The Crush Letter No. 9

. 11 min read

Hello Crush,

Lovely to spend another Saturday morning with you. I am waking up in beautiful Savannah, Georgia having eaten dinner at delicious HUSK, taken a candlelit ghost/history walking tour and gotten a midnight tarot card reading. I'm spirited. How's your week end going?

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

We have a couple of guest writers this week!  Heading up our DEVOUR section, "Lady Verity" shares her list of classic songs to f**k to, which I have turned into a spotify playlist for you, Crush Readers. (Because that's a playlist we can all use right now.) We also do give some additional quick hot takes on things to read, watch and download. Something for us to STIR on: I am launching a recurring column that I invite you, dear Crush Readers, to get in (or off) on: 5 Things That Turn Me On. I'd love for you to send me your fabulous five too. Finally, in our SIMMER section loyal Crush Reader / culture critic "Definitely Not A Carrie" wonders about the upcoming return of Sex and the City. Thank you very much for those submissions, Lady Verity and Definitely Not A Carrie. Read more about how to submit to me in Hit Me With Your Best Shot.

DEVOUR {things to do, read, see & have}

Listen: A Turntable and a Candle: F-ing Classics. A compilation of tunes sure to get you in the mood.

By Lady Verity

Nothing is more surefire romance than a turntable and a candle. You can spin some vinyl on your vintage Garrard turntable (with a Shure M-91ED needle). Or you can playlist these tunes or even do a Siri shoutout, though in the name of romance I’d advise skipping the last option.

Here’s a compilation of tunes sure to push your mood buttons big time and in all the right places…and put all systems on “go”:

“Lovesong” by The Cure

Simply a perfect love song composed in a minor key. Melodic and dreamy and because spinning “Bolero” is just too cliché.

“Butterfly” by Crazy Town

Something so joyous and turn-on about this tune. “Come, come my lady, you’re my butterfly, my sugar, baby…” What’s not to like?

“Je t'aime… Moi Non Plus” by Serge Gainsbourg

When Brigitte Bardot (married at the time) had an affair with Serge Gainsbourg, she asked him to write the most beautiful love song for her. This is it. Even if you don’t understand French, it’s not about the words.

“So What” by Miles Davis

Opening tune on Kind of Blue. Zen and jazz and genius Bill Evans on keyboard. Though, of course, all the musicians on this album are genius. Pure bliss and classic make-out music for the ages.

“To Love Somebody” by the Bee Gees

A cream-your-jeans song by three Australian brothers who could pass as dishy British rock star dudes in their heyday. Janis Joplin does a heart-wrenching cover, and Keith Urban’s version is astonishingly bland, though one always admires his haircut and highlights.

“Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits

Romeo and Juliet revisited with soul-stirringly philosophical lyrics such as: “It’s just that the time was wrong.” You can rewrite your own Romeo and Juliet story, and this time it will have a they-lived-happily-forever ending.

Visit Dish's Spotify to listen to Lady Verity's F-ing Classics playlist.

Read. Andrew Sullivan's Latest Issue of The Weekly Dish*. In Are Face-Masks The New Condoms? Sullivan, the independent thinker who Ben Smith of The New York Times referred to as "one of the most influential journalists of his generation" has written the definitive piece comparing the Covid pandemic to the Aids crisis. This is a juxtaposition that Sullivan is well-positioned to set his intense observational and analytical gaze on, in part because he lived through the AIDS crisis as an HIV-positive gay man. The best line: "Human psyches take time to adjust to new realities; fear and trauma have a habit of outlasting our reason; and stigmas, once imposed, can endure." It is an important piece chronicling and providing context to our current moment – which it is time for us to begin to gain perspective on – and it is made more profound by the no-detail-spared infusion of anecdotes from his "Covid PTSD flashbacks to AIDS." Trenchant and poignant (and not for squares).

*Not to be confused with this Dish.

