A-Camp Recap Day #2: The (Word) Limit Does Not Exist!


VIII. Marry the Night

Riese: After Formspring Friday I had about ten minutes free, which I used to lie on my bed and stare at the ceiling. Taylor came by looking for a beer and/or action, and I said I’m just being still, and she said, that sounds nice, so then we laid there together in silence for ten minutes being still before dinner. I mean I spend a lot of time indoors alone with my stuffed animal Tinkerbell, so this was a lot of talking.

eating (photo by taylor)

Brandy: (Pre-game) Julie and I decided to skip the smelly cafeteria, and just stay in our room. So we drank alcohol and ate Xanax for dinner.

Carly: Ever since basketball, my body pain level had been steadily rising from somewhere around a 2 to now roughly a 9, which seemed like something that Jameson could take care of. Over dinner I’d learned that I was going to be an exciting addition to Julie & Brandy’s Movie Game Show Extravaganza Eleganza, which was THRILLING. I had no idea what that entailed, however, so I left Lauren to filming and wandered over to Julie & Brandy’s cabin.

Brandy: Carly had agreed to be the scorekeeper/DJ for our game and we needed to go over everything. The meeting consisted of Carly sitting on the bed polishing off Riese’s left-over bottle of whiskey while teaching us how to play the Smash drinking game that Robin created. (In a nutshell- you drink whenever anyone is wearing a scarf, whenever Ellis is lurking, and whenever anyone says ‘what Marilyn would do’).

Carly: Sorry Riese! There wasn’t that much left anyway.

Julie prepares for the contest

Riese: Basically, their idea was that they’d ask a trivia question, and whomever got it wrong would be pelted with a super-soaker in the boobs or the vadge. It sounded like a PG-version of every moment of Dinah Shore, except with less skin, no alcohol (well, for the contestants, but I believe the hosts were eventually smashed) more trivia and the comedic stylings of Julie and Brandy. I knew we had a lot of serious shit going on and I agreed that it’d be fun to have something more sexy and funny for people who are into that, but where we celebrate actual queer women (not the gay-for-pays) and the beautiful spectrum of lesbian bodies. Like a grown-up version of Truth-or-Dare? Also, Brandy is obsessed with boobs, which is fascinating. Anyway, they did not disappoint!

julie and brandy with their supersoakers (photo by jess r)

Carly: My role was to keep score and play music any time they had to blast anyone with their Super Soakers. NO PROBLEM GUYS, I WAS BORN TO DO THIS.

Brandy: It would be impossible to sum up this wondrous event in one paragraph, but some of my feelings included:

~ hating being on stage in front of people
~ wishing I had Nacho to hide behind
~ seeing Julie’s flushed cheeks and thinking she was the funniest cutest girl in the world
~ wondering if frostbite could turn to heat stroke (I got really hot during the game)
~ loving the five adorable angels that volunteered for the game
~ watching Carly DJ the music and add up the score at the same time, and having a realization that Riese, Carly, Liz and Julie are all really smart and that must mean that Jewish girls are the smartest people in the world.
~ knowing how Michael J Fox felt in Teen Wolf when he became the wolf
~ seeing Laneia horrified at the back of the room and hoping she wasn’t mad at me for turning into Teen Wolf

Carly: Somehow I was able to keep score, play music on cue, and drink a flask of Jameson (thanks Robin!) at the same time! The game was utterly ridiculous. I was convinced that Beth was going to kick us the fuck out of Alpine Meadows, but I think it just made her love us more.

Carmen: Aside from giving all women showing some skin a standing ovation (whatever I can do to empower you), I also became friends with Jamie at this activity, partially because she is hilarious and partially because we sat next to each other. This is a perfect combination at A-Camp.

everybody dying of love and laughter

Lizz: The image of Brandy wielding a super soaker will forever be tattooed in my mind. Someday it might also be tattooed on my back.

Laneia: I sat way in the back with Riese, Marni and other people and mostly just couldn’t believe what I was watching? But not necessarily in a bad way. I mean, it was like the speed dating workshop from earlier, only entirely in reverse and opposite, and with water guns.

Carly: The game didn’t really have much of an exit strategy (and I think we were all just getting too drunk to figure it out anyway). I came up with a few bonus round questions and a winner was finally crowned.

Riese: The next day Brandy apologized for being Teen Wolf and and we all learned and grew and changed and thought about our feelings and then all was well in the village. I love them so fucking much.

(photo by kate h)



Riese: Then we all trotted down to the fire pit for S’mores! I’d actually rented a car and JOINED COSTCO to make S’Mores happen so it was crucial that everybody imbibe as much chocolate as possible. However we went home with ten billion chocolate bars still intact, and y’all will be seeing those suckers again in September!

