the people who aren’t buying into it and then I kind of feel bad about myself but then I’m like NO! You’re doing the fucking best you can. And then I’m back to square one.

I think about what I’m going to do. And how important it is to be good to yourself versus trying to contribute to society. I think about all the people I care about and how I can do good things for them. And then I think about how I treat the people I care about and making sure I’m treating everyone in a way that’s good. Those are some of the things I think about.


I also think about floral print and what dresses I should buy.


Vanessa and Mey being floral print friends at A-Camp 3.0

How did you discover Autostraddle?

I discovered Autostraddle through Riese’s blog on Gawker and then I discovered I was gay! A few things happened in between, including the Taylor Swift post, but that’s pretty much how it went down.

What’s your karaoke song?

I don’t have one.

[Cat takes away one Curly Wurly.]

Noooooo! Ok, I’m really good at singing Ani DiFranco. I feel like any of her songs I could easily make into a karaoke song. [The Curly Wurly is returned.]

Who is your celebrity crush?

Jennifer Lawrence and Mary Kate Olsen.

What’s your favorite thing to cook?

I make a really good stir fry and I really like making grilled cheese. I also like making baked goods that will impress girls.

What’s your preferred type of underwear?

Remember when we did Underwear Week? I’m the only person who didn’t contribute anything because I’m really boring and I’ve been buying the same pair of bikini briefs from Victoria Secrets since I was ten. Boy briefs – not really for me. Thongs — super uncomfortable. Lacy underwear — also really uncomfortable, though sometimes I wear it to be impressive… but then I’m immediately like, “Take this shit off me right now!” So yeah, Victoria Secrets bikini briefs. I like getting floral print patterns, obviously, so I try to underwear shop in spring.


How Lezza IS Vanessa?

We like to call the following part of the interview “How Lezza Is Vanessa.” Do you own a cat?

No, I’m really allergic to cats.

Do you own power tools?


Are you sure you’re gay?


How do you feel about the patriarchy?

I really don’t like it and I hate men.

Do you like women?


In any given five minute period of each day, approximately how many feelings do you experience?

I guess like every minute I feel about seven million, so what is seven million times five? Thirty-five million? So approximately 35 million, but sometimes it’s higher. It depends who I’m talking to or what is happening. Like earlier today, my girlfriend did something cute, and I felt like my heart grew eight sizes bigger, so I was probably experiencing more than 35 million feelings within that specific five minute period.


Another scenario in which more feelings than average were experienced

Do you like musicals?

Yes! I really like Tick Tick Boom, which is small and underrated. I also like Once.

Do you love Ellen DeGeneres?


It’s now time for the “Have You Ever” section. Have you ever fallen asleep at work?

No. Unless you count falling asleep at my laptop at 4am while writing Autostraddle articles, in which case yes, frequently.

Have you ever stolen anything?

Yeah! So, when I was little and I was visiting New York with my mom, we went to the MoMA Design Store and they had those free New York maps everywhere and then I saw this beautiful map, I mean it was amazing, and I thought, “This will take us everywhere, and it’s free!” So I put it in my bag and we walked out of the store and my mom was like, “Where do you want to go?” and I said, “Well I have this amazing map!…” and then we both saw the price tag and it was like, twenty five dollars! A lot of the maps were free, but that one wasn’t! But come on, twenty five dollars?! It was a map! A fucking map!


Tiny thieving Vanessa

Have you ever gone more than five days without taking a shower?

Yeah, obviously! First of all, I used to go camping a lot. Second of all, showering is such a fucking chore. Third of all, who cares?

Have you ever really read any of the articles on NSFW Lesbosexy Sunday or do you just look at the pictures like the rest of us?

Occasionally I read the articles, and I recently read this one that really spoke to me about different kinds of orgasms you can have and learned so much about myself! I am being sincere.

“Would You Ever” is the next section, Vanessa. Would you ever agree to being cloned?

No! I have no interest in somebody just like me running around, then everybody would tell them their feelings and not me and I would get really upset and jealous. And mad.

