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Study Shows Men Lie About Liking Hot Sauce to Appear Manlier

This fits with my own observations. Yes.


Say you really like Frank’s Red Hot sauce. You might avoid mentioning this to people, because there’s a solid chance that any dude within earshot will start going on about the super spicy hot sauce you should really try and how the hot sauce you like is wrong, because it doesn’t matter to them that you are eating what you like to eat; it’s all a food-based, verbal version of playing punch-face at that point, and we have the science to back it up.

According to a new study, the “you should eat food that tastes good to you” opinion is basically spitting in the face of masculinity… or something like that. “Gender differences in the influence of personality traits on spicy food liking and intake” is available online ahead of its publication in Food Quality and Preference, and in it, Penn State researchers Nadia Byrnes and John Hayes found that women generally eat spicy foods to for “sensation seeking” while men consume them due to “sensitivity to reward.”

The Cut reports that the researchers wrote, “It is possible that the cultural association of consuming spicy foods with strength and machismo has created a learned social reward for men.”

So in simple terms, the data showed that women generally eat things because they like them while men treat the Scoville scale as their own personal masculinity meter. Of course, this doesn’t go for every individual out there, but it’s a not-altogether-surprising confirmation that the guy talking his friends into eating something they probably won’t like is probably just trying to prove what an awesome tough guy he is—as people who just eat food because they like it already suspected.

Men really want to be “that guy who loves hot sauce,” but they’re really just being “that guy.” Don’t be that guy.

(via Jezebel, image via Marcus Zorbis)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.