The Crush Letter No 129: Political Hotbeds, Steamy Films

. 12 min read

I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about life, love, and culture for those 50+.  Because midlife and beyond is so much hotter than they said it would be.  Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.


Hello Crush,

Thanks for being here. How was your week?

Mine was crazy busy. Mostly because I didn't let all the work of moving into a new pad interfere with my fun. But we've got a lot for you today, so let's dive right in.

There's never been a hotter time to be older, Crushes. First we had lifespan, then we had healthspan and now there's "hotspan." Into it. In her article Old People Are Hot Now in Proto.life, Sarah Rose Siskind coins a new phrase: hotspan. She describes the new metric as "the length of time during which a person is hot." (And fuck! Clever. Why didn't I think of that?)

Siskind goes on to quote Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University and the chief science advisor for Match.com. “The fastest growing dating site is OurTime,” [a dating app for those 50+], says Fisher. “I think [age] is becoming more and more just a number.” Her large-scale annual surveys show that those over 50 are the least willing to marry without sexual attraction ...

And, as if on cue to demonstrate their own lengthy hotspan(s), The Rolling Stones dropped a banger of a new song, Angry. Quintessential Stones, the video features images of each of the band's members (including deceased Charlie Watts) through the years as they pop up on billboards along Sunset Strip. Actress Sydney Sweeney (from Euphoria and White Lotus) is a bit of a scene stealer, admittedly, as she prowls around in the back of a cherry red convertible. I read that the video's director had written it with Sweeney just sort of sitting back checking out the scenery, but as the music began to play she started moving like somebody cut out to star on a burlesque stage. And boy, she takes us for a ride. The whole thing is one big fun, hot, romp Stones-style.

And speaking of hot classics, we're starting a new series on erotic masterpieces worth a re-watch. Written by Christian Pan, a NYC-based writer and a host on the podcast All the Filthy Details, we'll be getting a new and deep look at films we've already seen, but not quite in this way, starting with Thelma & Louise:

"It's also unfortunately rare in cinema, seeing women initiate sexual desire, particularly an older woman ...  Further, Sarandon and Madsen defy expectations by making their scene all about emotional intimacy, a choice which Sarandon apparently had to convince the director to make."

Also, we're starting a series titled "political hotbeds." Election season has, unfortunately, begun. And that means our relationships with everyone from family to lovers will get tested. Lisa Ellex deftly braces us for what's coming up with a comic and entertaining story of her own past sexual encounter with the enemy.

And there's more! Let's roll.


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. +PrimeCrush & Chill: Steamy Films Worth a Re-watch: Thelma & Louise Such layers of nuance and insight about the inner lives of women, and their complex relationships with men, permeate every scene of Thelma and Louise.    +Political Hotbed: Lovers and Other Strangers It was time for me to make a hard and fast choice: do I say “thank you and good night,“ or do I succumb to his worldly charms and take the enemy to bed despite the fact that doing so would be against my young and newly formed political principles.    Men of a Certain Age Whose Style Could Keep You Up at Night.  By Dish Stanley   +Social Media I Loved This Week By Dish Stanley    +Our Song of the Week We haven't made love, and I wanna know why


PrimeCrush & Chill: Steamy Films Worth A Re-Watch

In this new series from Christian Pan we hook back up with our favorite ex's--as in classic steamy movies worth a re-watch. This is a companion column to our original (and ongoing) PrimeCrush & Chill that dives back into a full range of classic films.

Thelma and Louise (1991)

Amazon Prime, Paramount+, Hulu, Apple TV

Starring: Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Harvey Keitel, Brad Pitt

Released: May 20, 1991 (USA)

Basic Plot: A weekend road trip for the film's titular characters takes a sudden dark turn, causing both women to run for their lives and learn that they can rely on no one else but each other.