But what if you could, like, offload some of the feelings?

No, I like all my feelings, I want them all, FUCK OFF, CLONE!

Ok, we’re gonna go on to “Would You Rather.” Would you rather: Tegan or Sara?

Tegan ’cause she’s hotter.

Would you rather have legs as long as your fingers or fingers as long as your legs?

I think legs as long as my fingers… for sexual purposes. I think if I had fingers as long as my legs they’d be too big for people.

Would you rather be a giant duck, or a miniature elephant?

Miniature elephant.

Wrong answer! That is so fucking impractical! How long would it take you to do anything?!

You would be a small elephant, what would you even be doing? Sleeping, drinking water, having lots of sex hopefully because duh, and being a matriarch because elephants are one of the only animal groups where the woman is in charge. If you’re a giant fucking duck, you’re terrifying, everybody is afraid of you, you’d need so much bread to eat to be full.

You’d get all the tiny elephants to do things for you! Like, get me some bread, bitch!

I mean, sometimes I’m really into taking on the submissive role, so I would do that for a giant duck.


Winning and also flaunting it

Well, I’ll allow that answer, even though it’s wrong. Ok, would you rather: Piper or Alex? And why?

ALEX. I think Alex is hotter, objectively, and I also am more attracted to her persona. Piper is so entitled. And LARRY?! Really? Really Piper, Larry?!

Emily or Paige?

I don’t watch Pretty Little Liars, but I think the answer’s Paige. She’s the hot tomboyish one, right? Yeah, Paige.

Would you rather: be 4’5″ or 7’7″?

4’5″. I really like being short, it’s a big part of my identity. It would be really hard being tall.

Would you rather: fart popcorn or have your past and future web history available for everyone?

FART POPCORN. Fart popcorn forever! I would fart popcorn, and then I would eat that popcorn if I could avoid the second option. I just wanna make it clear how very much I am NOT choosing the other option.

Noted. Okay let’s finish up with some more serious questions. When did you come out?

When I was 19 I told a lot of people I liked a girl and I didn’t know what that meant, but that I was exploring it, and from then on it’s sort of been an ongoing journey.

How did your friends and family react?

My family had a mixed reaction. And my friends… I don’t think my friends really believed me, but I think a lot of my friends who didn’t believe me four years ago believe me more now. I think a lot of people just thought it was a phase at the time.

Do you have any advice for anyone who reads Autostraddle who is struggling with their identity? What would you say to them?

Honestly, it feels self important to be like, “here’s my advice,” because what do I know… but whatever, fuck it, here’s my advice. I think as a world, we get really fixated on this idea that we’re all supposed to “find ourselves” and then you “find yourself” and then there you are, but that’s not how it works. I think a lot of people are scared that if they’ve committed to something in the past or if they commit to something now, they’re committing to it forever, but it would be really fucking boring if we found ourselves and then just were that person forever. That would be awful, honestly.

So I guess I hope that one day we can live in a world where people feel safe to try out whatever they’re doing, where if you date a girl now, and you break up and never date a girl again, that’s okay, and also if you only ever date girls again, that’s okay, and also anything in between. I think that a lot of people freak out so much about what they are, but what if we lived in a place where it didn’t matter, and you could just go for it, and you could just try to be your own person and try your best to be a good person and be nice to people?

We don’t live in that world yet, but we can all allow ourselves to take on that mindset. We don’t have to figure out our identity in a day or a week or even ever at all. We just have to be ourselves every day and see what happens. I guess that’s my number one piece of advice. Just go for it. Try your best to be an authentic version of yourself every day and fuck everything else.


You Do You, basically.

We’ll end with the same question that you always end with. Is there anything else you’d like to say to the AS community?

I would like to say that it is going to be really difficult to live up to Cat and Kathryn, because they got me drunk, they brought me Curly Wurly chocolate bars, they interviewed me which was very exciting and made me feel very special, and they’re so cute! They’re so cute in person you guys, so fucking cute. I wish I could meet all the commenters in person.

