The Crush Letter No 20

. 14 min read

Hello Crush,

Good Morning, Dearest CRUSH Readers.  I hope that you woke up today - smack in the middle of the dog days of summer – feeling kissed by the sun.  Or your dog.  Or a beautiful dream.  Or a lover, if you got lucky.  The only kiss I like in the morning is from a dark roast coffee myself, as I've never been a morning person, but I hope you got whatever kiss you needed.

Speaking of kisses.  I don't usually wear much make-up in the Summer, because I spent my childhood in SoCal and ever since my family's traumatic move to the New England cold have dedicated Summer to reliving the beachy, sun-kissed skin and skimpy sundresses of my wayward youth.  Except that I came across the cheeriest, cotton candy shade of pink lipstick in June and have been wearing it out everywhere since. I've been getting a string of the most wonderful compliments, like "you're eyes have never looked bluer."  Is it my inner girlhood beauty shining through?  Or is it the lipstick?  I wasn't sure.  But then I read Jane Boon's latest on the feminine glamour of the Skirt Clubs (below) and met Hilary Fink (in Hook Ups below) and now I'm quite sure.  It's the lipstick.  Glamorously adorning/highlighting (as it does) "the doorway to [my] truth," says Hilary.  Perhaps I am finally giving a slip to the stultifying hold my SoCal inner girl-child has had on me all these years?  If so, not a moment too soon, as I turn 57 on Monday.

If you're new here welcome!, I'm Dish, the Master of Ceremonies. For more about me and why we're here go here.  I share the best original stories and intelligence on everything love in your prime - romance, friendship, sex, self-care.

To read the pieces our CRUSH community has loved the most go here.  To subscribe (we'd love to have you and everyone you love) go here.

In This Letter.  +Reports from the Edge: Skirt Club. In the latest from Jane Boon, author of the novel Edge Play, she takes us into a woman’s-only sexy soirée where a high percentage of the attendees are married – and everyone is glamorous. +Hook Ups.  In our series on cool entrepreneurs we think you should know we introduce you to Heather Fink, Founder/CEO of The Sexiest Beauty.   +Love/Sex/Moon Magick.  Our resident Wiccan Lynn Eaton digs into endings (literally) in her latest.  +DEVOUR.  What to do, read, watch, listen to & know about this week. I am all about the new documentary on Anthony Bourdain that just hit the screens.  "You're body is not a temple, it's an amusement park. Enjoy the ride."  AB  +Our Song of the Week is so "on theme" with Jane's and Heather's skirt+sexy lipstick vibe that I could just smack myself.  Hint: Why don't you come on over?

Reports from the Edge: Skirt Club. By Jane Boon

Take a glimpse into a woman’s-only sexy soirée where a high percentage of the attendees are married and everyone is glamorous.

I was sitting on the edge of a four-poster bed as three pairs of women got each other off. I wasn’t sure how I’d wound up in the middle of the throng, when normally I stick to the periphery at unfamiliar events, but the room was small and the orgy had moved to encompass me. There were arms and legs everywhere, and the lingerie was coming off. It dawned on me, if I stayed put any longer, I might cross over from being polite to being creepy. Fortunately, a pert brunette in a pale-pink bustier and matching panties gave me cover.

“It’s my birthday,” she announced, looking straight at me.

I decided to make a joke of it. “Where I’m from, that’d get you a birthday spanking.”

“Oh, would you?” she replied.

I said yes, because I figured a spanking would keep me fully clothed, while still giving me something to do in the middle of an orgy. And besides, she was adorable. Her long lashes batted at me whenever she looked over her shoulder as I slowly administered the blows. Her bottom and thighs were soft and smooth to my hand -- an extraordinary tactile experience that reminded me of when I was her age, 27, and I’d had boyfriends rhapsodize about the softness of my skin. At the time, I didn’t understand their enthusiasm, but while the luscious brunette squirmed across my lap, I finally got what they’d been saying.

When I completed the 27 spanks (and one for good luck) I passed the birthday girl on to another woman who seemed eager to celebrate. It was my cue to head to the bar in the basement of the elegant Upper West Side townhouse, where the party was being held.

