The Crush Letter No. 72

. 11 min read

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.

Hello Crush,

Can you believe that we're a tender day away from August? This summer is flying too fast. Carpe Diem, CRUSHes, we've only got a month left. I'm doing my damn best this summer to play more and work less – saying yes to every wonderful bike ride, beach stroll, afternoon lunch with friends and concert that I can. I hope you are too.

Speaking of passing of time, you've no doubt come across the many tributes to Joni Mitchell's surprise performance at last week's Newport Jazz Festival. She first played the Newport Jazz Festival in 1967, when she was in her early 20's. That was a year before she released the song Both Sides Now, which was the emotional climax and highlight of her set at last week's festival. To hear Mitchell sing the lines "I've looked at love from both sides now / From give and take and still somehow / It's love's illusions that I recall / I really don't know love at all" with emphasis at 78 can only make you pause at the mystery that love is.

When Mitchell first wrote those lyrics she was 23, a year after she had just given her daughter up for adoption and moved to the US from Canada to be a musician. You might have wondered if she - after so many famous and tumultuous love affairs over fifty years - found answers to the questions she raised at 23? Her performance suggested otherwise. Time passes, but the greatest mysteries can somehow remain shrouded in clouds. That's what I saw in Mitchell's performance. What about you? (Check it out in our Song of the Week selection below if you haven't seen it yet.)

There's a lot to enjoy in this week's Letter. Have fun!

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

In This Letter.  +New Lovers, New Cars. By A.K.A. Darla Just insert, give it a twist, and it’s good to go.   +Fun-In-The-Sun Skincare Tips  By Lauren D. Weinstein Try these simple and affordable suggestions that are suitable for all genders, skin types and tones   +PrimeCrush & Chill: Movies Worth A Re-Watch By Daisy Foster Jules and Jim (1962). The film would go on to revolutionize the world of cinema.   +5 Things That Turn Me On: PrimeCrush Reader Cynthia Besteman At this age, I have nothing to hide!   +Our Song of the Week  Dreams and schemes and circus crowds / I’ve looked at life that way

New Lovers, New Cars.  By A.K.A. Darla

“Where some people are turned on by newness, I am turned on by comfort and dependability.  These are qualities I seek out in dogs, friends, lovers, and cars.”

Getting a new lover is always exciting.  So is getting a new car.  For me, both events are strikingly similar, though fully loaded with challenges. Here’s what you need to know before that first test drive:

  1. Safety inspection. To detect defects, ensure proper working conditions, and prevent accidents that may result in injury or death. Make sure this is performed annually, without fail.
  2. Mileage.  Bear in mind the more mileage on the odometer, the more baggage has been stored in the trunk.
  3. Body type. Most people are attracted to a car by its body type. There are compact (functional), hatchback (rear door swings open to provide access to a cargo area), sedan (always comes with a traditional trunk), luxury (very cushy with lots of options), SUV (built for comfort, not speed), sports (main emphasis on performance), convertible (for the fickle), and minivan (Gurl, let the eighties go already!).
  4. Mechanics. Look under the hood.  Always look under the hood.
  5. That “new car” smell.  I breathe it in and immediately my olfactory nerve stands at attention. My brain says, “Yes, yes, I remember that. I love that. Let me get another whiff!”  Secretly, I wish the scent would linger forever but slowly, over time, it fades away. Or perhaps I just become used to it.
  6. Starting the ignition. I once preferred the traditional-style key. Simple and straightforward.  Just insert, give it a twist, and it’s good to go. Only recently did I encounter the battery-operated fob (as employed by many of today’s younger models) and found it quite interesting. Merely hold it in your hand, push start, and it’s ready to drive. It may take a while but I promise you'll get the hang of it.

Continue reading here.

Fun-In-The-Sun Skincare Tips.  By Lauren D. Weinstein

Simple and affordable suggestions for all genders and skin types, for any time of the year.

Summertime and the living is easy--but not necessarily on your skin and hair. Whether you reside in a steamy part of the country (Miami) or in arid climate (Albuquerque), both your skin and tresses are ultimately taking a beating during the sunny weather. The season may only be a few months in duration but the damaging effects of too much sun exposure from roof top sunbathing (affectionately, called “tar beach” in Brooklyn) or floating aimlessly in an overly chlorinated pool, while sipping, ok, guzzling, too many minty mojitos can furtively wreak havoc.

It’s important to remember: sun exposure and its long-term effects are a year-long crusade. Try these simple and affordable suggestions that are suitable for all genders, skin types and tones--especially, if you don’t want to look like a piece of over-cooked grilled skirt steak, even after summer is over:

Be Sun Savvy! You’ve heard this a gazillion times--shield yourself from the sun daily. As soon as you step out of the shower/bath and while your skin is still damp, apply body lotion that both hydrates and protects with SPF.

