The facts: It was 2004, I was newly 18, I was in NYC. I didn’t live there; I lived in San Diego. I was visiting a friend who, being several years older than me, had just transferred to Columbia. I traveled a lot, working bullshit jobs with various bands, things I had talked my way into because I realized I could, and that if you found a way to make yourself useful, most bands will say yes to having a helpful, smart, cute girl on the road with them and it was way more fun than high school. So it wasn’t unusual that I found myself very far from home at that age. The night I met John Mayer, we were at the lower east side apartment of my friend’s friend, who was having one of those parties you have in your mid-20s where it’s half a debauched booze-fest, and half a very grown up affair. The people there all seemed highly educated, and I remember them to be almost intimidatingly interesting, but they were getting fucked up like a bunch of high schoolers. In other words, this party was amazing.
How I came to be fucking John Mayer is not a magical or complicated story – we met while I sitting on a windowsill smoking a cigarette, he was cute, there was immediate chemistry, the kind that you know isn’t going to lead you to picket fences and anniversaries but is almost definitely going to result in a really fun night. The night went on, we talked and got drunk and played DJ from his iPod for the rest of the party. I pretended to not notice or care that he was famous. After a few hours and many drinks, he stopped being that anyway. He was just a very cute boy and I was very happy to get all the way naked with him. And so that’s what happened.
Guest bedroom of the party house. We had light, easy post-coital conversations. I smoked a cigarette in bed and felt guilty because I vaguely remembered that our hosts didn’t smoke and I wasn’t sure they would be okay with me smoking inside like that. We didn’t spend the night. We didn’t really pretend that we were going to see each other again. It all felt obvious and natural and unforced and, being 18, I hadn’t had enough of that. It was like taking my first exhilarating lung full of adult air, where relationships and experiences didn’t have to follow any rules other than being respectful and kind to people.
I kept thinking that no one at home was going to believe me. It was already asking for a serious degree of belief suspension to tell them that I regularly was absent because I was traveling the country with various bands, but now I’m going to come home and be like, “Oh, by the way, while you guys were studying for midterms, I was fucking one of the most famous people in the world?” I wasn’t that girl. I wasn’t hot enough or special enough for this to be believed.
I realized that you should never do anything just for the thrill of bragging about it to other people. I felt very sure that no one would believe me except the few friends who were there, and they lived a thousand miles away from everyone I knew in my real life. There was some disappointment in that but then I thought, “I should be doing this because there is merit in the actual experience, not just in the telling of the experience later.” And then I just focused on being present in the moment, enjoying the intimate crossing with another human, the fleeting, alarming electricity like when you briefly hit the metal edges on that game Operation. Learning to not attach my feelings about an experience to other people’s opinion of it was a tremendously important lesson that has stayed important since then.
The idea of celebrity was very weird to me after the fact. The entire experience was both as enjoyable and as unremarkable as any random party hookup with any other person. He was funny, we shared that kind of immediate chemistry where you were immediately, illogically fixated on each other the whole night; it was happening before it was even happening. Those are wonderful, rare moments, no matter who they’re with. He was also a person who ended the encounter unceremoniously – we were drunk and it wasn’t either of our apartments. But it somehow didn’t feel trashy, or gross. It was just a hot, blurry, summer night, and that’s all I wanted it to be.
When relationships – whether they last for years, or merely for hours – end, I usually stay friends with people. But when I don’t, in the few occasions when I fully fall out of touch with someone, I always periodically wonder what their life is life, and what kind of people they know, and what experiences they’ve had since we knew each other. I will say that is probably the one truly unique thing about having sex with a famous person – you know those things. Like, I know that we had sex and then he dated Rachel from Friends, and now he’s boning Katy Perry. I don’t have any particular feelings about any of that (it’s not like he was my boyfriend and we were in love or anything), it’s mostly just entertaining to be like “LOL, I almost had an orgasm with that person who is presently in Cabo with the ex-Mrs. Brad Pitt. How is this real life?”
Speaking of the almost orgasm, we can talk about the technical aspects of the sex, although I really hold tightly to the idea of being protective and respectful of anyone I have sex with because otherwise I feel like a horrible person, but whatever – the sex was good. At least, as far as I knew. I was 18 and had only lost my virginity a few months before. I was incredibly in love with that guy, so the sex with him might have been completely terrible and I wouldn’t have known; love makes even mediocre sex feel amazing to the inexperienced vagina. So when I had sex with John Mayer, I was rebounding for the first time and rebounding hard. I had already had sex with one other person, and it was, ya know, fine…I guess. I didn’t care. I was young and clearly fucking lots of people isn’t the healthiest way to cope with a broken heart but, again, was 18 and I embrace my imperfect journey. Whatever. So when I ended up drunk in the apartment of a friend of a friend, I was deep into my first phase of “my heart is broken so fuck men and fuck everything, I’m free and young and want to have all the experiences”, which as it turns out, makes you in the exactly correct state of mind to have a one-night stand with a famous person. The timing was great.
Got off topic there – back to the sex. The point is, I hadn’t had enough sex to know what “great sex” was. Very few 18-year-olds have actually great sex, but they all think they do because sex is relatively new to most of them, and let’s be honest: any sex compared to no sex is great sex. It’s not until you’ve had a lot of sex that you start to see the real distinctions that make certain romps more fantastic than others. But for me, in that moment, it was great. He knew what he was doing, our chemistry was on point, I was just drunk enough to be unself-conscious, but not too drunk to keep my shit together. I was super full of life and equally full of what I remember to be a pretty excellent piece of D. Let’s just say I would write him a letter of recommendation any day.
Related note: I am of the opinion, and John Mayer contributed to the solidification of this opinion, that people who are really technically skilled at playing the guitar are good in bed. Clearly, this isn’t universally true. But if you spend that much time focusing both on doing intricate shit with your fingers and being aware of rhythm, you at least have a solid foundation for possibly being good at sex.
Also, in case you didn’t know, John Mayer is a really, really beautiful person. He’s tall and genetically blessed all around. And in the brief hours I knew him, it was rapidly apparent that he was wonderfully smart, and witty, and the perfect mix of reserved and relaxed and confident, and all of these things are almost upsettingly sexy. He could’ve been utterly inept at the technical parts of sex (but he wasn’t) and I still would’ve had at least a decent time because everything about him was aesthetically and socially very pleasing. The idea of looking at the whole picture of a person, and having sex with a whole person and not just their sex parts ended up being another lesson that I carried with me and does me a great deal of good to this day.
It doesn’t make me feel unduly special or important to have had sex with John Mayer. It just puts things in a really comforting perspective. Like, we like in a society that gives celebrities tremendous power. We make them more than human, and also completely not human at all. But once you’ve had someone sneeze while inside you and seen them become adorably self-conscious and generally have a perfect moment of imperfect humanness, you realize how weird and the same we all are. And then you think about the huge celebrity image built around those people, and it all feels like such a bullshit thing, and something about that perspective just makes you feel more valuable. John Mayer sneezing on me during sex has effectively taken the power out of celebrity culture for me, and that’s a wonderful thing.