Skirt Club bills itself as a club for straight and bi-sexual woman who are intellectually and sexually curious, with regular events in major cities like New York, London, Sydney, Miami, Berlin and Los Angeles. But what Skirt Club actually offers is soirées and weekends for women only, where the ladies often wind up naked. I learned about the club from an article a girlfriend had written for The Hollywood Reporter. It sounded outrageous and unusual, or the perfect way to spend a Saturday evening in December, so I filled out an online application and paid $150 to attend.

As someone who’s a 0.5 on the Kinsey Scale (0 is exclusively straight, 6 is exclusively gay), I wondered if I’d feel out of place at an all-women’s sex party. I was also worried about what to wear, since I’d read it was very glamorous. Fortunately, there was an elaborate Pinterest board showing ideas that vibed with the evening’s “Snow Queen” theme. I’d seen photos, so I knew everyone would make an effort, so I did too. I donned a black lace bustier, black fishnet stockings, a very short black skirt, and a silver shrug, in a nod to snow.

When I got to the townhouse at 9:00 p.m., it was already overrun with gorgeous women. They were mostly Millennials, but there was a smattering of Gen-Xers like myself milling about. As a first-timer, I was given a key to wear as a signal to the Skirt Club veterans to be extra nice.

As an icebreaker early in the evening, Genevieve LeJeune, the fascinating-flirty-founder of Skirt Club, introduced Tina Horn, who gave us all a quick lesson in talking dirty. This got everyone giggling, and soon many of us were upstairs where things escalated quickly.

Once I’d left the birthday girl and found my way to the bar, I chatted with a charming blonde lawyer, an award-winning journalist with long, wavy hair, and a grad student at Columbia who stood there casually, topless, as I wondered if my breasts had ever been so gravity defying. I felt envy for the young women, who had come of age when sexual fluidity was common, and who all seemed to have stories of past girlfriends and boyfriends. My own reticence was unremarkable. There were others who kept their clothes on, and no one seemed to care either way. All the same, it was wonderful being in the presence of so much pleasure.

When I got home at 2:00 a.m. my husband was waiting for me. “How’d it go?” he asked.

I told him that at the end of the evening, a tall, lithe dancer had asked me where I was going, and when I said Tribeca, she said she was a neighbor. It turns out, she wasn’t. She was drunk and confused. All the same, with a different woman on a different day, she probably would have gotten a ride home, and perhaps, much more.

A large percentage of the Skirt Club members are married women, like me. I wondered if their husbands were amused or even aroused by their same-sex flirtations, and whether the men savored the small, but non-zero probability that their wives might bring another woman home. A few months later, when I announced I was attending another Skirt Club soirée, my husband was unsurprised and said he was eager for another full report.

Hook Ups: Meet Heather Fink, Founder & CEO of The Sexiest Beauty

"Hook Ups” is an ongoing feature introducing our readers to some of our favorite entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Humorously explain your job.

I create beauty products for the artistic pursuits, pleasure and empowerment of my fellow humans.

For how many years?

I've been creating beauty for over 30 years.

Why the “Sexiest” beauty? (Why not the “Prettiest” beauty?)

"Pretty" is what you look like on the outside, it’s surface appearance. "Sexy" comes from the inside, it’s much deeper and more complex. It’s how you feel.  It's an attitude. It's what you do, think and say.  #SexyIsAsSexyDoes. It’s a state of mind and actions.

My mission for the brand is to tap into and enhance that connection with your authentic inner self through the transformative power of beauty. We embrace the unconventionally, daringly unique individual. Being true to yourself.  That's much more interesting.

What’s the sexiest thing you can think of about people in their mid-to-later years?

We are more in tune with ourselves, more authentic. It's not a competition any more. We are finally learning to embrace and love ourselves and fellow humans for who we are. Self-love is sexy.  We're softer, gentler, kinder. Kindness is definitely sexy.

You sign your emails with “Be safe, Stay sexy”—why is staying sexy important, especially as we get older?

