The Crush Letter No 44

. 14 min read

I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about friendship, love, sex and marriage in midlife. Because it doesn't look anything like they told you it would.  Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.

Hello Crush,

Happy New Year! It's inexplicable how excited I am for 2022. Truthfully, I can't tell if my enthusiasm for the beginning of this year is just relief that that year is over. But I'm done. with. it.  It was a tough tough 2021. I know that I am not alone in that. I had two immediate family members in critical health and another in an ugly custody battle, and like all of our personal struggles this year, they were on top of imposing meta torment. The world had a tough year, our country had a tough year, a lot of us had personally tough years. So I just wanted to kick the butt of 2021 out the door with really pointy, steel-tipped Manolo Blahnik boots.

But on Thursday one of my best friends Tomas posted this in our friend-group chat:

Tomas posted it with the following wish: "Time for my annual wishes for a HAPPY ENDING!".

And it did create a mind-shift from butt-kicking 2021 out the door to creating an gentler ending, with an eye toward the better beginning that softer ending might invite in.

So what did I do last night for New Year's Eve? I had been hoping to host a low-key dinner party. Omnicron killed that. Then I invited a best friend to share a low-key night bingeing TV but she was going dog mushing in Northern Maine with her daughter (really). Here's what I actually did: I opened one of my favorite Willamette Valley pinot noirs, Erath. Then I went back to an earlier CRUSH Letter and found the menu from Ali Waks column BITE: Go Date Yourself (republished below).  I made the Cacio e Pepe and Easy Green Salad (yumm). I re-read Liza Lentini's Anti-Checklist because her sagacity about going through the holidays is something I want to carry into 2022. I actually re-watched An Unmarried Woman (see our PrimeCrush & Chill review below).  And I crossed my fingers.

What did I not do? Create any New Year's Resolutions. I've learned that's not my thing. I have found check-ins or resets to be useful life tools, but to really be useful for me they need to be periodic (as in quarterly). I need to do them after I've had some quiet time to think, which for me is always later than New Year's (because the holidays are anything but quiet and I always need to recover). I use the start of the New Year as my gentle reminder to start revving up my thoughts on the upcoming year and I set a goal of January 31st for an intentional reset ritual. (I don't call it that - or anything - it is more of a "capture" of intentions.)  (I can write more about that as I do it for this year if you are interested. Write me at

The wonderful thing about planetary orbits is that they start our minds orbiting. In my case, on my intentions. Another thing is that we get another round.  To honor that, I've selected some stories for you that speak to better endings and good beginnings.

And here's one good thing we all have to look forward to in 2022. We will be sharing our PrimeCrush Sex Toy Tester Reviews. We sent our first box of products out before Thanksgiving and will report back soon on what worked for the CRUSH Readers who {ahem} rose to the occasion. Usefully salacious news.

Also: Apropos of our PrimeCrush & Chill: Movies to Re-watch column (below) please answer Our SuperShortQuestionOfTheWeek!

What's Your Favorite Movie to Re-watch? Take a Single Minute to Tell Us! Here

Also Also: If you (like me) are up-to-date on the latest (very funny and anti-pc) Curb Your Enthusiasm season, then take note of Lynn Matthew's true story on vaginal rejuvenations below Oasis in the Desert.

If you're new here (welcome!), I'm Dish, the Master of Ceremonies. For more about me and why we're here go here.

In This Letter. +BITE. Go Date Yourself! By Ali Waks Adams F-You, you smug bitch, what is so terrible about having dinner with the man you love every night? +Love/Sex/Moon Magick: Endings, Happy and Otherwise. By Lynn Eaton Although we had the divorce papers, it seemed that there wasn’t a real ending for me. +The Holiday Anti-Checklist. By Liza Lentini If you’re like me and a tulle skirt (or a tux) makes your life more complete, don’t wait—wear it. +PrimeCrush & Chill: Movies Worth A Re-Watch: An Unmarried Woman. An Unmarried Woman starring Jill Clayburgh heals all over again. +Oasis in the Desert. One woman’s honest journey through vaginal rejuvenation. By Lynn Matthews Unlike Irma in the recent Curb Your Enthusiasm episode, Lynn Matthews went through with her vaginal rejuvenation and was generous enough to share what it was really like. Naked & Not Afraid. By KC Roth I found myself on the beach with a not-quite-famous sex educator and she was rallying the crowd to strip down and jump in. +New Skincare Routine, New You. The 4 Most Common Issues for Men. By Lauren D. Weinstein compiled a simple, no-nonsense guide to help demystify and resolve four main skin-care issues that many men have. +Double Dates Podcast. Marlo Thomas & Phil Donahue Chat With Sting and Trudie Styler. I love you in the in-between moments of life. +Our Song of the Week  We Get It Almost Every Night.

BITE.  Go Date Yourself!  By Ali Waks Adams

Chef Ali designs the perfect, easy menu for when you want to be alone with your favorite person: Yourself.

