Spicy Food in Indonesia

My informant SH told me this when we were eating spicy Indonesian noodles. He asked me if I could handle the spice, and when I asked “how about you?” he told me he was training himself to handle more spice. When I asked him why, he responded with this:

“In Indonesia, if you are a guy who can’t eat spicy, people assume that you’re gay!”

“Who told you that?”

“I think my parents or grandma told me this. As a kid because I didn’t like spicy food, they told me this to try to get me to eat more spicy food. I asked around afterwards and apparently it’s a real thing. Even when I went back to Indonesia recently and I was eating with my relatives, they legit thought I was gay when I wouldn’t eat the spicy food!”

Since a lot of Indonesian food is spicy, it is probably assumed that most “true Indonesians” can handle spicy food. Based off this assumption, eating spicy food would be the norm, and if you deviated from the norm, then you would likely be associated with other deviations from the norm in Indonesia, such as being homosexual.