“If I were to tell anybody my life-long list of heroines, I would be laughed at for years to come. But the reason why I’m cool with that is because, much like food taste, it’s all relative.” The London Ladybird.

My lovely friend (The London Ladybird) asked me to write a blog for her. She had some stipulations. And I think I’m about fly in the face of every single one of them. I’ve also copped out by writing a blog in response to one of hers, which may result in instant regret on her part.

Ah Well.

In my humble opinion the words “hero” and “heroine” can have different connotations for the different sexes. Don’t worry I’m not about to get all “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus” on your asses. But if you said to a man what does a heroine mean to him, he’s unlikely to reference the Suffragettes. Instead he’d probably think you meant the drug or Wonder Woman.

But it’s not our fault. Television has moulded us from little boys onwards. So, if you said to us what does a hero mean to you? Well, that’s a different kettle of fish entirely.

A hero is Wolverine. He’s stoic, he’s got a steely core and pointy hair. Although your cousin may tell you they might hurt someone so you proceed to chopping them off with scissors. Yes Wolverine (copyright Marvel) is a man’s man. And from a very early age he was my role model.

But then you grow up…

And if you were brought up like me, you were brought up on the four terrestrial channels (don’t get me started on the arrival of Ch 5 and subsequent let down) this meant a strong dependency on VHS tapes as our only form of alternative entertainment. And with it came a different yet familiar hero. Yes I’m about to mention my penchant for Bollywood again.  The Indian hero always got the girl and mimed to a mean tune on his way there. In fact, etched upon my memory is how simply through the power of dance did one Bollywood zero become a hero. Apologies for the obscure reference.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keLmiaB3cqE

But then you grow up…

And you can watch Hollywood films that promote the hero who gets the girl in a bloodied white vest and who said some mean words along the way. And you begin to think if sinister Europeans took over an office building whether you could really be half as cool as John McClane.

But then you grow up…

And you realise you never will be an action hero or a superhero so your hero becomes more mortal. Maybe he’s now a football hero with four kids and married to a former Spice Girl.

See what I mean; a world away from Rosa Parks.

Perhaps being a man, you’re part of the majority and you can idolise different figures from history. These people may not have been trailblazers, but damn it they are heroes.

But then you grow up…

And you realise something you’ve known all along. You might have a hero closer to home. Someone who’s stoic and burps like you’ve never heard a man burp before. He’s raised you and your siblings. And although you might’ve only had terrestrial TV to watch growing up, you know he’s grafted all his life, so you forgive him. Because he bought you your Wolverine action figure, introduced you to Bollywood, turned a blind eye when you watched Die Hard at the age of 10 and lamented with you when Becks left United. But most importantly, because you’ve got Sky now.

He’s a guide on your journey to becoming a man. Because one day you really do have to grow up.

BY FURQUAN AKHTAR

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