My Hero Doesn’t Exist

Laura Kinson shows that sometimes the best kind of companionship comes from the imagination.

My hero is a best friend and a ruthless critic. He stands up for me and corrects me when I say that Porto is the capital city of Portugal. My hero tells me that he’s proud of me every day and promises to mar my face with laugh lines in our old age. He is there to hold my hand at any given moment, but pushes me forward when he sees the fear of rejection flash across my face. He is tall and guarded, ambitious and unconditional in supporting his friends. My hero is OK with the fact that I can talk circles around him about media and history, and likes that our Jeopardy scores are almost always the same. He trades home cooked meals for washing the dishes and has an affinity for cable-knit sweaters. My hero gives me time, space, his concern, pretzels, games of Backgammon, and his favorite sweatpants from college.

My hero calls just to leave a message and whispers songs to me when it’s 3:00 a.m. and I can’t fall asleep. My hero loves his family but isn’t pushing us towards becoming one. He has limitless dreams, takes time to copy edit emails, knows what the difference between tan and beige is, and doesn’t tease me when I crave mustard every day. My hero calls me “kiddo” because he knows I don’t mean it when I say I hate it. He holds me accountable and doesn’t let me slack off. He surprises me.

My hero stops to open doors, runs through the rain to get the car, and will let anyone over the age of 60 cut him in line. He is strong enough to carry all of the groceries inside in one trip and able-bodied enough to assemble all of our furniture while I sit nearby and supervise the moving-in playlist. He knows the answers to questions about my favorite color, how I like my coffee, where I went to high school, and what we should do for dinner tonight. He forgets my birthday because he knows I don’t care, but always remembers that Easter is my favorite holiday and that I have to watch Groundhog Day on February 2nd. He enunciates and reminds me when my car payment is due. He makes sure there are always eggs in the house and doesn’t bother me if I have M&M’s for lunch.

My hero takes pictures at momentous occasions, but also at the dinner table. He takes 30 seconds to make life-changing decisions but agonizes over whether his gray or maroon tie will go better with his outfit today. He sees beauty in inanimate objects, talks to himself in the shower, and likes to stare at me across a room full of people to let me know he just thought of an inside joke that only I would laugh at.

My hero thinks, writes, composes, builds, tries, pretends, reads, drives, smiles, jogs, jokes, scribbles, calls, texts, types, dances, sautés, strides, boasts, impresses, toasts, laughs, feels, stretches, and means it when he says, “I miss you.” For now, my hero is hypothetical. But the best part of my hero is that he is a part of everyone leading up to him.

Check out the rest of our “Men and Heroism” section.

The “Men and Heroism” section was run and edited by Dave Kaiser.

—Photo Lanyap/Flickr


  1. Valter Viglietti says:

    Nice piece. 🙂

    But, as usual, I like to play devil’s advocate. 😉
    – If your attitude is “He could be all of that”, that’s great and inspiring.
    – If your attitude is “He should be all of that”, that’s burdening and worrisome.

    The problem with lists like the one above (be it about manliness, heroism or whatever), it’s when it sounds like something one MUST do, or else. When it’s not a choice, is a duty.
    I think many men fear that kind of pressure (me included, of course).

  2. Your hero is part of you; it’s the only way you know him so well. And, knowing he’s there takes the pressure off the real men.


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