The Crush Letter No 135: Prostate Problems, Classic Erotic Lit & The Golden Bachelor

. 13 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,

I’m writing from Lisbon this week, and boy what a warm, energetic, beautiful city.

We’re lucky to be having a conversation about prostate issues today with CRUSH Reader, “Kraig.“ There are certain common health conditions that we all, at this stage, should probably know a lot more about. About ourselves, and for our partners. Menopause for women, prostate issues for men. That’s why, after reading our recent article on menopause, Kraig wrote to ask if I thought it would be helpful if he shared with us “the perspective of being just a normal dude dealing with something that can be very stressful and disruptive.“ Yes, Kraig! Thanks! Especially since it became immediately clear that Kraig leaned on a large circle of well-informed friends and doctors that not everybody has access to. “God knows I did a LOT of research,” he said.

Classic erotic lit. I’m often asked to suggest my favorite erotic literature, especially since I shared in our ‘5 Things’ That Turn Us On column what a pleasure it is being read aloud to. But to get you the very best suggestions in classic erotic lit from somebody whose given it deep thought I turned to Christian Pan, who writes PrimeCrush & Chill: Steamy Films Worth A Re-Watch for us. As with that column, Christian provides a very contemporary, thoughtful and terrifically interesting take on re-reading classics now. His inaugural review for this new column is Fear of Flying, Erica Jong´s debut novel from 1973 that was not only widely popular, but also praised by the likes of John Updike and Henry Miller.

You told me what you think of The Golden Bachelor. Thank you! You are so very insightful, CRUSH Readers. In anticipation of the season’s upcoming concluding episodes, we’re digging into who you like, who you really didn’t and why we’re all so obsessed.


In This Letter. +An Enlarged Prostate Is Common for Men Over 50. So Why Was It So Frightening & Difficult to Figure Out the Right Solution? A CRUSH Reader Streams Forth. +Re-Reading Erotic Lit Classics: Fear of Flying. By Christian Pan This was the book that originated the term the “zipless fuck.” +Why We’re Tuning In & Who We Love (Or Really, Really Don’t) On The Golden Bachelor. By Dish Stanley +Social Media I Loved This Week +Our Song of the Week Then one day I woke and he was gone

An Enlarged Prostate Is Common for Men Over 50. So Why Was It So Frightening & Difficult to Figure Out the Right Solution? A CRUSH Reader Streams Forth.

More than 1 in 3 men over 50 have symptoms related to an enlarged prostate.* Yet the best course of treatment is an exhausting obstacle course, so CRUSH Reader “Kraig“ offered to share his experience with his prostate enlargement diagnosis and treatment. After trial and error — and leaning on a wide circle of informed friends and top doctors in Boston (a city renowned for its leading medical institutions) — he shares how he finally found the best solution for him.

Thanks for sharing your experience, Kraig.

I’m not a doctor, but I’m hoping that the perspective of being just a normal dude dealing with something that can be very stressful and disruptive could be helpful. God knows I did a LOT of research on the ways to address prostate enlargement that would minimize potential sexual side effects. I am 57 and not ready to lose any sexual functioning. (Spoiler alert: I’m happy to say that the modality I chose worked perfectly in that regard (confirmed post-surgery last week).)

Addressing this, from start (first urologist visit) to finish (post-surgery) has been a three-month haul. 

When and how did you recognize that there was an issue?

I was urinating 4-5 times a night, clearly not emptying my bladder.  And obviously not getting good sleep.

I visited my PCP and he suggested I see a urologist.  

Walk us through the visit with the urologist.

The first step with a urologist is a test to determine how much urine is being retailed. This is done with a simple ultrasound over the bladder.  You then urinate and repeat the ultrasound. After that, she looked at me and delivered the news, "you have a liter of urine in your bladder after urinating.”

And the dangerous issue with you “retaining urine” is?

The concern is that the urine backs up and starts to damage the kidneys. 

The solution, after your first appointment?

A catheter in my penis. Terrifying to say the least. My immediate response was "I need to go home and spend the weekend getting my head around the idea of a catheter being installed.”

