The Crush Letter No 46: DEVOUR

. 17 min read

I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about friendship, love, and sex in midlife. Because it's more fun than they told you it would be. Unless you think you're beyond breakdance battles. Then you, my dear, are not fun.  Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.

Hello Crush,

We've gotten a bunch of new readers this week, welcome!  

Once a month we publish a DEVOUR issue, sharing the things we think CRUSH Readers would love to do, read, see and have.  It's one of my favorite Letters every month and this week's is an abbondanza (overabundant in Italia), so let's get you right to it.

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

In This Letter.  +DEVOUR By Dish Stanley & Contributing Editor Lisa Ellex. Things to do, read, see & have. +5 Things That Turn Me On: R. Edas Our recurring feature where Crush Readers share what does it for them never fails to surprise and delight.   +Hot Singles.NYC:  Know An Intellectually Curious Woman in NYC Looking for A Male Culture Connoisseur? He's looking for a smart woman curious about the world around her. Know her.  +Hook Ups: Meet Cynthia Besteman, Founder of Violets Are Blue Skincare "I whisper WTF to myself 50 times a day!" But Cynthia Besteman turned something devastating–breast cancer--into the launch of a skincare line.   +Double Dates Podcast. Marlo Thomas & Phil Donahue Chat With Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen His tenderness toward my children and now our grandchildren would be a reason alone to love him.”  +Dear Dish. I love your love letters.   +Our Song of the Week Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?

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

Listen. Liz Lange’s “Just Enough” Family: It’s An Abbondanza.  If you want a riveting inside look at 80’s New York excess or the complexities of running a high-flying family business or the rise and plummet of one of the richest and most prominent families of the late 1900’s, this podcast is a profuse overabundance (an “abbondanza,” as Liz Lange calls it).  Lange is the niece of Saul Steinberg who, as the most famous corporate raider of the 80’s, enveloped his entire family in riches, access and glamour, including his brother Bobby, Saul’s deputy and Lange’s father.  Lange (an entrepreneur and Founder of Liz Lange Maternity) is the primary storyteller, and together with her close friend Ariel Levy as host, they get family members and famous personalities to open up about the Steinbergs and their business dealings. Unvarnished doesn’t begin to describe this wild story of family mudslinging, entitlement and racism. You’ll find yourself asking, “Why would anyone share such intimate dirt publicly” so many times you’ll stop counting.  But you won’t stop listening.

‎The Just Enough Family on Apple Podcasts
‎Society & Culture · 2021

Listen.  Are You A Voyeur? The Secret Room Podcast: Episode Update.  In The Crush Letter No 34 we told you about The Secret Room: Voyeurism at its finest. Host Ben Hamm hears first-time confessions that will have you on the edge of your fainting couch.  From the law school drop-out who faked speaking German to become an international flight attendant, to the housewife secretly selling photos of her feet to fetishists, it’ll make you wonder whether you truly know even your closest loved ones.

Here's an update on a new favorite episode: #158 "Sugar Rush." Eralyn is a single mother trying to provide for two very young children and pay off medical bills while caring for her special needs child. Regular work outside the home proves impossible, so she takes her practical, no-nonsense attitude into a transactional affair with a Sugar Daddy. Where that takes her is a surprise to her--and us.  

If you are able to park your judgment at the door, this a fascinating and intimate glimpse at the terms, nature and complexity of one Sugar arrangement. In addition to considering the benefits and downsides for Eralyn, you're left wondering about it from her Sugar Daddy's perspective--and that of his wife.  He tells Eralyn that he and his long-term wife are no longer intimate, but she acknowledges that intimacy is an essential need for him. His wife has agreed so long as it is handled discreetly and at a distance. Fair enough all the way around, but you have to ask yourself: if one partner in a marriage is okay with entirely outsourcing the regular provision of this intimate, loving, physical and emotional service by another to their spouse, what does that say about the nature of marriage itself?

To dive into The Secret Room, start with our favorite episodes:

#158 Sugar Rush

76 "Celebrity Chicken Caper"
#128 "Fetish"
#117 "The Takedown"
#60 "My Secret Career.'

