THE UNEXPECTED PAIRING
Chad Diehl, 33, Boston
When Chad first met Anri in 2004, he thought she was beautiful and cultured — and “out of my league.” Both PhD candidates in Japanese studies at Columbia, they were more acquaintances than friends. Still, one quality in Anri resonated for him deeply.
“Anri is super kind to everyone she speaks to. She’s always smiling and trying to make people feel comfortable. That’s very attractive. We’re similar in that we both put other people’s feelings first.”
The turning point in their relationship came six years later. They sat next to each other during a department dinner, and Chad casually asked if she had plans later.
“I was going to ask her out for a drink, but she beat me to it by asking me first,” Chad says. “It’s like we asked each other out.”
Walking home that night, he threw caution to the wind and took them both by surprise by kissing her.
“I had liquid courage,” he laughs. “But she kissed me back. And we’ve been together ever since.”
Their odd-couple backgrounds might have been an issue — Chad grew up in working class Montana; Anri’s father works internationally in the arts— but they’ve fallen in love with each other because of their differences.
“We have different perspectives that complement each other,” he says. “She took me to art galleries and I introduced her to rodeos. The fact that she’s adventurous and open-minded about everything made me fall in love with her very quickly.”
He adds, “It’s developed from ‘she’s out of my league,’ to ‘I’m just really lucky to be with such a caring, interesting person, and I just don’t want to mess it up.’”