The Crush Letter No 155: Cottagecore, Dish’s Summer Sex Version

. 14 min read

The Crush Letter brings love to your inbox weekly on Saturdays. To make you, your love life and your weekend, more compelling. Hell yes, sign me up.}

Hello Crush,

Happy Saturday morning, dearest CRUSHes. So nice to have you here.

There’s something I want to ask of you. You might remember that when you subscribed to The Crush Letter you didn’t pay a subscription fee. You might have also noticed that I don’t have sponsors or ads, and you might have realized that I don’t earn any cut from any of the products that I (or you) recommend. (Except for the books. We earn a few cents for every book you buy through our link to the PrimeCrush Book Shop. So I invite you to buy your books there!)). I might do something to reconcile the time and effort I put into this little project, and the fact that it has real out-of-pocket expenses (like payments to our writers) at some point, but I’m still figuring that out.

In the meantime, there is a very big, high impact way that you can offer support (and love) right now. And that‘s sharing The Crush Letter with a friend. If you enjoy it, please pass it on. That would mean the world to me. Thank you.

Get Us Your Things To Devour. Next week’s CRUSH Letter is one of our DEVOUR Letters, where Lisa Ellex and I share what to do, read, watch, listen to & know about. Got anything you want to tell us about? Get it into next week’s Letter by sharing it at the link below (anonymously, or not. You choose.).

In This Letter. +HOT THOTS. On The Golden Divorce. Nobody should lose hope! +Cottagecore. By Dish Stanley Each lover deserves his own short story, except The Tech Founder. He needs to read Ian Kerner’s She Comes First. +Dear Dish ... +PrimeCrush & Chill: Steamy Films Worth A Re-Watch. By Christian Pan: Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989). What makes it exceptionally erotic is how this film about sex never actually shows you any. +Spring Awakening Pt 2: Update Your Makeup. By Lauren D Weinstein Bat your lashes with a jolt or hint of color to brighten and make your peepers POP! +Three Things I'm Crushing On: From CRUSH Reader Mieke. All mushrooms are supercharged with healing, anti-oxidant and anti-cancer benefits. +Social Media I Loved This Week. +Our Song of the Week I ain’t no vision, I’m the girl

Hot Thots By Dish Stanley

On The Golden Divorce.

Yesterday the Golden Bachelor, Gerry Turner, and Theresa Nist announced that their getting a divorce after three months of marriage. I am sorry for them and for all those who found hope in their story of finding their own late-in-life love.

But nobody should lose hope! The relationship that we saw on The Golden Bachelor was based on artifice, manipulation, manufactured drama, accelerated familiarity, dodging the hard questions about how to build a life together and, we later learned, lies. What is true of romantic partnerships at this stage is true of romantic partnerships at any stage. A powerful relationship is based on a foundation of friendship, truly knowing and understanding your partner, authenticity and yes, heat. All the more so because the complexities exponentially increase.

The relationship that’s getting press that has a shot at success? The one I wrote about in last week’s CRUSH Letter, Gisele’s. “This is the first time I am seeing someone that was a friend of mine first,” she said. “It’s very different. It is very honest, and it’s very transparent.”

For a rundown on pop culture reactions to the split see this USMagazine piece. (With thanks to CRUSH Reader NR.)

Cottagecore. By Dish Stanley

There’s something about having to share the only cramped couch on a steamy summer afternoon that encourages closeness. And discourages panties.

For the last thirteen years I stayed in a small cottage on an island 30 miles out to sea. It’s a pain in the ass to get on and off, especially with multiple dogs, which I had, unless you had a private jet, which I didn’t. All the better, I thought when I found it, since immediately following my late husband’s death what I needed most was a refuge from obligations and expectations.

Eventually, it felt safe to tentatively crack open the cottage’s rustic front door to romantic partners. They’d have to have somehow found their way there, no small feat in and of itself, and only after some pretty committed wandering through and around the obstacles guarding my heart. If they were game enough to show up on my painted white porch, I let them in. After all that, how could I not?

There were the three summers with The Super Naughty, Very Irresponsible Publisher, who introduced me to his collection of erotic books. And then without warning dropped my heart into a shredder as if it were a page of bad writing. Next, because he was nothing like The Super Naughty, Very Irresponsible Publisher, was The Clean-Cut Tech Founder. He approached sex as if it were a science project intended to optimize for longevity. It was one looooong, performative Ouch!. I could only bear him for one week end, poor thing. Then there was the summer with The Workaholic Hollywood Producer who I almost fell in love with. (It was a very, very good summer.) There’s really nothing like that feeling when somebody looks over a cramped cafe table at you as if they might tip it all over to gobble you up, is there? And eventually, thank god, there was The Lovebug With The Dysfunctional Daughters. He did have a private jet and it flew him in from East Hampton for an afternoon so he could teach me how to make his Mother’s secret grilled plank salmon recipe. He stayed for two weeks. Yummmm. The only other woman he had taught to make his Mother’s salmon recipe, so he told me, was Angela, his personal chef of 30 years. (Presumably her lesson involved less intimate attention.) He made me feel like I was wrapped up in a chenille blanket. Too bad about the dysfunctional daughters, though.

