- I am 33
- I prefer to drink:
Camp Rim Rock is more than a great place. It is an experience filled with tradition, character and friendship.
I briefly considered bringing a rolling suitcase so I could accommodate the entire packing list: running shoes, sandals, bug spray, sunscreen, multiple hot-weather tank tops plus a few fleece sweaters for cold nights, a Wonder Woman costume, a Woodstock costume, heart-shaped sunglasses. It felt like a lot to carry in a backpack, but I was more concerned about being teased for bringing luggage into the woods. I was heading to Camp No Counselors, a three-day summer camp for adults with locations across North America, complete with activities, dance parties, and open bars.
The older we get, the harder it becomes to make friends, or to develop real human connections with strangers, particularly as we get further from school, the place where human connection was mandatory for survival.
By your mid-twenties, you can largely live your life knowing the same three people in your same industry, in your little corner of the world. This camp is CNC's first Canadian expansion. Tichauer himself was in attendance; he tries to go to as many camps as he can, walking around the site, making sure everyone is having fun and making new friends. On the most base level, the purpose of the camp is to have fun, to act like a kid again, to recapture the same feeling you had at To go back to that special place of firsts and silliness is fun and very unique.
A troupe of beautiful, tall blondes sits in front of me they flew here from Florida just for campand a guy walks to the very back of the bus, carrying a cooler filled with bottles of brown liquor and half-cold beers.
Plastic cups filled with tequila are passed around the bus while we drive toward camp. Arun, an Australian transplant sitting next to me, hands me a Jager shot. I ask him what he does for a living but he wags his finger. Everyone herethus far, is very drunk: The six Floridians in front of me, the person 14! Going to an adult summer camp forces you to think about what kind of person you would be if you returned to camp, or returned to the youth that you squandered. Now you can have fun. I will make a friend.
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Just one. Danielle came alone, like me. I like her. A clear departure from CNC, where there are early-evening happy hours and nighttime open bars for the whole weekend, plus mimosas at breakfast and beer and wine at lunch and dinner.
Discussing sex at camp
The camp is on acres of sprawling land, with a handful of cabins set apart from the main campsite down a poorly lit dirt road. As I get off the bus, a staffer wraps a woven green-and-blue bracelet around my wrist. I fucking am B9. B9 for life. By the time I get to B9, most of my bunkmates have already staked out their beds.
Olivia is tall and lithe, and ties her hair in a bun with a pen. She laughs at all of my jokes and touches my hand whenever we talk. Anna, meanwhile, is boisterous and busty: She wears tiny shorts and no underwear I know this Girls who want sex in Camp she tells me a few times and is wearing 2-inch-long eyelash extensions. She locks her eyes on me in a kind of desperation, the kind that says, I know we just met but who else is going to help me here?
Danielle and I trot up the hill to our bunks, arms linked. Danielle shows up to breakfast, her sunken eyes darker than the night before. A new, larger group of campers arrives later that morning, so camp finally starts in earnest: A table in the mess hall is covered in -up sheets for tubing or sailing or free swim or kickball or capture the flag. I sit by the dock, next to one of three bachelorette parties, a pregnant woman here with her friends, and a few rowdy boys.
I notice Danielle on the other side of the docks, chatting up some new guys who must have just gotten in this morning. I think about swimming over to her in making new friends but the possibility of looking like an idiot while trying to swim 60 feet overrides any interest I have in talking to Danielle. Instead, I try striking up a conversation with one of the women in the bachelorette party, but while turning over to get an even tan, I fall into the water.
Eagerness is rarely cool in the real world, but here, it is everything. The entire camp is split into teams early on — red, blue, green, and gray, based on our cabin s, and given T-shirts with our corresponding colors. Everyone, all or so of us, play Rock, Paper, Scissors with each other, and whoever wins goes on to play another winner, and so on until there is one winner from each team. Then, they play each other for the final victor. In the afternoon, I go to a woodworking class with Olivia the opera singer, Anna, and Jason, a Guantanamo Bay lawyer who just got back from visiting his client in Cuba.
