The Crush Letter No. 96

The Crush Letter No. 96

. 11 min read

I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about life, love, and culture for those 40+. Because midlife and beyond is so much cooler than they said it would be. Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.

Hello Crush,

Happy long weekend, Crushes. We are starting something new this week and I'm really excited about it. Ask Dish: Answers to Your Stray Questions. Anything goes! Well, don't ask me about my Mother's secret meatloaf ingredient because that I can NOT do. But anything else! Enjoy -

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. +Ask Dish: Answers to Your Stray Questions But at this stage in life, we should all know when we’re really buying a gift for ourselves but pretending it is actually for the recipient. +Get Your Spy Thrill On. Just in case you missed any of these outstanding international political thrillers, here are the best ones I’ve watched (or re-watched) over the last year. +AMPLIFY! Sex With Emily Podcast: {No. 10} Your Top 5 Sex Questions, Answered “Communication is lubrication. The more we talk about sex, the better it’s going to get.” +Social Media I Loved This Week. By Dish Stanley +Our Song of the Week Whispering in my ear about all the love gone wrong

Ask Dish: Answers to Your Stray Questions

From the sublime to the ridiculous, I get a lot of random questions. I answer some of them here. Got a stray question? Submit it using this link.

Dear Dish:

I find my V.S.O.* really hot but she wears sweatpants and a t-shirt every night. Even on our prescribed at-home “date nights.” Can I surprise her with the gift of some sexy lingerie?

Don’t Like Drab

*Very Significant Other. Dear Reader, V.S.O. Is a thing now.

Dear Drab:

No, you can’t.

I once had a new boyfriend who came back from a trip to New Orleans and surprised me with “something special for me.” A Hello Kitty animal print catsuit from Trashy Diva in the French Quarter:

I use “once” purposely here. And I like animal print *and* lingerie. But at this stage in life, we should all know when we’re really buying a gift for ourselves but pretending it is actually for the recipient. I had a problem with this on two fronts. One, it was jumping the gun since it was an intimate thing that he couldn’t have known whether I would like yet and two, he was 50+ and didn’t know the basics of gift giving. He probably bought his ex-wife a waffle iron for Christmas because he likes waffles.

Just in case you, dearest Drab, don’t know either (I’m sure you do!), here’s an example: let’s say *you* have a birthday coming up and she inquires about what you want. You can ask her if she’d be up for dressing up like a pussy cat. Or whatever. It’s fair to ask. If she agrees, you’ll treat it like what it is — an act of love for you. A fun and adventurous one that you hope she’ll enjoy as well, but that’s a gift for you.

Unless your partner has coyly slipped you the number of their favorite salesperson at Agent Provocateur, it’s a bad idea to buy lingerie for someone else cold and out-of-the-blue. Period. There are important elements of consent and empowerment, but also the reality that most people our age have a decided view on what best displays our assets. That little Trashy Diva number, for instance, works best for smaller-chested women.

Another long-term boyfriend knew I liked the tight grasp of a corset. When he gently asked I pointed him in the direction of Agent Provacateur's Raphaela Corset and it worked out deliciously all the way around.

Here's hoping you have a birthday soon, Drab.



Dear Dish:

I love having friends over but so many guests have so many food restrictions! It is stressful to host and takes all the fun out of it. How do you deal?

Constricted in the Kitchen

Dear Constricted:

Hosting these days can feel like a plateful. I surveyed friends who are frequent hosts for you, and they shared many ways to deal with the prevalence of food restrictions. These thoughtful hosts shared everything from soliciting all food allergies in the invitation and altering the menu accordingly (easier done with smaller dinner parties), to serving a vast cornucopia of options so that absolutely everybody has something. Some select a menu that sidesteps the most common allergies on the assumption that if somebody’s restriction is a rare one they have figured out their own strategy (like eating in advance), while others serve what they want to serve but keep a number of “totally safe” plates of “off menu” items in the kitchen, just in case.