Staying sexy is about that mindset, that attitude, that feeling. It's ageless. Of course, society infers that as we age, we lose "it". But I beg to differ. It may evolve as we age, but more like a fine wine as we settle into ourselves. And that goes for everyone, because there is still unfortunately a lot of work to be done to reinforce body-positivity, diversity and inclusion for all humans.  So, I sign off with that reminder, "Stay sexy". You already are, and don't you forget it.

Tell us about the power of a good lipstick?

The power of a good lipstick is like a superhero's cape, a suit of confidence armor. I adore this quote from Issa Rae: “Any time that I have a bright [lipstick], I’m like, ‘Here I am. Who’s ready for me?’ Even if no one’s ready.”  I feel I can go out and conquer the world, or at least my next Zoom meeting, with one swipe of lipstick.

Your lips communicate your personality and intentions to the world. A bold red imparts instant glamour and va-va-voom, while a soft rosy nude gives the perfect sophisticated polish. Whatever message you want to convey to the world can be done with the subtle innuendo of a thoughtfully selected lipstick. That’s powerful!

And lastly, a good lipstick empowers the words you speak. While some say the eyes are the window to the soul, I believe that lips are the doorway to your truth. Your words have power!  So, I want to hear you #SpeakYourSexy with those fabulous lips of yours.  I’m listening!

Heather Fink of The Sexiest Beauty #SpeakYourSexy

Best way to reach Heather:

IG @thesexiestbeauty



For PrimeCrush Readers:  Heather is graciously offering us Code STAYSEXY20 for 20% off sitewide!

Love/Sex/Moon Magick: Endings, Happy and Otherwise. By Lynn Eaton

A regular column from our resident Wiccan Lynn Eaton

Relationships end. There’s a saying that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or for life. Many times it’s unclear which of the categories a particular person occupies until the passage of time un-muddies the waters. And often you don’t know the relationship has ended for months or even years after it’s done. You’ve just drifted apart.

My first marriage ended in the 1990s. It was inevitable, I suppose. We had a run of eight years and without it, I wouldn’t have my two amazing daughters. For that I am grateful.

When we divorced, it seemed amicable. We even went out for lunch at a local Mexican restaurant after court to celebrate. We continued to share the house for a couple of months until I got myself organized for a move across the state. We were in regular contact for parenting responsibilities. I took my last name back.

The end? Well, sort of.

Although we had the divorce papers, it seemed that there wasn’t a real ending for me. No closure. A loose end. Something had to be done.

During this time, I reclaimed my witchy self. (I had been “forbidden” to express any of that while married. No full moon rites, no tarot cards, no power.) I began reaching out to like-minded folks in my new city. I came out of the broom closet on local television.

The end? No.

I still felt connected to this relationship and I wanted an ending. So, I designed a ritual to do just that.

First, I consulted my calendar. New moon was a week away. New moon is a time to clean out that which doesn’t serve you any longer. Sweep out that psychic closet, so to speak. Perfect for absolute endings and new beginnings.

Next, I wrote out my “vows.” All the stuff that I wanted to release. It took a few pages and was quite cathartic. I spoke with a witchy friend who helped me gather other items that would be helpful in the rite: A black candle to banish negativity, rose oil to ease the severing of ties, a wedding photo, the champagne glasses inscribed with our names and the date from our wedding.

New moon arrived. A circle was cast. Energy raised. Intent spoken aloud. Candle burnt down. Vows reduced to ash. Glasses and ashes placed into a brown paper bag and smashed. Hand was cut accidentally. Blood was spilled onto the bag. Tears. Release. Power reclaimed. But what to do with those remnants?

The night was dark. New moon, remember? I drove to the crossroads just outside of town. It’s a busy place, but there’s a pull-out just to the side. Gravel. Perfect resting spot for those remains. As I dug, I chanted a victory song. By the power of the New Moon, I released that old relationship into the Universe. I imagined that with the passing of every vehicle, the energy and power would sweep away any lingering ties.