TRY: Unsun Hydrating Full Coverage Mineral Body Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30. $32.00, or Aveeno Protect and Hydrate Sunscreen, SPF 60. $8.99, Target.

TIP: Whatever the plan is for the day, religiously reapply every two hours. Don’t forget the vulnerable tops of feet, hands, and shoulders.

Continue reading here.

PrimeCrush & Chill: Movies Worth A Re-Watch.  By Daisy Foster

“PrimeCrush & Chill” is a series where we re-review and recommend movies we think are perfect for a sexy night in.

Jules and Jim (1962)

Movie Title: Jules and Jim (PrimeVideo)

Starring: Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner, Henri Serre

Released: January 23, 1962 (USA)

Basic Plot: Just before World War I, Austrian writer Jules (Oskar Werner) befriends French Jim (Henri Serre), and both fall head over heels for carefree and beautiful Catherine (Jeanne Moreau). The three form an undoubtable love triangle, but it’s Jules who marries Catherine, in a doomed union. After the war, Jim reconnects with Jules and Catherine, even beginning a relationship with Catherine with Jules’s consent. But it seems there is no chance for contentment for these three—let alone happiness—and they will never, ever relive those magical early days before the war. Eventually, Catherine drives herself and Jim off a bridge to their death, while Jules watches.

Why Re-watch: Directed, co-written and co-produced by François Truffaut, in 1962, Jules and Jim won the Grand Prix of French film, the Étoile de Cristal, with Jeanne Moreau taking home the best actress award. The film would go on to revolutionize the world of cinema.

Continue reading here.

5 Things That Turn Me On: Cynthia Besteman of Violets Are Blue Skincare

Hello, Crush! What turns you on? I’m thrilled to introduce you to this new recurring column where we share five things that light our fire. I’m kicking it off with my list above – and I’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 (PS you can publish under your alias.)

Name: Cynthia Besteman, the force behind Violets Are Blue Skincare, a skincare line developed by Besteman after going through breast cancer. Check out her store to purchase consciously-produced products, and read our Hook Ups interview with her here.

Is this your real name: Yes! At this age, I have nothing to hide!

5 Things That Turn Me On:

Sexiest Song: You Can Leave Your Hat On by Joe Cocker. Whether you are in a crowded bar, or alone in a room with someone you care about, this song is going to do something to you!

Sexiest City:  Seattle 100%. This may seem odd, but beautiful scenery is what gets my romantic juices flowing and Seattle has plenty of gorgeous topography. Mountains, lakes, a really romantic waterfront, and loads of hole-in-the-wall restaurants and bars that are hidden away and you can be in your own world. Being on or near the water with glorious sunsets makes me so relaxed and happy and if you're with that special someone, there is nothing more erotic to me than that! Is that boring? My sexy may not be the same as other people's at this point!

Continue reading here.

Song Of The Week

Both Sides Now By Joni Michell

Both Sides Now was released on Mitchell's 1968 Clouds album, a year after Judy Collins had released a popular version of it on her album Wildflowers. In Pitchfork, Andy Cush writes that Both Sides is "perhaps Mitchell's first perfect song ..." I wonder why he included "perhaps" because to me it is a perfect song, with the enigmatic and searching lyrics embraced so gently by the instrumentals. She was only 23 at the time. Three years later in 1971, Mitchell released Blue, which is regarded by many music critics as one of the greatest albums of all time, and includes at least a few more of her other pefect songs. Blue was rated the third greatest album of all time in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. I wrote about Blue over a year in an earlier CRUSH Letter (reshared below).

Watch Joni sing Both Sides Now from the Newport Jazz Festival (with friends) here. At about 3:35 Brandi Carlisle puts her hand over her heart when Mitchell sings "I really don't know love at all." That's a moment for me.

And here's a reshare of my love letter to Mitchell's album Blue published over a year ago.

Read.  NYT's 50 Reasons to Love Joni Mitchell's "Blue."  Blue, released in 1971 when she was only 27, was Mitchell's fourth studio album, written and produced entirely by her.  Among many other accolades, it was named third in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.  Blue is a poetic untangling of the nature of passionate relationships.  There are lots of hints at juicy details in the NYT article (and then you kind of had to piece things together). It was written during a heated love affair with James Taylor (who was very much addicted to heroin at the time and played guitar on four songs on the album), which love affair took place on the heels of her break up of her long love affair with Graham Nash - and on the heels of her having fled to Greece, she has said, to escape the pain of that unwinding. To escape, too, the limelight that had just begun to envelope her, a woman who had lived secluded "in a box of paints."  Blue has some of the most poetic lines in rock. "You're in my blood like holy wine." "only a dark cocoon before I get my gorgeous wings and fly away" "I want to talk to you / I want to shampoo you / I want to renew you again and again." "crown and anchor me / or let me sail away" and "He loved me so naughty left me weak in the knees."  (That last one Nash humorously gloats was written about him. (Who wouldn't.))