Watch. Couples Therapy on Showtime. I was riveted by the first season of this docuseries last year. The second is just as good. Each series follows several couples through increasingly revealing and poignant real-life therapy sessions as they genuinely seek help with their disconnection from Dr. Orna Guralnik, the therapist who is the center of this poignant and revealing world. I kept asking and couldn't find a single friend who had watched this, which is quite surprising given how good it is. When I asked one friend "Hits too close to home," was the reason he gave. I get that reaction completely. It is hard to see the undercurrents and patterns in the couples' lives, the past traumas that are being unfairly and unknowingly visited on a partner, without recognizing the stuff you've been responsible for in your own life (with a cringe). It is no exaggeration for me to say that watching the very real and relatable work of these couples resulted in some breakthroughs in my own therapy – hurling me forward (I can only hope).

During the first season I repeatedly asked myself (rhetorically) "And they know they're being filmed, right?" while forcing my dogs to wait to the end of a session before walking them.  In her review in Vulture, Kathryn VanArendonk writes that Couples Therapy is a "moving, poignant illustration of what can happen when people sit down and really examine themselves, and a lovely portrait of the hope that can come with mutual trust and a good faith effort. And, for good measure, Couples Therapy is also totally absorbing television." If you are still wavering, by all means read VanArendonk's review in full Trust Me, You Want to Watch Couples Therapy.

Watch. I Want To Be Kissed Like That. Jane Fonda describes the best kiss she ever got to Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. Which was also her first.

Download. Zoom Escaper. Zoom Escaper is a tool from a guy after our hearts - Sam Lavigne – to create surprising! annoying! rude! background noises (baby crying, dog barking, man weeping, urination) that will allow you to escape from any zoom meeting or videoconferencing scenario. You're welcome.

Skip. A Dull French Affair. It seems impossible that a biopic set in the 1960's about the infamous Madame Claude's life running an exclusive brothel for the Parisienne elite could be dull. But it is. Not even worth it for the few chic sex scenes in which the perfect bobbed hair and cat-eyeliner of the glamorous prostitutes goes unruffled. Skip Madame Claude on Netflix. If you really need a good sex scandal period piece (70's) and you missed it when it came out in 2018, A Very English Scandal is the one you want. It chronicles the improbable true story of Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe's affair with and murder attempt on his former lover.

STIR {tactics for being more connected}

5 Things That Turn Me On: Dish Stanley {Ahem. Your Name ( or "Name") Could Be Here.}

Hello, Crush! I’m thrilled to introduce you to a new recurring column where we share five things that light our fire. I’m kicking it off with my list below—and I’d love to hear from you! (Yes, you! Don’t worry, you can change your name if you want to :) If you’d like us to send you a template to fill out, it’s really easy and fun, please email me at are my five things:

1. Almost anything read aloud just for me. Stories turn me on. Hearing stories read just for me turns me on. Hearing erotic stories read just for me really turns me on. James Salter’s A Sport and a Pastime probably represents the peak, but the humorous love story About Alice by Calvin Trillin, many of the Eve Babitz stories, E.E. Cummings poems and even a really awkward cringe-inducing question-story published in the Boston Globe’s Love Letters column have all worked. Well. Want to turn me on? Read it to me, baby.

2. Getting a great compliment. “I’ve noticed that you’re a world-class encourager of others.” That’s the best compliment I’ve ever received, and it made me feel much closer to the friend-who-became-a-lover who gave it. Why? It had all the elements of a great compliment. He genuinely meant it. It is not obvious; he saw something in me most people don’t notice, so I felt really known. The compliment went to my character, not how I dressed or how hot my tits are (though I love those as well). Most of all, he appreciated something about me that I like a lot. It is true that I am not prone to pettiness or jealousy with respect to others’ things or accomplishments. I am a middle child and have no need to take center stage. I love to applaud others, and I encourage others wholeheartedly and without reservation. And take absolute joy in their wins. What a turn on to have someone see and appreciate that.

3. Anyone cooking anything for me. My maternal grandfather had a restaurant in the small, lovely town my parents grew up in on the Erie Canal in upstate New York. On Sundays my grandfather cooked for the extended family, which might include his brothers (he had nine) and their families, along with his children (he had four) and their kids (there were 10). On Wednesdays it was just the kids and grandkids “in town” and we all took the bus from school straight to my grandparents’ stop. My grandfather was taciturn; he might say five words in a night. He literally fed us his love. For better or worse, nobody has ever cooked anything for me that did not make me feel powerfully loved by them. (I mean, it turned out that sometimes they just needed a taste tester. But whatever.)

