The Crush Letter No 23

. 13 min read

Hello Crush,

Good Morning Saturday Crushes.

I love today's Song of the Week so much that I thought "Well, this is enough fun for a whole day.  Let's just send everyone off with that and call it groovy."  It is a mash-up of feel-good flirtatious 70s disco with roller derby street glamour.  Damn.  But then, my good friend (and PrimeCrush Reader) Mike Troiano made a "Racket*" that he called "What I Learned In The Pandemic" and it rocked me like a hard wave.  It resonated beyond the world of the pandemic (assuming we ever get to such a world) because to me it is ultimately about being out at sea, somehow (barely) staying afloat, and then finding your stroke and coming onto dry land.  We've all been there, and I hope you love how he captured it.  After coming across that, some really good writing from Ida Clare about her own emotional storm came across my desk, and here we go.  Another week of stories about things that matter: love and connection, and how strengthening your own swimming stroke allows for more of both.

*A social app that allows for collaborative voice chat downloadable from your app store.

In This Letter.  +Willin'.  Ida Clare, our intrepid writer from Charleston, SC is back with another personal tale of trauma/comedy as only she can tell it. "Divorce the Feng Shui Way" is true to her column's namesake song Willin' by Little Feat**.  +5 Things That Turn On Lynn Eaton, our Sex/Love/Moon Magick columnist.   +DEVOUR.  What to do, read, watch, listen to & know about this week.  Starting with @miketrap's Racket "What I Learned In The Pandemic."  +SIP.  We're adding a new feature called "Sip," where we give you a taste (not quite a recap) of  the best episodes from favorite podcasts, starting with Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue's "Double Date" with Patty Smyth and John McEnroe.  +Our Song of the Week. "Skate to me."

** "Well I've been kicked by the wind, robbed by the sleet / Had my head stoved in, but I'm still on my feet / And I'm still, willin'". (Willin' Little Feat)

Willin’: Divorce the Feng Shui Way.  By Ida Clare

In the second story in her Willin’ series, Ida Clare shares her story of how feng shui and an unshakeable sense of humor got her through a really ugly divorce.

I got divorced a long time ago. And it was messsssssssy. I got married way too young (I am from the rural South, it’s what you do). He was/is a narcissistic, alcoholic, cheating, domestic abuser…aaaaaand his family was/is a very prominent political family in a southern, very red, state…so court (along with property, cars, and my son) was bought and paid for. For any of you that have survived a narcissistic, alcoholic, cheating, domestic abuser, you know that they drive you literally (I’m using this word correctly) crazy…you are looney tunes in the throes of it all.

Disclaimer 1: Though this is a VERY serious issue, you have to have a sense of humor about it, not only after the fact, but right in the midst of it. Humor is my blanket and my weapon. Hear me out. Disclaimer 2: For those that are currently in this situation, GET OUT! GET HELP! I love you. It gets so much better.

On with the story…

Because I was pretty looney (still am some might say), I looked for anything that would get me through the day. I am pretty inherently woo-woo (Reiki master, I read cards, I play with plants), so I feng shui-ed our house. It motivated me to clean and organize, as well as provided much needed distraction. And if you know about feng shui, you know that besides arranging, there are other practices that might help with specific areas of life. One of these is tying red ribbons on all pipes, anything that carries water out of your home. It is supposed to keep the good energy from draining away.

Because he was so controlling, his plan was to transfer all our joint property to his name, put me in an apartment of his choosing, I would take care of our son, and he might throw in a little money from time to time. Uh huh…no—all except for the having our son. A little more backstory: he couldn’t keep a job, or money, and was an absent father. I did everything.

After a round of marriage counseling, he came home one afternoon and announced that we were going to a mediator. Now, ordinarily, I think mediators are the best choice, BUT not if you are married to someone like him.

First, she asked why he wanted a divorce. He told her the story of my life. He never really answered the question. And then…he said, “And besides, she’s a witch.” The mediator’s eyebrows went up even further. He said, “She is doing weird things! She went around and fing shooey-d the whole place!” The mediator said, “I beg your pardon.” He said, “Fing Shooey. You know where you do spells on stuff? She moved all the furniture without asking my permission [I couldn’t leave shoes out without his permission] and she tied these red ribbons on all the pipes! She’s a witch!” At the “red ribbon” phrase, her eyebrows travelled up over her scalp and met at the nape of her neck. She choked a little and had to compose herself. It all just went to hell from there. When he proclaimed quite loudly that “she will do what I say she will do, by God!” both the mediator and I gave up. I stood up, thanked her for her time, and left.

