Baby, It's Cold Outside

Baby, It's Cold OutsideMy buddy Erin Davis wrote an interesting blog entry about Baby, It's Cold Outside, a song you'll hear often at this time of year. Baby, It's Cold Outside isn't a Christmas song, but a "cold weather" song, and since it's so good, it gets lumped in with holiday favourites like White Christmas and Silver Bells.

Erin commented on the pushback that Baby, It's Cold Outside is a little "date-rapey". After all, the songstress says "I simply must go, the answer is no" yet her pursuer persists with the charm and continues to pour the alcohol. Today, it's less "no means no" and more "only an explicit sober yes means yes".

The tune is fantastic and, as these seasonal songs go, this is one of the best. Everyone has a favourite version (mine is Ray Charles and Betty Carter from 1961).

When it comes to music, it's best we don't over-analyze the lyrics. I'm not offended by the lyrics of Baby, It's Cold Outside any more than I'm offended by the use of the slur "faggot" in my favourite Christmas song of all-time. If we were to only listen to music with 100% safe and politically correct lyrics, we'd be left with a whole lot of Kenny G.

Oh, but baby it’s cold outside.


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this guest

well she didn't
say she woke up groggy with a sick
feeling and a framed photograph of
bill cosby on the coffee table so it's not like
she's being drugged
for god's sake it's two adults in an
era of slugging back the booze getting
cozy

December 8, 2014 @ 11:19 AM

Lynne

Wow! Erin Davis and have the same thoughts about that song. And it never occurred to me before this year.

Baby It's Cold Outside was written in 1949, 65 years ago.

I was watching the Christmas tree telecast from Rockefeller Centre on Wednesday night. Seth MacFarlane & Sara Bareilles performed the duet live, and they did an okay job of it, considering the live show and all.

However, given the current (and, I hope, lasting) conversations concerning date rape, violence against women, etc., I do question their judgement in picking that particular song to perform. It was the first time I visibly cringed while listening to the words. But then I thought about it....

I am a woman who lived through some pretty awful times (born in 1953). Sadly, society has a long way to go yet. But I do recognize that creative works need to be evaluated in historical context, and not over-analyzed.

Having said that, I will go ahead and try to analyze it. Women were expected to preserve their honour back then. I think the woman in the song really wanted to stay. But she also had to maintain her good-girl image. That sort of double-entendre might even have been considered a normal part of the dating ritual back then. Messy and confusing? Definitely!

Now, "no" means "no". When a woman says she has to leave (snowing or not), pouring her another drink and denying her wish to go home ought to be considered criminal.

I doubt that today's men pay much attention at all to lyrics like that. Christmas songs from the 1940s probably have zero effect on their dating behaviour. Am I wrong?

December 8, 2014 @ 11:41 AM

m m

I always liked the melody, but once I read the lyrics, it definitely put me off (I am male). That said, I still sometimes notice guys in bars trying to interpret "no" in ways other than _no_. We do have a way to go, but the current conversations do help to educate the public. Regarding the song, it is time to leave it behind and move on to something else. Many old songs only belong to that time due to outdated attitudes. They deserve to be archived, but not promoted.

December 8, 2014 @ 12:16 PM

Argie

Wow, I guess they should ban "Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer" since its about bullying. I mean, after all the other reindeers teased him and didn't let him join in any reindeer games......

Then again, maybe the song is about animal abuse. That too, is wrong don't ya know.

December 8, 2014 @ 12:21 PM

this guest

@ Lynne,
While I agree that date rape and plying somebody
with alcohol to take advantage of them is terrible,
(in fact my idea of judicial punishment for such crimes goes
way beyond what our current laws suggest) I simply
don't think this song is about that.

December 8, 2014 @ 1:08 PM

this guest

Actually I could be completely wrong. I
haven't listened to it again and just have a
vague sense of Stan Getz albums on the 'hi fi'
and a couple of colleagues with the hots for
each other being clever and Dorothy Parkeresque
with each other.
When I see WW2 movies and the u.s. sailors with
a girl in every port I do sort of cringe thinking they
will be a thousand miles away when the girl suddenly
realizes she's possibly pregnant.

December 8, 2014 @ 1:18 PM

Lynne

@ this guest

The song isn't about that at all. Maybe I didn’t clarify my opinion well enough.

To me, the song is about an antiquated dating ritual where she is actually happy to stay and have a few more drinks.... even though she says she really must go. Good girls had to pretend otherwise back in those days. (There were a lot of shotgun weddings back then as a result of that nonsense.)

The words taken in today's context made me cringe. Don’t get me wrong. I still like the song. We shouldn't ban history. We can all learn from it. Anyway, the men who think of it as a model for current behaviour have a lot more problems than believing lyrics to a very fine Christmas standard.

December 8, 2014 @ 2:09 PM

Lynne

@Mike
You're right. It's a cold weather song. It has nothing to do with Christmas. Maybe that's why I like it. The only Christmas song I will crank up is "Santa Baby" - the Eartha Kitt version. It always makes me laugh.

December 8, 2014 @ 2:41 PM

Argie

If we're going to ban any song, let's ban "Simply Having A Wonderful Christmastime" by Paul McCartney. What a God awful song!

December 8, 2014 @ 3:10 PM

Irv

Well only the author of the song really knows what it means. Our interpretations are our own & nothing more. Even if a song has questionable lyrics I don't think it should be banned. The world is an incredibly ugly place, the last thing we need to do is hide that ugly. That's what we did decades ago when a 15 year old girl got pregnant. We sent her to "Auntie's" farm. Only when we faced the reality of teen pregnancy did we actually bring numbers down.

On "offensive songs" here's one Erin and CHFI play. One of the most played AC songs in history from Benny Mardones. "She's just 16 years old, leave her alone they say". The video is pretty creepy too. Being "investigated" (for whatever reason) dug into the real story. The song is actually about a young woman whose father up and left her Mom for a younger woman. The artist lived in the same building and offered her money to walk his dogs to help out the family. She came in dressed "sexily" and his co-writer commented on it and he replied "She's just 16 years old, leave her alone"


Sometimes things are not as you see them. Ever read Little House on the Prairie (the books)? Well if you analyze them you discover the Pa Ingalls squatted on Indian land in the book of the same name. He was illegally squatting in the hopes of getting the best property.

December 8, 2014 @ 3:12 PM

Lyle Lanley

Great song... dated, but great.

December 8, 2014 @ 4:11 PM

Sammi

Well said Mike.

I am getting a little tired of people wanting to ban everything.

December 8, 2014 @ 4:17 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Sammi

Have you heard my interview with Jeremy Taggart yet?

December 8, 2014 @ 4:19 PM

this guest

The Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer version is the one
I'm familiar with
mucho banter
upbeat tune

December 8, 2014 @ 4:32 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

Kids today gravitate to the version from Elf, either the one they see in the film with Zooey Deschanel and Will Ferrell or the version from the soundtrack with Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone.

December 8, 2014 @ 4:34 PM

andrew

RIP John Lennon.
Just IMAGINE.

December 8, 2014 @ 5:08 PM

Anonymous

and so this is christmas....

war is over....

December 8, 2014 @ 6:03 PM

Anon&on

I like the Carmen McRae & Sammy Davis Jr. version, it's more playful in tone.

December 8, 2014 @ 8:01 PM

Bdot

Man people read to into things. Why not eliminate Christmas all together,.

December 9, 2014 @ 10:02 AM

Bdot

Man people read to into things. Why not eliminate Christmas all together,.

December 9, 2014 @ 10:02 AM

Sammi

@Mike

No. I have not.

December 9, 2014 @ 6:17 PM

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