The Crush Letter No 85

. 11 min read

I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about friendship, love and sex in midlife.  Because midlife is so much cooler than they said it would be.  Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.

Hello Crush,

Do you have a song that says “grateful” to you? That makes you stop time — and all your worries — for a moment, and live in a state of appreciation. For our upcoming Gratefulness Letter we’d like to add yours to a playlist we are working on. We will publish your contribution in our Thanksgiving issue.

Mine is Patty Griffin’s Heavenly Day. Some days I play it multiple times.
Oh, heavenly day
All the clouds blew away
Got no trouble today with anyone

Oh because right now is the only thing
That is all that we really have to do
Is have ourselves a heavenly day.

And speaking of gratitude, I am so thankful for all the notes I received after posting last week’s personal essay on my annual reflection on what makes a perfect day — based on lessons I learned from losing my late husband. The outpouring was very powerful for me, and I’m re-posting the essay for those who missed it. Every single one of your notes means so much to me. Thank you.

Thanks for being here.


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

In This Letter.  +Topix: "My Long-Term Boyfriend and I Don’t Want to Get Married!" I don’t believe that love is enough for a successful marriage—specifically, not for me.   +Zits A Poppin’! What’s A Guy To Do? By Lauren D. Weinstein Hey Guys! Our in-house expert has some advice for putting your best face forward.   +3 Things I’m Crushing On: Dish Stanley, Master of Ceremonies, PrimeCrush Air New Zealand launched the first-ever direct flights between New York and Auckland, for one thing.   +Dear Dish... Beautiful moving super smart piece in this week’s Crush   +Hot Thots. By Dish Stanley Repost: Forgiveness often felt so hard to give   +Our Song of the Week We are swimming with the snakes


“Topix” is a new series where PrimeCrush’s always-anonymous friends start all-important conversations about their views on life, love & friendship in midlife.

"My Long-Term Boyfriend and I Don’t Want to Get Married!"

Midlife has always been that point when we begin to realize that life is getting short. Too short to worry about what other people think. A turning point where people begin to craft the kind of friendships and romantic relationships that actually work for them, inside the lines (or out). TOPIX is our way of getting opinionated, courageous conversations started on what living and loving really looks like in midlife now.

“More than all of this, as I’ve grown older, I don’t believe that love is enough for a successful marriage—specifically, not for me.”

I am a divorced Gen-Xer who loves my boyfriend of nearly two decades. When I was really young, I remember listening to Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell talk about how they chose each other every day, and how not being married was the best choice for them. My mother told me they were full of crap, that one of them likely didn’t want to do it, and that all women want to get married. I’m sure she used the old “why-buy-the-cow-when-you-can-get-the-milk-for-free” adage. (She was a huge fan of that one.) Those imprints stuck with me, and though I was always very happy unmarried, by the time I was 30 I did marry a man completely wrong for me, giving into the idea that it was “time”. The marriage, of course, didn’t last. While I don’t think that marriage was wrong for me in the general sense--and I’m not making a case for not getting married here--I do think it depends on the couple and how getting married impacts their relationship.

My boyfriend and I are both divorced. When we met, and after a few years, I really did want to get married. I pushed for it. Then, later, the feeling sort of wore off and, as you may have guessed, he pushed for marriage. By then, I was content being committed. We’ve been that way now for so long and it really does suit us best. I’ve known many people who are divorced and happily remarried—that was the right choice for them.

More than all of this, as I’ve grown older, I don’t believe that love is enough for a successful marriage—specifically, not for me. I’m looking at my own baggage here. When I got married all those years ago, I didn’t understand that a marriage had to function within its own healthy and blossoming ecosystem, like any other living thing. I look back at me and my Ex at that time—he with a raging temper that triggered my childhood trauma–and see how clearly and obviously we never had a chance. I left him after one horrific year.

Continue reading here

Zits A Poppin’! What’s A Guy To Do?  By Lauren D. Weinstein

Hey Guys! Our in-house expert has some advice for putting your best face forward.

Imagine the scenario: You wake up, look in the mirror and take a double-take. Is that a pimple? Ugh! You sigh, feeling both annoyed and defeated.

I bet you thought you were done with nasty breakouts the day you hung up your prom tuxedo. You ask yourself: did it appear because of continually wearing the dreaded N95 mask? Or did I shave too closely and got an ingrown hair which, in turn, clogged my pores? Did I forget to wash my face after struggling through a sweaty workout at the gym? Or am I chronically riddled with anxiety, binge-watching The Sandman and not getting enough restorative sleep? Have I ignored my own needs and simply let self-care take a nosedive?

There could be a million reasons, but unless you’re Dr. Pimple Popper, I don’t suggest attacking the uninvited, angry blemish that has arrogantly taken residence on your face, no matter how much it’s screaming to be popped. Picking exposes the pore to even more bacteria including those from your hands. (Admit it, there is a weird feeling of satisfaction in squeezing that sucker.) PLEASE, have some restraint to prevent further infection and scarring. Take a safer, healthier approach and you’ll be facing the world with clear skin in no time. Plan your strategy to rid yourself of these unwanted perpetrators FAST.

1. INITIAL ATTACK: It’s imperative to wash your face, the morning and before bed, with a mild cleanser. Overwashing with too strong a product is counter-productive and may cause an imbalance in the acid mantle of your skin and cause an overproduction of oil. Don’t rub harshly or use abrasive scrubs which may cause microscopic tears and spread bacteria.

TRY: Dermalogica Clear Start Breakout Clearing Kit, $28.50, Ulta. Blu Atlas, The Volcanic Ash Facial Cleanser, $25.00.

TIP:  Post-gym workout, freshen up with Every Man Jack Skin Clearing Facial Wipes, $8.00,

Continue reading here.