On the way down the elevator, through the halls, and out the front door, my anxiety skyrocketed. I was mostly worried about our son. I knew he would go after him for spite. I felt like the world was against me. I’m not a fainter. As a matter of fact, I viscerally hate fainting women in scary movies. You know the ones who trip and fall as the monster chases them, then the hero comes and saves them? Yeah. I’m probably just envious. I felt like I was going to collapse. As I rushed out the front door of her building, I turned the corner and froze…ready? There was a red ribbon tied around the downspout. I ran around to each corner of her building and there were red ribbons on every downspout. SHE HAD FENG SHUI-ED HER ENTIRE BUILDING! I sat down on the curb and laughed and cried hysterically at the same time. Then I went to my car, got my camera, and took a picture.

Sometimes when all seems lost, the universe comes through for a girl. I framed that picture and it hangs in my office to remind me that I will never be the girl that falls down when the monster chases her. Moreover, I don’t want to be that girl. I am the girl with the knife in her teeth fighting for herself and others who are being threatened by narcissistic, alcoholic, cheating, domestic abusers. GET OUT! GET HELP! I love you. It gets so much better.

"Start Me Up." Lynn Eaton's 5 Things

5 Things That Turn Me On: Lynn Eaton

In this recurring column, we share five things that light our fire.  Crush Columnist Lynn Eaton writes our popular Love/Sex/Moon Magick column.  

Is this your real name: Yes.

Occupation: I teach adult high school in rural Canada.

Current relationship status: Committed, long-term, common-law relationship with my Hunny Man.

Which generation are you in: Proud to be a Boomer.

Athens, Greece: The sexiest city I have ever been in. The vibe is positive, welcoming and safe. A penis is a symbol of love there and can be found at the end of keychains on every street corner. The Greeks have an ancient history of viewing and portraying sex in an open and honest manner. I felt those vibrations everywhere!

Fifty Shades of Grey: Wow. The hottest book. Crazy story there, too. One of my adult students recommended it ten years ago. Gullible Lynn bought it. Gullible Lynn began reading it in class. (Not out loud, thank goodness!) Gullible Lynn took it home after reaching page 61 to finish it.

Casablanca: The hottest movie for romance has to be Casablanca. I mean, Rick’s speech at the end of the movie when he puts Ilsa on that plane… “We both know that you belong with Victor. You’re part of his work, the thing that keeps him going.” Rick loves her and chooses her happiness over his own. I cry every damn time.

A sense of humor: The ability to see the wit in any given situation is a gift. Many times I’ve found myself in a position that is deeply unsettling and my Hunny Man helps me see what’s amusing in it. It makes me want to rip his clothes off right there!

Start me up: Every day he shows me how much he loves me. But the most important act of love he shows me is during brutal winter season: He starts my car for me. I get to begin my day in a toasty vehicle as I drive the 45 minutes to my destination. That’s love!

We started with my 5 Things. Then CRUSH readers and contributors came, and we've had 5 Things from Liza Lentini, Bob Guccione, Jr, Jane Boon, Ali Waks Adams,  Craig J and Lady Verity.

What turns you on?  We'd love to hear from you! (Yes, you!) If you’d like us to send you a template to fill out, it’s really easy and fun, please email me at You must be a CRUSH Reader! (PS you can publish under your alias.)

And if you are turned on by Lynn's writing check out her latest PrimeCrush column:

Love/Sex/Moon Magick: Lammastide. By Lynn Eaton
Our local Wiccan explores a traditional summer lovin’ ritual of Lammastide – “handfasting” of couples for a year and a day. It’s a sort of trial marriage (or however you want to consider it) that you can try at home. Shakespeare introduced me to Lammas. Specifically, the Nurse in Romeo and

SIP. Double Date Episode 5 Recap: Marlo Thomas & Phil Donahue with Patty Smyth & John McEnroe

In this series we give you a a taste (not quite a recap) of  the best episodes from our favorite podcasts.  Last week's Letter No 22 included a DEVOUR tidbit about Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue, whose podcast Double Date features conversations on enduring love and all its challenges with couples who, like Thomas and Donahue, have been married a long time.  To read my full write-up go here, but my favorite line from that episode was Marlo's (talking about her mindset before meeting Phil):

"I thought that marriage was not a roomy enough place for two whole people. That marrige was a place for 1 and 1/2 persons was my theory. The 1 person (either male or female) was the one who had the dream and was following the dream, and the other person {eg, the "half} was their manager, the quiet spouse."

Episode Date April 5th, 2021 (28 Minutes)

You don’t get to be a long-term power couple without having some power struggles. Patty Smyth and John McEnroe may not agree on much, but they do agree that they are lucky to have found each other.

Who They Are.

Patty Smyth: Singer/Songwriter behind the 80’s group Scandal, famous for singing about how love doesn’t always last. Watch her live here.

John McEnroe: A renowned tennis player in the 80’s whose dazzling shot-making and volleying was nearly equaled by his confrontational verbal style. Famously quoted as saying “you cannot be serious,” he is very serious about his long-time wife.

Married for: 24 years

How they met: at a Christmas party. They didn’t know they were being set up. But don’t ask them about it, because they have very different memories. About everything. John remembers encouraging Patty to pursue music more; she remembers him sticking her at home with the kids and putting her career on pause.

