The Crush Letter No 100

. 13 min read

I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about life, love, and culture for those 40+.  Because midlife and beyond is so much cooler than they said it would be.  Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.

If you're new here (welcome!), I'm Dish, the Master of Ceremonies. For more about me and why we're here go here.

In This Letter.  +Dish Stanley's Rules for Polite Society. Give your undivided attention.   +Throw Some Love Around. Better Ways to Spend February 14th. By Dish Stanley Fly along with Ace Combat Flight Experience   +Songs That Make You Wanna F*ck. The latest Submission from CRUSH Reader That and that whole schoolgirl outfit aesthetic remains etched into my memory.   +QUIVER. Sexual Debut Stories. By Lisa Ellex When I relayed Noreen’s good fortune to my mother, she told me Noreen would probably be pregnant soon – or get a venereal disease – because that’s what happens to people the first time they have sex.   +Book Review: City of Desire: Christian Pan. Reviewed by Maeve Blackhead  Pan approaches erotica with an artistically observant eye, picking up on the contradictory nuances of expression   +Our Song of the Week Fire Walk With Me

Hello Crush,

Yeah, that's a HiNote I sent to a friend this morning. That's the free mobile communication app that let's you be a little more creative that I told you about in last week's letter - A Truly Good Thing: What My Smart Friends Are Trying & Doing Right Now. The HiNote folks launched a series of note forms for sexting just in time for Valentine's.

You know how I feel about the usefulness of adopting good sexting techniques (for everyday life, as well as conjuring up extraordinary experiences) from my Ode to Sexting. So I wanted to bring this development to your immediate attention just in case you could find it useful. Have fun.

On another note, I switched things up and included the Table of Contents at the top. (How do you like it there?) You can see from that we've got a big, loving Letter for you this Valentine's week. Let's dive right in.

Dish's Rules for Polite Society

New York Magazine ran a series in which a few New Yorkers, some famous, shared their personal etiquette tips. Did you see it? A lot of them I agreed with, like uber-New York Hostess Laura Santo Domingo's "Be up-to-date with White Lotus! As in, don't put your hands over your ears and scream "No spoilers!" Which is to say that I believe that if there is a wildly popular show among your peer group, or you're going to be a guest at a dinner party, it's ON YOU if you haven't kept up. Don't blow everybody else's opportunity to bond, laugh, squeam or delight in Jennifer Coolidge (I mean Tanya McQuoid's) latest delightful antic.

And then there was Amy Sedaris's list, in which she included "Learn how to properly mail a box." Not only do I believe that you can be a perfectly polite person without honing that particular menial skill, but it made you pause and wonder: what the hell happened to Amy Sedaris while in line at the post office? Somebody in front of her got all tied up in the tape? Somebody fatally wounded themselves on the edges of the box? What. A complete non-sequitor as far as I'm concerned.

Well New York Magazine hasn't reached out (yet!) to ask me to share my rules. But why wait for opportunity to knock? Honestly, who else is going to tell you that offering lube is polite? And to stop asking your solo friends if they've "found someone special" every time you see them? Here Dish digs deep to share with you the things you need to know to be a better friend or lover, or just to navigate the social world after 40.

Throw Some Love Around. Better Ways to Spend February 14th. By Dish Stanley

You could go ahead and make dinner reservations for another night out on Valentine’s Day {sigh}. Or you could consider some alternatives – many taken from CRUSH Readers and contributors to previous CRUSH Letters – that might spark more joy, as they say, or at least throw some love out to the world.

Check into a hotel that allows dogs and get room service for the two of you.

Have dinner delivered instead of going out; spend the night with your partner making elaborate plans for your next trip together. Build the anticipation up by texting your partner reminders and snapshots of where you’re going to stay, and eat, and what you’re going to be doing together. A few suggestions for couples’ trips (hat tip to long-married CRUSH Readers K&J for the first two!):

The Mario Andretti Racing Experience has locations in Miami, Charlotte, Michigan, New Hampshire, and other locations. A close friend said she and her husband loved it on a trip to Las Vegas.

– Fly along with Ace Combat Flight Experience

Reserve one of these New York hotels recommended by travel expert, Jeanne Bosse (from a previous Crush Letter) Five Great Boutique Hotels Around NYC and get spots in advance at one of these smoldering places recommended by fellow PrimeCrush Readers: The Box NYC, Duane Park Cabaret or the cocktail lounge Bergamos (booths in the back!).