3 Things I’m Crushing On: Dish Stanley, Master of Ceremonies, PrimeCrush

In this new series, readers like you share recommendations for the things they love the most, right at this moment.

1.Nora Ephron’s Essay Collections,, about $14.83 each
I Feel Bad About My Neck
I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections
Wallflower at the Orgy

Last year it was Joan Didion’s essays. For over a month now it’s been Nora’s. Once you spend a month with Nora’s essays, you can’t call her anything but Nora. This is not true of Didion, by the way. After a month with her essays no one would presume to call her Joan. Nora, though, is a chatty essayist. For Nora the personal is political. When she writes that her tits are too small, she is making a larger statement about women’s place in society. Small tits are something I knew nothing about until reading Nora, but what’s typical of a “Nora experience” (how I’d characterize reading her essays), is that while I’m with her on the objectification point I am also somehow relieved that I don’t have small tits. I worry that I make her sound trite, but she’s not. She is true. And a hoot to spend time with. It’s too late to ever be invited to one of her fabulous dinner parties, but partaking in her essays is the next best thing. Written in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, they are still spot on about midlife and many other matters, and are as relevant, funny, devastating and entertaining as ever. Though I do now hate my neck. I didn’t need that, Nora.

2. New Zealand, Direct flight JFK to Auckland $7,998 Business Class
Air New Zealand

New Zealand finally opened back up to the world in August, and shortly after that Air New Zealand launched the first-ever direct flights between New York and Auckland. It is a long 17-hour flight - I know because I spent the month of October there. Well worth it. New Zealand was perfect for me: naturally gorgeous, effortlessly charming, warm and inviting, bountifully loving. Another short-term soul-pumping fling. Take me, kiwis.


Perhaps this sounds a little self-serving but I’m absolutely positively in love with our new TOPIX column. We’ve only just announced it but you can’t imagine the confessions I’m already hearing! Let me backtrack. TOPIX is a new column we’ll be publishing regularly in The Crush Letter to share anonymous stories about how we are really constructing our relationships in midlife now. Not Divorced But Not Really Married Either, Sleeping in Separate Wings, Platonic Friendships That Function Like (and Better Than) Marriages, Lifelong Romantic Partners Who Will Never Marry. “Just reading about what TOPIX will cover makes me feel validated,” wrote on CRUSH Reader. Oh, the places we’ll go!

Do you have a TOPIX essay you’d like to contribute? Send me your three things at

Read more here

I got an outpouring of messages after publishing last week's Hot Thots. Here is just a sampling. Thank you! xo Dish

Dear Dish...

I keep reading your “share” over and over. So personal, private, profound, and yet prophetic and simple! Look around, give love and feel the love! Every day is a gift! No guarantees…

As we come off another road trip with a patchwork of shared kids, we say “I love you” to each of them because we feel it and mean it and know tomorrow is not promised. Lucky to make these memories!!


Beautiful moving super smart piece in this week’s Crush Letter.


This is such a great piece (your opening article) and a reminder of the things that matter. It is a gift to know how anyone manages the process of dying, and I think I will think about this a lot.


The honesty and vulnerability you expressed in your annual reflection was beautiful and sad and uplifting.

Hot Thots. By Dish Stanley

A periodic column where Dish lets off steam.

An Annual Reflection: What’s At The Center.

At the innermost point of the circle are the things that really matter: family, faith, love.”

My late husband died over a decade ago on October 27th. He died too young, at the age of 41, but he lived big. Ambitiously, generously, joyfully, lovingly, intensely, and with a great deal of humor. He lived as if he were a flare struck by lightning, fired up on oxygen.

He died that way too. Throwing off sparks until the very end. After a tracheotomy, those sparks came as scraggly notes in blue ink on a yellow legal pad I had picked up for him in the hospital gift shop.

Okay, at the time some of his notes felt less "sparky" and seemed mundane under the alarming circumstances. (Periodic major organ failures, a cardiac arrest necessitating paddles, and an electric shock to the chest. Shit like that over 30 days.) Like one day he roughly scribbled: “Can you ask the nurse whether she can put off my night meds until after the Red Sox playoff game tonight? My brother is going to come in to watch it with me.”

But he veered from the ordinary to the philosophical. “Forgiveness often felt so hard to give,” he wrote after a visit from his father. “But holding onto the anger, feeding what could easily turn into a tragic grudge, takes so much energy and creates so much ongoing damage. Forgiving is actually easier.”

Continue reading here

Song of the Week

Forgiveness By Patty Griffin

Griffin is one of those singer-songwriters who pours her heart out into her music. When you're laying one of her albums down you know it's a day when you really want to feel things. It's deep and you're going there. You're processing shit. You're taking it on. This song is from Griffin's Living With Ghosts album. It is an exquisite, beautiful exploration of forgiveness. And, as it turns out, a perfect companion to last week's essay What's At the Center.

It’s hard to give

It’s hard to get

It’s hard to live still I think it’s the bet bet

It’s hard to give and I’m never going to forget

But everybody needs a little forgiveness

Everybody needs a little forgiveness

Forgiveness by Patty Griffin 

Don't forget: if you have a song that makes you feel ahhhh, grateful send it to me so I can add it to our grateful tracks. XO

Dish Stanley XO,

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

+‘5 Things’ That Turn Our Crush Readers On. By Dish Stanley What turns you on?  We'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 You must be a CRUSH Reader! (PS you can publish under your alias.)

+Dear Dish ...

+Transitions. Transitions’ is a new series where we address the all-important issue of redirecting our lives at this midlife stage. In the first of the series, PrimeCrush writer Lisa Ellex broaches the question of what it takes to do it all alone.


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