And (in case it's helpful) if I had it to do over, I'd pass on #146 "Reckless," and #137 "TORCH"

‎The Secret Room | True Stories on Apple Podcasts
‎Society & Culture · 2022

And while we are on the topic of  sugar arrangements, here's the repost of a quirky film we previously touted:

Watch. Shiva Baby: Ambiguously Anxious Among the Noodges. When you’re trapped at a shiva between your sugar daddy and your high school ex-girlfriend, what’s a girl to do? In Emma Seligman’s film Shiva Baby the main character Danielle, an unmoored NYU senior, veers between powerlessness one minute and taking control the next, like a hockey puck spinning in and out of a goal. Just when her Jewish Mother thinks she's in line Danielle darts upstairs with a bagel to proffer her transactional sex partner a freebie blow job.

Shiva Baby came on my radar when a friend who is a member of the screening committee for a prestigious Jewish film festival told me about the heated debate surrounding its eventual selection. “Nobody wants to see a Jewish girl sugaring,” said one committee member. “But it’s happening,” argued my friend. Not only that, it's really smartly written, directed and acted. Days later I mentioned the film to another friend over coffee and he responded, “Oh if you have a daughter at NYU, you know about this,” he said almost offhandedly.

Continue Reading Here

Read.  Think You Know the Kamasutra? Consider Archisutra - The Handbook’s Final Chapter by Miguel Bolivar. Concerned you’ll throw your back out while attempting that new sex position? Leave it to the experts. Author Miguel Bolivar (with the help of DaVinci and others) has taken out the guesswork for you with his tongue-in-cheek (yes, THAT cheek) architectural guide to the Kamasutra. One picture is worth a thousand words…

Read. Ignite Your Light: A Sunrise-to-Moonlight Guide to Feeling Joyful, Resilient, and Lit from Within by Jolene Hart. Believing that energy is at the core of how we look, feel, and experience life, author Jolene Hart has designed a manageable sunrise to moonlight guide offering healthful recipes, self-care rituals, energy release practices, and writes about how to power our inner light and change our mindset so that personal healing can begin. These positive energy practices are designed to build immunity, improve our long-term health, and discover joy and well-being. I found this book especially helpful at this time of year as Hart discusses realistic practices for seasonal affective disorder. Read here

Watch. Enough Said, An Intelligent Film About Midlife Love.  This 2013 gem is directed by Nicole Holofcener and stars James Gandolfini, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Catherine Keener. The late, great Gandolfini will melt your heart in this grown-up study of mature love, loss, loneliness and hope. Dreyfus and Keener are at their finest. Catch it on Netflix.  Watch the trailer here.

Watch. Sir Sidney Poitier Along with A Stellar Cast in Paris Blues. After the passing of Sir Sidney Poitier I decided to revisit his films. In this 1961 release, American jazz musicians Eddie Cook (Sidney Poitier) and Ram Bowen (Paul Newman) come to live and work in Paris; Cook to escape racial discrimination and Bowen to hone is craft. When Eddie meets love interest Connie (Diahann Carroll), she urges him to begin his fight against racism back home in America. Ram falls in love with Lillian (played by real-life wife Joanne Woodward) and the two musicians must decide between life in Paris and the states. Based on Harold Flender’s 1957 novel of the same name, the film features the great Louis Armstrong as Wild Man Moore. Flender’s novel included the theme of interracial romance but the movie studio thought the plot would deter audiences. Thankfully, Poitier would famously revisit this theme in his 1967 release, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner. Streamed on YouTube Watch here

Watch. Don’t Look Up Is the Movie You Want to Have An Opinion On. Wanna know what happens when the government, the media, a smartphone mogul, astronomy intel, and a 6-mile-wide comet meet? Then watch Don’t Look Up on Netflix right now. Written, directed, and produced by Adam McKay, this smart satire is artfully brought to life by actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Kate Blanchett, Jonah Hill, and more. Attention must be paid. Watch here

Watch. Rhoda Is the 70's Nostalgia You Need Now.  The Mary Tyler Moore Show spin-off featuring every girl’s BBF (well, okay she was Mary Richardson’s BFF), Rhoda, debuted in 1974 and ran for five seasons on CBS. Perfectly portrayed by Valerie Harper, the down-to-earth babe from the Bronx had the job, the clothes, the apartment, the attitude, and even a season one wedding! With Nancy Walker as her mom and Julie Kavner as her sister, the series is a nostalgic time capsule of 1970s culture. My daughter caught me binging the first four seasons on YouTube so she surprised me at Christmas with the DVDs

Read. Don't Sleep on This Article in the NYT About A Long-Term Couple's Sex Life In Their 70's. Theirs is a story whose contours are similar to those I have heard from many long-married friends: Dating, Love, Marriage, Young Kids.  Followed by Overwork, Underappreciation, Divergent Roles, Lack of Intimacy, Extramarital Affair(s). Except that this couple's attempts at intervention led to enough repair that they have remained married in their 70's, having the best sex of their lives.  Fascinating to get a glimpse of their arc as a couple at this stage, after all that they've been through, including the changes in their bodies (cancer, spinal stinosis, menopause, etc.).  What we learn about what's possible? An intimte life with less pressure, more ease, more exploration, more humor, more truth and more connection.  In other words, something to look forward to.  The Joys (and Challenges) of Sex After 70.

