I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about friendship, love and sex in midlife. Because midlife is so much hotter than they said it would be. Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.
Happy Summer, CRUSH Readers.
I started this week trying on new bathing suits. That sent me where it often has since hitting 45, and it's not a peaceful place.
There was some harsh self-judgment, even though I had thought I was over that. The thing is I was pretty healthy this winter. I developed great new sleep routines, improved my eating, exercised regularly, had fun. It was a balanced winter, not overly indulgent but also not pockmarked by days of deprivation. I started Mel Robbins' High Five Habit to get the positive neural connections firing daily. All this was good; I've been feeling great.
And then I tried on swimsuits.
In my 20's and 30's if I gained winter weight I'd force myself to wear my uncomfortably tight jeans until the weight came off. The physical cramping and self-shaming was a reminder I had failed, that I needed to redeem myself. It felt like a secular form of self-flagellating punishment, a deserved humiliation.
This time it wasn't weight gain, it's just that I'm aging and my body shows it. Which brings some changes I appreciate and others I struggle with. I can get better at defying it, better at taking care of my body (and mind), but I can't control a lot of it, even if I wanted to.
Instead of punishing myself this time, though, I changed into my Vuori camo sweats and let out a deep, calming sigh.
"You're really pretty beautiful," I actually said to myself (like the first time ever). "And you've still got great tits. Just don't look down."
I don't know how practical that is. But the attitude says "progress."
The comedian Joan Rivers once said "Listen. I wish I could tell you it gets better. But, it doesn’t get better. You get better."
I felt that. What got better is me, how I managed that moment with myself. I'd like to keep doing that. There will be many more – and much more crux, if we're honest – moments coming as the years pass. Good to get better at being nice to myself.
What else made me feel better this week? Last Saturday's SNL "grey adult pigtail" skit: "I want to express myself because I'm young at heart and I want to show it."
And Sam Smith's new song, Love Me More, our Song of the Week for this Letter (below). It's an inspiration for anyone.
I won't be the only one trying on summer clothes, so this week I pulled together a few of my favorite pieces from past Crush Letters on the themes of self-love and self-care. I hope that you enjoy revisiting them--or if you're new here, enjoy diving in.
In This Letter. +Naked & Not Afraid. By KC Roth “I can’t. I am a mother.” +Summer: What's Hot. By Dish Stanley Calling your Senator or Representative +You’re Wearing A Turtleneck, Again? By Dish Stanley The erotic conflict lasted for years. +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? +The Ritual of Comforts. By Lady Verity Her Addams Family crew was the original punk family before punk existed +Book Review: Norma Kamali: I Am Invincible. Reviewed by Lady Verity MASSAGES ARE MAGIC! +Sexual Healing: Your Big Green Heart. By Liza Lentini We are all energy and, thus, self-perpetuating human machines. +The Comfort Face Mask You Can Try at Home. By Lauren D. Weinstein I run into the arms of my favorite retro, Pepto-Bismol-pink chenille robe and slip my cracked heels into my fuzzy, faux-fur slippers +Our Song of the Week Have you ever felt like being somebody else?
Naked & Not Afraid. By KC Roth
One writer 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 30s 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.
When this glorious creature of oozing sensuality asked me why not, my answer seemed obvious…
“I can’t. I am a mother.”
Continue reading here
You’re Wearing A Turtleneck, Again? By Dish Stanley
On Learning to Love My Body (Finally) in Midlife.
A personal essay on her tight-laced affair with corsets and how she is learning to love everything that she is in midlife.
I love breasts, hard
Full breasts, guarded
By a button.
[excerpt] “Breasts, Charles Simic
Charles Simic writes poems like Miles Davis composed cool jazz. Sensual top notes beckon you into a deeply cerebral core. The poem “Breasts” is brilliant because its earthy sensuality obscures the spare elegance and sly imagery that is the stamp of a master. Buttons, after all, are really more of a temptation than a guard, right? Especially when covering hard, full breasts.