4. My iroha+ TORI.  If you watched Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown “Tokyo (Season 2, Episode 7)”, then you know that Bourdain loved the mysteries (and fetishes) of Japan most of all. In Bourdain: Off the Cuff: Tokyo he begins in the red-light district of Shinjuku, then visits hostess bars, sex clubs and bondage artists. In Tokyo by myself after a bad breakup and feeling very Lost in Translation, I retraced many of Bourdain's steps, which resulted in finding the vibrator that turns me on the most. (And I’ve tried a lot.) Like my other obsession—“Get Off,” the perfect neutral shade from NARS lip pencil line —I am so worried about the possibility that iroha discontinues the TORI that I have three unopened boxes in my closet as back-up.

5. Watching Secretary, directed by Steven Shainberg. This superbly cast, quirky 2002 arthouse film about the surprising way a dominant-submissive relationship develops between a businessman (James Spader) and his assistant (Maggie Gyllenhaal) still delights. Best lines:

Mr. Grey: “We can’t do this 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Lee: “Why not?”

SIMMER {original essays & opinions to consider}

And I Wondered…Do We Really Need a SATC Reboot?

By “Definitely Not A Carrie"

While the upcoming Sex and the City reboot is practically being pre-celebrated as a new national holiday, I’m curious if anyone remembers the sad and sorry series ending, where Carrie gathers her favorite frocks to flee to Paris with an abusive narcissist, only to engage in some lonely city strolls and the inevitable merde hitting the fan. Some might say, “no wonder”, as Mr. Big was a colossal, toxic turd from beginning to end, leaving even the most loyal of Carrie’s fans to tire and mumble, “Get your shit together, girl.” Everyone else was shaking their head at a series that died an agonizingly overdue, anticlimactic and poorly-acted death. After six whole seasons Carrie established herself as someone so shallow and fashion obsessed that she learned zilch from her countless foibles, re-establishing that she shouldn’t be allowed to run with scissors (to Paris or anywhere else), as, now we know, she’ll only have to be saved. Again.

Or, worse yet, are we supposed to pick up where the movies left off? We sure as hell hope not. What did Carrie expect for asking Mr. Big for a “really big closet” in place of an engagement ring? As we’ve already established Big’s not much of a prize himself, but maybe his character has grown enough to run fast from a woman who refuses to age beyond her shoe size. In the second film we’re forced to watch her painstaking attempt to navigate the banalities of adulthood, only to find herself teetering on the edge of disaster, as per usual.

As of today, Big won’t be in the reboot, which has me wondering…who will Carrie complain endlessly about this time?

What’s I the only one wondering if Carrie herself is wondering WTAF she’s still doing making SATC episodes? When the show premiered in 1998, it was a groundbreaker in its own right, and yes, it should be acknowledged for paving the way for all the “sexy and single” shows that followed. As the lead and narrator, Carrie was the eyes and the soul of the show. We looked to her not for perfection, but for relatability. When you re-watch Season 1, you almost get the impression that she’s somewhat “normal”. Thoroughly flawed, of course, but normal nonetheless.

It’s been 23 years since the show’s premiere. So much has changed now. Let’s hope the plot can somehow take Carrie back to her late-’90s self, before she was too entangled in hopeless messes with men, back to the days when she seemed more solid and her journey of discovery didn’t include unraveling and having her peering audience (us!) worried about her every move. With any luck, she’ll surprise us and have lots and lots of amazing sex in the city she loves so much.

What the world needs now, is love sweet love—sex, too!—but does it really need more Sex and the City? What do you think? We want to know!

And with that we welcome the week end. "Come my lady, come, come my lady."

Dish Stanley XO,

The Crush Letter
The Crush Letter is a free weekly newsletter from the Dish curating articles on everything love & connection - friendship, romance, self-love, sex. If you’d like to take a look at some of our best stories go to Read Us. Want to get off?


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