The Pianist Pining For His Ex Isn’t Cute. He’s a Creep.

Photo by Leoni Wise, via Unsplash

The Pianist Pining For His Ex Isn’t Cute. He’s a Creep.

by Taia Handlin | Featured | Sep 12, 2017

This weekend gave us another example of a man being sexist and weird in the name of love.

British piano player Luke Howard, 34, set up his instrument in a park in Bristol, England, and vowed to to play until his ex-girlfriend comes back.

Howard told the Bristol Post: “I’m here playing piano because I don’t really know what else to do. I fell in love with a really amazing girl… *shrugs* it was all going wonderfully… and it all fell apart. So rather than just give up, I thought I’d come here and — 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 and hopefully the girl — and she knows who she is — will come talk to me. And maybe we could give it another go.”

*Deep breath* Here we go: Women don’t owe men explanations or second chances when it comes to dumping them. Publically coercing a woman into un-breaking up with you isn’t romantic, it’s an arrogant and domineering outlet for fragile masculinity. It’s about entitlement. Not simply male entitlement to female bodies but entitlement to female compassion.

As The Establishment Editor Ijeoma Olou wrote in a Facebook post about the story, we [women] do not exist to make you better, or happier, or more complete…. You will be okay without us…. It is okay to be sad when we go away, and it is okay to get therapy if you can’t stop being sad about it. We are not your therapy.”

Howard can be sad about his breakup. He can play the piano for as long as he needs to feel better. He can play for consenting audiences or himself or his grandma. Heck, he can play for future girlfriends (at least until they all dump him for being a grandiose tool). But blackmailing the woman into getting back with him, he cannot. It’s textbook controlling behavior.

He claimed the breakup wasn’t “anything nasty or bad, it was just life getting in the way.” I don’t know the woman in question but “life getting in the way” is generally code for “I don’t feel like dating you anymore but you haven’t done anything heinous so let’s just say I’m too busy for a relationship.”

Because he didn’t cheat or kill her cat (I’m assuming, since both would qualify as “nasty or bad”) he cannot comprehend what other possible reason there could be for such a “nice guy” to be without a pretty lady. He plays piano, he has stubble and whimsical fly-away hair that dangles, ever so casually, in his eyes as he laments his loneliness. How could any woman possibly say no? How dare she say no?

Howard set up this past Saturday. That same day, a rally was scheduled in the same park. The protest was over the city’s massive spending cuts to public services. Howard told the Bristol Post he had no idea the event was going to happen. Calling it an “off-the-cuff thing,” he said the event might help his quest for love? “Actually the fact this rally is going on might help get the word out.”

It could also help get the word out about the city’s 128 percent increase in homelessness in the past three years. But totally, it could also help you publically stalk your ex more efficiently. Bristol is undergoing one of the worst housing crises in England but definitely, let’s make it about your love life.

Howard had no intention of stopping. As he told the Bristol Post:“I will be here as long as I have to be here. And hopefully the girl—and she knows who she is—will come talk to me.”

“And she knows who she is” sounds like a fourth-grade teacher berating a room of 9-year olds: “We’ll wait until the person who stole the chalk—and she knows who she is—comes forward.”

The comparison isn’t shocking. Infantilizing women is a core tenet of systematic misogyny. If women can feed and dress themselves, as well as make their own choices about the men they date, what’s to stop them from going full lesbian? Really, we’re only one autonomous woman away from a country full of flannel shirts and hot girl-on-girl action.

Despite having sworn to play, rain or shine, until the girl in question flew back into his arms, Howard packed up a day after the online backlash to his stunt. The only publicity he got was not the kind he hoped for or expected. Twitter called him “borderline abusive” and a “brat” displaying “creepy stalker guy” behavior.

Howard explained his decision to leave.

“My intention was never, ever to coerce, emotionally force or use pity to bring this girl back into my life. She is one of the strongest willed, intelligent, decisive human beings I have ever met so to suggest she would succumb to such a tactic is insulting to her.”

Ah, the classic “feminism is sexist because it implies women are pathetic” argument. The point is not whether she would “succumb” to coercion but that his behavior itself was coercive. His statement suggests that women who do bow to manipulative behavior are themselves the problem. Thanks, dude, from all the women in abusive relationships. You really put those women in their place.

“I stopped playing yesterday because I realized that what I had wanted to do had spectacularly failed.” Not because he realized all the ways his behavior was textbook patriarchy but because of those darn SJWs on Twitter: “The social media reaction turned it very quickly into something that would cause the one person I didn’t want to hurt embarrassment and pain. That was the last thing in the world I had wanted to happen, so I left.”

Bro, it was your actions, not anyone else’s, that would be causing the embarrassment and pain. You were grossly undeserving of the romantic reconciliation you hoped for and the internet told you so.

“So call me a stalker, sociopath, creep or whatever you like from behind the safety of a keyboard because frankly, it doesn’t matter anymore. There are no words that can hurt more than the feeling of losing someone you really loved.”

Slut, bitch, cock-tease, whore, cunt: women will tell you quite a few words they receive that hurt more than being dumped.