The Crush Letter No 50

. 11 min read

I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about love and life in midlife. Because honestly I'm hotter than ever, and so are you.  Especially if you can serve up a perfect Negroni.  That's fuckin' hot.  Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.

Hello Crush,

Happy Saturday, CRUSH Readers!  Thanks for being here on this week end before Valentine's Day.  And hello to our new Readers this week! We love that you've joined us.

Friendships are their own form of love story.  Jennifer Senior wrote an article on midlife friendship in this week's issue of The Atlantic whose title itself proclaims this, It's Your Friends Who Break Your Heart.  The crux of the matter, as Esther Perel puts it, is that friendship "is a uniquely free choice relationship."  In contrast with family and marriage, and particularly given the compounding demands of midlife in the current world, the ties of friendship are easily slipped.  When they're not it's because you've chosen, repeatedly, to be in someone's life, and they have chosen, repeatedly, to be in yours.  That choice, and its requirement of mutuality, with all the emotion and intensity that typifies any story of attachment, loyalty, betrayal, dissolution is the very reason that if you have a friendship of value, and especially one of longstanding, it's a great love story.  And something to celebrate.

This week's pre-Valentine's Day Letter is a tribute to the love story of friendships, starting with "Girl Crush" by Lady Verity, one that pefectly captures the thrill (and complications) of being in the thrall of a new best friend. There is much more to enjoy in this Letter on friendship, not the least of which is Jeanne Bosse's reviews of the show on midlife friendship that I have loved to hate And Just Like That.  Continue reading CRUSH Readers, because below all the excellent stories on friendship we are re-sharing some choice erotic literature selections to rev you up for Valentine's Day, and below that a selection of some of our favorite pieces on romance and friendship in midlife.

If you're still looking for something to do with your lover on Valentine's Day, check out (again, for those Readers who have been with us a while), A.K.A. Darla's Stories to Read Alout to a Lover.

Enjoy The Crush Letter No 50! (*Wow* we're 50 Letters in, Lovers!)


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.  +Girl Crush. By Lady Verity. This is a tale where I’m going to break writer rules by telling you straight away that it has a happy ending.   +And Just Like… Who Are These People??? By Jeanne Bosse. Is that how the writers and producers view 55-year-old women?   +Mi Amas Miajn Amikojn. By Dean Christopher. He knew 16 languages (he modestly admitted one afternoon that he was fluent in only ten of them -- the other six were "just working languages").   +A Friend I Lost & Found Through the Years. By A.K.A. Darla Jana fell in love with a guy who had his own apartment on the Upper West Side!  {Note that we are re-running this from last week's Letter because the link didn't work.}   +A PrimeCrush Erotic Literature Reading List From CRUSH Reader Sharon Weinberg. Owner of The Chatham Bookstore A work of "bliss that lifts right off the page."   +Our Song of the Week Strange, I’ve seen that face before


Girl Crush.  By Lady Verity

“When it happens, it’s all-consuming and you think nothing compares to the beauty and perfection of this goddess who walks the earth, the one you’re crushing on.

Girl crush. Those two monosyllabic words don’t do it justice. Out of nowhere, no matter what age or one’s sexual proclivities, it can strike unexpectedly like a bolt of lightning out of a clear blue sky. When it happens, it’s all-consuming and you think nothing compares to the beauty and perfection of this goddess who walks the earth, the one you’re crushing on. You’d like to be her. You follow her. Study her. Copy her. If only you were as perfect as she is. And since you know (rationally) that you can’t be another person, the next best thing is to maybe adopt the same chintz tote bag or white Chelsea boots or piercings or maybe wear your hair in similar pre-Raphaelite waves or maybe emulate her “far-away” look, the one that singers and poets always fall for. But wait. There’s another option that’s much more common. You befriend her and hope that some of that magic dust will drift onto you.

This is a tale where I’m going to break writer rules by telling you straight away that it has a happy ending. Lady Verity and her girl crush are still -- over a couple of decades now -- best friends forever! These days we talk less about men since we’ve settled in with our life partners, and more about dermatologist procedures, which YouTube workouts will give us the best butt and abs, and everything else too that we wouldn’t dream of telling another person on this planet. We’ll take each other’s secrets to the tomb.

