The Crush Letter No. 11

. 9 min read

Hello Crush,

Here's to Saturday morning! Thanks for being here with me.

Welcome new Crush Readers! Here's more about me and why we're here.

If you've been around a couple of weeks then you know that with last week's issue No. 10 - all because of Mike - we started a "Letters to the Editor" section. If you scroll down, you'll see that we got another one this week, a reaction to the essay we published last week by Lauren D. Weinstein The Dynamics of Friendship: Can singlehood withstand the trials of friends with kids? Thank you, N.

We are DEVOURing a lot this week, Crush Readers, because we are sharing the first of two summer reading lists put together especially for us. These are the lovely offerings of passionate reader Sharon Weinberg, who is (pre-)launching us into this summer with a reading list on Everything Love. (Next week we will be publishing Sharon's second summer list for the more erotically-inclined readers.)

But to start us off, we are going to STIR things up with Bob Guccione, Jr's addition to our recurring series 5 Things That Turn Me On. As the Founder of Wonderlust and SPIN, he has given a lot of thought to what sends him. Enjoy! And please share your 5 Things by writing to me at

STIR {it up}

5 Things That Turn Me On: Bob Guccione, Jr

Is this your real name: Yes.

Occupation: Founder and Editor of WONDERLUST and also founded SPIN and other magazines.

Current relationship status: In a committed relationship.

Which generation are you in: Boomer, Baby!

Follow me on:

Paris: Not my favorite city by a long shot, but in its own league as sexy. It’s palpably sensual --- including being a sometimes not-so-hot mess. If a city could smell of sex, Paris does. And it is elegant and profane, effortlessly, like the best, most memorable sex.

Not words, sounds: Moans of delight and surprise, of course, or the excited rise in a voice when two people connect on something as mundane as eating a hot dog on the street together or seeing the beauty or absurdity of something at the same time. And there’s nothing more exciting than the silence between a couple just perfectly and wordlessly and ephemerally in harmony.

Kiss Me…: Everywhere. Don’t stop. Ever.

Touch Me…: Real sex is XXX --- from the most passionate, physical ravaging of each others’ bodies, to fucking someone in an elevator, to the most-gentle lovemaking. Because sex is about absorption and melding and excitement and desire and covetousness. It’s nice to have your neck stroked, but the real action is in the middle of the body.

Humor: Humor is the sexiest, and most intimate, connection between lovers that isn’t physical. Often it’s sexier, and more intimate. Humor brings down barriers and encourages the weightless surrender that is trust, the oxygen of love and sex. Intelligence is unspeakably thrilling. Confidence is sexy. Caring and kindness turn me on, caring for others and being cared for, mattering to the one I love and lust for. And vulnerability --- not because I want to exploit that person, but because I want to honor and celebrate their openness and trust.

Hello, Crush! What turns you on? We are thrilled to introduce you to this recurring column where we share five things that light our fire. We'd love to hear from you! (Yes, you!) If you’d like us to send you a template to fill out, it’s really easy and fun, please email me at You must be a subscriber! (PS you can publish under your alias.)

DEVOUR {things to do, read, see & have}

Crush Summer Reading List: Everything Love

Crush Summer Reading List!

Passionate Crush Reader & Indie Bookshop Owner Sharon Weinberg, owner of the Chatham Bookstore in Hudson Valley, NY has created two summer reading lists just for us. We are so excited to dig in to the first of these lists: Everything Love. Covering everything from a classic Larry McMurtry ode to male friendship to Patricia Highsmith's psychological thriller on thwarted desire to Sue Miller's latest study of long-term marriage, Sharon's Everything Love Summer Reading List gives us a look at love that contains multitudes.

Growing up, my parents complained that  “all you want to do is sit around and read.” It took sixty years, but I have now proven them right by  buying a charming indie bookstore in the Hudson Valley, where my literal job description is: sit around and read.

The first time I realized the power of literature was when I spent a happy, if confused, few hours surreptitiously reading my mother’s library copy of  Jacqueline Susann’s “The Love Machine.”  Hard to do better than that classic, but I'll try.  

Sharon Weinberg

{Click thru here to see the whole list with brief descriptions/reviews of each book on The Chatham Bookstore's Bookshop page, or click thru on each book below to read a fuller description/review of that specific book.}  

Sharon's CRUSHING Summer "Everything Love" Reading List, specifically picked for us.

Mrs. Everything, Jennifer Weiner   Two sisters growing up in 1950's Detroit - one, a feminine "good girl" who enjoys all of the power her beauty confers, and the other a tomboy and bookish rebel - whose lives unfold with tragedies and traumas against the backdrop of  free love, Vietnam and women's lib.

Outlander, Diana Gabaldon   Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is in the Scottish Highlands just back from WWII and reunited with her husband when she walks through one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is an "outlander" in 1743 in a land torn by raiding clans.

Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides   2003 Pulitzer Prize Winner for fiction. An American epic that begins in a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus with the tale of a gene that passes through three generations to the body of a teenage girl in Detroit 1974.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark    Miss Jean Brodie is an extraordinary teacher at a school for girls in Edinburgh, Scotland where she dedicates herself to an affair with a bachelor music master, as well as to her girls. She is determined to instill in them independence, passion and ambition. But then one betrays her.