My friend Diana and I hosted a dinner party for 10 recently and went in the opposite direction. We wanted to attempt an ambitious menu of recipes from a private cooking class we had taken with Marc Vetri, a highly acclaimed chef and restaurant owner in Philadelphia. The slow-roasted lamb from his Rustic Italian Food cookbook was the only straightforward (and least rich) of the menu items. To address the food restriction conundrum we decided to attach our full menu to the invitation, which we attempted to word with humility and humor:

“Diana and Dish cordially invite you to join us

In our attempt at the undoubtedly ambitious Marc Vetri menu attached.

We’d be so grateful if you agreed to be a tester.”

The not-so-subtle suggestion we hoped to convey between the lines was: Here’s what we are serving. It’s a lot of work. It’s ambitious and we’re doing it ourselves, so this is all we are going to be able to do. If it looks like there’s something on here you can eat, please join. We stopped short of saying “No substitutions.”

Most everyone we invited came. Everyone who came ate everything. It was a very fun night. Try it!



Dear Dish:

Did you watch Fleischman Is In Trouble? What’d you think?

Time Crunched In Atlanta

Dear Crunched,

Totally get it. There’s a reason it hasn’t been featured in our
DEVOUR column, which I co-edit with Lisa Ellex and in which we recommend the shit we love. It was a grueling slog to get to the last episode of Fleischman. The acting was good, and the storyline was important (in short, a midlife marriage falls apart and our sympathies shift, shockingly, from one partner to the other as our perspective changes from the husband’s to the wife’s). I slogged through it. But long-winded overly-analytical midlife relationship dramas are my favorite form of self-flagellation. Maybe that’s your thing too but if not, since you don’t publish The Crush Letter and so don’t have to be on the continual prowl for entertainment for PrimeCrush Readers to devour, I’m not sure you would want to watch it.



Got a stray question? Submit it using this link.

Get Your Spy Thrill On.

Watch: My Favorite International Spy & Political Thrillers By Dish Stanley

Maybe it’s because I’m the daughter of a career military officer who now teaches geopolitics at a local college, but international political thrillers are my thing. I don’t just watch them, I research them while I’m watching them — the political background, the conflict, the country. So in addition to the thrill, I get a history dive (or refresh). If you spend your winter in the cold (and even if you don’t) here’s how to create some internal heat.

Just in case you missed any of these outstanding international political thrillers here are the favorites I’ve watched (or rewatched) over the last year.

Fauda (Netflix 2015 Series) is an Israeli espionage and political thriller written by two friends based on their experiences in the Israel Defense Forces. Fauda means “chaos” in Arabic and the show offers riveting chaos from the jump, as well as an intense and personal look from an Israeli IDF undercover officer’s perspective of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Watch the trailer here.

The Spy (Netflix 2019 Series) is based on the true story of Israel’s top Mossad spy Eli Cohen. Cohen went undercover in Syria as a wealthy Arab businessman. Cohen infiltrates the highest level of the social and political elite there, sending Israel valuable intelligence by tapping out daily dispatches in Morse code. It’s a nail-biter and a fascinating look inside the Mossad. Watch the trailer here.

Argo (Netflix 2012 Film) is based on the true story of the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. Depicts the CIA’s rescue of the six American civilians who escaped the takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran. Both riveting and darkly humorous, since the rescue involved a ridiculous fictitious scheme to film a sci-fi thriller in Iran. Watch the trailer here.

Continue reading here

AMPLIFY! The 12 Sex With Emily Podcast Episodes CRUSH Readers Should Get On Top Of. By Dish Stanley

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.

Amplify: Sex with Emily Podcast: {No.10} Your Top 5 Sex Questions, Answered

Episode Date October 9, 2021 (45 Minutes)
If you have the q’s, Emily has the a’s. This podcast gives practical advice for the most asked questions about sex.

