Back in the Stone Age, before Lena Dunham polarized Brooklyn/L.A./the Internet/the universe, John Mayer was our major semi-irrational punching bag. For his cavalier treatment of American unicorn love mascots like Taylor Swift and Jennifer Aniston, for the dumb-ass Soulful Faces he makes while he's playing guitar, and obviously for the most important reason—the thoughtlessly racist comments he made in Rolling Stone, which featured references to his "Benneton heart" but "David Duke cock" and one instance of the N-word.
Lately I've seen a backlash to this Mayer hate in the comments on this website to the tune of "slut-shaming," and it's made me think about why myself and others have the visceral urge to drop-kick the dude in an active volcano any more than countless other starfucking guitarists. Because, honestly, many of us (cough, I) hated him before the Rolling Stone profile. For me, the timeline goes like, I was born → John Mayer was a thing → I hated John Mayer. And I don't think I'm alone.
And it's kind of an unfair assessment in that it's one that has a lot more to do with profiling a certain kind of guy than it does the amount of women he sleeps with.
Here's my theory: John Mayer represents every guy who tells you that he's "worried that you're getting too attached" right after you hook up. That guy who's kinda smarmy but funny and engaging. He can think abstractly and keep up with you intellectually, but the functional, normal-relationship part is missing: for instance, you never let him see you without makeup on and he'll never go with you to get your dry cleaning. He's every guy you really like who only texts you when he's bored. Every guy who's sent you cryptic, half-jokey Emojis on your birthday. Every emotionally stunted dude from Brooklyn that you know cerebrally that you shouldn't be wasting your time on, but you do anyway. You know, that guy! The one whose presence in your life teaches you never to be that much of a self-hating idiot again.
Granted, Taylor Swift's six-minute breakup ballad "Dear John"— did nothing to dispel this myth. A few years later, Mayer responded to the song in typical self-pitying fashion in Rolling Stone:
"It made me feel terrible. Because I didn't deserve it. I'm pretty good at taking accountability now, and I never did anything to deserve that. It was a really lousy thing for her to do... "I never got an e-mail. I never got a phone call," he says. "I was really caught off-guard, and it really humiliated me at a time when I'd already been dressed down. [...] When asked about the song's line, "Don't you think I was too young to be messed with?" Mayer says, "I don't want to go into that."
Ugh. Anyway, what do you guys think of my theory?