"Make me a sandwich."
That's what my boyfriend, E, asks without fail every morning. Not "babe, where are my keys?" Not, "honey, where are my socks?" And no, not even, "C'mon, just the tip?" Sandwiches. Doesn't matter what kind. Two pieces of bread, some meat and cheese and he's in heaven.
So began that infamous blog 300 Sandwiches by Stephanie Smith. In the summer of 2012 those lines spurred more than a million #TFM (total frat move) jokes and had feminists up in arms. And no wonder: this woman was actively making sandwiches for her boyfriend and cataloguing them within the context that he would propose by the three-hundredth veiled threat. In the very beginnings of viral blogging, it was a quick hit, mostly because it was so controversial. Not to mention masochistic on the part of the blogger. It gave the appearance that she had to bribe her boyfriend with homemaking skills to appease his stomach, trying to "earn" that piece of jewelry that serves as a tangible promise between two adults.
Things are fairly serious between E and I. We've been dating for more than a year, and recently, we moved in together to a lovely Brooklyn apartment...I realized what it would take to get him to commit after the first time I made him a turkey on whole wheat bread, with mustard, lettuce and swiss cheese.
"Honey, this is the best sandwich ever!" he exclaimed in between bites so rapid in succession, the sandwich was gone in minutes. And then, he dropped a bomb me: "You're, like, 300 sandwiches away from an engagement ring."
1950s comedy gold, right? Except this was real life 21st-Century. Since the blog's inception four years ago, it has mercifully faded into obscurity, with recent posts detailing their wedding and pregnancy. Good for them on staying together and contributing to the human race, but content-wise, there's nothing interesting there.
As a former blogger myself (I know, I know), it was your job to twist trite content into something that could be mistaken as a newfound concept. The Internet is saturated with cooking blogs, and Smith saw an opening by dragging her boyfriend into the mix. While cooking for loved ones isn't a novel idea -- for example, Cooking For Jeffrey by Ina Garten came out last week (bless her) -- openly making sandwiches to "win" your partner hadn't been attempted, because it's a stupid idea.
The media dubbed E "the Internet's Worst Boyfriend," bloggers attacked the loving couple for setting back the cause of women's rights and opinions about their romance echoed from as far away as Japan. Soon, Smith found her cooking and her relationship under the harsh glare of the spotlight.
She had to know it was controversial. He knew he was going to come off as a pissant. It just goes to show the extremes that people will go to for page views and a book or video deal. That she wasn't able to capitalize on this concept further than a cookbook just goes to show that some pieces of the internet have a shelf life. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to try and find an updated version of the dancing hamsters website.