Each one deserves his own short story (except for The Tech Founder, who might consider picking up a copy of this Intimate Guide to Soulful Sex). And maybe I’ll go there someday. But to be clear, these were not relationships worthy of a novel.

The small cottage‘s constricted quarters, it turned out, were just a little too tight for two people. In other words, the perfect size for bumping into each other everywhere, inadvertently or not.

The furniture was proportionately sized for the diminutive cottage. There’s something about having to share the only cramped couch on a steamy summer afternoon that encourages closeness. And discourages panties.

Not to mention what comes from trying to maneuver around a bed that was only a “Full XL.” Have you ever heard of that? Me neither. It’s somewhere between a Full and a Queen and there was a lot of slipping off of it, creating convenient opportunities for kneeling and bending. (As well as other positions that are now no longer possible following surgery in my right knee and a menial meniscus tear in my left.)

And the vintage clawfoot tub? That required a gentleman to get in first with his back to the faucet before I could shimmy my ass down in between his feet, then, facing him, gently drape my legs over his, my knees ever so slightly opened …

Continue reading here

Dear Dish ...

Last week’s Letter included Lisa Ellex’s exploration of politics and friendship, The Friendship Files: The Way We Were, as well as my lament in Hot Thots on the impact of politics on dating.

We got such a thoughtful response on that topic from Crush Reader Steve that I wanted to both share that and invite you to share your experiences (or laments) on how politics have impacted your romances and friendships. (Look for the link to an anonymous typeform below, or just write to me at


Maybe relationship compatibility can handle differences on specific issues, as long there is sufficient alignment on political sensibility? Perhaps not the best example but, let’s say, maybe a couple where both have, generally, say, a libertarian sensibility, can manage to disagree on say, abortion, because both sides are about civil liberties and individual rights. Where they disagree is, whether or when an unborn is an individual whose civil liberties are in question?

Or two generally conservative partners can manage disagreement over, say, immigration, because both believe in lawful immigration and oppose illegal immigration, but disagree on, say, how to define and police “asylum” claims?

But if there’s misalignment vis vis sensibility, it’s super tough to have a relationship? Oversimplification, but if one partner sees glass half full and other half empty…

Also. Another fine, fine CRUSH!


Dear Steve,

Very thoughtful response, thank you. I think you’re right that a shared political sensibility makes differences on even the most polarizing issues (like abortion, actually a terrific example) tolerable in a relationship. I agree that if political sensibilities aren’t aligned, it’s super tough.

But there was a time – and my parents are an example of this — where a person could say something like “I believe in a strong military and if necessary, offensive invasion, and you, because of your personal experience and separate perspective, believe in (let’s say) pacifism. We share the value that loss of life is a tragedy, but have a diametrically opposed political views (and sensibilities) on how you sustain peace. Yet I respect not only your right to your strongly held convictions, but you. And I love you.”

And I long for it.

Thanks for writing!

X-Oh-X! Dish

CRUSHes: Do you have any experiences (or laments) on how politics have impacted your romances and friendships?

PrimeCrush & Chill: Steamy Films Worth A Re-Watch. By Christian Pan

In this series from Christian Pan, we hook back up with our favorite ex's--as in classic steamy movies worth a re-watch.

Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989) 

Watch the trailer here

Starring: James Spader, Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagpher, Laura San Giacomo 

Released: January 20, 1989 (USA) 

Basic Plot: A web of deception and infidelity is quickly disrupted with the arrival of a stranger who creates a unique form of videotapes. 

Housewife Ann (Andie MacDowell) is initially unaware that the reason why her husband John (Peter Gallagher) is frequently unavailable to take her calls at the law firm is because he is having an affair with her sister, Cynthia (Laura San Giacomo). But when John invites his old college friend Graham (James Spader) to temporarily stay with them in Baton Rouge while he looks for an apartment, the lies and the deceit begin to unravel. While Ann struggles to convince herself into rationalizing why she and her husband no longer have sex, Graham strives to live by a credo of complete honesty, revealing that he has solved his sexual impotence by finding arousal through videotaping women talking about sex. Shortly after her sister Cynthia visits Graham to make one of these tapes, Ann discovers a clue that shows that she and John have been having an affair for months. She makes a tape with Graham, questions what he is trying to do with the tapes from this “personal project”, and then tells her husband she wants out of their marriage. In a rage, John violently confronts his old friend before viewing the videotape made between him and his wife. 

Why Re-watch: It is difficult not to underestimate the influence Sex, Lies, and Videotape had in pioneering the American independent theater movement of the 1990s. Director Steven Soderbergh infamously wrote the script in eight days during a road-trip, and the film won the Audience Award for Best Film at the 1st annual US Film Festival (thereafter named Sundance) before going to Cannes in the south of France, where 26-year-old Soderbergh became the youngest director to win their Palme d´Or. Made for just over a million bucks, Sex, Lies, and Videotape has earned over $100 million worldwide since its theatrical release. Not bad for a debut. 