Decades have passed since then. Our daughters have children of their own. From that ending, new beginnings have blossomed and grown. Happy ending.

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

Read/Watch.  Bourdain, Bourdain, Bourdain.  How do we begin to seriously grapple with Anthony Bourdain's life and death?  Three years after the heartbreak of losing him, we have Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, which hit theaters yesterday.  The reviews and controversies surrounding it are already swirling.  (See the trailer here.)  I can't wait to devour it.  

The first controversial decision the Director Morgan Neville (also of the fabulous documentary on back-up singers 20 Feet From Stardom) made is that he did not interview Asia Argento for the documentary.  She was the Italian actor Bourdain dated and was said to be infatuated (obsessed?) with the last years of his life. (Vanity Fair just dropped a deep look into their complicated, intense and tempestuous story here.)  The second controversy was using AI technology to re-create voice overs where Bourdain appears to be saying things he would actually say, or had written.  This article from The New Yorker touches on both controversies a bit, and is the best thing I've read (so far) on the documentary: "Roadrunner" Review: A Haunting New Documentary About Anthony Bourdain, by Helen Rosner.  The line from Rosner's review that tips off the sweep and driving pulse of the documentary: "Neville used interviews, archival footage, and a few unlikely tricks to build a devastating argument for Bourdain as both the hero and villain of his own story – your standard-issue broken genius, at once childlike and world-weary, but saved from cliche by the sheer extraordinariness of his character."  Extraordinariness for sure.

Another great line in Rosner's review, quoting Neville (the Director): "'At the beginning of the conversation [with Bourdain's closest friends] I was saying that what I thought was so important about Tony's work was that he was dimensionalizing people ... blah, blah, blah ... And they stopped me, at a certain point, to say 'Yeah, but you have to remember, he could be such an asshole.'"

A lot of  us have what we'd like to think of as "our own" relationship with Bourdain.  The moment he grabbed us and carried us away with him to Peru or Tangier or Quebec, but ultimately, really into his own state of constant curiosity.  For me, it was learning that Bourdain and I shared a favorite city, Tokyo.  It was his two "No Reservations" episodes on Tokyo that compelled my own solo journey there a few years ago after the abrupt and wrenching break-up of a long-term relationship.  In addition to his visits to temples of food like Sarashina-Horii, a restaurant that has served soba for 200+ years, Bourdain goes in search of the city's "dark, extreme and bizarrely fetishististic underside."  He highlights the enigmatic realities and contrasts of a culture obsessed with fetishisizing sex with interviews that underscore that very little actual sex is occurring.  At one point he dines with a dominatrix and shibari (Japanese rope bondage) expert.  His recommendations from the Tokyo shows were the basis of my own itinerary through Tokyo, and I found private guides to take me on late-night crawls into and through Kabukicho, Tokyo's red light district.  Fascinating and foreign, at once sexy, dangerous and yet safe (as a spectator), I felt as if Bourdain was my imaginary companion.  The perfect, obsessive, mind-blowing fantasy ride out of my break-up.

That we all felt like he had a piece of us, or that we had a piece of him, is evident in our continued shared fascination with his story three years later.  "Cream rises," as he said, "Excellence does have its rewards."  And you reaped those and more, Bourdain, bringing us all along for the ride.  Dish

A Haunting New Documentary About Anthony Bourdain
“Roadrunner,” by the Oscar-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville, presents Bourdain as both the hero and the villain of his own story.

Read.  Our Series on Friendship.  We continue to receive lots of praise for our emphasis on the importance of friends to your happiness and well-being, so here's our "friendship pack":

The Midlife Friendship Audit: You Need Good Friends. But Who Is Good? (Part 1)

The Dynamics of Friendship: Can Singlehood Withstand the Trials of Friends with Kids? By Lauren D. Weinstein. {The Crush Letter No 10/ May 01 2021}

6 Ways to Get the Friends Who Count. Why You Want Them. {The Crush Letter No. 7 / April 15 2021}

“Don’t Touch My Hat.*” Midlife Men & Friendship, Depression, Loneliness. {The Crush Letter No. / April 3 2021}

