Questions I have for John Mayer
a square we no longer have room for
At one point, John Mayer was the Platonic ideal of a certain type of man: a sensitive white guy with a guitar who charms the ladies but also acts like an asshole. There are others in his mold, but have any so completely embodied the archetype? His songs are so sensitive, he is so white, he plays the guitar so well, he’s charmed the most beautiful ladies and has acted like such an asshole in ways that set new standards for assholes internationally. Nowadays, he’s into cool fits and has a talk show on Instagram Live.
I have a lot of questions for John Mayer. Here is a list of them.
- When your song “Your Body is a Wonderland” came out, I was in middle school and didn’t know how sex worked. However, I am now an adult and still confused by the line “You tell me where to go and / though I might leave to find it / I’ll never let your head hit the bed without my hand behind it.” What acts are you performing that involves you “leaving to find it” and what is “it?”
- Your song “My Stupid Mouth” is about you saying something awkward on a date. After your infamous 2010 Playboy interview, I have to ask: was the something awkward you said the n-word, or did you mention that you don’t date Black girls because of your “David Duke cock?”
- You apologized for using the worst racial slur immediately after that interview came out, but you also said some super homophobic stuff too, which you’d also done previously. Have you gotten less homophobic since then, John Mayer?
- Why are you like this?! Rolling Stone tried to answer that question, in an equally baffling profile that came out right before the Playboy one. There’s some talk of bad anxiety, parents who got divorced, but also the writer straight-up says, “How Mayer got to be like this is kind of a mystery.” I’m also a child of divorce with an anxiety disorder, and I’m not like this. Is there any excuse for this?
- In 2005, you won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year for your song “Daughters.” However, you thought that Alicia Keys should have won for her song “If I Ain’t Got You,” so you broke the statue in half and gave part of it to her. My question is: did you consider giving part of it to Kanye West for “Jesus Walks,” who was also nominated in your category? Splitting it three ways, or giving him your half, or even giving him Alicia’s half? Also, have you since broken any other awards you don’t think you deserve?
- Speaking of Kanye: how do you feel about this video of you and him in the studio? Because I hate it.
- Look, the first line of Taylor Swift’s song “Lover” is, indeed, nonsense. You’re correct. Her explanation for it doesn’t even make sense, because it’s not a mundane choice, it’s the only choice. When else would you take Christmas lights down? It’s a maddeningly bad line, made worse from the fact that “February” would scan just as well. HOWEVER. Why is Taylor Swift’s name in your mouth at all, sir?? You are 12 years older than her and slept with her when she was 19. People forget that now, but if she chose to bring it up, you would be CANCELLED. Tread very fucking lightly there!
- What was it like writing “Who You Love,” a duet with your actual girlfriend Katy Perry about how you’re incompatible but have feelings for each other for some weird reason? Was that a hard pitch to her, your partner of many years? Was it anywhere near as awkward as this video of you two promoting it?
- What’s going on in this music video? Just in general?
- Will you make more songs like your ode to a CVS bag? Like a whole album? Because I actually love it. Also your “Camilla CaMendes” song slaps! And I’m genuinely tickled by the conceit of making a theme song for a game where you guess if a fact is about Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes, Riverdale’s Camila Mendes (“CaMendes”) or Cabela’s Outside Superstore.
- How do I feel about you, John Mayer? I genuinely don’t know! I loved your music in middle school and high school, but then I got embarrassed about it because it wasn’t cool. But now I’m more secure in myself and I love your music again. But also, I’ve gone through a lot of reasons why you’re a monster here?
- Why does “No Such Thing” still go so hard?!
- You did a repentant New York Times interview that was kind of about feeling bad for being so awful, but it was mostly about making pop music instead of blues music again. Have you ever really apologized for being so bad in so many different ways?
- Have you become a better person? Since the “white supremacist dick” stuff? Are you a good person, John Mayer? I need a clean answer here. I’m feeling a mix of emotions.
- You got some bad press a while back for saying you’ve slept with “sub-500 women” (originally misquoted as “a soft 500”) on your strange Instagram Live talk show. But you know what, John Mayer? I watched the original clip and it was taken egregiously out of context!! You were asked the question — jokingly — if you’d slept with 800 women, then 500, and you quite obviously facetiously said that the number was under 500. It was very clear that you found the question ridiculous, and that the number was of course far under 500! Why did people take it so seriously? Is it our own prejudices, that we formed by seeing your behavior and hearing your words?
- You later corrected the record on another episode of your show, clarifying that your number is actually closer to six. That doesn’t check out, actually, because in that Playboy interview you said you’d slept with “4 or 5” people in the 8 months since breaking up with Jennifer Aniston. Were you lying to Playboy? Did you hook up with girls but not go all the way? Did you start to get hot and heavy with them, but then leave to find it and never come back? I’m on your side in the “sub-500” misquoting thing, to be clear. But now I’m very concerned about the real number here when it should be none of my business. In your Rolling Stone interview, you talked about having an orgy in Vegas and sleeping with a girl named Dimple$, also in Vegas but in a separate incident. Was that true? Was Dimple$ a metaphor?
- I didn’t watch your show previously, perhaps because of aforementioned bad press, but I watched several episodes to work on this post, and I gotta say that it was charming! Why isn’t your Instagram Live show more popular? It’s called Current Mood, which is a good name. I don’t love the live format, but I think with some tighter editing it could take off. Are we all ignoring your show because of our own biases? Which we formed, again, because of the “white supremacist dick” stuff?
- John Mayer, this is more a comment than a question: I thought your joke about that Instagram hoax was very funny!
- You once had a TV show called John Mayer Has a TV Show. It was a prank show, and I know that’s a mean conceit, but John Mayer, I laughed a lot at this clip. Is that bad? The joke is on these women, but the joke is funny. John Mayer! Am I a good person?
- Am I so easily swayed by a good joke delivery that I’m conflating humor with human goodness?!
- In that Playboy interview, which I keep harping on because it’s kind of the heart of the thing, you said you like being a nice guy, directly stated “I consider myself a good guy, with the best of intentions,” and mentioned seven different times that you are not a douchebag. But I can’t think of any time a human being has been a worse person in an interview. It’s the gold standard of appalling behavior. Has your view of morality grown since 2010 and are you any judge of character now? Do I have any justification to ask you, John Mayer, if you’re good, if I’m good, what goodness is? Have you merely gotten more self-control now, or have you experienced actual growth?
- At the end of the day, does it matter if our celebrities are “good?” You are certainly intelligent, funny, and occasionally very insightful. You’ve said and done terrible things. Your life is messy and confusing, but all I can really ask of you is to make art, which is your job. Do you channel your messy emotions into work that illuminates the human experience to empathetic listeners? Do you? I’m really asking, I haven’t listened to your past few albums. Should I?
- What’s it like to have synesthesia?
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