The Crush Letter No 63

. 10 min read

I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about friendship, love and sex in midlife.  Welcome to the new hot flash. Because – yes it's a complicated time – but midlife is also so much more fun than they said it would be.  Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.

Hello Crush,

This week I learned about a group of four friends who share their wordle results daily as a way to keep in touch from four locations across the globe. I have a few close friends with whom I regularly swap songs. Not daily, but one or two a month.  The song swapping serves a similar role as the wordle share. An easy touch point to stay connected through a shared interest. Most days little or no explication is offered (either way).  "I just came across this new song, have you seen it?" Every once in a while an exchange extends beyond a two word response ("great vocals"), and the thing about sharing songs is that that  can go in various directions: the artist, the video graphics, their last live concert, who turned you onto the band, the subject matter ("doesn't this song remind you of that time Emma told you she was a pansexual?").  

It might not seem that big, but for me the smallest gestures repeated even somewhat regularly feel incredibly powerful: they make me feel less alone, and they absolutely truly do keep a bond going. Sometimes just keeping things warm, rather than letting them go silent for a period, makes it easier to reach out for a phone call or a dinner.

And that's how I came back across today's song of the week. A simple song swap.

It made me feel so happy.


In This Letter.  +Occupational Hazard.  By A.K.A. Darla From a PrimeCrush writer who was a former stand-up comedian: "I looked at the heckler again and recognized him as a guy I grew up with whose claim to fame was becoming a notorious mobster."   +Beauty Tips for Mature Skin.  By Lauren D. Weinstein I’m not into the trends of overwhelming, fussy skincare routines that require a million steps.   +Songs That Make You Wanna F*ck.  From PrimeCrush Reader Cynthia Besteman.  This is a song you want to play with someone you want to be long-term with, not a "good time Charlie" situation, but for the one you want to lock it down with ... !   +Amplify! Sex With Emily Podcast: The 12 Episodes CRUSH Readers Should Get On Top Of.  {No 6 of 12} In this Sex With Emily, she is on air with a former love who is a stand-up comedian and no topic is off-limits.   +Song Of The Week.  Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof

Occupational Hazard.  By A.K.A. Darla

A former standup comedian lives to tell the tale of that one time she mistakenly heckled a famous NYC mobster.

In this worst of times, through the lonely and uncertain days of 2020, I discovered new ways to work, play, love, and learn. I also discovered The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

A lover of all things mid-century, I swoon over the perfectly executed sets, wardrobe, dialogue, and culture of the show’s period. The character of Midge Maisel, the bawdy and ambitious comedienne, is a hybrid of two real-life people: Don Sherman, the father of the show’s creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, and the late, great New York comedienne, Joan Rivers.  

Way back in time in a land called “the ‘80s,” one could find me performing standup comedy in the very same clubs of Ms. River’s New York City. Once I learned that a certain one of those clubs was known for launching her career, I made a habit of taking an extra moment in its dressing room to drink in her spirit before hitting the stage.

It was during this period that I was in the early stages of dating my future husband and, on this particular night, he was coming to see me perform for the first time. There was lots of energy in the room that night.  It was one of those special nights when you notice that even the bartender, the wait staff, the lighting guy, and your accompanist are laughing.  About three-quarters through the show, a patron was heckling me from the audience. Without thinking, I heckled back.  For whatever reason, he blurted out inappropriate comments about my father. I challenged him. “Can you spell father?” The room got quiet.  Some people even moaned. I looked at the heckler again and recognized him as a guy I grew up with whose claim to “fame” was becoming a notorious mobster. I was jarred, but I pulled it together and continued with the show, praying I would not be shot.

When the show was over, I rushed to the dressing room, made a quick change, and exited the club. There on the sidewalk, I found the mobster and my boyfriend having words. A small crowd began to gather as my boyfriend, determined to defend my honor, was telling the mobster he should apologize to me. As I moved toward them, I noticed the mobster reaching inside his breast pocket for his gun. A gut feeling told me to step between my boyfriend and the mobster—not to take a bullet for my boyfriend, but to make the mobster realize that he would be shooting an innocent human shield before a sidewalk full of witnesses. The mobster recoiled, and a mutual friend of the mobster and mine physically removed him from the scene.

At home that night, my boyfriend and I realized how close we were to losing our lives in a valiant attempt to save and defend each other. We made a pact: I would not counter-heckle mobsters, and he would lay low at my gigs. I called it a night, gave thanks to the cabaret Gods for keeping me safe, and asked myself, “What would Joan Rivers have done?”

Continue reading here.

Beauty Tips for Mature Skin.  By Lauren D. Weinstein

Our resident beauty expert offers tips and tricks for honoring your skin’s needs today.

I’ve evolved, so when it comes to beauty and skincare I’m a firm believer in using what works for me now. The purple “Stage Light” eyeshadow that I wore during my disco days and lining my eyes with ultra-black Maybelline eyeliner (burned with a match for extra staying power) no longer serve me. These nostalgic items are now lovingly housed in a plastic container that is used as inspiration for future Halloween costumes. I’m no longer scrubbing my face with St. Ives Apricot Scrub (I might as well have used sandpaper) or washing my face with tingly, eucalyptus smelling Noxzema. I’m not into the trends of overwhelming, fussy beauty routines that require a million steps. I’m not watching or following the advice of TikTok influencers who are priming, baking, and contouring. (It’s not like I’m planning to become a pastry chef or a contractor preparing to sheetrock a wall.). I want simple, easy-to-use products that address my mature skin and beauty concerns with attainable results.

Here are some of my favorite products and tips to help guide and encourage you to update your beauty and skincare repertoire.

