When a 35-year-old woman begins a relationship with a 91-year-old, people tend to tut-tut; some even say things like ‘pshaw!’ or maybe ‘tosh!’ if they feel really strongly. There is something about the 56-year age difference that tends to send people rushing to check the bank balance of the 91-year-old. There is talk of prenuptial arrangements and untraceable poisons. Writers of detective stories have made a living off such scenarios.

But – follow me carefully here – the 91-year-old is not an old man but an old chandelier. Let me repeat that in case you didn’t get it the first time: Not man, but chandelier. And Amanda Liberty, 35, loves Lumiere, the 91-year-old chandelier, and would marry it if she could. But apparently she can’t because Lumiere, according to her, is female. My heart bleeds for Amanda, who, previously had been in love with the Statue of Liberty (it was a long-distance affair, she lives in Leeds, England, and the Statue lives – if that’s the word – elsewhere).

Such was her love for the statue who welcomes visitors to New York that Amanda, whose surname was Whittaker, changed it to Liberty. But that was in the past, and Liberty (Amanda, not the statue), who admits to having been in open relationship with other light fixtures, says none of them can hold a candle to Lumiere. Last heard, she was planning a “commitment ceremony” to prove her love.

Personally, I have nothing against Amanda marrying a chandelier or a car battery or indeed a billiards table that has been lying in the attic for decades. But I do have a niggle. Events in her life have proved that it could well be a 93-metre statue today and a 91-year-old chandelier tomorrow. Clearly this is no one-object woman; she is prone to falling in love with attractive man-made objects regardless of size or distance from herself. What if Lumiere were to discover sometime in the future that Amanda is secretly in love with the neighbour’s piano and hopes to marry it someday? No 91-year-old can survive that.

All this has expanded our horizons, though, and for that we must be grateful. It has, for example, opened up a whole new area for writers of romance novels. For too long have they been restricted by the silly notion that romance can occur only between two human beings. Amanda’s crossover means we can now read about young men who look romantically at footstools, for instance, while ostensibly sweet talking a young lady.

“Do you really love me, or is it only my hair dryer you want to marry?” is a question that might be trembling on the lips of fictional characters even as you read this.

Read more