As the story opens, timid housewife Thelma (Geena Davis) is afraid to even ask her her controlling husband Daryl (Christopher McDonald) if she can go on a fishing trip with her best friend Louise (Susan Sarandon), a single woman who´s taken time off from her shifts as a waitress at the local diner. Stopping at a roadhouse along the way, the two women are quickly approached by a sweaty stranger, Harlan (Timothy Carhart), who keeps pouring drinks and dancing Thelma into a state of nauseous dizziness. When Louise finally catches up with them, he is in the back parking lot attempting to rape her friend, and would have if Louise hadn´t shot him. Knowing with certainty that no one will believe them–”that's just not the world we live in,” Louise tells Thelma, “everyone will say you were asking for it because they saw you dancing with him earlier”--the two go on the lam, hoping to get to Mexico as soon as possible before the Arkansas authorities (led by Harvey Keitel) can capture them. Some financial help from Louise´s boyfriend Jimmy (Michael Madsen) is thwarted by the sexy thief J.D. (Brad Pitt), and so the two have to resort to armed robbery and more violence in their attempt to reach the southern border before it's too late.

Why Re-watch: Directed and co-produced by Ridley Scott, Thelma and Louise was nominated for dozens of awards all over the world after its debut at the Cannes Film Festival in 1991, and screenwriter Callie Khouri won Best Original Screenplay that year at the Oscars (this was her first!). In addition to critical acclaim, the film also generated significant controversy for its depictions of gender, with some hailing it as an uncompromising depiction of women´s experience to others saying its depictions of men were unfairly negative.

Using elements from a number of cinematic genres, the structure of Thelma and Louise is more than a reinterpretation of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, a feminist update to the “buddy movies” were men are centered in the narrative and their choices (frequently violent and/or self-serving) are unquestioned. Instead, Khouri´s script is a powerful portrayal of how women experience and navigated through public space in America. In addition to the obvious example of Harlan, we see the two of them constantly enduring demeaning comments from strangers as well as a spouse, unwanted flirtations, and threats. To survive, Khouri´s heroines must remain pretty, polite, and compliant. And when they don´t? All hell breaks loose! During the second half of the film, the women awaken to the thrill of discarding these gender-expectations–they throw away make-up, give away jewelry, their actions become more practical; in fact, up until the final scene by the Grand Canyon, the two look like men. Perhaps this is why so many cops with so many guns are demanding their surrender? And also, this is why the film´s titular characters choose to keep going forward, rejecting incarceration in favor of freedom–even if that freedom is short-lived.

But Thelma and Louise contains serious themes related to gender and sexual violence, but also a lot of humor, maturity, and sensuality when it comes to women's desires. The hotel scene contrasting Thelma/JD and Louise/Jimmy is a prime example. While totaling just a few minutes in the film, seeing Davis portray an earnest and primal desire for the shirtless bohunk Pitt is refreshing. It´s also unfortunately rare in cinema, seeing women initiate sexual desire, particularly an older woman for a younger man who´s got a “cute butt”. Further, Sarandon and Madsen defy expectations by making their scene all about emotional intimacy, a choice which Sarandon apparently had to convince the director to make. Rather than have Louise and Jimmy have “one last night of passion together” before she makes her final run to Mexico, the two sit and talk. Rather than accept his clumsy offer of marriage so she has “something to come back for”--which in another film might have lead the two down the path of sentimental cliché–Louise instead rejects his offer because she loves him. It is because she cares about him that she is not telling him the whole story, doesn´t want to jeopardize his safety by getting him further involved in her situation. Such layers of nuance and insight about the inner lives of women, and their complex relationships with men, permeate every scene of Thelma and Louise. More than 30 years later, so much of the film still feels fresh and contemporary.

Christian Pan is a writer based in New York City. Since 2021, he has published six novellas and nearly one hundred short stories focused on the erotic imagination. He also hosts the Pulse Session for the monthly podcast All the Filthy Details.

Political Hotbed: Lovers and Other Strangers

One writer’s younger self learns just how politics can make estranged bedfellows.

Brace yourself.  It’s campaign season. And if you’re wondering just how you’ll get through the next 16 months of political propaganda, mortifying mudslinging, and rousing rallies set to a soundtrack of cheesy pop music, you're not alone. Dreading the onslaught of campaign ads about to emerge from every existing electronic outlet, I feel a deep yearning for the good old days of the pre-internet era, when political messages were delivered solely through television or radio commercials, transportation ads, and periodicals.