Lizz: The thing is that around a campfire everyone is equal. By the light of giant burning pile of sticks I was finally able to finally exhale and just hang out with everyone. We could all just shoot the shit. It’s funny how, just like summer camp when I was a kid, camp fast tracked friendships from the “meeting” phase straight to the “openly talking about all kinds of embarrassing stuff” phase.

About halfway through the campfire I really had to pee but no one would go with me to find a bathroom. Everyone kept trying to get me to go pop a squat out in the woods but I was terrified that a badger or a bear would sneak up behind me. Wasteunit had this amazing headlamp she loaned me to trek what felt like a million miles back to my cabin to pee.

hannah at the campfire (photo by robin roemer)

Carmen: To be honest, by this point I had met this Olympian named Joanna and I kind of followed her around (as well as Brittani/Alice/Grace/Jamie) for the remainder of my life.

Carly: I stopped off at our cabin to refill my recycled plastic flask. If I had to pick a point in the night where things went wrong, it would be this very moment! The rest of the night is kind of a blur, though I do remember going up to every single person I saw, telling them I loved them and explaining how drunk I was. 7,000ft. altitude + 3 flasks of Jameson = a rough morning, to say the least.

photo by robin roemer

Riese: Carly was SO DRUNK you guys, it was super-cute. We hugged a lot and talked about all the things we’d worked so hard on for the past five years to get here. She said she was proud of me a lot.

Lizz: On my way back to my cabin I was abducted by a bunch of staff off to “Cabin Bomb” i.e. go in to cabins and talk with campers unexpectedly. We went in to the first one and there were some girls in the bathroom… um… privately and they yelled at us to get out because “This isn’t your cabin!!!” They definitely had no idea that Riese was the one who had just come in and they probably would have been mortified had they found out.

Riese: I wanted to CABIN BOMB so bad! But nobody was in their cabins or if they were, they were in the bathroom. It was so sad! BUT THEN we hit up Forever 21, aka 21 Hump Street, and they had multicolored drinks and a serious pranking plan. I drank all their drinks since I was the only sober person on the campsite, and sharing all that saliva is the camp equivalent of becoming blood brothers.

ladies having fun in a cabin (photo by vanessa)

Lizz: The next cabin we bombed was planning an elaborate prank involving staying up until 4am. Most importantly, I got to tell my favorite story about Rachel getting drunk circa 2011 Pride to an extremely captive audience. Someone stopped me mid story to let me know one of my metaphors “was a good detail” and I thought to myself “Wow, these are my people.”

Alex: I don’t remember much after the fire besides running around raiding cabins to talk to our campers. Then passing out really hard.

Riese: Alex was also really drunk and I was super-pumped to go harass more people in more cabins but Alex needed to lie down and I forget what happened to Lizz.

Carmen: The solo cups did not survive this night. I ate a granola bar in Brittani’s bed in our staff cabin and left a lot of crumbs. I did not think I would feel bad in the morning. Texted my friends “B really IS hilarious” and “I love Drpaked.”

Laneia: What you need to know is that this seemed to be the night when all the drinkers decided to really, really drink, except me! PJ later explained to me that it was because Friday night was a ‘safe night’ — not the first night and not the last night. This is the best rationalization for a hangover I can think of.

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    • when i wrote this, my main camp feeling was that i couldn’t read about camp because i was somewhere and also part of conversations where it would be totes rude to be reading this recap on my phone… but now, reading this, i’m having EXPONENTIALLY MORE camp feelings.

      the gender panel gave me a lot to think (/journal) about, esp. about my femme-ish identity and where that came from and how it’s changed and all this other stuff, where before i was absorbing messages that translated to “femme, whatever, it doesn’t matter and no one cares.” also I went through a (intense) stage as a child where I told everyone I was a boy because… i have no idea really but it was nice to be reminded of that in this context and to think more about it and to not feel alone in that.

      via lesbian jeopardy i felt embarrassed about how many answers i knew and very happy i didn’t sign up.

      via candid photographs i feel very aware of how much hair i have.

      at formspring live the notebook reached me, after getting to almost everyone before me and it had nothing in it and i felt compelled to write down a halfhearted question (MY FRIENDS ARE BAD FEMINISTS) and watched the notebook go further down the line and i was happy that people were less intimidated by an almost blank page than a completely blank page. psychology is weird. i wish i had asked a better question. i didn’t have one ready. i’ve only seen one episode of the real l word, which was the first one. (i applied for the current season while drunk and got emailed back and it was so weird like “send us pictures of your hottest friends” and stuff but they were funny sober because i felt validated in thinking that bullshit is bullshit.)

      i love all of you and i miss you all a lot. i miss the mountain and the sound of drunk stumbling and queer conversations.

  1. hey lizz, i want to let you in on a thing katrina and i found out about, it’s called owl lodge, it has a bathroom and it’s right fucking next to the fire pit. there were no 9-year-old boys in there.

