Will the real Bloody Mary please stand up?


There’s a little doohickey in your brain called the reticular cortex, and its job is to control how much attention you’re going to give to all the billions of pieces of data coming at you every day. Did you ever buy a car and suddenly see that exact make and model all over town? Or adopt a Boston Terrier and then begin to see his breed in ads, playing on the beach,  and on greeting cards? Have you ever worn a new pair of shoes to a party and then see that the hostess is wearing them too? (Actually, that’s not your reticular cortex; that’s just a bummer.)

I predict that it won’t be long before you’ll start to notice Bloody Marys, both the name and the cocktail, popping up everywhere you look. Your reticular cortex may be partly to blame, but you can’t deny the fact that Bloody Marys are increasingly on the radar of newshounds and gossipmongers worldwide. Take a look at these recent and not-so-recent sightings.

Bloody Mary was a character in James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific. The book was later made into a musical, then into a movie in 1958. Mary, played by Juanita Hall, was a native Pacific Islander who sold shrunken heads and generally led sailors astray during World War II. She earned her nickname from the color of her teeth. Apparently, she was fond of chewing betel nut, which stain teeth and skin red, and are also known for causing a sensation of heat and inebriation in the body. Ring any bells?

Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary is a lesbian vampire movie made in 1975. It stars Christina Ferrare and John Carradine. There’s probably a good reason no one has heard of it before, but you can’t blame them for trying.

In September of 2000, the band Five For Fighting released an album called America Town, and it included a song called Bloody Mary. The chorus goes “Bloody Marys for all, Bloody Marys for all.” I couldn’t agree more, until I learned it’s about a prostitute. Color MY face red.

Bloody Mary appears in the video game Twisted Metal: Black. She is a girl who is so scarred by unrequited love that it drives her to insanity and a series of killing sprees. Onscreen, she wears the bloodied wedding gown of one of her victims. She is later sent to Blackfield Asylum where I hear it’s really hard to meet guys.

So much for namesakes, what about the drinks themselves? The television shows Mad Men, Burn Notice, and Archer are riddled with people drinking Bloody Marys.

Now it’s your turn. Have you seen any Bloody Marys in pop culture lately? Let me know in the comments below!