A-Camp October 2013 Recamp #4: You Look Wonderful Tonight

The Banquet / The Proposal

Robin: A few weeks before A-Camp we got an email from Bren’s girlfriend of 17 years, Carrie, asking us what we thought about her proposing to Bren at A-Camp. Below is a screenshot of our responses.

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Robin: That basically says it all.

Carly: We were like OMG YES DUH OF COURSE EEEEEEKKK!! and then we set the plan in motion.

Riese: I was SO EXCITED because it has always been my number one dream that a proposal or a wedding or both happen at A-Camp, and Carrie and Bren are the cutest and I knew Bren would turn bright red and it would just be THE BEST THING OF ALL TIME. We weren’t supposed to tell anyone but obviously I had to tell Rachel within five minutes of seeing her in LA and then I had to tell Vanessa because I have to tell Vanessa everything.

Carly: Right after Block D, the staff met in Eagle to convert the room from “a place for panels” to “prom central” which meant setting up the DJ booth, getting rid of the A/V table and all of the chairs, and decorating. We had to do this now because of THE SECRET PROPOSAL, which was an amazing surprise.

Stef: Marni tipped me off that we had very good reason to keep Bren occupied and out of Eagle so they could set up for a very special surprise, so I commandeered Hannah Hart and Bren to help put together balloon arrangements. We were an excellent balloon team, and the lodge looked like a Pinterest wet dream.

Carly: After setting up Eagle for the banquet and prom I headed back to my cabin, sadly missing Dapper Hour. I got ready for prom and then Robin got a text, said “oh my god,” and ran out of our cabin. She returned with Carrie. We all freaked the fuck out and shrieked and hugged and whatever, it was very gay and we kept saying “the eagle has landed,” over the walkies. Also, I tied Grace’s bowtie for her.


Bren:  So Saturday was Prom. But it was just another day for me, or so I thought. I wasn’t there with my partner, unlike some of the Staff and Campers. I hadn’t hooked up with someone there, unlike some of the Staff and Campers. I was even considering skipping the Prom to get some much needed rest but my cabinmates said I should go, so I did. The banquet was right before Prom during which Marni announced 47 times that we should all go to the other side of Eagle for a special Camp-wide announcement.

Rachel, Girltrash Counselor & Senior Editor: The banquet before prom was so fantastic to me, and in some ways outshines my memories of actual prom. It feels so good to see hundreds of decked out queers in their fancy garb, looking super hot and more importantly looking happy. I wish this was what my actual prom had looked like.

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Carly: I tried to eat but was too nervous/excited and so I just hung around in Eagle like a loser, standing in corners and being a weirdo. And then we announced that we had a special announcement and that everyone should go next door the minute they were done with dinner.

Riese: Everybody was like what is it what’s the announcement tell me omg

Bren: Some of my campers asked what this was about. I’d assumed this was gonna be some announcement about who won the Rainbow Wars. Boy was I wrong.

Carly: I waited like a million years, you guys are the slowest eaters. And then everyone arrived! And I tried to entertain the crowd while we waited. I think Marni and I did some patter, and then I called Hannah a tiny little person and then Robin arrived, thank god.

Bren: So, we’re all in Eagle. Everyone looks so pretty and/or dapper in their prom attire. I’m bummed because my girlfriend hasn’t returned ANY of my e-mails that day. Then for some strange reason Robin is asking me to come to the stage. I reluctantly do so. Maybe I won the Rainbow Wars?

Riese: Bren walked up to the stage SO CONFUSED.


Bren: As I’m standing there super confused for what feels like hours I look over and my girlfriend, Carrie, is there. How can this be? So many things are running through my mind:

+ She’s supposed the be at home with Willow and Sammy and Mr. Bix.
+ She has no sense of direction and would never be able to find her way to San Bernadino, much less up this mountain to this camp.
+ Those boots are new.


Bren: But she’s there in those new boots saying things that I’m glad are on video otherwise I wouldn’t remember what they were. That’s the level of shock I’m talking about.

Liz C.: The funny part is Bren wasn’t even going to go to prom! Our cabin had to convince her to dress up and give it a try. I’m pretty sure she’s glad she did!