In the before times—in the before, before times—my life consisted of rushing from one place to another, frantically making connections, searching for someone, or something that would complete me. I rarely thought about making time for myself. Life was very “IMPORTANT” and “URGENT”, and I was young and I spent a lot of time alone, and I didn’t appreciate it. AT ALL!

I am now a married lady who lives in a small town, a place where you do not even have to dial the area code to make a local call (I took me months to figure out why I couldn’t use a landline). I spend a good deal of my day times alone.  During the pandemic, I spent too many of my days alone and absolutely none of my nights. My husband was home every single night. EVERYSINGLEF*INGNIGHT. He never went camping with a friend, or away for a couple of nights for work training, or back to New Jersey to visit family. I would work “late” one night a week, but we would still have dinner when I got home at 8 p.m. (which in pandemic Maine was the equivalent of 3 a.m. in another big city life).

When I was single, I would have read that paragraph and said, F-You, you smug bitch, what is so terrible about having dinner with the man you love every night? Well, I would like to tell my younger self, you are romanticizing a life you are not living.

I am now a person who understands how welcome and necessary a night alone can be.  I learned this lesson from my dear friend JP. JP is beautiful, brilliant, kind and just a terrific woman. She has a crazy, intense, stressful job where she takes care of a lot of people, like a city’s worth of people who need a lot of things very desperately.  JP is great at prioritizing treating herself well, she makes herself lovely dinners and wears her leather shorts with heels and make-up to Zoom meetings.

Continue Reading Here

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

A regular column from our resident Wiccan Lynn Eaton on how to make something that was over really OVER.

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.

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The Holiday Anti-Checklist.  By Liza Lentini

A very different sort of guide that goes inwards and honors what’s really important, because the holidays - and the New Year - aren’t the same, and neither are you.

Everything’s different now, including you. It stands to reason the holidays, including a New Year —and your approach to them—will be a little bit different, also. Instead of listing all the things you need, as has been done ad nauseam, this list includes everything you can leave behind this year, so that when you show up—whether it’s an intimate home gathering or a nontraditional getaway—you’re showing up for yourself first.

Here’s your checklist of what you can likely live without:

  1. The weight of other’s expectations. Endings make the best beginnings, and what better way to end the year than shedding the weight of what you’re “supposed to be” doing, what others expect of you, and comparing yourself and your yearly achievements with anyone else.
  2. Uncomfortable clothes. We all joke about living in leisure-wear over the last year or so, but if we’ve learned anything, it’s that you don’t need a starched shirt to be more powerful. Point of fact, stretchy pants are best for yoga and dancing.
  3. Leaving outfits for “someday”. The above (#2) comment aside, if you want to wear your ball gowns or tuxes for breakfast—do it. Do it for you. Do it on an average Tuesday. Mostly working from home, this is something I started doing before the pandemic, and it starts every day off with a fun, whimsical initiative. If you’re like me and a tulle skirt makes your life more complete, don’t wait—wear it. (Conveniently, they look great over leggings.)

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PrimeCrush & Chill: Movies Worth A Re-Watch: An Unmarried Woman.

In this periodic column we hook back up with our favorite ex's--as in classic movies worth a re-watch.

An Unmarried Woman (1978)

Starring: Jill Clayburgh, Alan Bates, Paul Mazursky

Basic Plot: “Happily” married art-gallery worker Erica is sideswiped when her stockbroker husband Martin (Michael Murphy) leaves her for a younger woman. As the devastation wears off, Erica begins reevaluating her own needs and rediscovering herself in a way that can only come from being newly single. As a new relationship forms with an English artist (Alan Bates), she’s careful to be sure she preserves her newfound joyful self.

Why Re-watch: It’s impossible for me to review this movie without mentioning how it got me, personally, through my own divorce. My situation was the opposite of Erica’s—short-lived marriage, no children—but the shock of something ending, followed by a period of rediscovery, isn’t situational or generational, and will likely stand the test of time. For anyone who’s been through it, the space before the rebirth of oneself post relationship, though different for everyone, is muddled at best and terrifying at its worst. Jill Clayburgh, inarguably one of the best actors of her generation, captures all of this in its layered messiness and wonder. Considered her “breakout role”, An Unmarried Woman earned Clayburgh the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Best part is, you don’t need a crisis to revisit or be inspired by this movie’s brilliance. It’s sure to move and inspire you, no matter where you are in life.

In our regular column PrimeCrush & Chill, we share movies that deserve a re-watch. Movies like An Unmarried Woman (1978), Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969), Shampoo (1975), La Piscine (1969), The Collector (1965).  Want to read about the movies we've crushed on? Go here.

Which brings us to: Please CRUSH Readers answer Our SuperShortQuestionOfTheWeek!

What's Your Favorite Movie to Re-watch? Take a Single Minute to Tell Us! Here

Oasis in the Desert. One Woman's Honest Journey Through Vaginal Rejuvenation.  By Lynn Matthews

This CRUSH Reader submitted her story about a new beginning of the vaginal sort, and we re-share for any other Readers who may feel inspired.

