OPINION: By Lola Shaw
Do you ever want to grab yourself by the shoulders and shake the stupid out of your brain? I do.
Usually because of a boy - no, not a man, and no, not a small child, but a man-child. One who plays games, both on PlayStation and with hearts.
One who takes his washing to his mum's house because he doesn't know why you need to wash whites and colours separately.
I apologise if I have led you to believe this article is about the silly boys that take up 48 per cent of my day. It is not about silly boys - it is about how trying to change them will result in changing yourself (and you'll want to shake the stupid out of your brain).
The biggest problem women face is starting a relationship one-way and trying to turn it into something else.
I knew exactly what I was getting into with ex-boyfriend No 2. It was fun, flirty, relaxed and the dates were never more extraordinary than eating McDonald's in the carpark at 1am.
So please, brain, tell me why three months in, I thought this man-child would pull a 180 and decide to take me to the flashest restaurant in town?
Was I deluded? Or, did I think he was a burger I could custom-make?
Why do so many women fall in love with men and try to change them?
Rom-coms, that's why. These movies portray an unrealistic outlook on relationships.
They pick the man with the beat-up sweatpants and low ambition, he meets the girl and she "fixes" him and turns him into a young Brad Pitt. Maybe not quite, but you get the gist.
TV and pop culture have formed the way we enter relationships to the point where women "naturally" fall in love with a man-child's potential.
But there's a slight issue. The first trimester of the relationship tends to be the best. It's when everything is sparkly and new, when you wear tight dresses, make-up and do your hair every time you see him. In return, he showers and doesn't fart in front of you.
Where I and other single gals go wrong is thinking that after the first trimester it's going to get better. Boy, oh boy, was I wrong!
If his sparkly move has been buying you McDonald's at 1am and letting you eat it in his 2017 Subaru Impreza, you can't suddenly expect him to take you to a restaurant with $50 mains.
Men like habits. It's why they own 15 T-shirts that look the same and why "smoko" has always been and always will be at 10am. It's why going on the same date for three months becomes a habit.
Would any man-child want to change a habit that doesn't require him to get out of the car or wear nice clothes?
No - eating fast food in a carpark, wearing sweatpants and sitting beside the woman they like is "living the dream".
So why would you try to fix something that's not broken?
Unlike a rom-com, nothing is going to change, he'll never be Brad Pitt (and those beat-up sweatpants are here to stay).
So, ladies, shake the stupid out of your head and accept that while a burger in a carpark at 1am may be fun at the start, it will set the tone for the relationship.
If you want more sparkle, make it crystal clear early on - or you'll be trying to fix a man-child that was never broken.