Make Lauren Weinstein’s at-home facial mask (from a previous CRUSH Letter) The Comfort Face Mask You Can Try at Home. Then dive onto the couch and get your Get Your Spy Thrill On with one of Dish’s favorite spy thrillers, or learn How To Find Porn that Dish says is actually good.

Order a custom latex outfit, with tips from Jane Boon’s Reports from the Edge: Latex Stretches.

Eat Evie Arnaud’s Shameless Quick & Easy Mac & Cheese as an indulgent act of foreplay while listening to our list of PrimeCrush crowd-sourced Songs That Make You Wanna F*ck. A Compendium from the Readers of The Crush Letter, or if your more in the mood for classics, Lady Verity’s A Turntable and a Candle: F-ing Classics.

Throw a BDSM costume party and serve Love & Mike’s Bad Girl Pasta. {Note: don’t invite anyone from the office, especially not that hunky CFO.}

Write a letter to a close friend (which could be yourself) telling them (you) what you love about them (you) and what they mean to you. Mail it!

Read an erotic short story aloud to your lover. Below is a review of Christian Pan's debut collection of stories, City of Desire (it's not to late to get it by Valentine's). You could also to Christian Pan Erotica’s Patreon membership and get new stories sent to you by email weekly. Or try one from A.K.A. Darla’s list of Stories to Read Aloud to a Lover.

Start your memoir, or a gratitude journal. Either would be a powerful act of self-love.  “It went out in an instant, a blaze of light the color of carrot cake. The blazing orange kind my Mother makes, not that dull auburn color of my former best friend’s hair …”

Research what is involved in fostering a stray from your local shelter.

Re-read Charlie Mackesy’s powerful ode to friendship The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse. We reviewed in one of our very first CRUSH Letters  “Doing Nothing With Friends. It’s Not Really Doing Nothing. Review: The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse”. The movie is coming out …

And since you didn’t waste the night overspending on flowers, chocolate or dinner out, take that money and give it to your favorite charity. If you have a family, spend some time on Valentine’s picking out one together.

Songs That Make You Wanna F*ck.

An occasional pop-up where PrimeCrush Readers share the songs that make them want to bang. Thanks to MusicGeek77 for sharing his. Got one?  Send it to me at

Submitted by Crush Reader " MusicGeek77"

The Pink Room by Angelo Badalamenti

What about this song musically does it for you?

I am always a sucker for a sleazy, creepy, sexy blues song. This instrumental is hypnotic with its beat and pedal steel guitar.

Is there a memory you attach to this song?

I am divorced, and my girlfriend asked me to create a playlist of dark moody songs to play in the background while we have fun. This song comes up often and gets me in the right headspace.

Who/what are you thinking of when you listen to this song?

In the scene in the very rated-R movie in which this song plays, the main character, Laura Palmer, is at a scummy bar back room engaging with the men there in particular ways that would never be shown on network television.

Anything else...?

I watched the show "Twin Peaks" when it originally aired at probably too young age to fully understand how much the show was wiring my brain sexually. I am pretty sure I actively hit puberty the moment I saw the character of Audrey Horne tie a cherry stem into a knot using only her tongue. That and that whole schoolgirl outfit aesthetic remains etched into my memory.

QUIVER. Sexual Debut Stories. By Lisa Ellex

A tender and exciting column of true stories looking back at first-time sex.

Who made YOU Quiver? PrimeCrush columnist Lisa Ellex wants to know. Just whisper it in her ear and your “first-time” story could be the inspiration for her next Quiver column. Anonymity a concern? She'll change your name, location, and any other piece of identifying info, just like they do in the witness protection program. Except you don't have to move. So if you want to Quiver with us, contact


Phil is a career librarian living and working in a small Northeast town. After decades of dysfunction and isolation, he discovers love – and passion – at the dawn of his 60th year.

I never knew my father. I was raised in the very house where my mother was raised by her own mother, my grandmother. We had no money, no car, no comforts and, because Mother was an occasional recluse who I spent most of my life looking after, I had no friends. It was a co-dependent upbringing in the style of Gray Gardens, minus the humor and celebrity connection.

