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John Mayer was careful not to name names, but he talked all about relationships and, yes, potentially marriage, in a new interview.
The "Daughters" singer appeared on the Call Her Daddy podcast and was grilled about his dating life at 45 — and six years after quitting drinking. He talked about being branded a "man whore," and similar labels, in his 20s and 30s amid high-profile romances with partners including Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Simpson, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Jennifer Love Hewitt. He also admitted to struggling with fame then, and how retreating from the spotlight has benefited him — though it took a little time for his ego to get used to it.
"Currently single," is the musician's relationship status. "I don't date that that much. I look at it like this: Dating is no longer a codified activity for me. It's not patterned anymore."
He said his dating style changed when he stopped drinking.
"I quit drinking like six years ago, so I don't drink anymore," he said. "I don't have the liquid courage." As a result, "You have to be really glaringly honest" in relationships. "Here's who I am. Here's what I like. Here is what makes me nervous. Here's what I reject as an idea in relationship. You have to express your anxieties — you can't you can't just walk over them by drinking."
He said as he's gotten older, he no longer has "five-hour dates in me." Instead, his dream date is for "someone to say, 'Hey, I'm coming over to your house for an hour and a half. I'm bringing my laptop — just need the Wi-Fi code. I'll be on the couch. I'm not trying to take up all your space... I don't want to do the thing where I start to make you feel claustrophobic because I really have a good feeling about you. Give me the Wi-Fi code, I'll eat one of your yogurts. Talk to me when you want to talk to me.' I'd be like: I want to do that."
Mayer, who moved to Montana in 2012, said, "Of course, I want to get married." He "can't wait for someone to be mad at me because I said that I would take the dry cleaning in" and didn't. He looks forward to a partnering that's "deep, meaningful and secure." He said nothing is "hotter to me than conflict resolution. I am horny for conflict resolution."
He goes into it knowing that he's had labels slapped on him for his past pairings, which were always fodder for the celebrity websites.
"I have a couple of nameplates on me, like ‘Lothario’ and ‘womanizer’ and stuff and, look, that is what that is," he said. "That's the role I play on the big TV show that I didn't write. That's fine. Maybe I had a hand in it …” he admitted.
However, "Every relationship I've ever been in was devoted to the idea that this could go the distance," he said. "My entire life. Today included... I have always sought potential for longterm relationship. I know what my mistakes were looking back." He said they're "not worth talking about ... as long as you do the accounting. As long as you do your homework as a human being ... and go, 'Yeah, I really meant well, but...' Or, "Yeah, they meant well, but...' As long as you're aware of what [the issues were], and how you can apply that to the next relationship, I don't see a problem with any past relationships ending badly."
He spoke of having closure in many past relationships, admitting he has "a couple little outstanding, still vibrating things" with some people, without naming them. (We'll volunteer Simpson and Swift, but he literally did not refer to any ex by name throughout the conversation.) In some cases, some are "always going to be incomplete," he said.
Mayer talked about struggling with fame in his earlier years; his infamous Playboy interview, calling Simpson sexual napalm, and impromptu press conference to discuss why he broke up with Aniston come to mind.
"I'm the musician guy that writes songs that are, like, kind of hits," he said. Earlier on the scene, "I thought that I was, through my own manipulation of the thing, an A-lister … I thought, Well, this is where I belong … Obviously, it wasn't because I didn't handle it very well."
He found himself in a loop of correcting the record about himself, saying, "If somebody gets [something about] you a little bit wrong … you're gonna jump out and go: 'That is not what I said. Here's how I said it.' You're going to fine-tune that thing that you're being misunderstood for. [But] there comes a point where if you're so misunderstood, it's almost like they're thinking about a different person … They're talking about a character."
He eventually realized that trending on social media wasn't where it was at. While initially "tough" to adjust to, he did and has made largely his public presence about music.
"It's scary — the idea that if you pulled away, you'd be forgotten," he said. "That if you got off Twitter, you be forgotten. That if you didn't throw yourself into the mix every day, you'd be forgotten." However, "It's beautiful to be forgotten in the ways you ultimately don't want to be known.”
As a society, "we haven't learned that retreat is an option," he said. "Retreat is an option. I don't know where this idea of stubborn fight to the death stuff came from. You lose everything."
Now that he has retreated, "I haven't ever been happier in my life."
Mayer played music during the interview — and talked about some of his most famous songs. For instance, he revealed that "Your Body Is a Wonderland" was not about Hewitt.
"No it wasn't," he corrected Alex Cooper. "That was about my first girlfriend" in high school. I was 21 when I wrote that song — and I was nostalgic for being 16. I had never met a celebrity when I wrote that song."
Asked if his high school girlfriend knew it was about her, he said, "That's a good question. Maybe she didn't." He went on to add that he doesn't "write songs about people" — perhaps a veiled reference to Swift, who has written more than one about him. "I might use a relationship that inspires me to write something," but whoever inspired it goes away "and I'm left with the song." Besides, he added, "I don't like telling anyone that a song is about somebody because most of the time it's not and it takes people away from themselves because they're just visualizing who I'm writing about."