And also also also I would like to say that I love you all, every single one of you, more than I even love Curly Wurlys, which is a whole lot. Thank you for letting me interview you for this column for a whole year! I love you.

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!

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Cara is a former contributing editor for Autostraddle and a current staff writer at Atlas Obscura. She lives in Somerville with her girlfriend, their roommate, and a cat who can flush the toilet, and is generally thinking about gender, sustainable biodiversity, and/or rock & roll music. You can follow her on twitter @cjgiaimo if you want.

Cara has written 113 articles for us.


  1. in my cold-caused daze, when I saw the title of this article pop on twitter, a voice in my head went “this is it. Vanessa has reached the pinnacle of straddler on the street and successfully interviewed herself. there is nothing left to be done.” I’m going to go hunt down some cold medicine.

    (and yeah, the actual interview is about 10x better than what my imagination inferred from the title. Bless all these answers. also, “Emily or Paige?” is officially my fave X or Y question now)

  2. We don’t have to figure out our identity in a day or a week or even ever at all. We just have to be ourselves every day and see what happens.

    • This is my favorite thing ever. I love Vanessa and her floral prints and her winning personality (I love that phrase) and her smile and awesome advice. Plus she’s cute too. Yay Vanessa!! Yay one year of staddler on the street

  3. I am having approx. 35 million feelings about this interview right now and they all come in different shades of glitter!

  4. I love this so much. Especially hearing what Vanessa thinks about, because she’s such an honestly good, thoughtful, caring, authentic, vulnerable, wonderful person it’s hard to believe sometimes.

    Also: It’s Emily, Vanessa! Emily is the hot tomboyish one, not Paige.

      • well clearly i should have been watching PLL this whole time then.

        (also thank you for your super sweet words. i have been blushing since 8am and it’s still going strong.)

  5. This is the best thing and I am having a lot of feelings about the use of Curly Wurly bars as bribery tools, the entire duck/elephant exchange, and Vanessa’s general awesomeness.

  6. Happy First Anniversary, and thank you thank you thank you for shining such a warm and glittery spotlight on the community!

  7. I feel closer to Vanessa now because I frequently go five days without a shower because A) It takes too long, B) It’s freaking cold in Western NY much of the time and I can’t be walking around with wet hair, and C) Really, who cares? Clean is for squares.

      • I literally jumped for joy at these comments too! I HATE showers bc they take too fucking long and seriously I have better thing to do! Plus I have super long hair and it takes like a bajillion hours to dry. Yay friends!

  8. I think my heart is 8 times larger just from reading this. Vanessa, thank you for the advice, the feelings, the floral print, and the past year of Straddler on the Street!

    Also Catjay and Kathryn, you rock!

  9. Now all I can think about is a tiny elephant farting popcorn. Truly the spirit animal of our generation.

  10. So I loved you before I started commenting cause I thought you were precious, then you posted about Grease 2 and I loved you even more, then you go and say tiny elephant. If being a tiny elephant is wrong, I don’t want to be right. /FEELINGS.

  11. So, first of all: squeeeeeeeee! Such an adorable interview. But I had to go look up Curly Wurly bars because I didn’t know what they are, and they look AMAZING. And also like we don’t have them in the States.

    What a cruel, cruel world we live in.

    • We might not have Curly Wurly bars in the US….but I just heard that Vanessa may or may not be in possession of ten of them.

      Do with that information as you will.

      • i have to tragically emphasize the “MAY NOT” part of that sentence, because in fact as it turns out if you give vanessa and cara 10 curly wurlys, they will eat 5 of them on the spot at the irish bar, and THEN it turns out that if you leave the remaining 5 curly wurlys in cara’s bedroom with a cute note that says “hi babe don’t eat these without me” she will IGNORE YOU and will in fact EAT ALL FIVE REMAINING CURLY WURLYS BY HERSELF.

        i mean then she will feel super bad and go to 7-11 and buy more curly wurlys, because the 7-11 in jamaica plain inexplicably stocks a lot of candy from overseas including the elusive curly wurly, but still.