But I’ve saved something for last. I’ll tell you a hard truth I learned from being a goddess’s friend and sidekick on countless adventures. Beauty is undiluted power. If you don’t believe me, then it’s because you haven’t witnessed it firsthand. Beauty rules. It doesn’t matter how witty you are or how good at calculus (not me, by the way) or if you’re rocking a $5,000 Chanel bag (also not me) when you’re standing next to someone who looks like Kate Moss and Brigitte Bardot rolled into one. I think of Joan Rivers’ joke that a man never reached into a woman’s dress looking for her library card. Word. I felt largely invisible, though superbly valued by my friend of course, while men offered her one enticement after another -- and here’s the shocker, not even to necessarily have sex with her, but to bask in her radiant presence.

Continue Reading Here

And Just Like… Who Are These People?? By Jeanne Bosse

A PrimeCrush roundup of the series everyone’s talking about—and still scratching their heads over--the just-concluded: HBO Max’s ‘And Just Like That...’

With much history invested in the Sex and the City characters, it was inevitable I would watch And Just Like That… And, like so many others, I have strong reactions. Here are a chosen few:

The excuse for Samantha Jones’ absence is bogus. The entrepreneur Samantha would have respected Carrie’s economic decision to dispense with a full-time publicist. Always the ego-booster, Samantha would not have left the country and ended contact with her friends.

Why is 55 suddenly “old”?? Repeated references to “old school”, Harry’s colonoscopy, a visit to a plastic surgeon? Is that how the writers and producers view 55-year-old women?

Why can’t diversity be the norm?? AJLT’s diversity introduction was largely heavy-handed. Miranda suddenly tongue-tied and tone-deaf. Charlotte was frantic at having only one couple of color to invite to dinner. Hitting us over the head with the challah. The Holocaust reference by Anthony’s instantly ex-friend airing on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Continue Reading Here

Mi Amas Miajn Amikojn.  By Dean Christopher

One writer recalls the unforgettable markers of a very special relationship with a very special teacher, throughout the decades. The title, translated from Esperanto: “I Love My Friends”.

My entire long life I have been blessed with remarkable teachers, a number of whom became close and valued friends.

One of those mentors and heroes, whom I acquired in high school during the late 1950s, was the tall, austere, silver-haired Otho W. Allen, Ph.D., Phi Beta Kappa, etc., with whom I studied Spanish in high school one year, and who later tutored me in French language and literature my first years of university. High schoolers tried to avoid his class since he had the reputation (can you just imagine!) of giving lots of homework and providing thorough lessons. As a language buff, I welcomed this and did well in his class.

We remained friends long after I graduated. He had taught at Philips-Exeter and the U.S Naval Academy at Annapolis. He knew 16 languages (he modestly admitted one afternoon that he was fluent in only ten of them -- the other six were "just working languages").

Continue Reading Here

Friendship Files.

A Friend I Lost & Found Through the Years. by A.K.A. Darla

Our very own A.K.A. Darla shares a personal story about losing a friend to precarious circumstances—and finding her 30 years later.

Watching my daughter prepare to move into her new apartment brought me back to when I first left home in the early, edgy ‘80s. Just a half-block off Manhattan’s Gramercy Park, I found a 300 square-foot studio with hallway lighting that flickered each time someone closed their door, and a lone window that faced a brick wall. I shared the five-story walk-up with Jana, an easygoing young woman I met in acting class. For two struggling actresses who went home only to sleep, shower, and dress, the price was just right.

A year into this arrangement, the novelty wore thin and I began to wonder if I would ever get to live independently in a space I could walk through in more than three strides. Then one day, the angels sang: Jana fell in love with a guy who had his own apartment on the Upper West Side!  As soon as he proposed, Jana arranged an engagement party at her fiance’s place. Oddly, none of the fiance’s friends were in attendance.  Not one. In an attempt to make conversation, I asked the fiance what he did for a living.  He told me my question was rude. As I laughed a nervous laugh, the fiance leaned into me and dropped a bomb. “Why don’t you and I get together?”  I was stunned. “I don’t think so,” I answered.  And like in one of those flipbooks we made as kids, I saw Jana’s life with this creep play out before my eyes. “This conversation never happened,” the fiance said. “Understand?”  I certainly did.