Doing Nothing With Friends. It’s Not Really Doing Nothing. Review: The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy. {The Crush Letter No. 2/ March 4 2021}

Podcast Review: Dying For Sex. Molly Kochan’s Journey of Sexual Healing is Really A Story About Friendship. {The Crush Letter No 13/ May 17 2021}

Song of the Week.  Something about Amy Winehouse in this live clip singing Valerie - not sober, with the stark juxtaposition of the angelic visions behind her (playing violin), sort of going through a routine with her characteristically seductive vamp - is absolutely captivating to me.  It's as if her talent and sex-appeal were just so much that even when she was phoning it in you couldn't keep your eyes off of her.

You can watch it on youtube here.

[Link to YouTube Clip is Above.]

I wish you could all come on over this week end, but in the spirit of Jane's Reports from the Edge, I'll settle for hoping you all just come.  💋

Dish Stanley XO,

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, facebook & twitter.

The Crush Letter
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"Don't Touch My Hat.*" Midlife Men & Loneliness 5 Things That Turn Me On: Ali Waks Adams 5 Things That Turn Me On: Bob Guccione, Jr 5 Things That Turn Me On: Craig J 5 Things That Turn Me On: Dish Stanley 5 Things That Turn Me On: Jane Boon 5 Things That Turn Me On: Lady Verity 5 Things That Turn Me On: Liza Lentini A Turntable and a Candle: F-ing Classics About Face: Skincare Essentials for Men An Upbeat Playlist for the Divorce-curious And I Wondered ... Do We Really Need A SATC Reboot? Bisexually Anxious Among the Noodges. Review: shiva Baby Book Review: A Certain Hunger by Chelsea G. Summers Book Review: Norma Kamali: I Am Invincible Book Review: The Lover. By Marguerite Duras. Book Review: The Story of O CRUSH Summer Reading List! From CRUSH Reader Sharon Weinberg, Owner of The Chatham Bookstore Dear Dish Dear Dish. About those summer orgies ... DEVOUR {things to do, have & know about} Dish Gets A Kink Assessment. Doing Nothing With Friends French Kiss: French Girls Do It Better, Right? Grief. By Lauren D. Weinstein Hefner. By Bob Guccione, Jr Hide A Love Note In Their Pocket. Hook Ups: Hilary Harley, Astrologer Hook Ups: Meet Barrie Rosencrans, Spa Director & Dharma Yoga Teacher Hook Ups: Meet Heather Fink, Founder & CEO of the Sexiest Beauty Hot Thots I'm Dish, the Master of Ceremonies Let's Reconsider, with Adam Grant Love & Mike's "Bad Girl Pasta" Love / Sex / Moon Magick. Mercury Retrograde fucks sex. Not in a good way. Love/Sex/Magick. Hey There, Lover! By Lynn Eaton Love/Sex/Moon Magick: Endings, Happy and Otherwise. By Lynn Eaton Nice to Meet You. How Are You Crazy? Oasis in the Desert. One woman's honest journey through vaginal rejuvenation. OMG Yes. Podcast Review: Dying for Sex. Why You Need to Listen to Molly's Journey. PrimeCrush & Chill: Movies Worth a Re-Watch Quiver. Sexual Debut Stories: Violet Reports from the Edge: Skirt Club. By Jane Boon. Reports from the Edge: Solo at the Sex Party Six Ways to Get the Friends Who Count Snapshot Rec: Get Yourself Sexify-ed on Netflix. Snapshot Rec: Read Liza Lentini on the Indigo Girls in SPIN Songs That Make You Wanna F*ck Stanley Tucci Is Paradise Stories & Conversations The 3 Things You're Really Fighting About The 4 Most Common Skincare Issues for Men (But Were Afraid to Ask). By Lauren D. Weinstein The Dynamics of Friendhip By Lauren D. Weinstein To get all of us, subscribe. Willin'. Size Really Does Matter. You're My Medicine You're Wearing A Turtleneck, Again? Your Love Is King & Queen, GQ