He bought a piano, had it delivered to College Green, a sprawling ground in Bristol, and started playing.
“I’m here to play piano ’cause I didn’t know what else to do,” he told the Bristol Post.
“I fell in love with a really amazing girl, it was going wonderfully and then it kind of fell apart. So rather than just give up I thought I’d come here and just play, and I’ll play if it rains, if it snows, if I fall over or if I get arrested.”
“I will be here, as long as I have to be here, hopefully the girl, and she knows who she is, will come talk to me and maybe we could give it another go.”
Howard, from Bath, said he and the woman — who he referred to as his “Rapunzel” (seriously) — split up after a four-month relationship. He also set up Facebook and Instagram pages — called “@ForLove2017” — to help get the word out (the pages have since been deleted).
“I wanted to do something that she might see, to let her know how much I loved her, that she can see and then take it or leave it,” he added.
Bristol Post shared the story on Twitter with the prompt “This man is playing piano on College Green. And he won’t stop until he gets girlfriend back” and the hashtag “#dedication”.
As you can imagine, it didn’t exactly go down well. Sian Norris, the founder of Bristol Women’s Literary Festival, summed up the backlash that followed:
“Men, women are allowed to leave you. You are not entitled to a girlfriend. Media, stop romanticising controlling, stalker behaviour.”