Riese: So Carrie started talking about how they’ve been together for 17 YEARS LIKE SINCE HIGH SCHOOL IN ALABAMA because THEY MET IN FRESHMAN ENGLISH CLASS and Bren gave Carrie the answers on the quizzes! It was so cute, everyone was dying.


Riese: Then Carrie talked about how they moved to California two years ago in hopes that they’d eventually be able to get married — about every three seconds somebody in the crowd would go “OH MY GOD” in a weepy-with-happiness voice.


Riese: Then Carrie was like, “when the Supreme Court decision came down in June, I said to her, I kinda want you to propose to me, I kinda wanna have that even after 17 years, I wanna have that, and she said why do I have to propose to you?” Then everybody knew what was coming for sure.


Bren: The only words I do remember are “Will you marry me?” And those are words that I’ve waited nearly two decades to hear.

Crystal: My heart melted. It was the sweetest thing.


Carly: It was unbelievable. Everyone was crying and “aww”ing and wailing and it was bordering on a religious experience I think, praise lesbian Jesus.

Ali, Wildcats Counselor & Contributing Editor: I cried like a small child. I cried sobs that moved my entire body. I was fine until I looked across the half-circle and saw Vanessa and Hansen crying, and then bam. I had so many feelings that I had two options – either I could vomit rainbows or the feelings could leak out of my eyes in the form of tears. And one of those options is an anatomical impossibility. So crying it was. Which I did in spades for the rest of the evening on and off.


Rachel: As someone who’s pretty Grinch-y in their real life, and is usually totally disinterested in weddings, proposals, and anything related to them, I knew this was the Real Deal when I found myself weeping openly and clutching at Laneia like I was going to fall over. It’s only because of how great Bren and Carrie are and how much I want them to be happy all the days of their lives. I wouldn’t cry in public for anything less.

Mey, Flashdance Counselor & Contributing Editor:  It was so beautiful and we were all crying so much that we worried that our prom makeup was going to be ruined.

Emily G., Rockford Peaches Counselor: Thanks for making my face rain all over Eagle lodge.

Laneia: Ugh it was the most beautiful thing! I was so so happy for both of them, and trying really hard to keep it together because I didn’t ruin my makeup or need a box of tissues. The only thing that enabled me to do so was focusing on Carrie’s amazing calves. I’m not even kidding. So much respect.


Sophia: It was just the absolute sweetest thing, and looking around the room crying looking at other crying people looking and nodding at other crying people but it was such overcome happy crying it was good.

Kaylah: I couldn’t help but giggle looking around at all the ugly crying that was happening. Luckily, I was standing behind a cluster of balloons so there shouldn’t be any photographic evidence of me sobbing hysterically. Congrats y’all!

Cee, Bangles Counselor & Tech Director: How amazing and unexpected was that? I’m pretty sure someone was cutting onions nearby because my eyes kept watering.

Bren: And almost two decades after we skipped our Senior Prom to watch movies I finally had a Prom date.


Liz C.: Nothing could have made our prom more amazing than the cutest high school sweethearts ever getting engaged and attending their first prom together. Seriously, I started bawling immediately.

Rachel: Obviously it was the standout shining moment of camp, even more important than Lizz spelling a word right.

Kai: I’ve never seen so many smiles.


Bren: I think what made this so special for me, personally, besides the whole I’m-gonna-get-married-to-a-girl thing is that Carrie had never been to Camp. And while she can understand somewhat how special it is and how amazing the campers are its a thing that can’t be explained with words and sounds and hand gestures. Its a feeling that only happens on top of that mountain and I felt so incredibly blessed to share that with the most important person in my life.


Dani RDS, Stormtroopers Counselor & Writer: Can we get Carrie to drive down and propose to Bren every A-Camp? Because that’s the way every prom should ever begin: camp wide banquet, Carrie proposing to Bren, crying with all the feelings of happiness, booty shake and photo-booth.

Carly: Carrie and Bren, I wish you both all the happiness in the world, and cakes made out of rainbows that we can all eat and be together. And then I played a Destiny’s Child song and it was on to PROMAGEDDON. I say PROMAGEDDON (™) because I DJed for five hours and it was insane and intense and overwhelming and it was the greatest.

Bren: So if you’re on the fence about whether to come to the next camp you should pull that trigger because you never know what will happen. Maybe there’ll even be a wedding…


Next: Prom!

