The Topless Touching Panel and Other Activities My Friends Think Happen at A-Camp

feature image via shutterstock

Telling your queer friends you’re going to a sleepover camp on mountain full of queers for an entire week by yourself can create quite the reaction. I’m like, “Yeah, they have panels, workshops, readings,” and am cut short by one of them like, “A mountain full of them?” I think realistically they know queers per capita don’t suddenly change how the world works/what we’ve accepted as societal norms, but theoretically it has utopian possibilities. Also, none of us have ever been to A-Camp and of course anytime you try to imagine something you’ve never experienced it becomes much bigger than it actually (probably) is. Still, they’ve been having fun with it. Here are just a few of the presumed and frankly pretty explicit activities they’ve slated for A-Camp.

The Infamous Topless Chest Touching Panel

This is a panel where we (the people of the topless panel) press our bare chests onto each other. (*Constitution of the United States rhythm* “We the people, of the topless panel, press our bare chests…”) I’m unsure if we talk in this scenario, or if it’s a silent, matter-of-fact exchange of goods. You’ve touched my chest topless and I’ve yours, let’s move on to the next person. Also the word “panel” implies there’s an audience, so what are they doing? Taking notes? Watching like a play? Seems wildly inappropriate for everyone involved!

Topless Frisbee/Tackle Football

These were the only two sports mentioned with the word topless, which I think is interesting. I mean, the football one makes sense because you’d most likely end up grabbing or tackling someone head on for a topless touching of chests, which apparently in my friends’ minds is the only purpose of this camp, but frisbee – no contact. You stand far away from someone and then your throw rarely even makes it to its intended target. Maybe it’s about the scenery while you wait for the other person to chase wherever the frisbee went.

Personal Alarm Clock in the Form of Someone Whispering into Your Ear and Then Leading You to an Isolated Field to Stretch Out Your Body

This one is so specific that I think some of my friends would like someone to wake them up by whispering in their ear and then go stretch them in a field? Also, what do they have, sirens at camp? More seriously though, minus the whispering in the ear and isolated field part I think partner stretching is a great idea.

Group Showers

By now this one should have been obvious. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, between this and the stretching thing, I’m pretty sure my friends are just pulling stories from my college soccer team. I mean, we did have group showers and we did stretch each other in a field, but it wasn’t like that, unless, you know, sometimes it was.

The Dark Closet Private Conversation Area

Ahaha, okay, well, here’s my favorite. This is where when you want to talk to someone one on one, you go into the designated dark closet conversation area instead of just remaining wherever you are and engaging in normal back and forth as you do when you’re meeting new people. “Oh, you know ____?” “Yeah I love ____!” “Let’s take this to the dark closet where we’ll be closer.” “Oh, right.” The seven minutes in heaven of conversation.

Painting Each Other’s Nails

By far the tamest presumed activity on this list, but there’s no way my friends meant for it to be and that is a revealing bit of information on how sensual some of my friends consider nail painting. Maybe this one’s a euphemism. Either way, this one’s the most likely to happen, right?

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+!


Los Angeles based writer. Let's keep it clean out there!

Erin has written 208 articles for us.


  1. Ok but ” The seven minutes in heaven of conversation,” aka Closet Confessionals, I’d be down.

  2. I asked my gf if she thought there would be nudity and she was like, “surely not!”

  3. Ok, I misread the last one as ‘The Dark Closet Private Conversion Area’ and was picturing people coming out of closets making statements like “Now I too am label free” etc.

  4. I was already planning on bringing a frisbee and I’m totally willing to go with whatever the vibe is.

  5. wait, but i whisper each of my cabin mates awake daily at camp…it’s so gentle! are your friends spying on me?

  6. also i can just about guarantee morgan is going to try to institute a topless chest touching panel at some point, though it may not be an official camp activity heyyyooo <3

  7. 1. “queers per capita don’t suddenly change how the world works/what we’ve accepted as societal norms” – Don’t be so sure!


    2. The Dark Closet Private Conversation Area – This is basically the Introvert Friend-Stop, but situated in a dark closet, which I think is an excellent idea.

  8. Why just topless and not also bottom-less (full nudey rudey)? Your friends are not dreaming big enough.

  9. We can only talk in the dark dark closet. When not there all other communication must be done through boob touching. (And my closet has been renamed to the lesbo convo area.)

  10. Here I am wondering if I have enough room for my yoga mat in my luggage so I can do my morning stretching. I could definitely go for a nice isolated field for that.

  11. A couple of weeks back, partnerwife and I had a convo concluding genuine possibility of going to camp next year, and no lies the first place my mind wandered to was toplessness.

  12. I always thought A Camp as a place where a bunch of lesbians just pretended they where in the movie The Parent Trap. Now I think of it more as closeted lesbian nudist camp lol. ?

  13. Wait, we can take our clothes off? Last year I kept all mine on because I thought it wouldn’t be welcomed. Bring on next week, my arse needs to see sunlight.

  14. Pros and cons of having a topless (or nudist?) camp:
    1- Less laundry! – pro
    2- More suitcase space! – pro
    3- Sunburnt boobs? – con
    4- Mosquitoes?? – con

    Love the private talking-closet though.

  15. Wait so is the dark closet kind of like an old school confessional but for people who like to jump right into sharing their childhood trauma with new friends

    0 to 60 emotional sharing in true queer lady fashion

    • “Michou what is a new school confessional”

      “um it’s what happens when your church congregation outgrows its physical church so services move to the building that isnt technically a church and confessions are done in what used to be a supply closet but now is a room with two chairs and a mini portable kneeler thing with stained glass in front of it so you can SORT OF feel like the priest cannot see your face, despite the fact that he could easily see your face,

      But you can waive the anonymity thing and the priest will say magic Jesus words to make the confession stick in spite of seeing your face, which is why the second chair is there,

      And you prefer it this way because it makes confession feel like therapy or an appointment with your psychiatrist, and confession is scary but you’re an old hat at gutting yourself for your psychiatrists”


  16. I laughed for ten minutes at “Personal Alarm Clock in the Form of Someone Whispering into Your Ear and Then Leading You to an Isolated Field to Stretch Out Your Body”

  17. Can I lead the Topless Touching Panel this year? I have new boobs so I feel like I’ve earned it?

Comments are closed.