My first oyster experience was very intimidating... a co-worker ordered some for the table so I felt obligated to try one. So down it goes with some lemon juice, cocktail sauce and no chewing and I'm thinking... why the heck did I just do that. I tasted the lemon and the cocktail sauce and it was good but the meat of the bite wasn't tasted and just swallowed. Maybe I could've swished it around or something but I wasn't sure what to do with it.
Moving forward, I went to another oyster joint with the significant other and she ordered some. Following her lead I had a few (still hesitant) but I chewed them and then I really started to appreciate them for their crisp clean ocean-y flavor. Now I chew them and I love them, small and raw is preferred but small ones at Christmas time fried up are another favorite (family tradition).
So reading some old post I see some people are adamant that you swallow them whole without chewing. I'll probably continue to chew them but if it is a faux pas, perhaps I'd consider being more "polite" in certain situations.
Maybe there are two schools of thought on this and there isn't much reason to argue what is right but I'm curious what the general consensus is...