I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about friendship, love and sex in midlife. It's complicated, but it's also so much hotter than they said it would be. Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.
Whenever Lisa Ellex sends in a new piece for her Quiver series, my heart opens up. Before I've even had a chance to open up the story. Quiver is the series where our regular columnist Lisa interviews people so many years later about their sexual debut’s. Whether awkward, nervous, functional or tender, the first time is meaningful and unforgettable. I love hearing what meanings these coming-of-age stories hold for them now.
Sometimes the stories are funny, and the act itself more a relief than anything else. I have a former lover who shared his with me recently. He was determined to not start college as a virgin, but as the summer before heading off for freshman was closing out, there he was. Still a virgin. He was scooping ice cream nights and had struck up a friendship with a girl as nerdy as he who he surmised was likely in the same boat. One night during the final week of work he took a shot and shared his predicament with her. Before she could finish putting the last scoop of chocolate on a cone (it landed on the floor) she whispered “Finally,” grabbed his hand and lead him down into the basement freezer area. Evidently she had scoped out the spot, hoping? Or else was a quick thinker. The event itself was a cold quickie with little fanfare, and then they rushed back up to cover customers (and pick up the scoop of melting ice cream). And off they went to college, their separate ways, never to meet again. But to this day he says that whenever he steps foot in an ice cream shop he feels a heightened sense of relief and gratefulness. I notice that he often suggested going out for ice cream in the summer. Whenever we stepped out of one together I would rib him, “You’re probably feeling really horny right now, huh?”
In this week’s Quiver story Leda is a high school girl from a working-class family who lives at the “bottom of the hill” dating Frankie from the rich part of town. After reading it I rewatched the 1986 movie Pretty In Pink. That scene where Duckie lip synchs and dances to Otis Redding's Try A Little Tenderness in order to impress Andie? Just like Leda's story, all the feels all over again. Thank you, Leda.
In This Letter. +Quiver. Sexual Debut Stories. Leda. By Lisa Ellex Leda is a GenX’er in the creative field, living in the greater NYC area. +Bedtime Rituals for Couples. By Lauren D. Weinstein Do you really need to text your co-worker, now, in bed? +Play Well With Others. By Dish Stanley Dish is giving us one great tip at a time from Eric Barker's new book Plays Well With Others, an unconventional guide to building better friendships and more love. +5 Things That Turn Me On: Elizabeth I am like a cat and love affectionate touch. +Our Song of the Week Oh she may get weary / those young girls they do get weary
QUIVER. Sexual Debut Stories. By Lisa Ellex
In this column we explore first time sex by looking back so many years later.
Who made YOU Quiver? PrimeCrush columnist Lisa Ellex wants to know. Just whisper it in her ear and your “first-time” story could be the inspiration for her next Quiver column. Anonymity a concern? She'll change your name, location, and any other piece of identifying info, just like they do in the witness protection program. Except you don't have to move. So if you want to Quiver with us, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Leda is a GenX’er in the creative field, living in the greater NYC area.
We were the popular kids in high school, sort of John-Hughes-Central-Casting stereotypes, maybe Some Kind of Wonderful meets Pretty in Pink. At the time we were growing up, there weren’t too many incredibly wealthy areas of town—but Frankie grew up there, with the rich kids. Me, I was raised at the bottom of the hill on the opposite side of our town in a very proud, hard-working family. We only met in high school, where all the middle schools merged. In typical high-school fashion, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I didn’t know it was true that kids from opposite sides of the tracks sometimes really didn’t blend well. It feels ridiculous to think of how petty and sometimes cruel kids could be about the dumbest things, like money, but then I remember that adults can behave badly for the very same reasons.
I can’t remember when we started dating…I think it was the beginning of our second semester of sophomore year. Until then, Frankie and I had only known each other by passing glances in the halls and in the lunchroom. I’m guessing that’s why he picked me. All the girls wanted to be with Frankie, including, apparently, some of the girls in my small circle of friends. I didn’t know this until Frankie asked me out, and it seemed to cause a major rift. I asked one of them, “What’s wrong with Sarah?” and Jessie responded, “Didn’t you know? She’s been waiting for Frankie to ask her out for months!” Looking back, I suppose Sarah couldn’t have known what she didn’t know, either. Frankie had his sights set on me and only me.
After several months of dating, one April afternoon, I’d made plans to take the second half of the school day off to celebrate Frankie’s 16th birthday (he was a month older than me). This was not parental-approved, but extremely well planned. We were skipping, basically. I’d never done anything like that before. His parents would be out of the house for the day and we were going to party (we hoped) alone. We hadn’t had sex yet. I’d bought him a bottle of Drakkar Noir as a birthday present, but the real gift was going to be my virginity.
Continue reading here.
Bedtime Rituals for Couples. By Lauren D. Weinstein
Spice up your bedtime routine with simple rituals for relaxing, bonding, and igniting a spark.