While the line between the cerebral and sensual, and its penetrability, is a timeless tease (the “sexy librarian” is a perenially popular Halloween costume for a reason) I was set into a spin on this topic this week through a decidedly pedestrian route, Twitter.
Specifically, the feed of some millennial female Founder. She had gotten some cautionary comments on her social media feed in response to shots she had posted that zoomed in on her very in-shape ass in a thong bikini. On Twitter she wrote “I love my body. I love myself. Yet struggle with the “line” of what to show on SM [social media] ... I know I’m not alone ... We are constantly held to double standards ‘be smart and sexy but not too sexy or they won’t think you are smart ...”
It brought me back to 1983 when I met Simic, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and the author of “Breasts” (excerpted above).
Continue reading here
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 (it took me months to figure out why I couldn’t use a landline). I spend a good deal of my day time 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, 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.
Continue reading here
The Ritual of Comforts. By Lady Verity
“Comfort is an expansive word. There is day comfort, night comfort, bed comfort, couch comfort and certainly kitchen comfort and it goes on.”
Comfort is my thing. Tactile c’est moi. Fuzzy. Soft. Fluffy. Velvety. Maybe because I’m a Taurus and essentially a primitive being, and if I could, I’d live in a cozy (centrally heated) cave strewn about with ethically sourced sheepskin or synthetic furs.
For short-hand comfort, I start with my environment. First, the bedroom painted in the Farrow & Ball shade Pitch Black. Not funereal black but lovely and relaxing velvet black. White is too “on” and demanding. Shades of black surroundings give me comfort – and a reset to relaxation – probably because during my formative years I had a girl crush on Morticia Addams. Her Addams Family crew was the original punk family before punk existed.
Comfort is an expansive word. There is day comfort, night comfort, bed comfort, couch comfort, and certainly kitchen comfort and it goes on. Now that COVID keeps me home, the stresses accumulate as I sit in front of a computer screen for most of the day. You know the drill. By the end of the afternoon, it can easily feel like a compression band is tightening around my head. So after screen-day, my first order of comfort is destressing at the gym in our apartment building. Even if I have only 30 minutes, I'll jump on the elliptical machine, turn on BBC America news, and get my body moving out of sit-mode.
Continue reading here
Book Review: Norma Kamali: I Am Invincible
Reviewed by Lady Verity
It’s never too late to fall in love. Just ask Norma Kamali. In fact, you don’t need to ask her because she’s written a memoir guidebook that includes finding the love of her life at sixty-five -- and a whole lot more.
Norma Kamali: I Am Invincible is a part mood board and part pastiche, brimming with the kind of originality one expects from a top fashion "creative." Writing now at 75, she reveals that her life plan “did not include any expiration dates we are fed regarding marriage, kids, and career.” Not one to fit the mold, she creates her own mold and shares it with her reader. There are no magic bullets here for health and glowing looks. Kamali emphasizes “there’s no substitute for a healthy lifestyle” and her guideposts are Three Pillars: sleep, diet, and exercise.
There are positive aphorisms galore in big signboard font that sprinkle throughout the book. For example, one exuberant page reads: “massage supports a strong immune system by relaxing and distressing the body and mind. MASSAGES ARE MAGIC!” Then there’s another that says “OWN YOUR STYLE AND NO ONE ELSE’S.” Tell that to all the “trending” addicts out there. There’s even a model who pops up kind of jack-in-the-box here and there, with an impressive wardrobe of one-piece bathing suits. One presumes she’s there for inspiration.
Continue reading here
Sexual Healing. By Liza Lentini
Your Big Green Heart
In this ongoing series, our resident Reiki Master Teacher shows us that it’s so easy to offer yourself much-needed comfort when you need it.
Some say the goal of life is to be happy, but when you work as an energy healer as I do, I like to say that the goal in life is to be balanced. Balance makes all of your relationships better, starting, most essentially, with yourself. Balance is a lot easier than it sounds, especially if you’re forced to live amongst other humans, which generally includes crosstown traffic, your crabby boss, family matters—all of it. Life isn’t designed for “balance”, it’s designed for living.
