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On Ryan’s Plate: Opposites Attract

February 15, 2012

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, 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.

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I love you baby! Happy Valentine’s Day!

23 Comments leave one →
  1. Kristi permalink
    February 15, 2012 4:39 pm


  2. February 15, 2012 6:02 pm

    This post makes me miss you both even more. So so sweet.

  3. Amory permalink
    February 15, 2012 6:05 pm

    Awww, girl you are lucky. What a sweet sweet husband you have!

  4. mgutowsk permalink
    February 15, 2012 6:07 pm

    Now THAT’s how you do Valentine’s Day! Good job Ryan. On the food and the post.

  5. February 15, 2012 6:28 pm

    You two are the cutest couple 🙂 I’m so excited for you to have this baby together haha

  6. Elyssa permalink
    February 15, 2012 7:05 pm

    I’m with Jodi. This was so lovely. Love you guys!

  7. February 15, 2012 7:31 pm

    Enter big {AW} right here! What a sweet post you two!!!

    Glad your last V-Day as a ‘single’ couple was so wonderful.

  8. February 15, 2012 7:54 pm

    This was such a great post. Cute, loving, sweet, adorable…you name it. Where did you FIND him?! (rhetorical question obviously since I know the answer to that from this post!)
    Sounds like a perfect Valentine’s Day 🙂
    Btw- love those wedding photos.

  9. February 15, 2012 8:42 pm

    Aaw, this post is so sweet! Congrats on everything! ^^

  10. February 15, 2012 9:54 pm

    Talk about GOOSEBUMPS!!!!
    I just read Anna’s comment on my blog, about how this is your last Valentine’s Day without children (and just to fill you in, this is my last V-day as a “Single, non-married lady”) and I can tell that even after kids you will still be very romantic and loving to one another! Opposites DO attract, and I appreciate the image you have given me of the two of you dancing to that song by Paula Abdul. Classic. I also appreciate that you just admitted to watching the Bachelor/Bachelorette. I can’t wait to tell Nick he isn’t the only male who watches it (and he enjoys it..I know he does!).

  11. February 16, 2012 12:13 am

    I’m crying! This was such a sweet toast – I’m so glad Anna and you got together, because you are the best son-in-law we could have hoped for! We were watching the news yesterday and Obama made a comment that this was Valentine’s Day, and his advice to the listening audience was first, not to forget it (which he said he had unfortunately done once), and to “think big”. Well, Ryan, you nailed it!!

  12. patti permalink
    February 16, 2012 12:39 am

    Very sweet, Ryan. It is no doubt that you make a great couple 🙂

  13. February 16, 2012 2:33 am

    Awww, this is so sweet!

  14. February 16, 2012 2:40 am

    I love this! So sweet! I can’t believe it’s only seven weeks until she arrives! I’m getting so excited!

  15. February 16, 2012 3:15 am

    Awww!! That was a GREAT post. The perfect balance of sap and humor. You guys are adorable!

  16. February 16, 2012 12:25 pm

    Oh that was perfect!!!

  17. February 16, 2012 12:59 pm

    I just realized I commented using Ryan’s link. I just tried to change it – let’s see if this works.

    • February 16, 2012 1:46 pm

      Haha…I was going to call and tell you that you were doing that. Glad you got it figured out!

  18. Laura permalink
    February 16, 2012 4:18 pm

    You two are so sweet together.

  19. Jeremy permalink
    February 18, 2012 4:41 am

    Nice work, Ryan! A fun and heartwarming read. I realized about 2/3 through the post that I was smiling the whole way through. And the dinner you made looks delicious (a step up from Costco chicken patties for sure). Happy belated Valentine’s Day to the two (soon to be three!) of you.

    P.S. I sometimes watch The Bachelor/Bachelorette too. Don’t tell anyone.

  20. February 21, 2012 11:25 am

    I might just be sappy because that is one of the sweetest things that I have ever read!

  21. February 24, 2012 1:45 am

    Such a sweet husband, Ryan! Can’t wait to see what fatherhood brings out in you.


  1. Low-Key V-Day « On Anna's Plate

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