  2. I feel this is a safe space to confess my biggest fear RE:Camp was that I wouldn’t call Laneia by her real name. Not because I can’t pronounce Laneia, but because in everyday, regular life I don’t use her real name when I talk about her to people. By “people” I mean my cats.

    Friday was the day that fear was realized.

  3. My headlamp got a shout out! Fun fact: I asked Rachel before camp if she wanted me to bring a headlamp for her. She said something along the lines of “no, headlamps are dumb, you are a weirdo,” but then guess who had it all weekend long. Ye of little headlamp faith!

  4. also i forgot to mention that when we cabin bombed operation v.a.g.i.n.a. (very attractive girls in nice attire) was the best thing i’ve ever heard. i had also had a lot to drink at that point, so this memory did not come back until reading this just now.

      • One camper (I remember you I’m just not naming names) talked about having to wear a dress at a wedding, and we commiserated about how it felt like being in drag, and I said that this past summer my brother got married and I was one of his groomsmen, and I got fitted for a tux just like my other brother and the best man, and we all took photos together and stood together on my brother’s side and it felt like finally, actually, my family really did get me and maybe I hadn’t given them enough credit. And while it might not necessarily happen that way for everyone, it might be possible that with a little time, our families could prove themselves to know us better than we think. That was one thing.

      • Marni is good with shelves.

        On a more serious note Marni did give a rather interesting anecdote about how she could never get really far in conversation with customers who just NEEDED to know her gender before getting help with home supplies, y’know? And there was a thing (either from Marni or Whitney, pretty sure it was Marni) about how sometimes “mistaken” misgendering is really just gender policing, which I really really empathised with because people will pointedly call me “sir” at home regardless of how feminine I dress because of my hair & how I walk/talk.

  5. I’m pretty sure that what Liz might have interpreted as looks of boredom, while she told us about her research, were actually just the faces of everyone realizing they were intimidated by how smart she is/awesome her job is. At least that explains me.

    Lesbian Jeopardy was super fun and made me realize I need to read more.

    I also loved Forumspring Friday! Everyone admitting they don’t watch TRLW and just read Reise’s Recaps was one of the funniest moments of camp!

    Also, reading this post taught me that every woman that writes poetry is also super pretty.

  6. I’m really impressed with how fast you guys are getting these recaps out. I’ve been trying to write my own recap (of just Saturday) and it’s been two weeks and I’ve still only got about half of the things. There are so many things you guys.

  7. You guys I’ve just returned home after 6 months away, and by home i mean moved back in with my entire family. Its really overwhelming so i retreated to my room to read about camp and deal with my feelings. My sister came to find me and accidentally made fun of my You Do You tote. It made me cry. I JUST WANT TO GO BACK!

  8. It is so good to relive Camp, these recaps are fantastic!
    But I after they are over I honestly need to forget about Camp for a while so that I can not fail my class on research methodologies, okay?

  9. There is a vid of the last half of the wall dancing lesson and another friemd said she has one, but it hasn’t been posted. I havr a vid of the convo that led to the lesson, though. One day I’ll make a tribute video and use it yo get a job leading an exoyic dance workshop at the next A-Camp. I never thpught I’d get to share that part of my life at A-Camp let alone a staff member!

    Also, I wanted to note that not only did you not bore me, Lizz, your talk about your work *fascinated* me. I remember saying after I left that you were so much cooler than I thought, and I already thought you were pretty darn cool. Anyone who can work math, genetics and fashion is super cool to me.

  10. These recaps are making me feel feelings and I wasn’t even there. I guess this means I have to overcome my real-life anxiety before September, and also start commenting more.

  11. Ohhhh, this sounds exactly as totally great as I definitely thought it would be. I am so happy for you all! Again, though: I am so sad about the Atlantic Ocean, and that I am not a pilot. But also, I really think I could come next time and am already getting actual panicky adrenaline rushes about how all the places will surely sell out in five seconds…

  12. I’m loving these recaps, it’s great finding out about all the sessions i didn’t go to. There was just so much awesome stuff going on at once it was hard to decide.

    It’s weird, in some ways now that i’m home camp doesn’t seem real. Like it was so amazing a thing it feels like a dream. So i’m enjoying re-living camp through the recaps and hearing about other peoples experiences as well.

  13. I was trying to explain A-Camp to one of my coworkers and tried to summarize the blocks, so I started saying “it was awesome, everyone had a choice each block: you could just hang out, or go do something sporty, or something crafty, or even maybe something scary…” and then I made this connection in my head, opened my eyes wide and blurted “OH I KNOW! Each block was like the Spice Girls.”
    Not the most accurate analogy, BUT, I wish I had thought of it at Camp. Seriously, everyone was so welcoming, and open, and awesome. Plus, there’s something really pretty and shiny about a queer woman’s laugh.

