My Valentine. Not yours.

This man doesn’t look like he wants to get married. Neither does his bride. In fact, she’s fainted dead away at the alter. WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON???? And why oh why is this a Valentine’s Day blog post? Doesn’t seem very romantic, if you ask me.

Take a closer look. The bride is wearing a beautiful gown. Her hair is all done-up. She’s gone to the trouble to wear white gloves and a gorgeous long veil. She wants to look pretty for her man. So why did she pass out? And why does her groom look so grim?

Because he’s not her groom. He’s the best man. He’s been waiting for the ceremony to begin, his tongue as dry as an old dishtowel and his heart splatting against his ribs like a too-ripe tomato, until the church secretary rushes into the sanctuary to deliver shocking news: the groom has peeled out of the parking lot and isn’t coming back.

When the bride wilts, the best man lunges to catch her. He’s not letting go, either, because he’s fallen in love with her. Now that he finally has her in his arms, he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her. From now on, she’ll be his Valentine. No one else’s.

How’s that for romance?

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This painting is on display at the Delaware Museum of Art.

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