The Top 5 Questions:

How do I talk to my partner about sex?
First, you have to plan for it. Doing it spontaneously is a serious no-no. She recommends doing it on a road trip, which is smart—no awkward eye contact, but plenty of chills. Sometimes, sex talks get defensive, but Emily has ideas to circumvent that, too.
How can I get better at oral sex? Emily gives ideas on how to help your partner become more giving at oral sex, and it’s not about how you move your mouth. She gets into the psychology of oral sex. If you’re looking for the dirty details, she has plenty, including where to lick and what to hold.
How can I spice up my sex life? When buying new lingerie just isn’t cutting it, Emily says novelty, variety, and spontaneity are the names of the game.
How can I increase my sex drive? Emily talks about playing detective to understand the physical, emotional, and social blocks to getting turned on and the difference between spontaneous and responsive desire.
How can I last longer during sex? News flash: Kegels aren’t just for women. Learning self-control and edging techniques can help anyone delay orgasm and increase sexual pleasure.

Best lines:

7:24 “Communication is lubrication. The more we talk about sex, the better it’s going to get.”

10:10 “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of verbal confirmation…there’s nothing like performing a killer oral act on a partner, and they’re just mute. They’re quiet. You’re like, does this feel good? Do they still have a pulse?”

28:30 “If you have chicken every single night for dinner, well, sometimes you’re going to want pizza!... You’ve been having chicken sex, and now you need some pizza sex.”

36:28 “Sometimes we think it’s a low libido, but we really have high boredom.”
Listen to this episode if: You want specific, detailed ideas about how to solve the most common sexual issues that couples have.

Read more here

Social Media I Loved This Week. By Dish Stanley

@lianafinck Staying up for someone is such a gift.

@dan_regan_comedy So true that it's funny?

@hinwood06 Why I sleep late?

@hipwaldorf Needed this shot of happiness - from a CRUSH Reader!

Song of the Week

Long Time Comin' by John Hiatt

2015 Live performance in Nashville, TN

John Hiatt has been a favorite of mine for over 20 years. I've seen him many times, all over the place, including in an acoustic concert with his friend Lyle Lovett. This is such a "knowing" song. Perspective on a life looking back. And this is a beautiful version of it, enjoy!

Listen here

Don't forget to send me your stray questions! Next week I'm answering one about how you handle a tip at a restaurant when they've added a 20% fair wage service fee to the bill, which is becoming more common. See you then.

Dish Stanley XO,

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

How to Talk to a Midlife Solo. By Dish Stanley
Want to be more sensitive and compassionate? (Of course, you do!) Here are some easy tips to try.
The Solo Issue - Part I
In a series of in-depth conversations with midlife women and men, this author asked volunteers from the PrimeCrush community to share the things they’re hesitant to say out loud to even their closest coupled-up friends. The Secrets That We Keep: Brutally Honest Conversations About Being Solo. By Li…
The Rise of the Contented Midlife Solo. By Dish Stanley
You May Be Single, But You’re Not Alone. Almost half of the adult population in the U.S. is unmarried, a 10% increase since 1970. You can stop asking them if “they’ve met anyone special yet” because it’s rude, and there’s a good chance they’re
Field Trip: Five Married Couples, One Powerful Weekend Away With A Renowned Sex Therapist. By Dish Stanley.
Field Trip: Five Married Couples, One Powerful Weekend Away With A Renowned Sex Therapist. By Dish Stanley. For their 20th wedding anniversary, one couple organized a (pre-COVID) retreat with a leading marital and sex therapist. In this candid q&a with the woman who organized it, we learn why the…
‘Merci’!’ to Emily In Paris for One of the Most Compelling Women in Pop Culture. Sylvie.
Yes, we’ve seen other compelling women over 50 in major shows. But in Season 3 of Emily In Paris, Sylvie becomes a multi-faceted stick of dynamite, and one of the most riveting women to watch on television.


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