“Make me a sandwich!” is an all-too-common phrase chauvinistic men like to throw around to reestablish women as domesticated and subservient. While most women tend to reject the condescending order, now you can meet Stephanie Smith, a woman who not only agreed to make her boyfriend a sandwich, but hopes she can make him enough hoagies that he’ll ask her to marry him.
Smith maintains a blog, 300 Sandwiches, chronicling her quest to keep her boyfriend, Eric Schulte, happy and well fed, all the while optimistically counting down to a wedding proposal. Although the project may prompt some feminists to lose their lunches, it has also attracted a lot of positive attention from the media, food enthusiasts, and celebrity chefs like Emeril Lagasse. Smith explains the blog’s conception:
Each morning [my boyfriend] would ask… “You’ve been up for 15 minutes and you haven’t made me a sandwich?”
It may seem offensive to the rest of us, but to Smith, it sounded affectionate.
To him, sandwiches are like kisses or hugs.
Sure, if you say so. Eventually, Smith decided to make him a sandwich: turkey and Swiss.
As he finished that last bite, he made an unexpected declaration of how much he loved me and that sandwich: “Honey, you’re 300 sandwiches away from an engagement ring!”
While you and I might hear that as an empty promise designed to string her along and get more meals prepared for him, Smith took it to heart.
Was our happily ever after as simple as making him a few sandwiches?… Maybe I needed to show him I could cook to prove that I am wife material. If he wanted 300 sandwiches, I’d give him 300 sandwiches – and I’d blog about it.
Smith adopts an interesting – if not troublesome – take: if domesticated subservience is what men want in a wife, why not give it to them? Rather than considering his routine order for a sandwich as an affront, she took it as a challenge.
Still, even if you’re willing to overlook Smith’s boyfriend’s routine sexist request, it’s hard to ignore the blog’s social implications. 300 Sandwiches champions marriage as the ideal and showcases the writings of a woman who feels incomplete without being a wife.
Ten sandwiches or so in, I did the math. Three sandwiches a week, times four weeks a month, times 12 months a year, meant I wouldn’t be done until I was deep into my 30s. How would I finish 300 sandwiches in time for us to get engaged, married and have babies before I exited my childbearing years?
Over a year’s worth of posts and 176 sandwiches later, Smith still does not have a ring on her finger. In fact, there is no concrete promise from Schulte that he will follow through with his turkey-fueled claim to propose, though he is enjoying reaping the sandwich rewards in the meantime. Nonetheless, Smith continues on her quest, as if a relationship can ultimately be measured in the number of times she makes him dinner.
If this blog leaves a bad taste in your mouth that no amount of egg salad could change, check out this list of Feminist Blogs that’ll resurrect your faith in the human race. Notably, among the entries is Make Me a Sandwich Bitch, a blog that pokes fun at males who gratuitously use the title phrase by turning their own tweets against them.
Meanwhile, to be fair to Smith, “300 Sandwiches” features plenty of appetizing food photography and recipes; it’s clear that she’s become more creative in a culinary sense since starting the project. It’s just unfortunate that when her boyfriend kept telling her to make him a sandwich, she worried that her biological clock was ticking and tried to appease him.
Just think of how much more empowering the blog would be if she dumped Schulte for making rude and condescending comments and spent the following months learning to make 300 amazing sandwiches for herself.
Photo Credit: Susan Lucas Hoffman