Continue reading here

Spring Awakening Pt 2: Update Your Makeup. By Lauren D Weinstein

A short series on Spring renewal for our bodies and souls.

  1. Use Mother Nature as a guide for makeup inspiration. Be playful and experiment with color and textures. For cheeks, switch from flat powders that may become cakey to creams, serums or gels to add a pop of glowing, believable, color. TRY: YENSA SUPER SERUM SILK CREAM BLUSH, made without parabens, sulfates, mineral oil or phthalates. It’s buildable for more color payoff. My choices: Radiant Rose and Whisper Nude.
  2. Bat your lashes with a jolt or hint of color to brighten and make your peepers POP!  Wear alone or add a coat over your traditional Black or Brown. TRY: EPILYNX BLUE ORGANIC, HYPOALLERGENIC. #3 Mascara Looks great on brown eyes.
  3. TRY: ColourPOP BFF VOLUMIZING MASCARA in PURPLE POSE. (lavender). Enhances green eyes.
  5. Give your matte lipstick a rest and slip into something much more comfortable, or layer or lipstick with a soothing, balmy gloss. TRY: ILIA BALMY GLOSS TINTED LIP OIL. I like: ONLY YOU (neutral nude) and TAHITI (burnt coral)

Embrace and delight in the gifts that the new season presents. As I prepare to type this, I hear a whimsical song, from my childhood, dancing in my head, sung by the musician, Tiny Tim. I hear him strum on his small ukulele, as he croons in a high pitched falsetto “Tiptoe through the window, by the window, that’s where I’ll be . Come tiptoe through the tulips with me. 

If that’s not Spring, what is?

You can read Lauren's skincare recommendations from last week's letter here

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Three Things I'm Crushing On: From CRUSH Reader Mieke

In this series, readers like you share recommendations for the things they love the most, right at this moment. THANK YOU, MIEKE!

vital skincare complexion drops

Westman Atelier

Love this product/makeup, especially the Gucci line. The product is simple and cool, and the vital skin care complexion drops are the best overall coverage I have found to date. Items can be found at special shops or on line.

Mushroom teas, coffees and gummies.

All mushrooms are supercharged with healing and anti-oxidant and anti-cancer benefits. I eat them 2-3 times a week and love the textures. A large variety of shrooms besides the typical white and portabellas can be found at Whole Foods.

Vintage Inspired Decor Trends We Expect To See In 2023 – Cotton & Crete

Vintage and second hand decor, especially furniture. 

Charish used to be my fav site but their prices are comparable to new. Etsy remains second tier and 1st Dibs is on the higher end. However, in South Florida, there are many fun, local vendors with warehouses full of goodies from fabulous homes and decorators. Always negotiate! As they say “one man’s junk is…” and there are many treasures to be seen as one walks down tight lanes of stacked and packed furniture, paintings, and odd one-of-a-kind items. It’s all eye candy to me.

Social Media I Loved This Week





Song of the Week

Inside And Out By Feist

I’ve been a Feist fan ever since I heard One Evening from her 2004 major label debut album Let It Die. I love her soft, often whispery voice. Feist does such a pretty, sexy version of Inside and Out, a derivative of the 1979 Bee Gees single.

Feist is touring with Sarah McLachlan on McLachlan’s upcoming Fumbling Toward Ecstasy 30th Anniversary Tour, which I can’t wait for. Going with my high school bestie, what could be better than that?

Live performance in 2009 at The Rehearsal Hall

Have a wonderful week, CRUSHes. And don’t forget, if you love The Crush Letter, pass it on.

Dish Stanley XO,

Spring Awakening Pt 1: Update Your Skincare. By Lauren D Weinstein
A short series on Spring renewal for our bodies and souls. Spring is a season of renewal; birds are chirping, flowers are slowly beginning to bud and blades of grass are miraculously pushing through the hardened earth. Our skin is also emerging from a cocoon of Canadian goose down parkas,
The Friendship Files. By A.K.A. Darla
As we gear up for another presidential campaign, one PrimeCrush writer visits the ghosts of election years past, with hope for a peaceful future. And just like that, another election season is upon us. Time sure flies when you’ve been emotionally navigating a global pandemic, a gruesome insurrection, two
The Latest Books From ’A Good Men’s Book Club’ By Dish Stanley
In The Crush Letter Number 132, I told you about How One Group of Men Does A Good Book Club. And the Books They’ve Liked Best. You liked that story so much that I reached out to the friend in that book group to get an update. Here are
How One Group of Men Does A Good Book Club. And the Books They’ve Liked Best. By Dish Stanley
There’s been a lot of attention the last few years on men, loneliness and suicide rates, particularly for those in midlife and beyond. In one of our first Crush Letters I wrote about that in Don’t Touch My Hat: Men, Friendship & Loneliness. When I spend time with male

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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