With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, many will be thinking about the best way to treat their loved one to a romantic evening.
Whether it’s a candlelit dinner, a stunning bouquet of flowers, or a sweet walk along the river, there are plenty of ways to woo your partner that day.
But as I thought about what I could do with my boyfriend of six years, Kartik, my mind kept wandering to a news story from October, where a woman in Atlanta, Georgia, sensationally slurped down 48 oysters on a first date.
The influencer, whose name is EcuanaB on TikTok, went viral after he filmed himself ordering four dozen oysters at Fontaine’s Oyster House and noisily drinking them during dinner.
And that was not all.
Elmira, 26, pictured, ate 48 oysters in an attempt to channel viral ‘Oyster girl’ EquanaB, from Georgia.
Once it was all over, the woman ordered crab cakes and red skin potatoes, which she said were a “ten out of ten,” and drank two lemon cocktails throughout the night.
His date didn’t think so and after telling EquanaB he was going to the bathroom, he left and never returned.
EquanaB’s story went back and forth, sparking countless arguments about whether her date was right to bail and whether or not she should have offered to pick up the bill, but I couldn’t help but be fascinated.
Soon no one else was talking about it, but as the months went by I just had more and more questions.
How abundant are oysters? Is 48 really a lot? Are they calorific? How often does EquanaB do this?
I was also baffled by the choice to go to an oyster bar; After all, are they even good date food?
In theory, oysters are known to be the most famous aphrodisiac because they are an extremely rich source of zinc, a mineral essential for the production of sperm and testosterone.
But there really aren’t many studies that directly link zinc to sexual health. A study published in the US Library of Medicine found that zinc supplementation increased the production of testosterone, the main hormone linked to sexual desire, but said there were limited effects in helping alleviate sexual dysfunction in men .
Elmira admitted that while the challenge was totally doable, it was still a curious choice for a first date.
Elmira praised the oysters (pictured), but felt they were an overwhelming first date idea.
The reporter combined her oysters with lemon, Tabasco and a glass of white wine for the romantic date
Elmira made her way through 48 oysters after a viral TikToker did the same on a first date
There is also limited research to suggest that adding zinc to your diet helps increase sexual desire.
All this to say: I knew it was time to investigate things for myself.
When I first asked Kartik how he felt spending a romantic dinner watching me eat 48 oysters, while he ate his choice, in the Burger and Lobster restaurant in Soho, asked us to bring a third person “in case of a medical emergency.”
Since October, he had become increasingly worried as he watched me wax poetic about “the Oyster Girl,” and now his worst nightmare was coming true. I wasn’t just talking about “the Oyster girl” anymore, I wanted to become “an Oyster girl.”
In the end, he was won over by my extensive research (showing that oysters are not only very low in calories, so likely not filling, but also incredibly rich in vitamins) and a growing curiosity about whether EquanaB’s feat was really so intimidating. as it seemed.
When we arrived at the restaurant on Dean Street, our very friendly waiter’s face quickly became horrified when I ordered 48 oysters.
‘Why don’t I get a dozen and see how you feel?’ she suggested, with Kartik desperately chiming in in agreement, but I doubled down.
Elmira says she didn’t have any side effects (other than feeling a little full) after dinner, and even felt a little hungry afterward.
The oysters came with some onion, Tabasco and lemons, making it a perfectly refreshing selection.
My game plan was to separate the seafood into four sets of 12 as a way to pace myself. I also wanted to make sure I kept it nice and slow.
The first six oysters were basically nothing. I was quite hungry and they were fresh and absolutely delicious, so they were gone in seconds. I drizzled mine with a little Tabasco while my boyfriend warily enjoyed a lobster roll.
We also ordered a bottle of white wine, a recommendation from our waiter, in an attempt to emulate the two cocktails EquanaB had on their date.
Soon enough, I finished the other six as well. I realized that maybe putting Tabasco on each one might not be sustainable since my lips started burning, so I decided to take a break and opt for lemons in the next round.
Once I finished the first twelve, I had forgotten that I was doing something out of the ordinary. Kartik and I just engaged in a normal conversation, enjoying our evening.
However, by then I was firmly convinced that I couldn’t imagine doing this on a first date. Not because the oysters were unpleasant or difficult, but because after Kartik finished his meal in half an hour, he simply had to watch me eat.
In EquanaB’s case, her date had only had the drinks.
About an hour later, I was already halfway there, with 24 empty oyster shells stacked behind me.
Briefly, I wondered if EquanaB had actually slurped all of hers out loud as demonstrated in the video, because I felt my lips dry out and decided to continue spooning them out.
A comparison I frequently made in my mind is that I equated eating 48 oysters with 48 sips of soup.
But while I didn’t necessarily feel bad at the time, I felt completely neutral, and not even bloated or that full; In fact, I kept stealing Kartik’s fries; I started to feel like I was swimming in the ocean. I decided that one wouldn’t feel like that after 24 sips of soup.
But while I was dazed by the oysters, the atmosphere in the restaurant lifted and the waiters and other diners now seemed curious and excited by my efforts.
Kartik, who had started off hesitant, perked up and at several points applauded me after I drank another oyster. I wondered if EquanaB had similar reactions before his date snuck off to the bathroom.
It was only at 42 oysters that I really started to wonder if I could finish it all. My boyfriend and I had been talking about Star Wars movies and whether we liked Disney movies when I started to feel, for the first time that night, full.
Kartik was ranting about Kylo Ren when I had to ask him to stop talking for a moment because I started to feel a little nauseous.
I imagine, in a completely different and incomparable context, that this is what marathon runners mean when they “hit the wall” and feel like they can’t go any further.
Kartik and Elmira enjoyed dinner from Burger & Lobster, and Elmira picked her way through 48 oysters.
In the end, however, Elmira says she’s not sure she can “with all my heart advise against eating 48 oysters on a first date.”
But after a few playful words from Kartik, as well as an encouraging look and thumbs up from our waiter, I found my second wind, broke through “the wall” and slurped down the last six oysters in a quick round of fire.
I didn’t have any side effects (other than feeling a little full) after dinner. In fact, a couple of hours later I got quite hungry and we ordered a pizza for delivery.
Also, and I wasn’t sure if this was related, I then had the deepest, most dreamless sleep of my life.
I woke up feeling well rested. Perhaps it’s not surprising, since oysters contain melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep better and is even used to treat insomnia.
More than an aphrodisiac, I found this seafood to be a great way to ensure a restful night.
The rest of my weekend after dinner was uneventful until Sunday night before work, where a bad takeout left me nauseous and cramping.
I wondered if perhaps my stomach was simply overloaded after an experimental weekend, but the more likely answer is that the questionably greasy dish I ordered left me with a hint of food poisoning.
However, while I applaud EquanaB’s resilience, I still find this an odd practice for a first date. I only ate a third of their entire meal, which included two sides and cocktails, and I still felt a little like I’d been pushed off a dock.
And while we enjoyed our time, I can’t imagine anyone would want to watch me methodically eat seafood unless they’d been with me for six years.
Also, while I enjoy oysters, I have a hard time seeing them as a great romantic meal: I’m sometimes left searching for bits of shell around my mouth or having to try to catch the slippery shellfish in my mouth after making a short commitment to a sip.
In the end, though, I’m not sure I can wholeheartedly advise against eating 48 oysters on a first date.
It was a delicious meal, a conversation starter and, to quote EquanaB herself, who has since released an album titled Oyster Tuesday, “you asked me out…I’m going to eat!”