Seducing the Stars: John Mayer, Hollywood Player

Serial dater, Lothario, cad -- they are just a few of the things that singer John Mayer has been called by the media for his very public hookups and breakups with some of the entertainment industry's most desirable women.

Jennifer Aniston appears to be the latest in a long line of A-list ladies that Mayer has dated. Over the years, the singer-songwriter has been linked to Jennifer Love Hewitt, Mandy Moore, "Friday Night Lights" actress Minka Kelly, Jessica Simpson and others.

For now, everyone seems to be talking about Mayer's blooming romance with Aniston. But he, for one, can't understand what the big deal is.

"This is not a scandal, this is not an issue, this is not a problem, this needs no spin control," he told "Entertainment Tonight" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute gala earlier this week. "This is me living my life. ... There are much worse problems in the world. Everything's cool!"

For now, that is. The new couple, who've been e-mailing for more than six months, according to a report in this week's People magazine, spent five days canoodling in Miami last week while Aniston was on a break from filming her latest movie, "Marley & Me."

The two shared an intimate lunch at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, then hit South Beach hot spot Casa Tua later the same day, partying until 1 a.m. But it was pictures of the pair cuddling poolside at the Mandarin Oriental hotel, where Aniston was crashing during the shoot, that really got tongues wagging.

Dating and relationship expert Matt Titus sees this kind of behavior as an ego trip.

"I think John likes to conquer the current 'It girl,'" he said. "I think he has a very egotistical freak in him that's masked by that pretty-boy artist-who-doesn't-care vibe. He aims for the 'It girl' to make him the big guy in Hollywood, the guy on all the magazine covers alongside Jennifer Aniston. Mission accomplished."

Us Weekly dubbed the 30-year-old singer its 2007 Cad of the Year, even before the Lothario penned and published a harsh note to an ex on his blog in March, prompting speculation that it was addressed to former girlfriend Simpson.

"Dear Ex Lover," Mayer wrote on his Web site. "Perhaps you didn't understand the last time I told you to stop contacting me, so I'll do my best to spell it out for you. I do not wish to have you in my life anymore. I don't know how much more clear I can be about it. It would serve you best to move on with your life and find someone who can put up with you, because I'm done trying. I hope this is enough closure for you."

Even the most cadlike behavior works with Mayer's agenda, according to Titus.

"He plays to the media. He even dates for the media. Every action is preplanned for some kind of media effect," said Titus, who categorizes Mayer alongside celebrity players like Paris Hilton and Ryan Phillippe.

"He sort of wants to be seen as carefree, but I think every move -- especially when it comes to romance and dating -- is preplanned to get some kind of response from the public and the media," he said.

That includes Mayer's recent palling with celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, which Titus refers to as a strategic alliance.

"John Mayer's not a stupid guy," he said. "The friendship with Perez is very premeditated. At the moment, whatever comes out of Perez's mouth is the trend. So he's courting Perez in that sense because Perez can spin it anyway he wants. For John, it was a genius move."

But celebrity publicist Howard Bragman, owner of Hollywood PR firm Fifteen Minutes, pointed out that "celebrities can fall in love, too."

"Because of the life he leads, John's skeptical of going out to the club or the bookstore, or wherever people meet," Bragman said. "So he goes to celebrity events and meets other celebrities.

"And why wouldn't celebrities get crushes on other celebrities?" he continued. "You and I do. They're beautiful, they're articulate. It's like a workplace romance: They meet at charity events or on movie sets. They're in the same club, so to speak. Jennifer Aniston is just as famous as him, so she's not dating him because he's famous."

Bragman also points out that not every dalliance that lands in the press is the real thing.

"I had a client whom the press said was dating John Mayer," Bragman said. "It's one text message, and the media blow it up to 'they're engaged.' The media has to take a certain amount of responsibility. They start with a germ of truth and build it into something more. Two celebrities glance at each other in a public place and it's on Page Six."

After all, said Bragman, "There's billion-dollar industries set up to cover the celebrity world. There are magazines, TV shows and, now especially, the Web sites. It spreads like wildfire. What's more exciting than two sexy celebrities dating each other? I'm not saying celebs don't date with an agenda, but John has transcended this. He's just going to live his life, and he's laughing all the way home. Ultimately, he gets to date some of the most desirable women in the world. That's not bad duty, OK?"

Celebrity psychotherapist Stacy Kaiser believes Aniston may be the one having the last laugh.

"It could be that Aniston is the master of this," said Kaiser, who analyzes celebrities for CNN, People and Extra. "Celebrities control the press as best they can, if they're smart. And she's come out and said she's a controlling person.

"John controls the press through his sort of smirking, smiling style, but Jennifer controls them by using strategic timing," Kaiser continued. "I mean. look at the Vince Vaughn breakup -- timed perfectly to the release of their movie 'The Breakup.'"

So, which one -- Aniston or Mayer -- is benefiting more from their hookup? Kaiser believes older woman Aniston is the clear winner.

"John's cute, he's charming, he's smart," Kaiser said. "And he wrote that amazing song for Jennifer Love Hewitt, 'Your Body Is a Wonderland.' I mean, what woman doesn't want a hot musician writing an amazing love song about her? I can definitely see the appeal."

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