If you didn’t hear about the hullabaloo over a New York Post reporter’s article about making her boyfriend 300 different sandwiches to snare an engagement ring, then you may want to catch up.
I took the story as a tongue-in-cheek extension of a joke. Others furiously hailed it as a win for sexist cavemen everywhere. Inasmuch as I subscribe to some feminist notions, I don’t think that Stephanie Smith’s creative approach to her relationship will be the end of women’s strides toward self-definition.
Let’s be real: If a man doesn’t want to marry a woman, even 1,000 sandwiches will not get her to Jared’s. Neither will dropping it low, into a full split, on a handstand, nekkid, while making an apple pie.
Cooking, and any other unrelated activity, is not a litmus test of suitability and worthiness as a partner in a relationship. I should’ve ran with “Flip an Omelette, Land a Man” as my blog idea, in that case!
Long time ago, when I was dating my husband, I forthrightly told him that I was not the cook-every-day type of woman. While I enjoy cooking and put much thought into whipping up good food, I get sauteed out. I appreciate frequent days off when I don’t have to cook but still get to eat.
We have split cooking duties since we were married, and it works for us. Or rather, it works for me. I learned that I give more generously and cheerfully when I do not feel coerced into doing something. A demand robs a gift of joy. I joked yesterday that holding me hostage at the cutting board for the sake of conflict diamonds would not have been the way to woo me.
Cooking, for me, is an act of love. I will make my husband’s favorite steamed crabs and sausages and enjoy the satisfaction on his face as much as I enjoy the meal itself. I demonstrate that I care with banana bread and garlic bok choy.
There is nothing demeaning about giving when it is not put upon you at figurative gun point. Saying “Make me a sandwich or you’re not a good wife,” would be akin to emotional terrorism. But I do not see that in Stephanie’s challenge to herself.
I may not be creative enough to make 300 different sandwiches. But for love, with The Google and focaccia bread, I will gladly make my honey three great sammiches or any other meal he requests. In a Victoria’s Secret apron! (Okay, maybe not; lace offers no protection from grease splatters). The bottom line: my service is not subservience when it is given in freedom and mutual respect.
So go on, Stephanie. Make him those 300 Sandwiches. And if he’s crazy enough to lose you before you get the ring you desire, I’m sure there will be scores of hungry men lining up outside your door in no time.