There’s something about the word “chakra” that intimidates some people, so let me break it down in a simple way you’ll never forget. We are all energy and, thus, self-perpetuating human machines. We all have energetic rivers, if you will—some big, some small—that runs within us. Chakras, specifically, are like spinning energetic wheels. When referring to chakras, though there can be dozens throughout our body, we’ve identified seven major ones, starting at the base of your spine and working your way up towards the top of your head. Each is associated with its own color and element of our physical and emotional well-being. They are: 1. The Root Chakra (Red, Basic Needs); 2. Sacral Chakra (Orange, Sex & Creativity); 3. Solar Chakra (Yellow, Wisdom & Power); 4. Heart Chakra (Green, Love & Healing); 5. Throat Chakra (Blue, Speech & Communication); 6. Third Eye Chakra (Indigo, Awareness & Intuition); 7. Crown Chakra (Purple, Spirituality)
Continue reading here
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?”
I recently relocated from New York to New Mexico, and with this monumental move came many life-altering changes. I uprooted myself and donated outdated clothing from my youthful heyday, circa 1982. Even my beloved Grace-Jones-inspired, ultra-shoulder-padded blazers were not spared. I gave away the shabby chic furniture that was no longer “ME” to my friend’s college-bound children and painstakingly combed through closets and stuffed shoe boxes that cradled a lifetime of mementos, elementary school report cards, Bozo the Clown and Malibu Barbie Dolls, and a vast collection of Valentine’s Day cards from long-gone boyfriends. It was time to depart from the validations that I outgrew and no longer needed to cling to. As a result of the move, even my skincare routine was abruptly abandoned when my parched skin demanded an overhaul and some sorely-needed TLC.
To help me regain some comfort and normalcy, this is what I do as a form of self-care: I run into the arms of my favorite retro, Pepto-Bismol-pink chenille robe and slip my cracked heels into my fuzzy, faux-fur slippers. I scurry into the kitchen and look no further than the fridge to find simple ingredients to quickly whip up a custom face mask, close my eyes and allow myself 15 minutes to reminisce about what I left behind in The Big Apple and dream of what awaits me in The Land of Enchantment (aka New Mexico).
Here are some easy, quick-fix masks to indulge in some much-needed comfort and self-care. They’re easy to make and you likely have all the ingredients ready and waiting in your kitchen. Who knew that softer skin and bliss were only a few ingredients away!
Continue reading here
Watch SNL's "grey adult pigtail" skit here.
Song of the Week
Love Me More By Sam Smith
Sam Smith's new song is as catchy and memorable as it is empowering and inspiring. He has been widely quoted as saying:
I wrote this song for anyone who feels different, anyone who has to stop themselves every day from saying unkind things to themselves, in their head, all the time. I felt like that for the longest time and slowly I'm learning how to just be nice to myself.
So happy for you, Sam. Thanks for lifting everyone up with you.
Take a look here, it's a lovely video.
It was a tough week digesting the news of the Uvalde tragedy. My sister is an elementary school teacher in the Northeast and told me that the week "has been mayhem with emergency meetings. I am exhausted." Memorial Day is a holiday to mark our country's honoring of military personnel who have died while serving the United States. What a sad reality that we are also memorializing 19 children and 2 teachers. Not the ease into summer we had wanted. Be kind to yourself, dearest CRUSH Readers.
If you are looking for information on how to call your Senator or Representatives to make your voice heard on some of the issues facing our country, take a look at following @sharonsaysso on Instagram. She calls herself “America’s Government Teacher." She tries to present balanced information and aims her energy at being informed and involved citizens.
You Won't Want to Miss A Thing. Here Are Links to Some Favorites.
+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.
+Songs That’ll Make You Wanna F*ck. A Compendium from the Readers of The Crush Letter. 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 Dish@PrimeCrush.com.
+Beauty Tips for Mature Skin. By Lauren D. Weinstein Our resident beauty expert offers tips and tricks for honoring your skin’s needs today.
+Occupational Hazard. By A.K.A. Darla. One PrimeCrush writer lives to tell the tale of that one time she mistakenly heckled a famous NYC mobster.