The Crush Letter No 151: The Friendship Files, More Sex Symposium, Off to New Zealand

. 11 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,

By the time you open this up, I’ll have landed in New Zealand, where I’ll be for the next couple weeks. New Zealand is heaven for golfers … as well as fly fishers, hikers and bungee jumpers (I hear), but I’m going with a close girlfriend who travels well and is generally game for meeting people and trying new things. Other close friends from L.A. will be there at the same time by coincidence, so it is turning into something even bigger.

That means that I’ll be taking the next two weeks off. I’ll be back, rested and fired up with The Crush Letter No 152 on Saturday, March 23rd.

In This Letter. +Friendship Files: I Wanna Hold Your Hand by A.K.A. Darla Though decades have passed, husbands are gone, and children are grown, in my mind’s eye, I still picture me and Lorraine this way. +The Swell’s Sex Symposium Dr. Kelly Casperson says “Sexual health IS health. +What I’m Packing for My Trip to New Zealand I’m very, very particular about travel clothes. by Dish Stanley +Social Media I Loved This Week +Our Song of the Week Everybody’s doing the best that they can

Friendship Files: I Wanna Hold Your Hand by A.K.A. Darla

We’ve all received that phone call.  A friend on the other end asks, “Can you do me a favor?”  In a fraction of a second, you anticipate a list of possible requests such as:

  1. Can you give me a ride to the airport?
  2. Can you watch my dog while I go out of town? 

And the dreaded…

  1. Can you lend me some money?

It was not at all unusual for Lorraine to ask a favor. Friends and partners in crime since we were five-years-old, we’ve called upon each other countless times. But as the saying goes, “timing is everything” and at the time of Lorraine’s call I happened to be knee-deep in my own life crisis: a disastrous real estate purchase – coupled with the breakup with the very person with whom I purchased the property –  had me physically, emotionally, and financially drained. So, as I waited to hear Lorraine’s request, I held my breath.

“I could really use some hand-holding.”  Whew! That was easy. I quietly exhaled and answered, “Sure.”  Then, Lorraine elaborated.  “There’s something on my mammogram.  Would you come with me to the oncologist?”

Though I could not find my words, somehow, I squeaked out, “yes.”  As Lorraine went into detail, my eyes roamed to a photo that mingled with my other treasured photos atop my piano.  In it, Lorraine and I are holding hands outside of school on our last day of Kindergarten, grinning ear-to-ear.  Though decades have passed, husbands are gone, and children are grown, in my mind’s eye, I still picture me and Lorraine this way. 

As Lorraine and I sat in the doctor’s office with hands entwined, we listened to her prognosis. Lorraine’s road would be a difficult one.  Later at lunch, we discussed what needed to be done: we would have to deliver the news to her three daughters; one living on another continent, one at a college on the opposite end of the country, and one local. Then we would have to tell her husband, though neither Lorraine or I had spoken to him since their divorce the previous year. Then we’d have to devise a way to keep her business running while we navigated her treatment plan and dealt with everyday life in general. 

Continue reading here

The Swell’s Sex Symposium

Dish recently attended The Sexual Wellness Symposium in New York City hosted by The Swell*, Dr. Emily Morse and Dr. Kelly Casperson. The day provided an abundance of information on all aspects of sexual health and wellness. The day was primarily for women “of menopausal age” and, as with menopause itself, it turns out that there’s a lot that the experts are still learning about sex as we age. In this series Dish shares with CRUSH Readers the most important things she learned.

First, a little about The Swell. It’s a community and educational platform for women over 40. In addition to the Sex Symposium, I attended the Menopause Symposium it hosted last fall, which I wrote about in HotFlash: The Five Things You Need to Know About Menopause. The Swell was founded by Alisa Volkman, a serial entrepreneur whose past companies have been focused in the digital media space, When I spoke with Alisa at dinner after The Sex Symposium, she told me that The Swell will be rolling out more gatherings, more symposia and more opportunities for learning and making connections in more locations over the next 12 months. What I loved most about attending the Meno and Sex symposia that The Swell put on, besides the seriously informative enlightenment about topics that matter a lot to women at this stage, was the warmth of the vibe. And the fact that it felt thrilling to be surrounded by hundreds of women who are, quite literally, with their energy, confidence, style and hipness, rebranding what it means to be a woman over 40. You can learn more about The Swell on its site here. And in this article from the New York Times Welcome to the Menopause Gold Rush.

Dr. Kelly Casperson, one of the hosts of The Swell’s Sexual Symposium, calls herself an ‘Expert & Advocate for Sexuality and Hormones.’ She made what I thought was the critical point about about why we all gathered at the Symposium: “Women need evidence-based, science-backed health information on everything related to their bodies, including but not limited to sexual health.”

