There comes a moment toward the end of every holiday in my family — when the tables are cleared and the sink is piled high — that a question is asked: “Can I make you a sandwich?”
The answer is usually, obviously, yes, followed by the uncrinkling of foiled-up leftovers and the clinking of plates. But lately, I’ve found myself hesitating. Maybe it’s the six-figure book deal a writer got after she acceded to her boyfriend’s demand that she make him three hundred sandwiches before he’d propose to her. Maybe it’s the boorish persistence of those “Cool Story Babe. Now Go Make Me a Sandwich” t-shirts favored by a certain type of sexless micro-penised cretin, an emotionally bereft slogan I’ve actually seen bandied about a lot online today, on International Women’s Day of all days.
GOT A PIC pic.twitter.com/8EuZoKm5bV
— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) March 7, 2015
Now that every sandwich comes served with a side of appetite-suppressing cultural baggage, they’re a lot harder to swallow.
Telling someone to make you a sandwich is a crude perversion of everything that’s good about sandwiches in the first place. The sandwich isn’t something to be demanded, but a gift we receive with gratitude, because someone else wants us to have it. It isn’t the sandwich that’s the item of value, it’s the consideration put into preparing it. That’s something that transcends stereotypical gender roles.
“Here: I made you a sandwich.” is just another way of saying “I love you.” That’s something you can’t ask for before you’ve earned it.