The Eiffel Tower is often a symbol of romance, a site of romance, or a backdrop to romance. But in this case it becomes the object of romance itself.
Channel 5 brings us a documentary on the woman who has married the Efiffel Tower. Erika La Tour Eiffel, like Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer – the woman who married the Berlin Wall, is an “objectum sexual”, people who fall literally in love with buildings and objects. They have sex and relationships with them; their passion as ardent as any human relationship.
The Times TV critic, Tim Teeman writes:
“Erika La Tour Eiffel had married the Parisian landmark the previous year. Revisiting the girders where the ceremony took place, clutching her wedding veil, she gyrated against the structure. She could feel the cold of the Tower meeting the warmth of her body to produce an “equilibrium”. But if object-love really was like human love, then Erika was putting it about a bit, because she was also having a torrid time with the Golden Gate Bridge and the Berlin Wall, fragments of which she called “my boys”; the Eiffel Tower she called “she” – maybe she is a bisexual objectum sexual.
At the Golden Gate Bridge she agonised about the two of them ever being alone, what with the traffic and sight-seers. “Our love is no different than the love between two beings,” she claimed. Erika wanted to be an object, not human; her friend Amy was proud never to have been touched by another person (although she did hug Erika).
Amy was in love with the Twin Towers and the Empire State Building, whose flank she nuzzled and whispered sweet nothings to, until a security guard asked her to clear off. So she started loudly exclaiming her devotion – “Chaaaa-CHAAAAA!” – instead. Asperger’s and autism were mentioned as possible conditions underlying the women’s passions, but the only thing they shared was a history of abuse and abandonment. Erika had been discharged from the Armed Forces for refusing to stop sleeping with a ceremonial sword. On the streets of New York, with its riotous sensory overload, the women were almost delirious.”
“Erika said she felt like the Berlin Wall. She mused that someone must have loved the Wall to bring it into the world; what made them not love it now? Political history meant nothing to her, the Wall was a simple victim of neglect. She didn’t care if people called her “cuckoo”, and while the programme could have easily done that and turned the women’s stories into a guffaw-a-minute freak show, somehow it strove for understanding. There should have been easy laughs, but instead it was moving – particularly when a priest counselled Amy after finding her sexually communing with his altar rail. This was absurdity not treated absurdly – and the Empire State Building did look mighty thrusting and fine.”