Bedtime rituals that couples often do together can become mundane. (Think brushing your teeth and spitting a mouthful of Colgate down the drain together.) The same old grind can lose its flavor like a stale, day-old Pop-Tart--and in dire need of resuscitation. The daily predictable patterns can inadvertently steal the joy out of a relationship and become at risk for complacency which leads to deadly indifference. But have no fear! Incorporating the right rituals can ignite powerful bonds, connections, and harmony. Sharing things with your significant other, whether it’s a bucket of popcorn while watching Netflix, taking turns giving each other a back rub, or leaving each other a loving/silly/sexy Post-It note in a totally unexpected place can foster positive feelings that last well after the day is over. Rituals don’t have to be expensive, elaborate, or time-consuming but an opportunity to reinforce that your relationship is a priority.
Bedtime can be the perfect time to unwind and indulge your partner by introducing simple rituals that can have an impact on intimacy and encourage a blissful night’s sleep. Here’s how you can incorporate or tweak the ones you already have:
First, set the mood: Dim the lights, turn off the technology! Do you really need to text your co-worker, now, in bed?
Continue reading here.
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.
Eric Barker, the author of Barking Up the Wrong Tree, an excellent book on the science of success, has a new book that just hit the stands. In it, he argues that there is surprising science that suggests that everything you know about relationships is mostly wrong, and that most books in this genre just tell you what you want to hear. That's not what he's doing, he says, and the truth will set you free. Plays Well With Others is a guide to connecting to everyone in our lives. I just started it and will be sharing some of his best tips, bit by honest bit.
Tip #1 (Chapter 5, p. 51) How to tell if someone is lying to you. In love and life, people lie to you. A first step in having good relationships is choosing to relate to good people. As I argued in an earlier piece about friendship, you want to make the right decisions about who is in your innermost circle. Liars are everywhere, unfortunately. Spotting them is an important tool. Barker says that all the techniques we've heard about for spotting liars involve creating and observing emotional stress. Those don't work. Here's what you've got to do:
Create Thinking Stress. Ask Unanticipated Questions. Lying takes a lot more brainpower than telling the truth. Lying requires a high "cognitive load." A liar has to think harder. To figure out whether someone is honest, you want to ask them questions that are easy for an honest person to answer but require thinking for a liar and then observe how hard they had to think to answer. Barker's simple example of this is that if you wanted to figure out whether someone is a liar you wouldn't ask them their age. Instead, you'd ask them what day they were born. It is easy for your Match date to say "44" (especially if you had indicated in your profile that you were looking for a match under 45). But if they are not actually 44, and you asked them what day they were born well, then you'd witness them churning some numbers in their head in order to respond.
The best way to deploy this technique is by first asking some expected questions. That sets up a baseline for how they respond. Then fire away, CRUSH Readers, ask the unexpected.
Get Plays Well With Others here.
5 Things That Turn Me On
In this recurring column, CRUSH Readers share five things that light our fire.
Name: Elizabeth. I’m the creator of the Romance app Amorus, an iOS app for couples to get sexier together (games and chat and privacy tools).
Is this your real name: YES.
5 Things That Turn Me On:
Movie: Stealing Beauty – this is a very atmospheric Bertolucci movie. I fell in love with Italy, with being poetic, and wished I was as “gawky beautiful” as Liv Tyler at 15. And the sex scene at the end is an all-time fave.
Touch Me… Yes please! I am like a cat and love affectionate touch. Hug me, rest a hand on my arm, spoon with me. Touch recharges me, and I start to feel drained and listless without it.
Continue reading here.
Song of the Week
Try A Little Tenderness by Otis Redding
Here’s that wonderful scene from the 1986 John Huston movie Pretty In Pink where Jon Cryer (as Duckie) lip-synchs and dances to Otis Redding’s Try A Little Tenderness in an effort to impress Molly Ringwald’s character Andie Walsh. I read that Cryer worked on this routine with the same choreographer who went on to do the movie Dirty Dancing. Cryer has said that when he performed the scene for the first time for the movie’s director, Howard Deutch, Deutch thought it was so good that he had to revise the script and delay scheduling in order to extend the scene well beyond its originally intended 2 minute length. I’m glad he did because it is the most memorable and fun scene from a movie chock-full of memorable scenes. Cryer's mesmerizing performance is underscored by the terrific way that Andie's friend Iona (played by Annie Potts so well) follows him around the room with her eyes. Watch it here.
I am not the only one for whom it is a favorite. James Corden said that he watched the scene so many times the tape on his VHS wore out. In 2015 Corden and Cryer re-enacted the original scene as a dance duo for the Late Late Show with James Cordon and the joy is obvious. “I fulfilled a childhood dream,” wrote Corden in his Twitter feed. Pretty fun. Watch it here.
Now for the real stuff. This is the great man himself, Otis Redding, in 1967 performing live in Cleveland, Ohio on what turned out to be the night before his death. Listen here.
Have a great weekend, CRUSH Readers. Try a little tenderness. And maybe go out and get some ice cream.
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.
+‘5 Things’ That Turn Our Crush Readers On. By Dish Stanley In this recurring column, we share five things that light our fire.
+The Comfort Face Mask You Can Try at Home. By Lauren D. Weinstein “Who knew that my self-care and sanity could be found in the form of a simple custom-blended face mask?”