Mother and I spent Saturday afternoons using our food stamps at the local supermarket. Saturday evenings consisted of reviewing the latest edition of TV Guide to select our entertainment for the week. We lived in a world of pre-cable television and movies featured on Million Dollar Movie (old RKO films that ran twice a night for a week), The 4:30 Movie (ran Monday through Friday), and various game shows and series that we viewed on the 1972 Zenith TV that belonged to my Grandmother. I’m sure Grandma never imagined that her legacy – and my only escape – would be my daydreams of romance and swank lifestyles depicted in those old Hollywood films delivered via her Zenith.

On those Sundays when we were able to get a ride, Mother would pause her reclusiveity to attend church, followed by a coffee hour with our fellow parishioners. I always looked forward to spending time with them, as their smiles and kind words strengthened me for the dreadfully lonely school week ahead. The only classmate who ever spoke to me at lunchtime was Noreen, a sweet girl with the face of sunshine who was also from a single-parent home. Kind as she was, I became invisible to her once she found a boyfriend. When I relayed Noreen’s good fortune to my mother, she told me Noreen would probably be pregnant soon – or get a venereal disease – because that’s what happens to people the first time they have sex. If her intention was to terrify me, she succeeded.

Continue reading here

City of Desire: Christian Pan. Reviewed by Maeve Blackhead

The prolific erotic storyteller Christian Pan has a particular knack for connecting the unpredictable exuberance and the harsh loneliness of New York with the range of emotions and consequences that can arise from erotic encounters. The men and women populating his debut collection of stories, City of Desire, are mostly approaching middle age, reflecting on their sexual and professional lives, and their relationship to New York City.

Pan's writing is not only sexy but cinematic and literary; his characters feel real, like friends relaying their deepest secrets. In “Everything I Remember is Gone,” a forty-something European returns to New York after many years, lamenting both the creative life she abandoned as well as the loss of the city as it once was when everyone she knew “seemed to be an artist: dancers, actors, writers” [12]. With the city as her stage, she utilizes her sexuality and her desire to recreate a sense of artistry in her life, seducing a younger man in a downtown bar– “she felt in control, the director and the actor both within this unfolding little drama [5]." The story "Eddie Hand” (one of my favorites in this collection) explores a young man’s emergence into bisexuality, and how the city affords him the opportunity “be open about how I felt, who I was… New York seemed to be the place where nobody really cared” [56]. A man recollects his first sexual encounter as an undergrad at NYU in "Dorothy," remembering how New York “looked just like it did in the movies, only better. Gray iron, steel, like a garden of metal knives [68]."

The city-as-fantasy theme continues as the narrator has sex with a fellow student he meets during registration, but soon, the movie ends and reality sets in, and the object of his desire proves to be as indifferent as the streets of Manhattan.  But City of Desire isn’t all heartache--there is an abundance of hot sex within these pages. Pan approaches erotica with an artistically observant eye, picking up on the contradictory nuances of expression: “The language of sex can be funny…how pleasure can appear the same as a wound, and how the expressions of agony can resemble ecstatic abandon [27]." City of Desire reminds us that humans, like great metropolises, are multifaceted, mutable, and mysterious.

Maeve Blackhead is a poet and research librarian living in New York City.

Song of the Week

The Pink Room by Angelo Badalamenti

We owe this dark and haunting Song of the Week to CRUSH Reader MusicGeek77 and his f*ck song selection. Do you remember when Twin Peaks came out in 1991? There was nothing – and I mean nothing – like it on television. We were still living during a period when Cheers and its celebration of ordinary people grabbing beers and everyday friendship at the local bar was a ratings juggernaut. I was transfixed by Twin Peak and its weird and original tone – danger and camp all rolled into one ball of creepy obsessiveness.

Listen here.

Re-Sharing These Gems

So, You’ve Decided to Meet Some New Friends or Lovers in Midlife? Cool, Cool. Here Are My (Eclectic & Highly Idiosyncratic) Red Flags. By Dish Stanley
Considering opening up your life up to meet new people - for love, friendship or even just as a paddleball or bridge partner? Yeah, it’s an exhausting investment of time, energy and potentially emotion. Do you have to? Nope. We all have plenty of reasons to just stay inside. But
Kathy: This Is A Love Story About Three Friends. By Amy Ferris
How far would you go to help a friend with her dying wish? Writer Amy Ferrisshares her touching story with us. to get every good vibe from The Crush Letter, subscribe. {here!}[] These are the very words that changedmy life: “Don’t tell me
Your Big Green Heart. By Liza Lentini
It’s so easy to offer yourself much-needed comfort when you need it. Here’s how.
Girl Crush. By Lady Verity
“When it happens, it’s all-consuming and you think nothing compares to the beauty and perfection of this goddess who walks the earth, the one you’re crushing on.”

