This is a short story.

Firstly, Every Boy should be available. Please note the condition of the should be, considering this is not always the case. Often, one’s Every Boy is no longer a boy, has someone else, or is in such a position that you cannot, morally speaking, get to him. But Every Boy should be available. That is the best.

Moving on. Every Boy should dress like he gives a damn about how he looks and not like this is school picture day, and these duds are what Mom bought last week at the mall. If the author, a woman somewhere in her terrible twenties, is expected to look like she just came out of a Mattel box everyday, Every Boy should put forth equal effort. It’s the least he can do. Purple and pink are nowhere near off limits and are, in fact, encouraged. The Shapeless Blob of Khaki or Plaid can be forgone every now and then, but if it is what he likes, wearing it can be upgraded to Topic of Discussion.

Every Boy should refrain from alleged jokes that demand women to “get back to the kitchen” or to “make sandwiches.” Every Boy should know that these are not jokes at all but hateful statements that enrage women, destroy women, and in some cases, they do both. Furthermore, Every Boy should instead make fun of those who make alleged jokes such as these.

Every Boy should be proud of you and tell you so.

Also (and this is most crucial) Every Boy should be intelligent. Intelligence varies. Some want an Every Boy who knows how to fix your brakes and won’t even charge you. Some want an Every Boy who graduated from high school by the skin of his teeth. According to the author, Every Boy should have or aspire to obtain as many degrees as her father and mother combined. To disclose the sum is not important. Every Boy should understand your allusions. For example, if you spot a pair of twins and liken them to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Every Boy should at least be able to offer up a laugh. At best, he should be able to reply, “Haven’t you heard? They’re dead,” referencing two plays at one time. However, this is characteristic of a very rare Every Boy. There may only be three of his kind.

You and Every Boy should differ on at least one but no more than three Very Important Things. The list of Very Important Things is medium in length, but examples are worth noting. Maybe Every Boy likes Pepsi, and you choose Coca-Cola. Maybe Every Boy is a dog person, and you love cats so much there is a poster of T.S. Eliot hanging over your bed. Maybe you’re a Beatles fan, and Every Boy prefers any other band that came out of the rock and roll British Invasion. It’s possible that you prefer jam over jelly, and he “doesn’t really see the difference.” The most dangerous combination of these is a Pepsi drinker who thinks anyone is better than Paul McCartney. Be wary of that one. Other than that, flaws are meant to be embraced.

Every Boy should come from a town that rock stars sing about. If he was born and raised in south Detroit, go for it. If he’s from Las Vegas, viva it. If he originated in Wichita, then a seven-nation army couldn’t hold him back, and you must be in business. Cities like Scranton, Canton, and anything else that rhymes are not worth it. There’s no mystery. There’s no quotable. Every Boy should have more to him than that.

It is at this point the author would like to point out that by Every Boy, she does not mean every boy. For these are two entirely different concepts. Every boy, with both letters in lowercase unless the English language demands otherwise (as it has in this sentence), does not have to conform to this specific set of rules. That would be cruel and unrealistic, and Every Boy would never do this to a woman.