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3198 articles for us.


  1. Thanks cos I’m now crying alone in my room–but I’m also laughing at that Blue Crush Prom photo–Grace smiles in a sea of weird/laughing faces because she told me “I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO”


  2. that very flattering picture of me reacting to the proposal is actually me pointing at vanessa who was ACTUALLY MELTING, collapsing into a puddle of drippy gooey feelings onto the floor. i want a vanessa reacts to things tumblr almost as much as i want a carly reacts to things tumblr.

  3. I had no idea of the cuteness behind the planning! You sneaky, sneaky devils.

    I love all you people so much, but I especially love the blond with the killer calves.

    I’m crying at my desk right now!

    • I’m totes inspired to submit my own Camp Talk next session :D (I want to do one on a short history of queer/women’s intentional spaces and the way forward into a happier, campier future)

  4. A-Camp is everything.

    There are places you visit. There are places you stay. There are places you live.
    I live at A-camp. That seems impossible considering it’s just 5 days with complete strangers. A-camp is the only place where I am my total complete self. Just breathing the mountain air made me feel…well, all the things. In comparison to where I am now I still have to remind myself that A-camp really happened.

    I hope I can make it to the next one. I need more A-camp in my life and I’ve missed the mountain since the moment I got on the bus. Goddamnit, I’m crying.

    Final note: If you think you want to go to A-camp, just do it. Go to A-camp.

  5. “And almost two decades after we skipped our Senior Prom to watch movies I finally had a Prom date.” And then I died.


  6. I have never loved a group of people more. I honestly don’t know what to do with myself and my feelings. Do you know how easy it is to fall in love with a person when they are being the complete authentic selves? REALLY easy. Do you know how overwhelming it is to have that happen to you over and over and OVER again in the span of half a week? REALLY overwhelming.

    I am so proud to be a part of this community. You are all flawless individuals. And you better be coming back to September camp (and you reading this, the person who hasn’t gone to A Camp yet: you come too, please).

    Also, is that picture of Hansen and Dani available in poster size?

  7. Also, giving a Camp Talk was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done, and that doesn’t even compare to what it was like listening to everyone else’s. I strongly believe EVERYONE should apply to give a talk next time. I KNOW you queers have some awesome things to say and I want to hear them/swoon in the front row (my ulterior motive: smart, well-spoken girls are my kryptonite)

  8. I’m looking over recent photos of me and my new friends from Acamp, and realizing how much more joyful my life has been since this experience.

    It was so beautiful to just be there as our true selves; shameless and brilliantly colorful. And it was so worth everything just to meet people from this fantastic community which I hope I’ll be friends with for a long time to come.

    I had a hard time last year with dating, health issues, graduating college; and I feel like choosing to go to Acamp came at a perfect time; while I’ve been in the process of switching gears into a new era of my life, camp has helped me reset back into my more solid sense of self.

    When I was up there walking to and from cabins I had only made a few moments in between to looking at the stars. Had I been alone I could have long stared up into the night sky that was no longer so dark and obscure like it is in LA. It was clear and bright. But as much as I wanted to study the constellations, I also felt like for once I didn’t have to burden myself with absorbing all of the starlight, because there was just too much there. There was so much there, and so much happening which I didn’t want to miss.
    Still, I made an agreement with myself that I could still somehow feel all of it.
    Up there I knew where I was, I had a sense I really knew, under the seemingly eternal stars and this minuscule space and time between them. 
Those cold bright nights,
and feeling so alive.

    Love you all.
    Thanks Autostraddle.

  9. Oh my goodness I developed so many crushes at CAMP talks. Um, you want to teach me how to sustain my own little ball of life and green and beauty? I’ll sit in the front row, all ears.
    But seriously, we’re all so fucking talented it’s ridiculous.
    THEN going to the sex panel.
    I tried to think of another place where I could explore sexual preferences and opinions with an adorably sweet Canadian, passing around vibrators, and revel in the promotion of safe sex…AND I COULDN’T BECAUSE A-CAMP IS MAGICALLY UNIQUE AND SO SAFE. It’s like being swaddled in butterflies made of Nutella. Yeah. I went there. I feel very strongly about this.