The Joys (and Challenges) of Sex After 70

Follow. Making Up For Glossed Time - “Beauty, Style. Life. Laughs” The talented and savvy make-up artist and style guru Jennifer Polt Robinson offers realistic how-tos for real women. Her professional tips and tutorials on beauty, wardrobe, accessories, and personal care got me out of my pandemic plotz and back into my stylish self (or at least, thinking about it). Robinson is a delight. “Celebrating ageless badasses,” she advises on attainable style and all the while maintains her fierce sense of humor. Follow here

Follow. The Pasta Queen It's pasta weather! And that means it’s time to watch the recent Roman transplant, The Pasta Queen. Host Nadia Caterina Munno and her brother Augustino come from a long line of pasta makers dating back to the 1800s. Subscribing to Fellini’s belief that “Life is a combination of magic and pasta,” she stylishly shares “ancient techniques and recipes that would otherwise be forgotten.” Bellisima!

Read. Speaking of Pasta, Ina Garten Knows How to Live. This speaks for itself.

Listen. NPR’s Book of the Day podcast hosted by Andrew Limbong.
Your daily dose of the newest reads is told in 15 minutes or less. If you’re a bibliophile you won’t want to miss these insightful and informative interviews with authors discussing their new works.

Episodes we like:
Wish You Were Here” by Jody Picoult

Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes From Across The African Diaspora” by Bryant Terry

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything” By BJ Fogg

NPR Cookie Consent and Choices

Listen. The Compulsive Storyteller podcast. Written and narrated by Gregg LeFevre. Reminiscent of that uncle you had who always had a story to tell, Gregg LeFevre tells his own true-life personal stories in 20 minutes or less. Because truth can be stranger than fiction.

Some favorites:
Cops and Hookers
Mr. LeFevre Sucks
Signore Pizza

‎The Compulsive Storyteller with Gregg LeFevre on Apple Podcasts
‎Society & Culture · 2021

Listen. Colin Smith Is the Musician We're Stalking.  I’ve been stalking – I mean, following – musician Colin Smith since I first stumbled upon him performing in a Greenwich Village restaurant in 2009. In that same year, he released the album The Wilderness, a work that deliciously showcases his vocal and writing talents. He’s an important songwriter, a dynamic live performer, an occasional member of Christina Aguilera’s band, and has been referred to as one of the greatest male vocalists of our day. The 2009 album’s title track is an anthem of hope for our time but pay special attention to “Organ In Your Chest” and “The Angry Song”. For more on Colin, visit here

And here he is in a live performance in Germany. Note you'll want to fast forward all the way to to the 2:45 mark to get past the host to the music.

Listen. abcdefu, It's Cathartic.  If catharsis is what you seek, there’s nothing like a good spite song, even when it’s written by a 17-year-old. Nashville-based singer Gayle signed with Atlantic records on her 16th birthday and five singles later abcdefu was born, surpassing 100 million global streams in fifteen weeks! “Everybody but your dog, you can all f-ck off.” Hell hath no fury. Check out the acoustic version and music video

5 Things That Turn Me On: R. Edas

In this recurring column, we share five things that light our fire.

Name: R. Edas, Male, Generation X (born in 1961)

Is this your real name: No.

Occupation: Writer/musician.

Current relationship status: In a committed relationship.

5 Things That Turn Me On:

To Get Me Going: A soft touch to my back or the very tippy-top of my ass.

A quick, slightly open mouth kiss, that lights across my lips as quickly as it retreats.

A wooden paddle.

Seeing a woman from behind, topless.

A ‘naughty school girl’ anime scene.

Sexiest Song: “Kashmir” is an iconic song for Led Zeppelin, cliché I know, but it is the relentlessness of it.

Sexiest City: San Francisco. Found and spent lots of kinky times there.