In the NYT article 25 musicians, including former lovers James Taylor, Graham Nash and David Crosby, share personal revelations about Blue, its making and how she and the album changed their lives. For instance, Crosby admits that the first time he heard Blue "I felt like quitting the business and becoming a gardener." He goes on to argue that "The music is where she's just vastly superior to Bob [Dylan] ... They're both brilliant poets, but she's 10 times the musician and singer that he was." (So is her old lover implying she deserves the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Dylan?)

"You're in my blood like holy wine." In the video linked to below, Mitchell is singing Case of You from Wembley Arena in 1983 at the age of 40 with a deeper voice and (what seems to me) a more zen energy than earlier live versions. This performance is over a decade after Blue was released. There seems to be, over a decade later, some form of acceptance of the intensity of her great love affairs with Nash and Taylor (and more) - love, loss and of the limelight. In other words, time has done some healing from a life lived very much outside the paint box.  (Of course, I might be reading a lot into it.)

To watch the live video of Mitchell singing Case of You go here.

There have been some moving covers of this exquisite love song, like this live one by Brandi Carlile at Madison Square Garden that she dedicates to her wife. But my favorite cover was sent to me by my friend kt, a music impresario, and it is by Prince here. If he were alive he no doubt would have been interviewed in the NYT article celebrating Blue's 50th anniversary. (Such a loss.)

Have a wonderful week. And say "I love you" right out loud.

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.

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

+AMPLIFY! The 12 Sex With Emily Podcast Episodes CRUSH Readers Can't Miss. By Dish Stanley

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

+The Friendship Files. By A.K.A. Darla


'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 2024 Hit List 3 things I'm crushing on 5 Books to Help You Chill TF Out 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 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? 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 Lauren D. Weinstein Bisexually Anxious Among the Noodges. Review: shiva Baby Bloody Good Sex Book review Book Review: A Certain Hunger by Chelsea G. Summers Book Review: I'm With The Band by Pamela Des Barres. Reviewed by Evie Arnaude Book Review: Maurice 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 Confidence Game: Why We Fall For It Every Time By Maria Konnikova' Book Review: The Lover. By Marguerite Duras. Book Review: The Story of O Book Review: VOX by Nicholson Baker. Reviewed by Christian Pan Building The Perfect Music Collection Calm App Review: “If I Traveled Or Worked In An Office, I Would Rely On This App Heavily”. By Evie Arnaude Christian Pan CRUSH Summer Reading List! From CRUSH Reader Sharon Weinberg, Owner of The Chatham Bookstore Culture/Comments Dear Dish devour DEVOUR {things to do, have & know about} Devour: Reads we think you should devour Dish Gets A Kink Assessment. 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By Dean Christopher Hook Ups Hot Thots How to Be the Most Charming Person at a Holiday Party. By Evie Arnaude How to find porn thats actually good I am my own family I just turned 60 but I feel 22 I redesigned my closet. I'm Dish, the Master of Ceremonies Im glad my mom died In Good Hands. Kathy: This Is A Love Story About Three Friends La Mia Famiglia by Lisa Ellex Lamentations on the Lost Art of Kissing. By Elisabeth C. Lamotte Leave the husband, bring the cannoli. By A.K.A. Darla Let's Reconsider, with Adam Grant Love & Mike's "Bad Girl Pasta" Love/Sex/Moon Magick By Lynn Eaton LXIX. By A.K.A. Darla Meeting Across the River Melissa Biggs Bradley's New Book Safari Style Makes Me Want To Go On A Safari midlife MIDLIFE CRISIS: When Reality Strikes, By Dean Christopher Movie Magic. By Amy Ferris My First Solo Trip: Mexico, Part I. By Dawn Larsen My Prostate Journey: A Personal Story My Tits Contain MulTITudes Naked & Not afraid by KC Roth Oasis in the Desert. 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Weinstein The Friendship Files By AKA Darla The Golden Bachelor The Hole. By Kiva Schuler The Holiday Anti-Checklist By Liza Lentini The New Menopause By Dr. Mary Claire Haver The Perfect Snowy Saturday. By Jeanne Bosse The Ritual of Comforts. By Lady Verity The Sex Position Report. By Dish Stanley The Solo Series Thee Timeless Travel Books. By Bob Guccione Jr. Things To Let Go Of. By Dish Stanley This must be the place To get all of us, subscribe. Top Ten Jazz Albums To Soothe Your Soul. By Lisa Ellex TOPIX Transitions Travel tips Treats: A Sex Toy Tester Update Under The Radar Series. By Dish Stanley Valentines day what dead to me taught me about family. Who Are CRUSH Readers Grateful For? Women of a Certain Age Whose Style I Admire You're My Medicine Your Big Green Heart. By Liza Lentini Your Love Is King & Queen, GQ Zits a poppin Zoning Out in Comfort. By Dean Christopher