The Cost of Love Measured Only in Sandwiches

It is the year 2013 and there is a woman in America (perhaps there's more) who will not receive her engagement ring and wedding proposal until she makes 124 more sandwiches. She's already made 176. And she has no plans of stopping. 

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It is the year 2013 and there is a woman in America (perhaps there's more) who will not receive her engagement ring and wedding proposal until she makes 124 more sandwiches. She's already made 176, and she has no plans of stopping The New York Post revealed that the woman behind this sexist-sounding stunt is actually a reporter for Page Six named Stephanie Smith. "We met at a restaurant in Chelsea two years ago when a friend I was dining with spotted an Alexander Skarsgård look-alike," Smith wrote describing her boyfriend, who also bears an uncanny resemblance to Carson Kressley.

Swayed by his good looks and a desire to show her affection, Smith devised the plan after being asked nicely bossed around into making a sandwich for her future fiancé one morning. Here's what that romantic pillow talk sounds like:

Each morning, he would ask, "Honey, how long you have been awake?"

"About 15 minutes," I’d reply.

"You’ve been up for 15 minutes and you haven’t made me a sandwich?"

To him, sandwiches are like kisses or hugs. Or sex. "Sandwiches are love," he says. "Especially when you make them. You can’t get a sandwich with love from the deli." 


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!”

Dangling an engagement in front of Smith is not unlike dangling a carrot in front of a donkey. And some (all?) donkeys, we think, have more sense than to make 300 sandwiches for that carrot.

If 300 sandwiches garners a proposal in Schulte's world of romance, then what about first dates? Twenty-five for third base? And what is the current exchange rate for a chicken parm? That silliness in mind, we created The Atlantic Wire's Sandwich Scale of Love.

Think of us as the Thomas Cook between food and romance. Note: the exchange rates listed below are fluid and you should probably not be dating anyone exchanging love for sandwiches or vice versa.

First Date. Half an English muffin with a pat of butter. Smith didn't start her sandwich-for-marriage ploy until the two had moved in together, so we're going to wing it here and say that if you need to make a sandwich in order to entice someone to even think about getting someone to go out to a terrible movie with you're doing it wrong. If you are making a sandwich, it should be the plainest most low-effort thing possible.
First Base. PB&J. Depending on your dating style, this would be somewhere between the first and third dates. This is probably worth an actual, classic sandwich like a PB&J but one that doesn't involve meat or a fancy cheese.
Second Base. A sandwich that includes lettuce, a meat object (if desired), and a slice of non-Kraft singles cheese. Again, this could be anywhere from date one through five, and it's worth more effort and time than a PB&J.
Third Base. A sandwich that includes turkey. Turkey is the most boring of the sandwich meats, but it shows a true upgrade in the romance department. Making a loved one turkey shows that you might be in it for the long haul and you care about their protein intake, meaning maybe you'd like to see them in it for the long haul too.
The Booty Call. A BLT or Grilled Cheese. You can't decide if you'd like this to go further, but you know everyone loves bacon and grilled cheese.
All the Way. A breakfast sandwich. Sausage, egg and cheese; bacon, egg and cheese; egg and cheese; McDonald's Sausage McMuffin—these are not only ways to show someone you care, but they are also really thoughtful the morning after.
The "What Are We" Date. A chicken-salad sandwich. This sandwich is the equivalent of all the sandwiches we mentioned above, and actually take some work to do right. There's the boiling of the chicken, chopping of onions and celery, and making sure you have the right dijon/mayo/lemon juice ratio. That's a lot of work, and so is having a boyfriend or girlfriend.
First Month Anniversary. A fancy sandwich that includes meat that ends in -etta, -ola or -ella or something with gruyere. To make a fancy sandwich like this, you need to actually go to a store to procure the ingredients, which means you may have to learn how to pronounce capicola.
Six-Month Anniversary. 72 sandwiches or three and a half chicken/eggplant parms. Smith told The Post her current sandwich output is three sandwiches a week, or 12 sandwiches a month which would put us at around 72 at month six. At this point, it's more about quality rather than quantity. A melty chicken (or eggplant if you prefer) parmigiana sandwich on a soft, chewy hero is worth about 20 slapdash sandwiches. Plus, at this point you're more likely to stay in than go out, which you need to do if you're stuffing all the mozzarella, tomato sauce, and breaded protein into your gaping maw.
One-Year Anniversary. 144 sandwiches or this thing called a porchetta. This is close to where Smith is at. She could have saved herself all that time if she just figured out how to create this heaven-sent masterpiece. Another viable option would be just to take the sandwich home and never look back.
Two-Year Anniversary. 288 sandwiches. At this point, you have to realize you are dating an adult child, and that in making 288 sandwiches, you've made more sandwiches than a mom would during a single school year (there are 180 or so instructional days in one school year).
The Engagement. Under Smith's sandwich-making output, this would happen about two years (288 sandwiches) and one month (12 sandwiches) into the relationship. And whoever you made those sandwiches for should appreciate you enough not to ask for another sandwich again. Don't sign a pre-nup.
The Divorce. As of 2009, the median length of a marriage ending in divorce was around eight years, 1,152 sandwiches if you are still counting (1,296 if you have a one-year engagement) you are entitled to half the assets which means you better be asking for at least 600 sandwiches.
For non-sandwich lovers. We were always told that an engagement ring should be worth around two months of someone's salary. The average cost of an engagement ring is about $5,200, reported. Extrapolating the 300 homemade sandwiches, you could conceivably also procure these things for those sandwiches:
  • Around 10,400 Krispy Kreme donuts (it's about $6 for a dozen). 
  • About 20,841 Chicken McNuggets ($4.99 for 20)
  • About 4,381 pieces of Popeye's chicken (18.99 for 20 pieces)
  • A feature in the New York Post.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.