Dearest Crushes: Remember that a few weeks ago I started a new Ask Dish: Stray Questions column. Hit me up with your questions!

Ask Dish - Submit Your Question Here

Next week is our periodic DEVOUR Letter where contributing editor Lisa Ellex and I share what we think you should be devouring. We are focusing on what to watch (because it's not spring yet!), so I'll be watching lots of things for you this week end. I hope you have a Happy Valentine's Day, and a wonderful week.

Dish Stanley X-oh!-X,


'Merci'! to Emily in Paris for one of the most riverting women in pop culture "Divorce, Baby, Divorce" by Liza Lentini "Don't Touch My Hat.*" Midlife Men & Loneliness "This is a Tale of Modern Love ..." 2022 2024 Hit List 3 things I'm crushing on 5 Books to Help You Chill TF Out 5 Great Boutique Hotels Around NYC. By Jeanne Bosse 5 things that turn our crush readers on A Book That Could Unf*ck Your Relationship: I Want This To Work By Elizabeth Earnshaw. Reviewed By Angela Kempf. A Circle of Crones. By Elayne Clift A Roman Love Affair. By Lady Verity A Turntable and a Candle: F-ing Classics About Face: Skincare Essentials for Men An Upbeat Playlist for the Divorce-curious And I Wondered ... Do We Really Need A SATC Reboot? And Just Like That... Who Are These People?? By Jeanne Bosse And so this is Another brother gained and lost. By Jeanne Bosse Ask Dish Bedtime Rituals for Couples. By Lauren D. Weinstein Bisexually Anxious Among the Noodges. Review: shiva Baby Bloody Good Sex Book review Book Review: A Certain Hunger by Chelsea G. Summers Book Review: I'm With The Band by Pamela Des Barres. Reviewed by Evie Arnaude Book Review: Maurice Book Review: Norma Kamali: I Am Invincible Book Review: Swan Dive: The Making of a Rogue Ballerina by Georgina Pazcoguins. Reviewed By Lady Varity Book Review: The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For It Every Time By Maria Konnikova' Book Review: The Lover. By Marguerite Duras. Book Review: The Story of O Book Review: VOX by Nicholson Baker. Reviewed by Christian Pan Building The Perfect Music Collection Calm App Review: “If I Traveled Or Worked In An Office, I Would Rely On This App Heavily”. By Evie Arnaude Christian Pan CRUSH Summer Reading List! From CRUSH Reader Sharon Weinberg, Owner of The Chatham Bookstore Culture/Comments Dear Dish devour DEVOUR {things to do, have & know about} Devour: Reads we think you should devour Dish Gets A Kink Assessment. Dish Stanley Dish Stanley's Rules for Polite Society Doing Nothing With Friends Effortless, Natural Holiday Makeup. By Lauren D. Weinstein Emily In Paris Extended Encounters. By Lisa Ellex F*ck Songs. Three Best Jazz Albums for a Sexy Night In. By Lisa Ellex Facelifts: The Secret of Aging with Style and Attitude: Mireille Guiliano. Reviewed by Evie Arnaude Favorite Clothing & Shoe Brands from A Sharp Looking Guy Five Best Jazz Clubs Around The Country. By Lisa Ellex Foria's Totally Useful Guide to Sexting Four Indie Bookstore That Stayed In My Life Long After I Left Town. By Dish Stanley French Kiss: French Girls Do It Better, Right? friendship Fun in the sun skincare tips get your spy thrill on Girl Crush. By Lady Verity Grief. By Lauren D. Weinstein Healing Through Change. By Lauren D Weinstein Heard It at The Grammys: Dishs Crush on Silk Sonic Hefner. By Bob Guccione, Jr Hide A Love Note In Their Pocket. Hit List Holiday Invites Holiday Perspectives. By Dean Christopher Hook Ups Hot Thots How to Be the Most Charming Person at a Holiday Party. By Evie Arnaude