"I'm actually very thoughtfully entering cannabis life." So spoke John Mayer to the New York Times in a profile published last week. Mayer, whose audience seems to consist of cool young moms, whose brand of soft rock is comes with just enough knowing irony to drag us all in, who said such dumb racist shit to Playboy and the Rolling Stone that he's been apologizing for the better part of a decade, doesn't simply smoke weed. He thoughtfully enters cannabis life. There were many other lines like it in the Times profile but this, like a Marine's rifle, was mine.
Yes, we're here to talk about Mayer's new video for "Still Feel Like Your Man," which is an allegory for his thoughtful entrance into cannabis life, but also so, so much more. Let's set the scene. It opens. He walks through a room: is that a nightclub, a sex club, or a mob-run kickback? Ah yes, it's a "disco dojo," according to that very same Times piece. There's a woman with an eyepatch; Mayer walks away from her; in disgust, she removes her eyepatch; she didn't need it; her eye is fine. All is well.
Pandas. Large pandas. Mayer dances with them. He dances alone. Other times, he dances with other party-goers, all casual choreography. It seems that he's trying to impress the proprietor of this "disco dojo." There are reasons for this, I'm sure. The pretty lady surrounded by butterflies, the one that the edit keeps cutting back to, the one, presumably, whose shampoo John Mayer still keeps in his bathroom, because he still feels like her man. More pandas. Hip thrusts. Is the proprietor of the "disco dojo" holding Mayer's once-beau captive?
Look, that's not important. Here's what is important: with his boyish good looks offset only slightly by a two-day mustache, Mayer spends all four minutes of the video wearing the detached smile of a man wise beyond his years. It's a resting expression that acknowledges the absurdity of his situation. And not just the "disco dojo" or the dancing pandas. The absurdity of John Mayer. The absurdity of all things. Pain, joy, heartbreak, excitement—they are all one. They are all absurd. They are all doused by the irrational meaninglessness of our lives. So:
What is John Mayer? [Charming smile]. Why are there pandas everywhere? [Hip thrusts]. What is cannabis life? [Eyes close slightly; sultry irony]. Guitar solo? [Piano plays].
John Mayer has stared into the abyss and found that there is nothing to report.