Truth & Beauty, Ann Patchett   Patchett's nonfiction account of her 20-year friendship with writer Lucy Grealy, which spans through love, fame, drugs, surgical wards, NYC book parties and despair.

A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara   Winner of the Kirkus Prize. Follows four college classmates as they move to NYC in search of fame and fortune. While their friendship deepens over decades tinged with addiction, success and pride, it is held together primarily by their shared devotion to enigmatic and brilliant Jude, whose childhood was scarred with trauma.

Monogamy, Sue Miller   Graham and Annie are a golden couple. He is a gregarious book shop owner and she an envied dinner party host. Married for thirty years when Graham dies suddenly, and in the wake of that (and her mourning), Annie discovers a ruinous secret.

Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry   1985 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Fiction. Classic tale of the American West that follows two aging Texas Rangers embarking on one last adventure. An epic tale of male friendship, aging, unrequited love and death.

The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith   A masterpiece of the psychological thriller genre, this is the story of Ripley, a smooth confidence man with a talent for self-invention who becomes obsessed with a wealthy, debonair acquaintance in Italy.

Sharon's second summer reading list for Crush Readers "Hot Nights and Lazy Mornings" is focused more on the erotic lit genre and we are all hot and bothered to publish that next week.

Read. Book Review: I AM INVINCIBLE, by Norma Kamali

Reviewed by Lady Verity

It’s never too late to fall in love. Just ask Norma Kamali. In fact, you don’t need to ask her because she’s written a memoir-guidebook that includes finding the love of her life at sixty-five -- and a whole lot more.

Norma Kamali: I Am Invincible is part mood board and part pastiche, brimming with the kind of originality one expects from a top fashion "creative." Writing now at 75, she reveals that her life plan “did not include any expiration dates we are fed regarding marriage, kids, and career.” Not one to fit the mold, she creates her own mold and shares it with her reader. There are no magic bullets here for health and glowing looks. Kamali emphasizes “there’s no substitute for a healthy lifestyle” and her guideposts are Three Pillars: sleep, diet and exercise.

There are positive aphorisms galore in big signboard font that sprinkle throughout the book. For example, one exuberant page reads: “massage supports a strong immune system by relaxing and distressing the body and mind. MASSAGES ARE MAGIC!” Then there’s another that says “OWN YOUR STYLE AND NO ONE ELSE’S.” Tell that to all the “trending” addicts out there. There’s even a model who pops up kind of jack-in-the box here and there, with an impressive wardrobe of one-piece bathing suits. One presumes she’s there for inspiration.

There’s a bit of this and that -- from Kamali’s plant-based recipes (“vegetarian” must be outdated) and a great recipe on her favorite homemade bread, to her own exercise routine and tips for insomniacs on falling asleep.

Important to those of us getting older -- and who isn’t? -- this is a book that celebrates the body and the spirit at all ages. Since it might take a large roster of helpmates to cheer us on, Kamali has a little black book of personal references and contacts listed appendix-like that she calls “resources,” from her dermatologist to astrologer and psychic. And if you’re not smiling yet, Kamali has an affirmation to inspire you: “SMILING IS A BEAUTY TIP!”

Speaking of Norma Kamali. In The Crush Letter No. 6 I wrote an essay on the difficulty of men's friendship  "Don't Touch My Hat: Midlife Men, Friendship, Depression & Loneliness" that got a lot of reader responses. This week I noticed the love & condolence note that Norma Kamali posted on her insta feed to Mel Brooks upon the passing of his best friend Carl Reiner. I had to share this beautiful picture, and tribute, celebrating their friendship.

DEAR DISH & Other Reader Stuff.

We've had letters. And there are poll results. Thank you!

"Dear Dish,

The piece by Lauren D. Weinstein The Dynamics of Friendship: Can Singlehood Withstand the Trials of Friends with Kids? is very thought provoking. Thanks for including it ... Being later to marry and not having my son until 41, I remember a lot of those feelings. Felt like it was spot on ...

XO, N."

Poll Results: "Not Without Samantha." In The Crush Letter No.9 we published a piece by "Definitely Not A Carrie" aptly titled And I Wondered ... Do We Really Need A Sex and the City Reboot? We asked you whether you'd be watching SATC and two-thirds of you said "No! I'm sorry. I can't. Don't hate me." One-third responded "Yes! I can't help but wonder." Here's what else we heard:

Not without Samantha.
At its best it was a show about a time - in Earth, and in life - which is over. Let it be.
I broke up with Carrie for the last time when she stepped into Mr. Big's car in Paris.
Seriously though, I would love to watch something sexy and funny on the complexities of dating in midlife. I'm not sure this will be it.

Week end mood. Perfectly captured by Spoon's Can I Sit Next To You? As we continue to wade out of pandemic life into circles of love and friendship.

"Can I sit next to you? / Can you sit next to me?

Get the stars out of your eyes. / Come and bring them to me.

I been down so long / I've been working on a plan, yeah"

"Get the stars out of your eyes / Come and bring them to me."

Hope you're sitting next to some love and friendship this week end. Roll on.

Dish Stanley XO,

PS: If you enjoy The Crush Letter, please consider sharing it with a friend. I am trying to grow our community and would love to have your loves in it.

The Crush Letter
The Crush Letter is a weekly newsletter from Dish Stanley curating articles & intelligence on everything love & connection. Want the Dish?


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