Credit: Alexei Hay for DETAILS

John Mayer and Gerard Butler: soul mates?

During an interview with Details magazine (in its December issue) conducted at L.A.'s star hangout Chateau Marmont, Mayer, 32, encounters Butler at a nearby table and strikes up a private 20 minute conversation. Butler had been briefly linked to Mayer's ex-girlfriends Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Simpson.

When the Details writer asks about the chat, Mayer says, "We talked about New York . . .We're in a bit of the same position of being branded womanizers."

Mayer then opens up a tad about the famous women he's dated, suggesting that the heart wants what it wants:

"You just never know who's going to come into your life," he says. "To my mind, the only thing sicker than saying, 'Wow, you're a famous person and it would do a lot for my career to go out with you,' is to say, 'Wow, you're a famous person and I like you and all, but I can't do that to my career.' I don't think either of those is a good option."

The profile also details the musician's myriad collections: watches, guitars, cars, Leica cameras, even women's leather bags. Explains Mayer: "I have the obsessiveness of someone who's a sober, recovering addict displacing his addiction . . . Except I never had the addiction." He adds self-consciously: "I've never done anything because I thought it would look cool."

The quirky crooner also acknowledges his many, many detractors and extends a provocative invitation:

"What if I had a booth on the street and I said, 'Attention, everybody who hates me: If you have a problem with me, I'm ready to hear your gripes! ....I will only be speaking to people who do not like me. Come out and let me have it. I will not speak back.'

Mayer says he's dubious than any of the haters would actually show their faces.

"How many people do you think would be standing there? I'm talking about people getting the chance to tell me directly, 'I think you're a douchebag.' You know how many people would do it? Ze-ro."