1. YOU MIGHT NOT ACTUALLY FANCY EACH OTHER
Mike and Laura first lock eyes after being roped into a party neither of them wants to be at. Never mind love at first, it's not even lust at first sight. "Short and shy," is how Laura sums up her potential suitor, and Mike's not too impressed either. In fact, he's too busy being wowed by her annoyingly gorgeous sister Helen. But that's the way things are: you may have our own physical "type" you go for, but fate doesn't always factor that little detail in when you bump into your future-beloved. Sigh.
2. HAVING STUFF IN COMMON IS OPTIONAL
If having the same interests was all that important, dating would be a lot easier than it actually is. But in the real world, having a mutual love of cats, sticky toffee pudding and long walks in the park is no guarantee you'll actually tolerate each other. Anyway, chances are you'll be too busy disagreeing on things. Look at Mike and Laura. He likes Indian food, she likes Chinese. She likes going to the cinema in the afternoon, he can't stand it. As someone else says of Mike and Laura, "the only thing those two have in common is having nothing in common".
3. ROMANTIC GESTURES WILL BE RARE
When it comes to laying on the charm, Mike isn't exactly a George Clooney type. This is the man whose idea of a lovey-dovey gift is a kitchen sink, offered up like it's a bouquet of flowers. In fact, Laura often complains about Mike's utter absence of romance, and you can't blame her when he starts droning about parking on double yellow lines just when he's about to kiss her. We've all been there. Well, almost.
4. NICE IS GOOD
It's a sad fact that many of us are put off potential partners because they're "too nice". According to classic romances, soulmates should be thrilling, feisty, brooding, energetic and unpredictable. Even Laura, an eminently sensible and down-to-earth lady, is drawn to bad boys over nice chaps like Mike. But as the series goes on she starts to realise that "nice" doesn't have to mean "boring". Which is nice.
5. SPONTANEITY IS GOODS
In classic rom-coms, being spontaneous usually means a ridiculously OTT gesture that would probably have you laughed at (or locked up) in real life. Think Paul Hogan getting to his lady by literally walking on people's heads in Crocodile Dundee, or Richard Gere leaping out of a limo's sun roof in Pretty Woman. Mike never quite goes that far, but he knows when to give a bit of a flourish - like the time he distracts Laura from her dentist-phobia by reciting a poem while upside down.
6. IT'S OK TO FEEL COMFORTABLE
There's this idea that proper romances should be a bit rocky and turbulent. Love is somehow more "real" if you're gnashing your teeth and going out of your mind with angst. But we're not all Heathcliff/Cathy or Richard Burton/Elizabeth Taylor types, and thank goodness for that. In real life, all that fiery crazy stuff gets old pretty fast, and comfort counts for far more. Mike and Laura are as comfy as old slippers, and that's very lovely indeed.
7. PETTY ARGUMENTS ARE PART OF IT
Even the most comfortable relationships will feature arguments. And more often than not, they'll be petty and silly enough to make you cringe to think of them afterwards. Both Mike and Laura have plenty to feel ashamed about after one bust-up has them literally pouring water over each other in the middle of the night. On the plus side, Mike does look rather adorable in his towel.
8. YOU WON'T SEE YOUR MATES AS MUCH
Mike and Laura don't have all that many friends, and they rarely see the ones they do have. They turn down invitations for get-togethers, and circumstances even cause them to leave their own dinner party, after all the hard work Laura puts in by the stove. And that's fine. Because, even though being in a relationship means having to see far too much of each other, you wouldn't want to have it any other way.
Catch A Fine Romance weekdays at 1:40pm & 6pm.