        • also i don’t know why i felt like i needed to talk in third person to get my point across in this comment. probably because i am still so sad about cara’s betrayal that i can’t think clearly.

  12. “I think that a lot of people freak out so much about what they are, but what if we lived in a place where it didn’t matter, and you could just go for it, and you could just try to be your own person and try your best to be a good person and be nice to people?”
    Yes, this so much.

    Also, I’m sooooo relieved that I’m not the only one who just look at the pictures on the NSFW articles.

    And, tiny elephants FTW <3

  13. I was having an awful morning, but then I found this article and now I am having THE BEST morning. You are the most amazing human being and I love you and all I want right now(and always) is to cuddle with you and talk about feelings.

  14. Thank you for understanding that showering is a chore, I feel the same way. Sometimes I just don’t have the energy for it; I want to reserve my energy for more awesome things, you know?

  15. I’m kinda sad I read this so early in the morning because I know the rest of my day will not be nearly half as great as reading this article. This is beautiful.

  16. THIS:

    “I have these spirals where I think about how I can lose weight, and then I think about why I care about losing weight, and then I think about why the world is so fucking awful and I think about why I buy into it, and I think about all the people who aren’t buying into it and then I kind of feel bad about myself but then I’m like NO! You’re doing the fucking best you can. And then I’m back to square one.”

    So much this. I think this is what it can mean to be a feminist (any gender/s) in this world. It pisses me off. But I am so grateful for your honesty. I go through similar cycles, and I would consider myself a pretty confident person, but it’s totally a thing.

    • yeah! i’m so glad this resonated with someone else. i am definitely confident but the weight/shame spiral is such a real thing and i am always trying to break it/figure out what the heck is going on there. we all just have to keep doing our best when it comes to loving ourselves and also being gentle and forgiving of ourselves, i guess. or at least that’s the answer i’ve got for now…

      • Yeah… I’ve actually been working on it in therapy. So this really spoke to me too. I’m trying to pay attention to what foods make my body unhappy. Like, when I eat fried foods, my body cries in protest. So I’m trying not to do that anymore. Maybe one day I’ll exercise – I know my body really does like that.

  17. 1. What you said about identity was beautiful and tugged at my heartstrings.
    2. I thoroughly appreciate how much thought you put into the giant duck/tiny elephant question.
    3. This article gave me approximately 35 million feelings and most of them were rooted in either I LOVE YOU or I MISS YOU.

    You da oneeee

  18. The sigil of house Vanessa would be a tiny elephant on a floral print background.

    Also this:
    “Just go for it. Try your best to be an authentic version of yourself every day and fuck everything else.”
    This is the best!

    Your house words would be “Just go for it”

    • If only it was appropriate for my class motto to swear… Probably not ideal wording for the little ones, but the sentiment behind it is spot on.

      “Just go for it. Try your best to be an authentic version of yourself every day and fuck everything else.”

  19. OH MY GOD I love Vanessa. SO much. LIKE SO MUCH YOU GUYS. She’s the cutest and the best and I love her talking about how people get so caught up in what they are when we should just go for it and be whatever the fuck we want to be.

  20. Vanessa!!!

    You are amazing and I love you and I love that I can call you a friend, and send you long feelings-laden Facebook messages sometimes….and I can’t even process all the feelings I have right now, but if I could give you all the curly wurlys in the world I would.

    I really would.

    Also, I’m still waiting on the Vanessa’s Guide to Crushes.

    • emily i am SO grateful to have met you at camp and so pleased you are a human who exists in my life and who i can call a friend, too! and if you gave me all the curly wurlys in the world i would share them with you, fyi. really and truly.

      but also i don’t remember what my guide to crushes was supposed to be about so now i feel a tad confused but hopeful and excited too because you know how i feel about crushes…

      (i feel really really good about crushes.)