  10. 1) the picture of me quietly wiping away a tear at the proposal is the most accurate thing ever
    2) i’m in love with hansen, guys. seriously.
    3) alice motes
    4) the MST3 gay movie thing was probably the best thing that has ever happened to me; i still can’t get over how hilarious i thought you all were. especially carly. i want carly to talk over ALL OF MY MOVIES from now on.
    5) my cabin is so cute i can’t handle anything; also i would like to request that people stop letting drunk jen be in the front of everything with my mouth wide open all of the time.

  11. I don’t know any of you. I found this website through a discussion of bad movies (specifically Lost and Delirious… I know) I have never seen pictures of people so happy before. Everyone looks so freakin’ beautiful. Really. The story of the proposal made me cry…tears down face…I don’t even like marriage. And then did I mention that I don’t know any of you? Then reading the comments and someone mentioned vomiting rainbows…I almost dropped my phone. I wish Bren and Carrie congrats….(OMG the comment about the prom…really people you should write scripts) and all the best….to everyone else you all sound like the best camp mates EVER. I don’t even know why I am writing this maybe to say its important to show a place where there is obviously so much love and safety and gooey rainbow vomit goodness.

  12. Tiny Klub Deer after party was the best.

    I am pretty sure my Firestarter cabin-mates are the best dressed. I’m just saying.

    I mean we have Kiyomi and Saskia in one cabin. I think that puts us over the top right there.

  13. A Camp is magic! If anyone else agrees that Autostraddle is magical in the way it can predict articles you need in your life, then A Camp is 100x more magical in that it puts people and activities in your life that you needed. Even if you didn’t know it.

  14. + somehow this is the day I felt I did the most things despite not leaving my cabin until 11am?
    + noone mentioned this yet but Hannah’s CAMP talk is on youtube in its entirety! Here.
    + I FINALLY WENT ON A HIKE sorry hiking buddy who I almost let get eaten by bears
    + i’m actually in multiple pictures in this post, not sure how that happened
    + i was really confused/frightened during the proposal because I couldn’t see anything as a small person in a claustrophobic sea of mostly normal-sized persons, so i’m thankful for video
    + i did not attend prom so to speak, but i did walk through it to get to the other side of eagle. that counts, i’m sure.

  15. Inspiring queers one camp and re camp at a time. Cant believe this post topped the previous one by a whole page! Lol. Sorry sometimes i think i have OCD that kicms in which is why i think i notice these things. Did i mention how hard this is to read on a mobile device. Lol!!!

  16. What Laneia said about the moon catchers was so sweet, I died a little. Thank you for letting us symbolically climb inside your rib cage. Now I have a moon catcher hanging in my room and you know what, it’s f*cking pretty.

    This whole day was perfect. I miss everyone so much!

  17. Ohh! I just remembered this, I think, was the day Laneia was outside in a coat and weird about how it looked, and I told her, “If you look warm, you look good.” And I have since made this my life mantra.

  18. I’m pretty sure I’ve said this a million times, but I will say it a million more; camp is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. It is the only time I have felt completely comfortable being me, and love myself for it, and have all these other weirdos that I have fallen in love with love me for it. Basically camp is one big ball of love feelings and pure fucking joy and a whole lot of hilarity. And I will never not go back. Runagayhearts forever(maybe that should be my tattoo!)

  19. I was using my mobile earlier I couldn’t put in all the feels i had especially for the proposal OMG!!!!!!!!!! I was practically on the floor squealing at how cute they are OMG!!!!!!. I felt like crying from giddiness at AWWWWWWWWWWWW all at the same time. That was so sweet and I especially salute the staff for helping some magic happen in someone’s life. ♥

    God I love this website.

  20. Thank you to everyone for the sweet comments on the proposal, those who said such sweet words to us that night, and to those of you who were just there sharing the moment. I love each and every one of you for making this so special for Bren & I. We could feel the love in the room and it meant so much to us. I met so many people that night that it was all just a big blur, but every one of your comments meant so much to me. You guys are the best! Thank you, thank you, thank you! It was an honor to be in the same room with all you wonderful weirdos.

    P.S. You guys already know this, but Riese & Marni & Robin & Carly are awesome humans, and helped me pull this off so perfectly. You guys are amazing.

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