Hottest Book: Belinda by Anne Rice (writing as Anne Rambling at the time). Read it when published in 1984.

Product or Aid I Love: Cock cages…but only to look at.

We started with 5 Things from Dish, then CRUSH Readers came, and we've had 5 Things from R. Edas, , Bob Guccione, Jr, Jane Boon, Crush Reader Craig J and others.  Read them here.

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.)

Hot Singles.NYC:  Know An Intellectually Curious Woman in NYC Looking for A Male Culture Connisseur?

Maybe you saw the article in the New York Times Dating Apps Were ‘Getting Old.’ Why Not Try Something Older? Hot Singles.NYC sends around personal ads of singles looking to date. We love it. It lets the hot single’s quirky true personality shine. And we’d love to see it grow beyond NYC. We’d also love to see it feature more people in midlife.

So when we noticed this hot single guy here in the hot insta post, we thought we’d help this along. According to his personal ad this “51M Cuture Connoisseur Seeks More Than A Night At The Museum.” He’s always up for some highbrow fun.

What did he miss most during lockdown? “Museums, for their beauty, serenity, and provocation, which surprised me, because I thought it’d be restaurants. But no food could compare with the Velazquez portrait of the uncompromising Juan de Pareja, which I find mesmerizing every time I visit it …”

Who is he looking for? "A smart woman curious about the world around her who likes at least some of the following: art, movies, fiction, architecture, food, wine, and cities, especially New York City.”

Know any smart women looking for a Culture Connoisseur? Here is the link to his ad. Pass on the link to this highbrow hottie to someone you know!

Hook Ups: Meet Cynthia Besteman, Founder of Violets Are Blue Skincare

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

Humorously explain your job.

I literally spend the day putting out fires while I whisper WTF to myself 50 times a day! (Also known as running my own company). I am the founder of an organic skincare company called Violets Are Blue.

For how many years?

We officially launched in 2015.

How is it that you turned something devastating, like breast cancer, into a successful skincare company?

Continue Reading Here

Double Dates Podcast. Marlo Thomas & Phil Donahue Chat With Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen  Episode Date April 12th, 2021 (36 Minutes)Episode Date April 12th, 2021 (36 Minutes)

He was a big-time actor with widespread fame, two divorces, and a well-publicized affair under his belt. She was a single mother who lived a quiet life and wanted to keep it that way. But somehow, they are a match made to last.

Who They Are.

Ted Danson: A famous actor whose career has spanned decades and included Cheers, Three Men and a Baby, and The Good Place.

Mary Steenburgen: An actor who you’ve seen in Philadelphia, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Elf, and Step Brothers.

Married for: Nearly 30 years

How they met: They met on the set of Pontiac Moon, in which they were both cast. Ted Danson overshared, and he felt it was clear nothing would happen between them romantically. One magical canoe ride later, that all changed.

Continue Reading Here

Dear Dish,

Hi Dish,
… I learned the guitar at age 13, as I fell in love with Clouds. It seemed just the perfect song..lyrics and melody for a girl growing up fast, but still a child. I matured early and was looked upon as an adult, whereas I was so young and the two realms never seemed to align. The lyrics of finding it difficult to understand two sides of anything..parents, puppy love, classroom taunts, older brother hazing, growing breasts, feeling plump and odd…just trying to make sense of it all really spoke to me. They still do as life is so complex at any age, and perhaps even more as we age.
Thanks for the article on Joni. I read up on Clouds and am sending the below to you in case your readers would find it interesting.

Cheers, Diana

Dear Dish,
Your newsletter is the best thing about my Saturday mornings, and I really appreciate your work.

Thank you, Anita

Dear Dish,

I am an avid reader of The Crush letter. The Divorce Issue was BADASS and SO important!

Craig, Milwaukee

Dear Dish,

Love what you are doing with PrimeCrush

Song of The Week

Despite the fall of her family's business chronicled by Liz Lange in her podcast The Just Enough Family (described above), Lange herself was the successful Founder of Liz Lange Maternity, at one point in the 1990's the only stylish maternity wear on the market.  She sold her maverick maternity line over a decade ago, and recently purchased another women's clothing line, Figue.  Lange's story is interwoven with her family's fall (and excesses), yet her professional arc is on the rise. Tina Turner's trimphant strut through New York in What's Love Got To Do With It, came to mind. Turner's most successful single was released in 1984 at the age of 44, her troubles with ex-husband Ike and their tumultuous professional and marital union far behind her. Listen here.