  21. What a sweetheart! This one was fantastic, you are a lovely person Vanessa! I really loved the part about not worrying about committing to something ‘forever’. At least for me, I would have had an easier time figuring things out if I didn’t have to fret so much over the finality of things, which doesn’t even need to happen. Thanks Vanessa!

  22. why are you so goshdarn cute vanessa? it should be outlawed.

    but ick i do not like curly wurlys. aimee tried to force them on me just like she tried to force what passes for pudding on the other side of the pond and i cannot.

  23. Woah. Curly Wurlies are new to me. This seems like something I should investigate further.

    And definite agree on the tiny elephants.

  24. Now I want to meet Vanessa even more than I did before. And obviously tiny elephant is the right choice (though of course You Do You, giant duck folks).

  25. Tiny elephant! Can you imagine the cute noises a tiny elephant would make?

    This was a very cute interview.

  26. This may be the cutest thing to ever happen!

    Also, mini elephant is obviously the correct answer. When i was a kid all I wanted was a pet house hippo (and by “when I was a kid” I mean like last week) even though the commercial kept trying to tell me they aren’t real. So.

  27. “Tegan ’cause she’s hotter.” Okay, first of all, how dare you? (My unbridled love for Sara is showing)

    • hahahaha i was waiting for the sara lovers to come yell at me! it’s okay, it is better this way because i can go for tegan and you can go for sara…right?

  28. I’m finding the overwhelming support of the tiny elephant choice highly problematic.

    As a giant duck you can go on a total RAMPAGE and flatten the patriarchy. As a tiny elephant, what are you gonna do? Stand there and “cute” the patriarchy into submission? I don’t think so. Also a miniature elephant would probably choke on peanuts. A giant duck would only choke on SKYSCRAPERS.

    Aside from this oversight, Vanessa is clearly flawless, as is this whole interview.

  29. would it be weird if i got a t-shirt made that said vanessa and had a drawing of a tiny elephant? because i want that t-shirt now.

  30. i just got here, but yyyyyup Vanessa you are adorable. is it okay for me to say that? or is it weird, considering that i just got here?

    i’m glad i’m not the only one who experiences a bajillion feelings all at once. and not the only one who’s ever wanted tiny pocket elephants. because, aaa, tiny pocket elephants. (with floral dresses? or maybe just scarves)

  31. this was all sorts of wonderful

    also, i was highly entertained by that picture of us making an appearing

  32. Oh my god Vanessa you are the most perfect person ever and CLEARLY tiny elephant is the superior choice. They’d make little sounds like “noot noot” and hang out on your shoulder and cuddle on your feet at night. Where is my tiny elephant

  33. LOVE!!!!!!!

    Also I am glad that you got to say that Mary Kate Olsen is your celebrity crush bc I was upset that that admission was redacted from when you interviewed me.

  34. Vanessa, I have 35,000,001 feelings about this. YOU’RE THE CUTEST AND THE DEEPEST CRITTER EVAAARRRRR!!! <3 Also, A+ on the Curly Wurly bribes. Hard-hitting journalism indeed.

  35. Whenever I see pictures of Vanessa in floral, I just get the urge to spend hours online looking for the perfect floral dresses

    I have an etsy problem I think.

  36. Tick Tick Boom is really underrated, you are so correct! And basically we have so much in common and should definitely hang out IRL someday. Thanks for making me feel better about also “living the dream” and moving back home after quitting a job and leaving another life. <3

  37. Happy Aniversary. May this be the first of many! This is my favourite column because it gives me the chance to read about some really diverse and interesting people! I feel like if I ever make it to A-camp it’s gonna be like “Straddler on the Street 3D” and that gives me hope! :-)

    • It is totally like Straddler on the Street 3D. Exactly.

      And that is a really fun thing. It is an extremely hopeful place!!

  38. You’re so adorable I just can’t. Also this..

    I think that a lot of people freak out so much about what they are, but what if we lived in a place where it didn’t matter, and you could just go for it, and you could just try to be your own person and try your best to be a good person and be nice to people?


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