In reflecting on elections past, I’m taken back – way back – to the 1980 presidential election “co-starring” Ronald Reagan, incumbent Jimmy Carter, and independent candidate John Bayard Anderson (who?). Though I was a young and hopeful registered “independent” who, with wide eyes, believed in our political system and the promise for a better tomorrow, I sincerely felt one should vote for the person and not the party. So with the ink on my voter’s registration card still wet, I proudly presented it to the volunteer at my polling site and stepped inside the voting booth to perform my civic duty.   “I am about to make a difference,” I thought. “I am about to change the world.” Suddenly, my feelings of excitement very quickly turned to feelings of pressure.  I was fully aware that what I was about to do was indeed a privilege, but somehow I got smacked with the realization that it was an enormous responsibility. This was serious business. My palms began to sweat. And who are all these other people running in other offices? I don’t recall hearing anything about these guys!  I was confused. I felt light-headed. If this is what being a grown-up feels like, it certainly is not for me.  I took a deep breath and, with a shaking hand, pulled the lever next to the name “Jimmy Carter. "

Walking home, I felt as if I had aged ten years– physically and emotionally.  What if I pulled the wrong lever? What if, somehow, mine was the deciding vote and I became single-handedly responsible for ruining Jimmy Carter’s life?  What if the country crumbled? I felt dirty. Forever changed, I was already longing for the youth and naivete I left outside that damn voting booth just thirty minutes earlier.

My feelings of doom were assuaged when I arrived home to a delivery of long-stemmed roses; the second delivery in two weeks. Some months earlier, a very sexy older gentleman began his own relentless campaign for my attention. With mixed feelings, some part of me was flattered, some part of me said, “ick.” Though he was exciting, outgoing, dynamic, successful, and greatly admired in social circles, he was older than me by a decade. Considering I had only been alive for two decades, that seems like a huge gap. Besides, in dog years he’d be long dead. On the other hand, we shared similar views and interests and could passionately converse for hours. Tonight was to be our first date. The plan?  Dinner at one of New York’s most popular restaurants followed by dessert at his place to “watch the returns” (wink, wink).

At 7pm, as promised, the gentleman arrived at my door.  We taxied to a lovely restaurant and enjoyed a truly fabulous meal. It was over this meal that I learned that this gentleman was in Reagan’s corner. I was crushed. He offered at least a dozen reasons why Reagan was the better choice. I was having none of it. I offered at least a dozen reasons why Carter was the better choice. He was having none of it, still, he was as amused by this difference of opinion as I was upset by it.

Continue reading here

Men of a Certain Age Whose Style Could Keep You Up at Night.  By Dish Stanley

Here are some of the splendid men of style and substance I follow on social media who you might be better off spending some time with, too.

@wmbrownproject, Matt Hranek


@sartorialpairings, Ignacio Quiles


@altonbrown, Alton Brown

Got a guy you follow on social media that my life would be better knowing about? Write me! Dish@PrimeCrush.com

Social Media I Loved This Week

@timferriss

@southernhospitalityco

@corroon

@jillianturecki

@asherperlman

Song Of The Week

Angry By The Rolling Stones

Listen to Angry by tapping the hot photo of Sydney Sweeney above.

Have a hot week, Crushes.

Dish Stanley XO,
Dish

PrimeCrush & Chill: The Hottest Thing to Watch Right Now
In this periodic column for The Crush Letter we hook back up with our favorite ex’s--as in classic movies worth a re-watch. #LoveandSexInMidlife
Heat vs. Warmth By Dish Stanley
Let’s Cool It With the Idea That Women Age Out of Hot A close female friend over 50 recently told me about bumping into a former high school boyfriend. They shared a friendly conversation catching up. As they parted, he commented that while she wasn’t the “hottie” she
Men of a Certain Age Whose Style Could Keep You Up at Night. By Dish Stanley
Here are some of the splendid men of style and substance I follow on social media who I think you’ll be better off spending some time with, too. @chuckpollard60 Chuck Pollard starts almost all of his reels with a happy-feeling “Hey everybody, hope you’re all well!” He then moves into

If you love me as much as I love you (and I really do love you!), then please help me grow by forwarding this {love} Letter to a friend!  And I'd love to have you join us on Instagram.

The Crush Letter
The Crush Letter is a weekly newsletter from Dish Stanley curating articles & intelligence on everything love & connection - friendship, romance, self-love, sex. If you’d like to take a look at some of our best stories go to Read Us. Want the Dish?


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