I went back to the urologist the following week and took the leap.  A catheter was placed in me and I went home with 3/4 inches of tubing hanging out of my penis. "Just think of it as a long penis, Kraig" is what my doctor said. "You mean long(er),” I replied.

That got no laugh from her, by the way, but I still think it was funny.

A catheter is barbaric. As my buddy Greg put it "I'd rather be mauled by a bear.” Truthfully, you deal with it. I had a cap on the end of mine that I would empty in the bathroom every couple of hours. I played (and won) my pickleball championship match with it in and even went to two concerts at Fenway. Imagine emptying your bladder from a catheter in the disgusting Fenway park bathrooms?

Hey, congratulations on being a pickleball champion! You must be good. But back to the installed catheter and why it was problematic (beyond the obvious).

The catheter allows you to empty the bladder fully and then to further test to see if my kidneys had been damaged - one had slight damage (swelling). I had the catheter removed after one week (it's unsettling to have it placed in and taken out but it’s a mere seconds). After a second catheter went in, I got violently sick with a bladder infection - hell of a way to lose 16 pounds in a week! 

It was then that I started to do additional research and spoke with a 30-year old graduate of Yale School of Medicine who is a urologist, and friend of a friend. “Kraig you have to stop using the installed catheters. They are fucking cesspools of bacteria and that's why you got sick. You need to self-catheterize. It's easier than flossing".  A terrifying thought but after being sick and dealing with a tube hanging out of my penis, I tried it.

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Re-Reading Erotic Lit Classics: Fear of Flying by Erica Jong. Reviewed By Christian Pan

What is freedom? Not just in terms of determining what sorts of intimate and sexual relationships one wishes to enjoy, but how can we meaningfully articulate a vision for living a thriving, full, contented life, in all of its complexity and with all of our foibles? How does one balance personal pursuits with spending time with one's lover? How can we successfully negotiate the time and energy necessary to nurture a marriage while simultaneously building a career (particularly if one is an artist)? How do the answers to these timeless and universal questions change when asked by a woman? 

Upon its release in 1973, Erica Jong´s debut novel Fear of Flying garnered praise from respected literary figures John Updike and Henry Miller as well as became a popular bestseller in the culture. Many readers identified with the book´s semi-autobiographical heroine, a 29-year-old woman possessing intellect, wit, and an indefatigable passion to understand the nature of her desires. Isadora Wing is married, a Jewish New Yorker, a writer–but which of these is the most important? How do women balance them all together, and how can one wrest satisfaction from both one´s career and one´s relationships? 

The book begins in Vienna. Isadora is attending a conference on psychoanalysis with her husband Bennet, ostensibly to write an article for a media outlet in New York. The choice of setting combined with her spouse´s profession is intentional by Jong, as Isadora´s narration will jump back and forth through time, and some chapters will be so confessional that they will almost feel like we are her therapist, listening to her on the couch. Shortly after her arrival to the event, Isadora meets Adrian, a British analyst who is the opposite in temperament to her husband: where Bennet is meek or submissive, this new man is confident, direct in articulating what he wants, an existentialist who invites Isadora to run away with him for a temporary affair. She joins him in the hopes of having a highly-charged sexual adventure, an act of rebellion which will shock her into realizing what is most important to her, what role her husband plays in her life, and more. But instead, Isadora finds that she and Adrian are simply driving around France and Germany, and that their lovemaking is infrequent or brief, if at all (Adrian is frequently impotent). When the Brit announces that he is going to return to his wife and children in England, Isadora storms off to a ramshackle room in a fleabag hotel in Paris, where she finally begins to fall in love with the one person she has been seeking all along: herself. 

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Gerry Turner, the 'Golden Bachelor'. Photo from ABC/BRIAN BOWEN SMITH

Why We’re Tuning In & Who We Love (Or Really, Really Don’t) On The Golden Bachelor. By Dish Stanley

There are well over 11 million of us worldwide watching The Golden Bachelor, which was the biggest debut in the Bachelor franchise. When I asked a few friends recently if they were tuning in I got this: “O B S E S S E D.” Repeatedly. Then I turned to you, CRUSH Readers, to try to understand why we’re all so gripped.