As Casperson says, “Sexual health IS health.“ Here’s why (she says) it makes sense to be thoughtful about it:

“Improving your sex life is about becoming better at every aspect of your life that truly matters:

  • Being a better communicator
  • Building emotional intimacy
  • Knowing yourself & what you truly need, and crave
  • Deeply knowing your partner (their needs, and what they crave)
  • Taking your health & wellness seriously (because good sex contributes to that)
  • Committing to prioritizing deep connection - to yourself and your partner

I highly recommend Casperson’s podcast You Are Not Broken, where she and her guests explore a wide range of topics involving the mind-body connection, science, sex and relationships. Some of my favorite recent episodes from her podcast include episode #238 Testosterone - An Education (a deep dive on the role of testosterone in men and women — fascinating! — with Dr. Monit Khera), #222 Estrogen Matters with Dr. Avrum Bluming (discussion of the value of hormone replacement theory with an expert who debunks myths) and #243 UnF*ck Your Brain: Body Image, Desire and Coaching with Kara Loewentheil (god, so many of us need this frank conversation on how powerful ”thought work” can be to reframe your self-image, particularly around your body).

You Are Not Broken Podcast - Kelly Casperson, MD | Board Certified Urologist · Expert & Advocate for Sexuality and Hormones
Combining the power of mind-work, body-science and relationships, the You Are Not Broken podcast joyously break down the societal barriers that are keeping us from living our best intimate lives.

What I‘m Packing For My Trip To New Zealand By Dish Stanley

This is a trip that I made twice last winter, so I’ve got it grooved. Here’s what I’m bringing.

I’m very, very particular about travel clothes. I never ever check luggage (even if I’m traveling for a month and am going from, say hiking in the Dolomites to Milan) so the wardrobe edit is key. I don’t like to look sloppy, but I need to be comfortable. I do not like to attract attention or look wealthy (especially if I’m traveling alone), but I like to look stylish and sharp. To New Zealand I’ll be taking a 17 hour flight, so I’ll be sleeping on the flight, and because I like to always keep my passport, iPhone, iPods and at least one credit card on my body (while I sleep) that means deep pockets. Taking all this into consideration, last year for travel to New Zealand I landed on a “uniform” of a pair of smart looking but pretty cool jeans that have great deep pockets and a little stretch. I also wear a vest that has a zip pocket in it. 

The combination of these particular jeans with this vest has worked for both urban and sporty travel. I just change-up the shoes and what I wear with the vest. For instance, with black suede Chelsea boots (fall/winter) and a black cashmere turtleneck, it’s perfect for a day of walking around London, Paris or New York in any cold to cool weather. (You’re adding a winter coat, of course.)

Citizens of Humanity Emerson Mid-Rise Relaxed 27” Jeans ($218) I swear by these jeans for travel. The relaxed, but slim fit make them both extremely comfortable as well as versatile. I know that a wider leg is trending now, but this straight/slim leg is so much sharper with a pair of heels if you’re trying to dress your look up a bit. The wider legs look great with boots, but for travel the most I ever have room for is one pair of Manolo Blahniks, and this leg shape is great with those. I wear them in a darker shade of blue because, again, I think darker dresses up better.

Marfa Stance Reversible Vest ($1055) Yes, that’s a ridiculous price for a vest (they call it a “liner” because it works as an insert in their coats as well). But I don’t mind splurging every so often for something soooo versatile. Also, I don’t feel like I work in Silicon Valley when I’m wearing it. Will you just look at all the pockets? Great for traveling.

These Retro-looking New Balance Navy 327’s I like wearing a navy sneaker with a dark pair of blue jeans, I think it’s a smart and slimming, unfussy “column” of one color. I don’t think these navy ones are available currently. (Here’s a link to a white/blue combination currently in stock.) (If I’m traveling to some place urban I often wear a pair of navy flats, like my navy Belgian Shoes.)

Bombas’ Performance Compression Travel Socks Good for any long flight, including a 17 hour long one.

Social Media I Loved This Week








Song of the Week

The Medicine Man By Keb’ Mo’

In a recent conversation with a close friend he said (about dating) that “we’re all just banging up against each other, doing the best that we can.” It made me think of the line from this Keb’ Mo’ song, which works as well as a metaphor as it does literally. Of course, in the world of Keb’ MO’s song, there might be somebody coming to save us: the medicine man. So ”we’re all just doing the best that [we] can,” until we get healed. But we will get healed.

Listen here

I’ll see you again on March 23rd, CRUSHes. Until then, carry on and be really good to the people you love. They deserve it, and you do too.

Dish Stanley XO,

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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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