John Mayer and I have a tortured history. (He doesn't know this.) There's a very special place in a girl's heart for the first celebrity crush of her adolescence, and Mayer was mine. I imagined our meet-cute at one of his concerts, which totally made sense. Of the thousands of tween and adult girls shrieking and tearfully mouthing the words of "No Such Thing" along with him, and in spite of the great distance between the stage and my general admission lawn seat at PNC Bank Arts Center in New Jersey, we would lock eyes, he would offer me his set list, and the rest would be history. A love story for the ages, no?
I mean, the man wrote a song called "Victoria," a (much) lesser-known song from his very first EP, but still. And the song is about a tortured soul who tearfully leaves town, without even telling her heartbroken man, in order to tackle bigger things. As a sheltered tween from suburban New Jersey, he totally got me.
Things change, and I've long since moved on from my crush. To be honest, I don't even really like the guy anymore. Why? I believe the breaking point occurred during or soon after his relationship with Jennifer Aniston. I always knew Mayer was a womanizer (it was part of his bad-boy appeal, which he'd obviously get over once he met me), but as a Friends diehard I was torn. I really wasn't sure what to think of Aniston shacking up with my former crush, but America's sweetheart with America's bad boy? Tabloids loved it, but I was certain that Aniston, who I always rooted for in the scheme of Hollywood romance, would have her heart broken yet again. (I can't say this is true, but they did break up.)
If you aren't aware of Mayer's romantic reputation, let his dating history speak for itself: The musician has been linked with Vanessa Carlton, Jennifer Love Hewitt (who supposedly inspired "Your Body Is a Wonderland"), Jessica Simpson (who inspired this very degrading statement), Minka Kelly, Aniston, Taylor Swift (who wrote this song that is probably about him), and most recently, Katy Perry.
You'd never know it from how much I've gone on thus far, but celebrity relationships don't interest me as much as they used to. I've gotten to the point in my life where I recognize that there's no telling what's actually true, and moreover, do I really care about these people I don't know? When I first heard that Perry and Mayer were hooking up, I rolled my eyes, certain that, if this was even real, it would be over in a hot second. I had long since been disillusioned with my adolescent love of Mayer, and had come to terms with the fact that any man who goes through so many beautiful, successful women that quickly probably has fewer redeeming qualities than the average Hollywood heartthrob.
But then they stayed together. There were even (gasp!) whispers of an engagement on the horizon, and not the ridiculous tabloid rumors, but actual, legitimate speculation (or however legitimate these things can ever actually be). They even parodied Kanye West together. I mean, that's true love. I had hope, because John Mayer represented every asshole I had dated, and Katy Perry was that girl who was finally getting him to commit. Now it's over, and we're back at square one.
When the dating pool sometimes seems like an endless ocean of duds, of bad boys who insist on being bad, we hope for that one guy to prove us wrong. There's a reason why rom coms do so well:—It's not just romantic fantasy, but hope for our own reality, too. It's over-the-top and completely misguided—even embarrassing for me to admit, as someone who considers herself an independent woman. But I can't deny that it's still there.
And for me, the split is elevated because of my lost crush. Even as years continue to separate me from my adolescence, can you blame me for hoping that the hopelessly romantic, un-jaded 12-year-old me was just a little bit right? Just like we crave youth in our culture in a physical sense, I think we miss our innocence and naiveté as well. So maybe it is stupid for me to be sad, especially since I can never know the details of their relationship or why it went sour (not that I ever should, anyway). But I'm starting to realize that it's not John Mayer and Katy Perry I'm actually bummed about, but my current attitude. To my very loud inner cynic: I think we should take a break.
This post originally appeared on ELLE.com.