This week, the New York Post made the bold claim that chicken parm — breaded chicken breast bathed in marinara sauce and parmesan — is “NYC’s aphrodisiac of choice.”
Excuse me, what?
Personally, I cannot think of many meals less likely to send me into paroxysms of lust. Nothing against chicken parm, which can be a delicious, cheesy culinary undertaking, but eating it generally leaves me feeling like I want to first take a nap and then find a church confessional in which to repent for my gluttony. It does not make me feel like I want to get naked and jostle my body around with someone.
Others, apparently, feel differently. One woman, Carly Spiewak, a 25-year-old from Hoboken, told the Post she is constantly coming across what she called “chicken parm guys” on dating apps.
Jonny Adler, a 25-year-old from Jersey City, allowed himself to be photographed enjoying chicken parm with a date, and took it a step further, describing the dish as “totally an aphrodisiac.”
It is notable that the proponents of chicken parm as a horny food seem to overwhelmingly be men, and surely scholars will take a deep look at why that is for years to come. I think it’s probably because the men in question will eat a whole lot of cheese and chicken and then use it as an excuse to lay prone while their partner does all the work, but I’m not a scientist, or from New Jersey, so I can’t say for sure.
In any case, the Post’s article does raise an important question: What is the best pre-sex meal?
There are the traditional aphrodisiacs, of course, like oysters, chocolate, Champagne. But those are a little aggressive for say, a first date. There is a correct pre-sex meal, though, and I will tell you what it is now.
What? But that’s not a meal! Exactly. All you need is a handful olives, some chips, perhaps a shared appetizer, picked over absently as you enjoy a couple of drinks and the knowledge that soon you will be doing it.
Look, technically any meal, even chicken parm, is a pre-sex meal if you have the will and the gastrointestinal fortitude. Sometimes, in a relationship, you hump your partner even though you just ate a huge burrito and feel like a blimp, because love is about sacrifice. But when sex is the whole point of your evening, be it with your spouse or a new date, you don’t want to weigh yourself down with a whole, heavy meal that will be heaving around in your stomach later. For now, keep the food light, and then later you can indulge in a real treat: the post-coital chicken parm.