In the world of Swifties, pop star Taylor Swift’s throng of adoring fans, there are certain rules one must follow. This includes taking sides with Swift at all costs post-breakup. That means analyzing every word of every song to decipher meanings and feeling every emotion she must have felt. And, of course, it means throwing mad shade at whichever unlucky soul broke her heart.
After Swift’s re-release of her studio album Red, now titled Red (Taylor’s Version), her mega fanbase went crazy on Jake Gyllenhaal, the alleged focus of her single and ten-minute long video “All Too Well.” According to the Swifties, Gyllenhaal is a villain who deserves to be called out for his behavior.
But some Swift fans argue that if Gyllenhaal is getting called out, then the same needs to happen to musician and fellow ex-boyfriend John Mayer.
Taylor Swift Began Dating John Mayer In 2009
Although they never called out their relationship publicly, it’s rumored that Swift and Mayer’s whirlwind romance lasted from 2009 to 2010. And like many modern romances, it started online. When Mayer tweeted a comparison of Swift to Stevie Nicks, saying he wanted the young singer to collaborate on his new song, “Half of My Heart,” in early 2009, Swift was overjoyed.
Fast forward to the end of 2009 when the duo performed the song at Z100’s Jingle Ball in New York City. This was when fans started to get suspicious about a brewing relationship. However, come early 2010, the under-wraps power couple seemed to have gone separate ways.
The Swiftie Backlash Begins
True to her fashion of writing tell-all love songs, Swift included a track in her 2010 album Speak Now that immediately raised red flags for Swifties everywhere. “Dear John,” the fans argued, seemed to make a not-so-subtle nod to Mr. Mayer, and it doesn’t take a Swift Sleuth to agree.
“Dear John, I see it all now that you’re gone / Don’t you think I was too young to be messed with? / The girl in the dress cried the whole way home / Dear John, I see it all now, it was wrong / Don’t you think nineteen’s too young / To be played by your dark, twisted games / When I loved you so? / I shoulda known.”
…ouch. Quite the dig at the then-32-year-old musician, who fans reasonably assumed took advantage of Swift, who was 13 years his junior and not nearly as seasoned of a musician as him. As far as the Swift camp was concerned, this was all the proof they needed.
John Mayer Offers His Response(s)
Mayer was not oblivious to the musical reference, nor pleased with how Swift handled the situation. “I never got an e-mail [or] phone call,” the “Daughters” singer-songwriter told Rolling Stone. “It really humiliated me at a time when I’d already been dressed down.”
“I think it’s kind of cheap songwriting,” he continued in his interview. “She’s the biggest thing in the world, and I’m not trying to sink anybody’s ship, but I think it’s abusing your talent to rub your hands together and go, ‘wait till he gets a load of this!’ That’s bullshit.”
A poet and world-class musician in his own right, Mayer offered a musical response to “Dear John” with “Paper Doll.” “You’re like 22 girls in one / And none of them know what they’re running from / Was it too far to fall / for a little paper doll,” the lyrics read. He also mentions a red scarf, further alluding to Swift’s Red album era.
Taking The Hate A Step Too Far
Sometimes, the Swifties took things a step too far. Shortly after joining TikTok in 2021, Mayer posted a video that amassed a barrage of comments from Swift fans, many of them criticizing him and quoting lyrics from “Dear John.” Aptly, the video shows Mayer shaking his head and muttering affirmative “mhm’s” and “yeps” with a caption that reads, “POV: you’re berating me, and I’m hearing you out.”
After Swift released Red (Taylor’s Version), Mayer received messages from enraged Swifties expressing their hopes that he would die. While the messages have been removed, screenshots have been saved of a conversation between a supposed Swift fan named “Alondra” and Mayer. She starts the conversation by saying, “f*** yourself ugly b**** I hope you choke on something,” followed by a heart emoji.
The person was shocked that he replied and apologized for making him feel bad, they claimed it was a dare and never thought he would see it, let alone be affected by it. Still, that hasn’t stopped Swifties from adding fuel to the Swift-Mayer feud fire even as recently as January 2023.
Clearing The Lavender Haze
On January 26, Mayer announced his upcoming “John Mayer Solo” tour, which begins around the same time as Swift’s highly anticipated “Eras” tour. The timestamp on his announcement reads 7:50 a.m., and exactly 15 minutes later, Swift hopped on Twitter to share an announcement of her own: a new music video for her Midnights‘ track, “Lavender Haze.”
One Twitter user tweeted in response, “not Taylor announcing the “Lavender Haze” music video the same day John Mayer announces his tour as if the entire aesthetic of the video reminds of Speak Now, THAT’S JUST QUEEN BEHAVIOUR.” Indeed, the timing does seem uncanny, and the music video’s purple haze is incredibly reminiscent of the Speak Now album artwork.
Could it be a mere coincidence? Indeed, but given the pop star’s track record of adding hidden meanings to lyrics, artwork, videos, release dates, and more, we can’t help but think this was yet another way to show Mayer that, despite his seniority and prolific career, she was the one that got away—not him.
According to American Songwriter, Taylor’s next re-release is set to be Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) later this year, which we don’t doubt will kick up even more dirt around the singer’s infamous love life.