Hello all and welcome, new subscribers!
I got a lot of responses to last week's personal essay on my tight-laced affair with corsets and how I (finally) learned in midlife to own being both a sexy and smart woman. It's here if you missed it. One reader wrote in that "it shouldn't even be a question any more". Another agreed, so long as I meant sexy outside the office and on personal (not professional) social feeds.
That last comment took me to a moment years ago when I was at a small early stage company. Our receptionist, just returned to the office after having gotten breast enhancements, came to work on a Summer "Casual Friday" in a lycra tube top. The emails started flying among senior management. We'd never had any issues before, but a near consensus emerged that an office-wide dress code was needed and that I should draft it. Me, even though I was the sole hold-out who argued that that approach was "over-regulation," that we should simply address the issue directly with the one offender.
Voted down, on Monday I sent out the following:
'Casual Friday'Dress Code.
No lycra. No tube tops. No flip flops (unless they are leather). Nothing comparable to any of the foregoing. Thank you.
That dress code held up effectively for years without any infractions, until we got a new COO in from a big corporate environment who argued for a more comprehensive approach. "Okay," our CEO said, "but don't ask Dish to do it."
This week I share how impressed I am with GQ's Modern Lovers Issue, make a case for the open and curious mindset that Adam Grant argues for in his new book Think Again, discuss the anticipated surge in pandemic divorces that hasn't happened (yet) and close out with one of the silkiest new songs I've heard in a while.
Move Over, NYT's Modern Love Column. GQ Did A Special Project Called The Modern Lovers Issue. And they NAILED it. I am really annoyed that I didn't see it in February when it came out, but GQ isn't one of the growing number of "love and connection" sources I track for PrimeCrush because who knew? For this special Modern Lovers issue GQ did three high energy covers, but my favorite was the sensual black & white photo of Megan Rapinoe wrapped around Sue Bird, both stripped to the waist and giving us unapologetic stare-downs. They're entitled. Rapinoe (one of the most decorated soccer players ever) and Bird (one of the greatest basketball players of all time), together have more Olympic gold medals, World Cup titles and championships than "most couples have steak knives," writes author Emma Carmichael. The beauty and power in the cover photo (it seems to me) is in its tension: the naturalistic black and white style of the photographic seems to be making a "this is the real world" statement, but the fact that their gazes are aimed at us (and not each other) suggests that they are making sure we're with them. The cover puts an exclamation point on one of the statements made in the piece - that Rapinoe and Bird are making a mark off the field by "merely existing together - by being gay and joyfully in love in public. . . For now, the 'cross-sport lesbian power couple' template begins and ends with [them]." "Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird Are Goals" is an in-depth look at their love, life and broader significance.
The Modern Lovers issue also features stories on Naomi Osaka and Cordae and Ciara and Russell Wilson. The introductory note from the editors says that the issue is an "exploration of of the many forms and facets of love today". In addition to featuring power couples, there is a timely and humorous piece from a personal hero, Benjamin Clymer, the founder of the super-niche newsletter for timepiece fetishizers: "Before you adopt a dog or have a child, try parenting a timepiece with your significant other." (Though personally I'd sooner share a toothbrush than my Timex.) The Case for the Relationship Watch. Then there is "The Radical Adult Performer With a Very Regular Dating Life" which makes it clear midlife dating, as complicated as it feels, is nothing compared to the tricky situations a famous porn actor finds herself in. (And Crush Readers, she took that Gary Chapman online love languages quiz I told you about in The Crush Letter No. 1.) And there is a very of-the-moment topic among some of my friends, The Case for Psychedelic Couples Counseling, on the bonding power of tripping together.
"How Do We Pay Less Attention to People Who Think Fast and Shallow, and More Attention to People Who Think Slow and Deep?" asks Adam Grant in his new book Think Again. That's a question that relates to public discourse but it is an equally valid one to ask of every sphere. There is an inverse relationship between ignorance and confidence, argues Grant, but it is humility and curiosity that foster knowledge. By curiosity he means a willingness to respect new information that contradicts a settled view. Grant shows how much more powerful it is to start with listening and demonstrating an understanding of another's point of view than it is to beging by laying out your own logic. One creates the beginning of a meaningful conversation, the other a defensive response. Think Again is one of those books that you pick up because you think it might help you get ahead in your professional life, but quickly realize it is really about how to have better relationships, period.
"My Husband Filed For Divorce During the Pandemic. Am I On the Worst Reality Show Ever?" In this Op Ed in the LA Times Brynne MacEachern walks us through what it feels like to have your husband nonchalantly interrupt you months into the pandemic with "By the way I got an attorney and he filed divorce papers with the court last Thursday." The couple continued to co-habitate while all the shenanigans with lawyers and courts took place online. Painful. Awkward. A lot of people were anticipating a surge in Covid-driven divorces, but MacEachern's experience is evidently not widespread according to this piece in Bloomberg Divorces Tumble, Marriages Drop in US During Covid, Study Shows. Though of course it may be that it is yet to happen.
And While We're On the Topic of Divorce, I Don't Know Who Needs to Hear This But F*** It. Get A Divorce by Steve Kane gives an "optimistic roadmap for the divorce-curious". When you're in a place where your emotions are on full tilt, you need the grounding (and humor and hope) that "Effit" provides. Kane steps you through all the considerations - from kids to money to lawyers to sex and forgiveness. "Don't stay in a bad relationship over money," he argues, or at least if that's your biggest concern "price your happiness". (He provides a formula). The exercise in honesty will definitely move your thinking forward. As you ponder your options, Kane provides "Playlists for a Breakup". So I have him to thank for reminding me of this gem from Lucinda's Williams best album, Cartwheels On A Gravel Road, "Joy", in which a defiant, triumphant hard-rockin' Williams travels from Louisiana to Arkansas to chase down the happiness a betrayer had stolen from her. I have another favorite breakup song, also from Williams (who specializes in the genre), Changed the Lock On My Front Door. "I changed the number on my phone so you can't call me up at home / And you can't say those things to me that make me fall down on my knees."
But Let's Roll Into the Week End By Leaving the Door Open. This newly released number by Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars, Anderson Paak) Leave the Door Open was the skip in my week. It seems like the right place to leave you for the week end. "Ooh, youre so sweet (so sweet), so tight (so tight), I won't bite, unless you like."
And if you're leaving your door open for someone this weekend, here's hoping they come through.
PS: This will be our last week offering a Founding Subscriber subscription level, as our gift boxes will be gone by the end of the week. I am so grateful to you for being first and for all your feedback on this fledgling love note. If you are enjoying The Crush Letter please consider sharing it with friends this week, so they get one of our gift boxes. And then, well, they'll love you even more. Throw it around, this love thing. That's what it's for. Subscription Link
The Crush Letter
The Crush Letter is a weekly newsletter from the Dish curating intelligence & stories on all things 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.