Continue Reading Here

A PrimeCrush Erotic Literature Reading List

Late Nights and Lazy Mornings.  CRUSH Reader Sharon Weinberg, the owner of Chatham Bookstore in the Berkshires, lovingly pulled together this list of sexy reads for us, which we first published over the summer.  February seems a perfect time to re-run it.  From classic literature to emerging writers, it is an exceptional list of masterpieces.  One thing that I particularly love that Sharon has done is wander back and forth through time, focusing her organizing principle for the list of books that offer the most moving, creative, provocative, and lyrically written stories.

{Click here to see all of this week's EroticLit list with brief descriptions/reviews of each book on The Chatham Bookstore's Bookshop page, or click-thru on each book below to read.}

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love Oscar Hijuelos  1989 Pulitzer Prize Winner. The Castillo brothers make their way from Cuba to New York City's dance halls in 1949 to become the Mambo Kings. Their orchestra plays lush, sensuous, pulsing music by night; by day they are laborers. This is an exuberant portrait of the lives of the brothers, their families, fellow musicians and lovers, and their triumphs and tragedies. It recreates a tantalizing world and period in American life.

Scary Old Sex Arlene Heyman  A work of "bliss that lifts right off the page." (Dwight Garner, NYT) A beautiful young art student embarks on an affair with a much older, married, famous artist. A man finds that his father has died while in the midst of extra-marital sex and wonders what to do about the body. A woman goes about certain rituals of sex with her second husband, living with ghosts of her sexual past. This is a stunning, taboo-breaking debut of short stories by a practicing psychiatrist, who gives us what really goes on in people's minds, relationships, and beds.

Continue Reading Here

Song of The Week

I’ve Seen That Face Before (Libertango) by Grace Jones. Since it's the weekend before Valentine's Day, I wanted to throw a sexy song your way, and Grace Jones always delivers a little edge.  I've Seen That Face is from Jones' critically acclaimed 1981 album Nightclubbing,

I've always found Grace Jones as fascinating an icon as there is.  I mean, she single-handedly invented (and conquered) the genre "dance club artist."  She is more than that, of course, as any icon should be - a musician, an actor, a muse to the likes of Annie Lenox.  Jones first came onto my radar after she had already undergone the dramatic visual change with the artist Jean-Paul Goode that you see in the image below - severe, androgynous, angular.  She is, as Liza Lentini wrote in her 5 Things That Turn Me On piece for The Crush Letter "stunning and powerful and steaming hot."

Grace Jones, I've Seen That Face Before (Libertango) Listen Here

Love and fun to you this week end, dearest CRUSH Readers, and on Valentine's Day.

Dish Stanley XO,
Dish

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?

More stories on romance & friendship from previous Letters, in case you missed them.

+Stories to Read Aloud to a Lover. By A.K.A. Darla

+A Roman Love Affair. By Lady Verity

+Kathy: This Is A Love Story About Three Friends. By Amy Ferris

+Naked & Not Afraid. By KC Roth

+Movie Magic. By Amy Ferris

+“This is a Tale of Modern Love…” By Elayne Clift

+“Don’t Touch My Hat.*” Midlife Men & Friendship, Depression, Loneliness. By Dish Stanley

+6 Ways to Get the Friends Who Count. Why You Want Them. By Dish Stanley

+The Midlife Friend Audit: You Need Good Friends. But Who Is Good? By Dish Stanley




















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'Merci'! to Emily in Paris for one of the most riverting women in pop culture "Divorce, Baby, Divorce" by Liza Lentini "Don't Touch My Hat.*" Midlife Men & Loneliness "This is a Tale of Modern Love ..." 2022 3 Things I Love Right Now 5 Great Boutique Hotels Around NYC. By Jeanne Bosse 5 things that turn our crush readers on A Book That Could Unf*ck Your Relationship: I Want This To Work By Elizabeth Earnshaw. Reviewed By Angela Kempf. A Circle of Crones. By Elayne Clift A Roman Love Affair. By Lady Verity A Truly Good Thing. By Dish Stanley A Turntable and a Candle: F-ing Classics About Face: Skincare Essentials for Men Amplify! Sex with Emily: The 12 Episodes CRUSH Readers Should Get on Top of An Upbeat Playlist for the Divorce-curious And I Wondered ... Do We Really Need A SATC Reboot? And Just Like That... Who Are These People?? By Jeanne Bosse And so this is Another brother gained and lost. By Jeanne Bosse Ask Dish Bedtime Rituals for Couples. By :auren D. 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