Perhaps surprisingly, even though he is the center of all the action, Gerry isn’t the reason. That’s pretty clear. “[I]t’s not about Gerry,” said one female CRUSH Reader. “It’s the women. It’s really fun to see these women, who are anywhere from a few years older than us to ten years older, put themselves out there so boldly.” 

Of course some of the reason that we are tuning in to see the women more than the star is that the women is where all the drama resides. The women are the ones competing, Gerry is not. Even though they are (by and large) doing it with grace and class and immense support for each other, competition is inherently compelling. It requires putting your heart on the line, deploying some sort of strategic angling and the risk of loss. Gerry, on the other hand, is sitting in the cat seat and while it’s been mildly interesting (if not moving) to see how he handles his power, decision-making and ultimately, rejection, of so many women, his relative position of power means he is subject to fewer forces that inevitably reveal character and personality.

Mild-mannered Gerry, it turns out, is the perfect “backdrop” against which the women’s boldness and vibrancy stands out. One woman summed him up like this: He’s a nice guy from Indiana. Period.The humble, sensitive gentleman from Indiana is less a bee around whom all the women are buzzing and more like a plain vanilla bird feeder attracting colorful blue jays, cardinals and finches.

Then there’s the fact that everyone seems very authentic, and we truly identify with their very real feelings, as well as their personal histories of love and loss. Unlike other reality shows where all the players seem to be selling something, themselves, a product or both (the latest season of The Real Housewives of New York City being the most blatant example of this), we believe that The Golden Bachelor cast is actually truly looking for love, and deserves to find it. Here’s how one male CRUSH Reader put it:

“People sometimes scoff at the category moniker "reality TV" - not reality they say. True. It's TV. But the moniker came not because the genre claimed to be showing reality, but because it is more or less unscripted. Not professional actors professionally emoting by speaking professionally written lines. Instead, real people showing real emotions. The genre has over time morphed away from that and into a bit of an often highly entertaining if cringeworthy freak show. But The Golden Bachelor seems to have brought back that original idea of reality TV and done so very well. For the most part - the very most part - the contestants all strike us as being very real people, with real lives, with joys and bruises, highs and lows we can all identify with, and they seem to be showing real emotions. It’s compelling, and pleasantly surprising, even gripping in a way I suspect none of us expected.”

And finally, of course, for those of us CRUSH Readers who are single, The Golden Bachelor gives us hope that we too may find love, and encouragement to open up our hearts and minds to the journey.

Here is what you had to say about The Golden Bachelor, CRUSH Readers. I am always thrilled, and no longer surprised, by the depth and range of your insights. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.*

*One thing to note is that these comments came in prior to Episode 6, when Gerry visits the hometowns and families of the remaining three contestants.

How would you describe Gerry?

Sensitive, loving, inclined toward real emotional intimacy. Lonely. Emotionally overwhelmed processing all of the love, attention and feelings he is having, particularly on a quick, forced timeline. Doing his best to be honest and transparent.”

A nice guy from Indiana. Period.

“Nice. Also, perhaps dull. But a committed, good, loving partner.”

Handsome, fit, cheerful, soulful, vulnerable but also masculine.”

Thoughtful, kind, communicative, gentle, handsome enough (although not for me) but good for the show and to show there’s always a possibility of partnership at my age. (I’m 73!)”

“A catch.”

“Looks like he did not foresee the emotional implications of his decision to go on the show? That he didn’t understand that it would be painful to be responsible for inflicting so much rejection. And that he might feel conflicted, develop feelings for more than one woman. Perhaps he has not dated AT ALL since his wife died, which means he has not dated in a really long time, so he had no touchpoint for the many facets of dating, particularly at this stage.”

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Social Media I Loved This Week











Song Of The Week

He Called Me Baby by Candi Stanton

Listen Here

Dish Stanley XO,

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