On Ryan’s Plate: Opposites Attract
Today, a sappy post-Valentine’s Day post, brought to you by my better half
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What are the odds of finding love in this crazy, mixed-up world? According to the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise, 1 in 25 (or 1 in 26, if you consider this season’s surprise mid-season addition of Shawntel to the cast.) According to this much more depressing British study, there’s a 1 in 285,000 chance of finding a perfect partner (so if you’re single and just went out on your 284,999th date, hang in there! You’re almost done!).
Whatever the odds, I know I beat them when I ended up with Anna. I come from a long tradition of male English graduate students who, much like sitcom husbands, married way, way above their station. We’re talking fives that ended up with nines (and a two who ended up with a ten – he knows who he is). My friend John Spartz calls this phenomenon “outkicking the coverage,” which is some kind of sports metaphor that I don’t understand (I think it’s about hockey). But it boils down to the fact that we are very, very lucky men.
I was interested in Anna for a long time before we got together. We were friends for a year at Purdue before we started dating. It was your classic Jim Halpert-Pam Beasley situation. (I reference sitcoms a lot in this post because they taught me everything I know about love. Expect a Who’s the Boss reference any minute now). I used to go early to my class just to run into her leaving her class. I used to send her emails teasing her about the dance/gymnastic movies she liked. And when she had Dennis Haskins (yes, THE Mr. Belding) call me on my birthday through Hollywood is Calling.com, I was smitten.
I finally made my big move, which was getting together to rehearse dance moves for a karaoke performance of Paula Abdul’s song, “Opposites Attract.” I sang the part of MC Scat Cat, and we choreographed an inspired bit where she walked forward during the “two steps forward” part, and (you guessed it) I took two steps back when it was lyrically appropriate. Then we came together… because opposites attract. The big night came to perform our number (at a seedy bar where the aforementioned John Spartz once punched someone in the face and the biggest karaoke crowd pleaser was a guy who blew fire at the end of a Rob Zombie song). We got on stage, and the song malfunctioned, so we had to stand there to silence, and then booing, before we slinked off stage. But I didn’t really care, because my daring Opposites Attract play had paid off. I kissed her that night. (The bar later burned down under mysterious circumstances).
My follow-up move was equally debonair. I brought the Saved by the Bell game and my short haircut over to Anna’s house. Somehow, she was charmed.
But I was even more charmed. That was five and half years ago, and today I love her more than ever. I love that she is decisive, because I tend to overanalyze everything. I love that she is strong-willed and not afraid to speak her mind (well, I almost always love that). I love that we both have a great time walking around a new city together. I love that she opened my eyes to a whole new range of foods. I love how much I have learned being with her (like the fact that someone named Shawntel was a surprise mid-season addition to the Bachelor cast). I love that she’s stuck with me through our ups and downs. I love that she got me a back-massage chair topper that I’m sitting in right now.
I love that she loves camping and isn’t a total girl about it:
I love how compassionate she is to animals, especially these two:
I love that we really see eye to eye, Halloween costume-wise (Anna, pre-pregnancy, as a pregnant Bristol Palin):
…and gym coaches (I’ll be using the whistle and clipboard in a little over a month when it’s time to coach Anna in labor):
I love that it still takes my breath away to picture her on our wedding day:
And I love that in seven weeks, we’re going to meet a little girl that will change our lives forever. (I hope she gets a lot of Anna’s genes.)
So for Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make her a special meal. Something fancy that would require us to break out the fine china.
I had been wanting to make a citrus-flavored pasta ever since we ate an orange-flavored pasta at the Pennsylvania restaurant, Lifestyles, some time back, so I settled on this Tagliatelle with Orange and Prosciutto.
As an appetizer, fried goat cheese on a bed of greens alongside chicken and sun-dried tomato bruschetta.
For dessert, a chocolate and peanut butter cake I bought at the store (I was tapped out). Things turned out pretty well. And with the baby coming, that might be the last time we see that fine china for awhile. But fine china or sippy cups, Anna and I come together, because opposites attract. MC Scat Cat could not have been more right.
I love you baby! Happy Valentine’s Day!