Today my Facebook feed has been crammed with people chattering about and linking to The New York Post’s outing of one of their own, as the blogger behind the controversial 300Sandwiches.com. The blogger is freelance stringer, Stephanie Smith, about whom the internet is all abuzz trying to decide how to categorize her and her so-called 1950’s approach to hooking a man (“the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”)
Is she a maligned beauty desperate to prove her worth through the art of cooking, er, uh, well sandwich making (can we really call it cooking?) to a man dangling the prospect of marriage? Or is she just a playful partner attempting to match her man’s sarcastic pokes by taking it to new hilarious heights in a very public forum?
I heard from feminists who felt their hearts sink and their stomachs churn at the sight of this news, I heard from people who think her blog is funny and that people should check their funny bones, I heard from those who had been lingering on her site, armchair cooks who were now fantasizing about being her boyfriend because they so badly wanted some of her damned sandwiches. (Thankfully, she provides the recipes, you only need to move away from the computer and off to the kitchen and soon, you too can tuck into one of her delightful creations.)
After reading the frustrated thoughts and comments from loads of the smart, savvy folks I know, many of them professional writers, food bloggers and just all around whip smart people, I found myself coming to a totally different conclusion and maybe one less obvious option for what exactly is going on here.
So after checking it all out for myself — including her tasty blog. I had two other theories that I wanted to spring on you folks — one is the overlooked possibility that Ms. Smith might just be “getting off” on very publicly being the tortured sandwich-wielding submissive — the other, more obvious choice — that she is a media savvy pro who just found a way to hook, not just her man, but instead all of us — and possibly a book contract while she’s at it.
BDSM for Sandwich Artists or Publicity 101
Peoples relationships are all so personal and idiosyncratic, aren’t they? And sometimes sarcasm doesn’t translate well in writing without all the proper tone and smirk cues. So context and dynamic are key when deciding what you think about this woman, her man or their coupledom.
Things to note though, when analyzing it all — there is something she is getting from all of this, something that is immensely pleasurable for her. That’s a given, because maintaining the making of 300 different sandwiches AND posting, writing and photographing all of those sandwiches takes time and effort. (Trust me, I blog food and there are patches — like now– when I haven’t posted in forever and I adore both blogging and cooking.) I think we have to look at the fact that this, is in all likelihood a publicity stunt to get her food blog attention (in the industry, we’re all constantly trying to “hone our niche” and “increase our audience”) allowing her to transition successfully to a food writing career.
It could, of course, also be some elaborate and kinky extension of their bedroom dynamics, a kind of submission/dominance scenario that fulfills his unquenched desire for sandwiches and her desire to feel as if she is earning her way in — all with a voyeuristic twist. (She likes to be watched . . .making sandwiches.)
Then again, they could be as backward as all get out. It’s true that there are issues here that could be seen as misogynistic or anti-feminist and yes, the karat dangling would seem, on the surface at least, to be problematic.
(Hmmm . . .unless, of course, they’ve already talked about marriage and their future and it’s all just a matter of timing his proposal for the “right time.”)
As all good storytellers and comics know, when sharing a story (one, that in this case, is told a bit like being let in on a couple’s private lexicon, their inside jokes) they could also be withholding the parts that just might keep you from getting to the punchline in time.
No matter what your theories are (and there are a lot of them!) my money’s on publicity, niche and audience share.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the plan is to get everyone to tune into her countdown to 300 sandwiches (she’s only 124 away!! Don’t miss it!) and see if he pops the question. (He will.) Followed by a sandwich book deal and maybe even a follow-up advice book, “How to Land a Man in 300 Sandwiches,” a book tour that includes warming the seats of both the Today and the Tonight show guest chairs (Everyone’s gonna wanna chat up the girl who locked him down with a sandwich. Controversy , friends — there is no bad publicity.)
Soon she’ll be sharing her charmingly funny sandwich recipes and anecdotes between the pages of People magazine,all the while updating her fans on the planning of the wedding — maybe finger sandwiches at the reception and little sandwich shaped cupcakes for the wedding guests.
Mark my words, they’re gonna ride this wave all the way to the sand(wich) bar