1. Wash your face. Cleanse with a product suitable for your skin type: normal, dry, oily. Look for products that hydrate with glycerin and hyaluronic acid, lightly exfoliate with glycolic, lactic, or salicylic acid, and seal moisture (ceramides).

TRY: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Face Cleanser for Dry Skin $14.99, Ulta

iS Clinical Cleansing Complex $45.00, Derma Store

Continue reading here

Songs That Make You Wanna F*ck

Cynthia Besteman of Violets Are Blue Skincare

We "Hooked Up" with Cynthia about her natural, non-toxic skincare line Violets Are Blue in an earlier CRUSH Letter. Read it here

Have a little Faith in Me By John Hiatt

What about this song musically does it for you?

What DOESN'T do it for me? The piano, the sound of his voice, the beat, the lyrics. the LYRICS!!! This is a song you want to play with someone you want to be long-term with, not a "good time Charlie" situation, but for the one you want to lock it down with, this is 100% the one!

Is there a memory you attach to this song?

I grew up very sexually demure, saved myself for someone I loved and all that, but felt I was too demure and was missing out somehow. When I moved to NYC as an actor, leaving my waspy world and into the land of artists, my world opened up and I learned being free didn't necessarily mean being a slut. I lived with musicians and music was a constant in our apt. I was connecting with music as I was connecting with my sexuality. This was one of those songs I discovered in that time.

Who/what are you thinking of when you listen to this song?

Different people throughout the years but overall a certain someone from my youth. (And I'll never tell.)

Anything else...?

I think I've spilled enough about myself and am borderline horrified!!! Trying to play cool with all of this, and the WASP in me is freaking out!

Songs That Make You Wanna F*ck is an occasional pop-up where we share the songs that make the readers of The Crush Letter want to bang. Got one?  Send it to me at

Amplify! Sex With Emily Podcast: The 12 Episodes CRUSH Readers Should Get On Top Of.

This series highlights the best episodes from our favorite podcasts. One of them is Sex With Emily hosted by Sex Expert Dr. Emily Morse.  Every one is worth a serious listen, but I have picked out the 12 invaluable episodes that CRUSH Readers who want to be good in bed really.can't.miss. To read more on why you need Sex With Emily in our intro on this series, go here.

{No. 6 of 12}  Sex With My Ex

Episode Date July 28, 2021 (36 Minutes)

Sometimes, podcasts about sex only focus on other people’s problems. Not so with this podcast. Emily brings her ex, Ben Morrison, a standup comedian, on the show, and no topic is off-limits.

A Post-Mortem With Your Ex

Does the idea of talking to your ex intrigue you, or does it sound terrifying? Maintaining a friendship with your ex is natural for some and a hard pass for others.

The backstory: It’s been three years since they broke up, and afterward, he wrote a breakup song about her. They have the same birthday. Cause of relationship death? He wants kids; she doesn’t.

Emily is not afraid to ask the hard, awkward questions. And afterward, she answers questions from her listeners about their exes and more.

Best lines:

6:20 Emily, “Have you met anyone that you like as much as me?”

Ben, “I mean, no, I haven’t.”

7:54 Emily, “You’re the last guy I dated that I tagged on Instagram, let’s just say that.”

Continue reading here.

Song Of The Week

Happy By Pharrell Williams

J., a friend and CRUSH Reader with whom I enjoy some occasional serious "song swapping" recently offered up the observation that he thought Pharrell Williams song "Happy" was one of the two great popular songs of the 2010s.  I hadn't listened to it in a while, and it resulted in an uplifting hour or so of looking for his best live version (because in Song of the Week I try to find the best live version of a song to link to).

I found a few good live versions and sent them back to him with the note "J, I think this live version from the Glasgow concert is the best combination of capturing the spirit and energy of the song, as well as having the highest sound and visual quality. Have you by chance come across a better one?"

Here was his response:

It might sound crazy what I’m about to say, but I listened to “Happy” about 8-10 times yesterday.  And then twice more this morning ... I watched the Glasgow BBC1 video again this morning, and you’re right.  It’s emotional and effective.  The music is clean and coherent as well.  Dancing girls!  Crying girl!  However, I think the original video is the most moving.  I have a thing for handclaps ... and the studio version of “Happy” highlights handclaps in both the lyrics and execution.  In my opinion, handclaps almost always work to make a pop song appealing.  If it were me, I’d go with the original with the cameos from stars including the great Earvin Johnson ...

I absolutely think he is right, what do you think?

The original "official" video is here.

Pharrell Williams- Happy 

By the way, I swear that watching people dance to  "Happy" on a replay loop for over an hour rewired my brain chemistry for the day. If ever I needed a reminder that emotions are infectious, this was it. I woke up to a gray, chilly, gloomy Spring morning but now I'm carrying a warm ball of sunshine around in my heart. I'll clap my hands to that. Hope you find your Happy this weekend.

Dish Stanley XO,

You Won't Want to Miss A Thing. Here Are Links to Some Favorites

+QUIVER. Sexual Debut Stories. By Lisa Ellex.  In this column, we explore first-time sex by looking back so many years later.

+Bedtime Rituals for Couples. By Lauren D. Weinstein. Spice up your bedtime routine with simple rituals for relaxing, bonding, and igniting a spark.

+Play Well With Others.  Tip #1: Spot a Liar.  By Dish Stanley. Tips on building better friendships & more love from Eric Barker's new book Plays Well With Others.

+‘5 Things’ That Turn Our Crush Readers On.  By Dish Stanley An occasional pop-up where we share the songs that make the readers of The Crush Letter want to bang. Got one?  Send it to me at

+Hook Ups: Founders We Think You Should Know.“Hook Ups” is an ongoing feature introducing our readers to some of our favorite entrepreneurs and small business owners.


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