Open-Faced Sandwiches: Can One Slice of Bread Make All the Difference?

Julia Harrison, Opinion Editor

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Open-faced sandwiches are impractical and weird-looking and kind of an obnoxious thing, really, like J-Woww’s boob job or studded heels or that wart on your thumb.

But more disturbing than the sandwich itself,are the kind of people that get open-faced sandwiches! Here you are, unwillingly sitting next to one of them, and she can only talk to you about her “wine-colored gelac mani” and “the sexual benefits of an exercise ball.”

These kind of people, including this woman sitting across from you stirring Sugar in the Raw into her chai tea, are always wearing ponytails that never have any pieces coming out, all their hair swept back perfectly. And you know they don’t use hairspray because “aerosol cans are bad for the environment.”

These are the kind of people fail to realize that you don’t care that they’ve saved themselves 300 calories by leaving off the bra of their sandwich.

You’re too busy thinking about what reason you have to get out of bed tomorrow and wait–did you have a reason today? That Ebola outbreak is haunting you while this birdbrain has started to chatter on incessantly about Ashtanga yoga. Significant parts of the world are starving and barefoot and this woman is ordering her second chai tea latte with her platinum American Express. Then you’re thinking about money and power and mortality and your “inevitably dismal future.”

Oh no,

The words have slipped out of your mouth in a whisper just as The Woman With the Open-Faced Sandwich is talking to you about her new juicer.

And people like these, people who get open-faced sandwiches, they’re always staring blankly at you as soon as you say anything that’s not about IKEA or the chakra you’ve felt most in sync with lately.

So you say something like “Oh sorry, I was just trying to remember this thing I heard on Oprah this morning, but please, tell me more about your Vitamix.”

You say it a little too coldly, so that it makes you realize you’re being pretty horrible about this whole thing.

And maybe it is not this person at all that is making your right eye twitch. It’s not this naturally blonde woman and the infinity tattoo on her wrist that is driving you farther from the table and lower into your seat,

It is just that sandwich.

It’s glaring at you, with all of its organic and FDA-approved ingredients spilling off of the toasted rye. Everything that’s piled onto the sandwich is so terribly exposed and that corned beef is such an unattractive thing to have to look at while you’re trying to slurp down your cup of black coffee.

Maybe it’s the dreadful vulnerability of the sandwich that so irks you, the idea that you can see all of it, it’s keeping no secrets and it’s hiding nothing. Maybe it’s that you’ve realized that at any moment all those ingredients could start to slide on the spicy brown mustard and slip onto the aging hardwood of this antique-store-made-coffee-shop, and that maybe you could too.

The woman sitting across from you in cropped yoga pants and a Sierra Club t-shirt is a little bit like her sandwich, too, really, and it terrifies you. She’s ostentatious and a little obnoxious but she is open. She isn’t hiding behind a layer of multigrain the way that you are and always have. Being able to see that sauerkraut that looks like hundreds of inside-out fish is very unnerving and grosses you out a little bit, but it’s also fascinating to see and interesting.

And just as you finish this thought, you see a piece of hair fall from her ponytail into her face while she’s raising her open-faced sandwich to her lips, and you watch the free-range corned beef start to slide, taking the swiss cheese with it, and it lands with a terrible kplsplat! into her lap.

The Woman With the Open-Faced Sandwich wipes up the spicy mustard and sauerkraut on the floor with a recycled napkin as she sits down again. She smiles at you like she knows exactly what you’re thinking.

You are afraid of the look she just gave you and also amazed by it. So amazed that you take off the top piece of toasted whole wheat that’s covering your sandwich, you lay it down next to your plate and you take your first bite of your vegan mediterranean.