Best lines:

8:55 Patty, “I still didn’t believe in love, in monogamy, in marriage, but I had some kind of faith in him.”

19:19 John, “Obviously the key to success in any marriage is, you have to compromise, you have to trust each other, and also hopefully have a lot of sex.”

21:14 Patty, “Our whole life together is: ‘don’t give up on me. I’m a work in progress.’”

25:34 Patty, “Maybe that is one of the most important ingredients in a good marriage. Do you want to be right? Or do you want to be happy?”

Patty talks about how, initially, she didn’t stand up to John. It took her a while to hold her own with the man who was famous for his temper. Hearing them now, though, you wouldn’t know it. She doesn’t let him off the hook.

Clearly, sex is an important part of their relationship. And, for these two, sex may have helped to balance out a multitude of sins, including perpetual arguments.

Listen to this episode if: you’re wondering how one big personality plus another even bigger personality equals a happy marriage.

‎Double Date with Marlo Thomas & Phil Donahue: John McEnroe & Patty Smyth on Apple Podcasts
‎Show Double Date with Marlo Thomas & Phil Donahue, Ep John McEnroe & Patty Smyth - Apr 5, 2021

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

Listen. @miketrap's Racket What I Learned In The Pandemic.  Listening to Mike here, I remembered those long nights in the ICU when I was losing my late husband and that feeling of battling something huge and beyond comprehension and potentially devastating.  The feeling of everything being out-of-control.  The vertigo lasted longer then anyone knew, and besides pouring myself into work (and a rational, unemotional gear) I was really no good to anyone.  As Mike points out so eloquently here, what it takes to stop the world from spinning has less to do with the world than we realize.  A lesson in zen that applies to so much of life.

What I Learned In The Pandemic | Racket
What I Learned In The Pandemic by @miketrap

Listen.  The Podcast "Solo" On The Power of Seeking No Power.  "Power? No thanks, I'm Good."  Solo is the thoughtful podcast series hosted by Peter McGraw on "the single person's guide to a remarkable life."  In this episode McGraw speaks wth Timothy Krieder, a writer and cartoonist, who explains why the freedom to say what he thinks and to command his own time is all the power he needs.  This episode raises the stakes on defining what power is - and argues that giving up opportunities to pursue power in order to gain freedom is a power in and of itself.

The Power Of No Power
Tim Kreider talks about working in solitude and dedicating more time to his artistic endeavors, fueling his creative and imaginative side even further.

Read.  Mark Rozzo on The Story Behind How Gay Talese Got Arguably the Greatest Magazine Feature Ever - On Frank Sinatra.  Talese's story was published in Esquire in 1966, titled "Frank Sinatra Has A Cold" and is considered one of the best profiles written. But the story behind it is a fun romp thru the rat pack period.  

The Story Behind “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold”
How Gay Talese got the goods.

Listen.  The Podcast Series Good Sex.  Is about much more than just sex - good or bad.  Because sex is much more than just sex.  It is ultimately about empathy, really.  These episodes are a series of half hour opportunities to intensely step into somebody else's shoes.  One of my favorites, the comedian Luis Galilei, talks here about the sex expectations on Latin Lovers.

‎Good Sex: Luis 👐🏼 — “Do you like how I touch you here?” on Apple Podcasts
‎Show Good Sex, Ep Luis 👐🏼 — “Do you like how I touch you here?” - Jul 27, 2021

Read. Katherine Churchill in Electric Lit On How the "Green Knight" Movie Miscontrues the Monster.  Churchill, a medievalist scholar, went from giddiness to deflation when she realized how the monster was depicted in this movie adaptation of her favorite 1th century poem.  Best line in her review: "In the medieval poem, [the monster] is a hot queer lover, but in the film, he's ugly CGI."

The Monster in the New “Green Knight” Movie Should Be Sexier - Electric Literature
In the medieval poem, he’s a hot queer lover, but in the film, he’s ugly CGI

Check Out.  These Regrams of My Favorite Posts This Week:

Song of the Week.

From Jon Pareles, New York Times:  "Skate," the new single from Silk Sonic - the collaboration of Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak - is "a project in reverse engineering, finding and recreating the sounds and structures of the era when 1970s soul melted into disco.  'Skate' – invoking bygone roller discos – has the scrubbing rhythmic guitars, the glockenspiel, the Latin percussion, the back-talking string section and the rising bridge of late 1970s hits."

And the lyrics themselves are a 70s disco party, especially rolling out of Paak and Mars: "In a room full of dimes / You would be a hundred dollars / If bein' fine was a crime / Girl, they'd lock your lil' fine ass up in a tower."  Skate! Listen here.

Dish Stanley XO,

The Crush Letter
The Crush Letter is a weekly newsletter curated by Dish Stanley 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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