The waiting room was filled with women over a certain age, either alone or with their significant other. We had one thing in common: a dry vagina. Other symptoms can include itching, burning, painful intercourse, urinary incontinence—and then some—along with the strong desire to still connect, play and orgasm. It was comforting and at the same time tragically sad to know that I was not alone. But this is one club I didn’t want to belong to.

I’d had a few conversations about this intimate topic, secretly whispering with a few of my closest female friends—those not too uptight to discuss it—to see if anybody would fess up to the same issue. They didn’t. I then took the uncomfortable conversation to my OBGYN, and, after fear of reintroducing estrogen via my temple, I literally turned my head one day and saw a poster on the wall in a doctor’s office about a procedure that sounded too good to be true.

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Naked & Not Afraid.  By KC Roth

One CRUSH Reader bares all for a relatable tale of regaining one’s self and sexuality, reinstating the all- important lesson that endings bring brave new beginnings.

“What do you mean you can’t come skinny dipping with us?”

I went to more spiritual retreats, yoga retreats, meditation retreats, and self-improvement seminars in my 30’s than any one woman could digest. I’m sure I gave very reasonable explanations for this at the time…but let’s call it what it was: I was running away from my life every chance I got.

This particular “festival” was in Cancun and, naturally, the attendees were all “AMAZING people up to BIG THINGS.”

I found myself on the beach with a not-quite-famous sex educator and she was rallying the crowd to strip down and jump in. I was a no…make that a hell no.

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New Skincare Routine, New You. The 4 Most Common Issues for Men. By Lauren D. Weinstein

You got questions about your skincare routine? There are a lot of new products out there for men, but their marketing targets millenials, so we have a resident expert who has answers.

Guys, when it comes to looking your best, knowledge is power. I’ve compiled a simple, no-nonsense guide to help demystify and resolve four main skin-care issues that many men have or are likely to experience in their lifetime.

1. Razor Bumps. We expect bumps on the road, but don’t want them on our face. Razor bumps (pseudofolliculitis barbae) are ingrown hairs that develop after shaving or using other hair removal techniques. They can develop on the face, legs, underarms and pubic area. (Manscaping, anyone?) They’re usually red, and can range in size or become pus-filled. Generally, they do not cause serious health problems but can be painful, unattractive and affect a person’s confidence.


  1. Shave less often.
  2. Use shaving cream or gel on wet skin (or right after a shower). Make sure it’s appropriate for your skin type.
  3. Shave in the direction of hair growth.
  4. Use a fresh razor and wipe with alcohol before and after using.
  5. Try an electric razor on a low setting to keep hair slightly longer and less likely to become ingrown.
  6. Use products that contain salicylic acid, it exfoliates, unclogs pores and reduces inflammation.

Try: Tends Solution: Apply post shaving. Contains salicylic acid, glycerin 8 oz. $24.99 Amazon

Anthony Ingrown Hair Treatment: Apply post shaving, underneath moisturizer. Contains glycolic, salicylic acid, willow herb and lavender. Free of parabens, phthalates and gluten, cruelty free. 2.5 oz. $34.00

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Double Dates Podcast. Marlo Thomas & Phil Donahue Chat With Sting and Trudie Styler. Episode Date: March 15, 2021 (30 Minutes)

This series highlights the best episodes from our favorite podcasts. One of them is Double Dates, hosted by Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue, featuring conversations on enduring love and all its challenges with couples who have been married a long time.

Some couples can’t keep their hands off each other—even after almost 30 years of marriage. Sting and Trudie are one of those couples.

Who They Are.

Sting: Singer, songwriter, and the lead vocalist of the Police, Sting is almost as well-known for his love of tantric sex almost as he is for his musical stylings.

Trudie Styler: Producer and director of award-winning films, Trudie has been behind major movies like Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch.

Married for: 29 years, together for almost 40.

How they met: As neighbors, both committed to others at the time. Their affair made headlines and garnered global ill-will that shook them to their cores—but it led to a lifelong relationship.

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Song of the Week

Toploader, Dancing in the Moonlight.  This is such an easy version of this upbeat song.  It kind of makes you feel like wiggling your hips around as you tiptoe back into the kitchen for some of those holiday leftovers.  Or I guess you could also look at it as an easy way to rev up your vibe for New Year's Eve and 2022.  

Toploader, Dancing in the Moonlight.

Thank you to CRUSH Reader kt for sending this over! She is ON A ROLL. She has sent us no fewer than five (4!) songs that we have selected as a Song of the Week pick, and I'll point out that the kt recommendation Nightflyer by Allison Russell also made it on quite a few critics' year-end lists for best song. In fact, let's just go ahead and give us all a big fat New Year bonus and repost that one right here, right now:

Listen here.

Happy Endings for all of you. Thanks so much for being here with us this New Year's Day.

Dish Stanley XO,

PS: Please answer Our SuperShortQuestionOfTheWeek!

What's Your Favorite Movie to Re-watch? Take a Single Minute to Tell Us! Here

Want to read about the movies we've crushed on? Go here.

I’m Dish, the Master of Ceremonies

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.


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