    Thank you for the recaps, Autostraddle! Can’t wait for the next two. So ready to go conquer the weekend now!

  14. I have so many feelings regarding this. All of this. It’s so nice to know what happened in the other blocks because TOO MANY AWESOME THINGS WERE OFFERED AT ONCE.

    The Gender Panel was my favourite thing as well, and I was really surprised/interested in Laura and Jess’s stories about when they realized they were homos that they started changing the way they dressed. I had the complete opposite effect: when I (should have) realized I liked girls, my mind rebelled so I wouldn’t have to dress more masculinely, so to validate my femininity I managed to convince myself that I liked guys. The ploy worked for about 10 years, and Camp was really the first time I’d been out as a full-fledged lesbian/gaymo/homo, so, this gender panel really hit home for me in a lot of unexpected ways.

    • I agree. Though I never somehow managed to get into board game D&D (probably because I didn’t feel like I knew anybody who was enough of a geek to want to do this/not judge me *forever* for it) but I still enjoyed a few single player gamebook things and playing D&D-esque RPG computer games (Baldur’s Gate anyone?). And all the while I picked strong warrior-type and/or male characters for myself, which definitely helped me to inhabit and explore some of my genderqueer-ness and feelings about wanting to be/already being strong and powerful and being fully understood and respected as such by others too…

      No-one, including me, was asking whether I was strong enough to slay the dragon hiding in the mountains, or suggesting that someone else did it- and that meant something to a girl who was fairly petite and nice and ‘adorkable’ in the ‘real world’.

      Plus a busy imagination meant that said battle was fricking awesome.

      But anyways. Thanks for mentioning D&D Riese, and adding to the huge list of interests that I’ve felt relatively alone in having until AS has completely blown that theory out of the water.

    • My younger brother was actually the one who was super into Dungeons & Dragons, so I got into it vis a vis him because I’d always be Dungeon Master for him and his friends. Or it’s possible I cajoled him into having lots of people over to play D&D so I could be DM. I REALLY LIKED BEING DM. Also sometimes my brother and I would play at home just with each other. I kept it on the DL, I remember, b/c at my middle school it was all the dorky boys who played D&D and it was such a boy’s club to begin with. I regret that in retrospect.

      I was actively attempting to find anyone in the entire universe willing to play GURPS with me (I don’t know if this still exists, but it’s like an insanely complicated RPG that I imagine seems outdated now that computer games exist) but I don’t think I ever succeeded in that!

  15. Before I read this recap I have to say this. I’m somewhat of a new reader/lurker (only a few months) but AS has quickly become one of my favorites on Google Reader. And even though I’m literally on the opposite side of the globe from most of you (Israel), I just had to share that I absolutely love the sense of community and love and awesomeness you guys have here. After reading the previous recap, I seriously lied awake in bed for a couple of hours just thinking about how great that whole “camp will be out thing” bit actually came true! Really, this is kinda magical.

  16. I’m not sure if I would be more distracted from homework by this post if I had happened to go or because I couldn’t go.

    The band I’m with may be touring the US next year.. surely I could get this to coincide with vollying as a drum teacher at Girls Rock Camp AND immersing myself in this obviously fucking fantastic queer life-altering mountaintop experience, right?

    • Also, the prospect of actually meeting and befriending you all for realsies has encouraged me to emerge from my lurker cave and interact some more. Because the idea of going to a place where the positive, smart, progressive, accepting, hilarious friendly greatness of internet Autostraddle is translated into flesh Autostraddle means that there’s a reality in which I’ll actually be able to hug you all for being so phenomenal.. and we need to make sure we’re *at the hugging point of okayness* from the split second I arrive at Camp.

      Because there will be hugs. Lots of them.

  17. I’m newish to this amazing, beautiful website, and I’m so glad I came along when I did. You are all fabulous and amazing, A-Camp is basically utopia, and I have started setting aside some moneys so I can go to there. :)

  18. I thought this was fegging HILARIOUS-

    “I don’t think you can truly call yourself a geek until you’ve traveled across the country, climbed a mountain, and slept in bear infested woods just to sit in a room and talk to other people about video games.”

  19. I love-hate those recaps ! I consider A-camp like a weird paradise with unicorns or the 70s: sounds awesomely fun, I want to know what was happening, and I try not to act like a frustrated kid, because there’s just no way I could have been there… Nothing Europe has to offer will make up for it. EVER!

  20. I am SO not your demographic – I’m a lesbian, yes, but I’m also 42yo + married forever + two kids + a dog + fish + …

    And I found Autostraddle one night while surfing and I have to say – you all rock! Despite Autostraddle making me feel as if my 20’s were a very long time ago, you really make me smile. And I am so glad you exist. Kudos that you’ve created a community can be so visible, vibrant, supportive and sexy.

    Carry On!

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