Hope you find lots of things to love this week end.

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
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?

We Don't Want You To Miss A Thing. Links to Previous Favorites.

+ DEVOUR {things to do, watch, see & have} By Dish Stanley

+The Top 11 Podcasts We've Loved. By Dish Stanley

+PrimeCrush & Chill: Movies Worth A Re-Watch

+Five Best Jazz Clubs Around the Country. By Lisa Ellex

+Five Great Boutique Hotels Around NYC. By Jeanne Bosse’

+5 Things That Turn Us On. By Crush Readers


"Divorce, Baby, Divorce" by Liza Lentini "Don't Touch My Hat.*" Midlife Men & Loneliness "This is a Tale of Modern Love ..." 5 Great Boutique Hotels Around NYC. By Jeanne Bosse 5 things that turn our crush readers on A Roman Love Affair. By Lady Verity 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 Bloody Good Sex Book Review: A Certain Hunger by Chelsea G. Summers Book Review: Norma Kamali: I Am Invincible Book Review: Swan Dive: The Making of a Rogue Ballerina by Georgina Pazcoguins. Reviewed By Lady Varity 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 DEVOUR {things to do, have & know about} Dish Gets A Kink Assessment. Doing Nothing With Friends Effortless, Natural Holiday Makeup. By Lauren D. Weinstein Extended Encounters. By Lisa Ellex F*ck Songs. Three Best Jazz Albums for a Sexy Night In. By Lisa Ellex Five Best Jazz Clubs Around The Country. By Lisa Ellex Four Indie Bookstore That Stayed In My Life Long After I Left Town. By Dish Stanley 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. Holiday Perspectives. By Dean Christopher Hook Ups Hot Thots How to Be the Most Charming Person at a Holiday Party. By Evie Arnaude I just turned 60 but I feel 22 I'm Dish, the Master of Ceremonies Kathy: This Is A Love Story About Three Friends Lamentations on the Lost Art of Kissing. By Elisabeth C. Lamotte Leave the husband, bring the cannoli. By A.K.A. Darla Let's Quiver: Sexual Debut Stories Let's Reconsider, with Adam Grant Love & Mike's "Bad Girl Pasta" Love/Sex/Moon Magick By Lynn Eaton Melissa Biggs Bradley's New Book Safari Style Makes Me Want To Go On A Safari Movie Magic. By Amy Ferris My First Solo Trip: Mexico, Part I. By Dawn Larsen Naked & Not afraid by KC Roth Nice to Meet You. How Are You Crazy? Oasis in the Desert. One woman's honest journey through vaginal rejuvenation. OMG Yes. Pillow Tawk (or NOT)? Playing Games: A Review of Esther Perel's New Sold Out Card Game. Podcast Review: Dying for Sex. Why You Need to Listen to Molly's Journey. PrimeCrush & Chill: The Hottest Thing to Watch Right Now Is A 1968. French Psychodrama "La Piscine" PrimeCrush Cocktail Coaster Giveaway! Reports from the edge. By Jane Boon Shameless Quick & Easy Mac & Cheese. By Evie Arnaude SIP. Best Lines from the Double Dates Podcast Hosted by Marlo Thomas & Phil Donahue 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 Solo in my Sixties. By Jeanne Bosse Songs That Make You Wanna F*ck. Stanley Tucci Is Paradise Stories & Conversations Stories to Read Aloud to a Lover. By A.K.A. Darla 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 Crush Letter 44 The Crush Letter No 33 The Crush letter No 36 The Crush Letter No 39 The Crush Letter No 40 The Crush Letter No 41: DEVOUR The Crush Letter No 42 The Crush Letter No 43 The Crush Letter No 45 The Crush Letter No 46: DEVOUR The Crush Letter No 47: COMFORT The Dynamics of Friendhip By Lauren D. Weinstein The Friendship Files: Like A Tattoo The Holiday Anti-Checklist By Liza Lentini The Perfect Snowy Saturday. By Jeanne Bosse The Ritual of Comforts. By Lady Verity Thee Timeless Travel Books. By Bob Guccione Jr. To get all of us, subscribe. Treats: A Sex Toy Tester Update Who Are CRUSH Readers Grateful For? Willin'. Divorce the Feng Shui Way. Willin'. Size Really Does Matter. You're My Medicine You're Wearing A Turtleneck, Again? Your Love Is King & Queen, GQ Zoning Out in Comfort. By Dean Christopher