We make little plaques. The girls and I return to our cabin to take a rest and clean up for dinner.
Anna is rooting through her gallon rolling suitcase! An extra blueberry?
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There are clearly little crushes blossoming, like Arun who chatted up Olivia during the drive or a cute brunette who stands very close to another cute brunette, their arms rubbing together even though they were in a wide-open space. Like, oh my god, that guy was amazing at kickball. You should have seen him kick that ball. In the mess hall, I find Danielle again and catch her eye; she waves me over enthusiastically and I feel a wave of relief wash over me.
I take my tray over to her, passing Arun who is now displaying the swagger of someone who seems to think he is very popular. He saunters past me, shoulders back, head up, and nods at me. I stop short. What did this 5-foot-5 motherfucker just say to me? Danielle is sitting with all of the guys from my bunk, the bachelor party from Boston, five hulking men with thick necks and accents.
Once Boston turns back to his friends, I tap Danielle on the arm and ask her if they ever talked to that girl about her loud sex.
When Danielle tells me secrets — and frankly, so many of the little things she tells me feels like a delicious, warm secret just between the two of us — she curves her back and bends forward toward me, tilting her head down and looking at me through eyelashes. She thought it was a dream or someone else in the cabin. This is technically possible, but women are inherently at a disadvantage, the way they are anywhere there are men with bad intentions who are willing to take advantage of an open bar.
And like in the real world, the world outside of camp, the man involved receives no punishment while the woman is shamed, possibly without her knowledge. Not flower crowns picked from nature — flower crowns people bought. I wear a long green dress I got in Thailand a year ago and some heart-shaped sunglasses.
My gut is protruding after a day and a half of booze and heavily salted meals, my skin is oily from the sun, and a thick, gurgling pimple coming out of my forehead. At camp, all the other girls are managing Girls who want sex in Camp look effortlessly cute: Their hair dries perfectly wavy after they get out of the water, they all look sun-kissed and lithe.
I wonder how everyone is having a good time without examining the ripples in their bodies, the way their thighs collide in a bathing suit. I get to the Woodstock party with little enthusiasm. When she walks by, women cover their mouths to whisper to each other. Men laugh raucously at her or make sexual gestures toward her. I consider going up to her, maybe just to say hi, but before I can, a guy walks up to me to compliment me on my dress.
I look up at him — tall, wearing a long hippie-esque shirt and oversized sunglasses. Tonight, the mess hall has been transformed into a dance floor, with strobe lights and pounding music. Jeff, one of the boys in my bunk here with his buddies for a bachelor party, spots two women furiously making out next to me on the dance floor.
Jeff watches — stares — for a few moments before he even notices me. He takes off. This is lonely, but for reasons that are hard to articulate. To be a worthwhile girl, I had to be pretty and I so rarely felt like boys wanted to give me their attention.
And yet, here, no one pulls me on the dance floor, no one asks me if they can grab me a drink. While Adam Tichauer and Anna want to tell me that everyone here is going to make long-standing, real connections, I have a hard time believing it.
How can you really trust that anyone is good? And what about the girl who was having sex in the cabin? Where are her friends? Our team captain, Brian, has dubbed the blue team the Blue Ballers. We win second place. While we were deing our flag, Anna, along with Jess and another woman, practices in preparation for the lip-sync battle. Anna has prepared with three pairs of chrome fingerless gloves, fanny packs, and bedazzled hats for them to wear. By the end of the song, the entire blue team rushes up to twerk and dance behind them.
We win first place.
The big conclusion of camp is a not entirely mandatory but strongly suggested day of participatory wholesome events that just happen to involve some light alcohol. Campers throw themselves down a makeshift Slip'n Slide, covered in cold water and baby oil, then play flip cup at the bottom. Here, I have never felt more competitive. The stakes here are so low, so achievable that it makes a full circle to high stakes. I want the blue team to win. I am determined to drink this milliliter of beer as fast as I possibly can. I ignore the little cuts all over my body I get from sliding down the blue tarp and slam the beer.
As I walk away from the table, I get more high fives than I have ever had in my life. We win, naturally.