How to find porn thats actually good I am my own family I just turned 60 but I feel 22 I redesigned my closet. I'm Dish, the Master of Ceremonies Im glad my mom died In Good Hands. Kathy: This Is A Love Story About Three Friends La Mia Famiglia by Lisa Ellex Lamentations on the Lost Art of Kissing. By Elisabeth C. Lamotte Leave the husband, bring the cannoli. By A.K.A. Darla Leaving the door open Let's Reconsider, with Adam Grant Love & Mike's "Bad Girl Pasta" Love/Sex/Moon Magick By Lynn Eaton LXIX. By A.K.A. Darla Meeting Across the River Melissa Biggs Bradley's New Book Safari Style Makes Me Want To Go On A Safari midlife MIDLIFE CRISIS: When Reality Strikes, By Dean Christopher Movie Magic. By Amy Ferris My First Solo Trip: Mexico, Part I. By Dawn Larsen My Prostate Journey: A Personal Story My Tits Contain MulTITudes Naked & Not afraid by KC Roth Oasis in the Desert. One woman's honest journey through vaginal rejuvenation. OMG Yes. Pamela Anderson: What Her Story Says About Us paris Pillow Tawk (or NOT)? Play well with others. By Dish Stanley Playing Games: A Review of Esther Perel's New Sold Out Card Game. Podcast Review: Dying for Sex. Why You Need to Listen to Molly's Journey. political thrillers PrimeCrush & Chill: Movies Worth a Re-Watch PrimeCrush Bookshop PrimeCrush Cocktail Coaster Giveaway! QUIVER. Sexual Debut Stories. recommedations Red Flags Reports from the edge. By Jane Boon separate bedrooms Sexual Frustrations. By Elisabeth C Lamotte Shameless Quick & Easy Mac & Cheese. By Evie Arnaude Sighs & Moans. By Ralph Greco SIP. Best Lines from the Double Dates Podcast Hosted by Marlo Thomas & Phil Donahue Six Ways to Get the Friends Who Count Snapshot Rec: Get Yourself Sexify-ed on Netflix. Snapshot Rec: Read Liza Lentini on the Indigo Girls in SPIN Solo in my Sixties. By Jeanne Bosse Songs That Make You Wanna F*ck. Stanley Tucci Is Paradise Stories to Read Aloud to a Lover. By A.K.A. Darla Summer Bookstack Tell Me More. By Dish Stanley The 3 Things You're Really Fighting About The 4 Most Common Skincare Issues for Men (But Were Afraid to Ask). By Lauren D. Weinstein The Crush Letter 58 The Crush Letter Its a tune The Crush Letter No 39 The Crush Letter No 46: DEVOUR The Crush Letter No 57 The Crush Letter No 59 The Crush Letter No 60: DEVOUR The Crush Letter No 61 The Crush Letter No 62 the crush letter no 63 The Crush Letter No 78 The Crush Letter No 80 The Crush Letter No 81 The Crush Letter No 82 The Crush Letter No 83: DEVOUR The Crush Letter No 84 The Crush Letter No. 79 The Crush Letter: Culture / Comment The Dynamics of Friendhip By Lauren D. Weinstein The Friendship Files By AKA Darla The Golden Bachelor The Hole. By Kiva Schuler The Holiday Anti-Checklist By Liza Lentini The New Menopause By Dr. Mary Claire Haver The Perfect Snowy Saturday. By Jeanne Bosse The Ritual of Comforts. By Lady Verity The Sex Position Report. By Dish Stanley The Solo Series Thee Timeless Travel Books. By Bob Guccione Jr. Things To Let Go Of. By Dish Stanley This must be the place To get all of us, subscribe. Top Ten Jazz Albums To Soothe Your Soul. By Lisa Ellex TOPIX Transitions Travel tips Treats: A Sex Toy Tester Update Under The Radar Series. By Dish Stanley Valentines day what dead to me taught me about family. What's Your Best Friend Move Who Are CRUSH Readers Grateful For? Women of a Certain Age Whose Style I Admire You're My Medicine Your Big Green Heart. By Liza Lentini Your Love Is King & Queen, GQ Zits a poppin Zoning Out in Comfort. By Dean Christopher