Mary Crawford. The Original Cosmo Girl?

Mary Crawford…a cosmo girl? That complex, charming, antagonist from Mansfield Park? Sure. And why not? To me, her tractable morals make a far more congenial drinking buddy, I mean, compelling literary character than the novel’s heroine, Fanny Price.

Over the holiday break, I saw a rerun of the HBO hit Sex in the City (1998-2004) and was struck by the similarities between the often brazen, candid, and highly sexual character, who is “unafraid of confrontation,” Samantha Jones, and Austen’s antagonist, Miss Mary Crawford. Maybe the similarities are a bit of a two hundred year stretch but I found both characters appealing–confident, fun, engaging, and forward-thinking despite their questionable ethics. “…I will stake my last like a woman of spirit. No cold prudence for me. I am not born to sit still and do nothing. If I lose the game, it shall not be from not striving for it.” (Mary Crawford, Mansfield Park)

I believe both women are ahead of their times, often expressing amoral, shocking views not accepted by polite society and yet still practical, though brow-raising notions. “A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.” (Mary Crawford, Mansfield Park)
Hey now. Don’t judge.

And Samantha is forever voicing opinions that I find astonishing anyone would say aloud. “…all relationships I know are based on the foundation of lies and mutually accepted delusions.” (Samantha Jones, Sex in the City) I can’t help but snicker at such jaded nonsense. But then I look around and wonder if for some that is their reality. “I would have everybody marry if they can do it properly: I do not like to have people throw themselves away; but everybody should marry as soon as they can do it to advantage.” (Mary Crawford, Mansfield Park)

In this first week of 2016, as we all set new resolutions, and as I approach my forty-eighth year, I lift a tall, sexy martini glass with that pink vodka concoction in Miss Crawford’s honor. “Varnish and gilding hide many stains.” (Mary Crawford, Mansfield Park) Cheers! #JaneWithATwist

I like this easy recipe from Inspired Taste.
You Will Need
2 ounces (1/4 cup) vodka
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) triple sec
3/4 ounce (1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons) cranberry juice
1/4 to 1/2 ounce (1 1/2 teaspoons to 3 teaspoons) fresh lime juice
1 2-inch orange peel/twist
8 ounces (1 cup) vodka
2 ounces (1/4 cup) triple sec
3 ounces (1/3 cup) cranberry juice
1 to 2 ounces (2 tablespoons to 4 tablespoons) fresh lime juice
4 2-inch orange peels/twists

FOR 1 Serving
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice then add vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and lime juice. (We like the extra bite of extra lime juice, so we use 1/2 an ounce in our cosmopolitan cocktails. However, use what is best for your taste).
Shake the cocktail shaker for about 30 seconds until well chilled. Then, strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with orange peel/twist. For an extra burst of flavor, peel the orange twist over the filled cocktail glass. This way, the orange oils spray into the glass.
Add vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and the lime juice to a pitcher then stir. Refrigerate. Then, once ready to serve, pour into four martini glasses and garnish with orange peel/twist.

Some of my favorite lines from both strong characters:

“Nothing ever fatigues me but doing what I do not like.” (Mary Crawford, Mansfield Park)

“Always look like you know where you’re going even if you don’t.” (Samantha Jones, Sex in the City)

“Pictures of perfection, as you know, make me sick and wicked.” (Mary Crawford, Mansfield Park)

“If you want the life, you have to look the part.” (Samantha Jones, Sex in the City)

Follow Christina Boyd:

Editor; artist

Christina Boyd wears many hats as she is an editor at Meryton Press, a contributor to Austenprose, and a ceramicist for the Made in Washington stores under her own banner, Stir Crazy Mama's Artworks. A life member of Jane Austen Society of North America, Christina lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her dear Mr. B, two busy teenagers, and a retriever named BiBi. Visiting Jane Austen's England remains on her bucket list. The short story anthology "Sun-kissed: Effusions of Summer" released June 2015. The second anthology "Then Comes Winter" released November 2015.

13 Responses

  1. Denise

    A Votre Sante!

    Love the accurate comparison!

  2. Anngela Schroeder

    Great read! What an insightful bridge of two characters from completely different backgrounds!

  3. Melanie Stanford

    I’ve gotta admit, I do not like Mary Crawford at all. She’s too selfish. Although I do like the quote about striving for the win instead of doing nothing.

    • Christina Boyd

      Melanie, well…
      “Selfishness must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure.” (Mary Crawford)

      Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

  4. Cassandra

    Well said, and cheers! 🍸🍸

    Loved the quotes too, and I hope you get your trip to England before too long!

    • Christina Boyd

      Me too. (Le sigh)

  5. Erin

    Isn’t it fun to see Austen’s characters in our modern times? I guess that’s why her works are timeless ;).

    BTW, I completely agree with you that Mary Crawford has some great lines!

  6. Sophia Rose

    Buahaha! Yes! Who knew about this pair of sisters separated by time.

    I must have just a little larceny in me b/c I could definitely see myself kicked back appreciating the avant garde of Mary’s observations while quietly sipping my cocktail.

  7. Claudine Pepe

    I love the quote about looking the part first … Many people refer to that sentiment when starting a new project or goal. That’s a good idea to keep in mind for any New Year Reolutions…
    I was watching SITC over break too. I love your character comparisons. I bet a lot of the themes discussed in the show were also part of Austen’s work. Classic themes are still a big part of our lives!

  8. KarenMC

    Never watched Sex and the City but I have a feeling I’d feel the same way about Samantha that I do about Mary: interesting to talk to- wouldn’t trust her as far as I could throw her 😉

    • Christina Boyd

      Oh no, Karen. Samantha, despite all her flash and bravado, she’s loyal to her friends. You would want her as your friend.

  9. Sheila L. M.

    I agree with your comparisons of the two woman. As one who votes for morality I have to admit Fanny Price is rather boring. She deserves to win but I like a rebel at times. Not that I like women who stab one in the back but saying startling things can stir up the party. I have watched most, if not all, of SITC on TV and both movies. Can’t say I am that liberated but it does make for some good laughs and some life lessons.

    • Christina Boyd

      Yes, I think I am too staid to hang with the SitC crowd–well, I always get Charlotte when taking those social media “Whch Sex in the City friend are you?” quizzes–but they do make for good TV. And Mary Crawford really has the best lines in the book.