Eija-Riita Eklof-Mauer, a Swedish lass of indeterminate age, is carrying the torch for what you might call a very substantial lover. Soon after she married him nearly 18 years ago he was set upon by a horde of vengeance-seekers, armed with hammers and chisels, and soon the lover was gone with the wind. The bride had fallen in love with the Berlin Wall. She legally changed her name to Eklof-Mauer, because "Mauer" means "wall" in German, and now she's a young widow. "With the emotional bonds, deep love, good memories together with him . . . the only way to survive is to block this terrible event," she wrote in her diary of the day the wall dividing East and West finally fell.As my columnist-colleague Dave Barry would say, "I am not making this up." The Widow Eklof-Mauer suffers a bizarre sexual obsession with a scientific name, called "objectophilia." She is scientifically called an "objectumsexual." Not everyone with the obsession has a thing for buildings, but many do. Some objectophilians are hung up on cars, laptops, musical instruments and even toy trains. They can even feel arousal, which is sad because this kind of love is necessarily unrequited. But unrequited love, as we all know, can be the most magnificent obsession of all. Literature is full of it.
Another young woman, identified in the academic literature only as Sandy K., is a widow, too. Her "husband" was the World Trade Center. She regarded the Twin Towers as male, sexy and extremely desirable, and it doesn't require the diagnostic skill of a sex therapist to figure out the why and wherefore of her fantasy. Her sad story is told by Spiegel Online, the authoritative German newsmagazine. "When it comes to love," she says, "I am only attracted to objects. I couldn't imagine a love affair with a human being."