• Baby It’s Cold Out-WTF?!

    I love Christmas music. I’m that person who will listen to Christmas music in July just because I like it. Who says it has to be the holiday season to enjoy holiday music?

    Lately, it seems like every time I turn on the all-Christmas radio station, they’re playing “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” Musically speaking, this is a beautiful duet – I love the back-and-forth and the layering of the voices. But have you actually listened to the lyrics? They exemplify what’s wrong with how boys and girls are socialized – he refuses to accept when she rebuffs his advances and she’s worried about being slut shamed by her family and community. Here’s what goes through my head every time I hear it.
    (M = male; F = female; B = both; my thoughts in italics)

    Winter Wonderland by Kristina_Servant from Flickr (Creative Commons License)
    Winter Wonderland by Kristina_Servant from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

    (F) I really can’t stay
    (M) Baby it’s cold outside
    (F) I’ve got to go away
    (M) Baby it’s cold outside
    Dude, she said she was leaving.
    (F) This evening has been
    (M) Been hoping that you’d drop in
    (F) So very nice
    (M) I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice
    Hey! Don’t touch her without consent!

    (F) My mother will start to worry
    (M) Beautiful, what’s your hurry?
    (F) Father will be pacing the floor
    (M) Listen to the fireplace roar
    (F) So really I’d better scurry
    Bah! Be bold woman!
    (M) Beautiful, please don’t hurry
    (F) Maybe just a half a drink more
    Arg! Don’t do that!
    (M) Put some records on while I pour
    You’re a manipulative jerk.

    (F) The neighbors might think
    Who gives a f*ck what they think?
    (M) Baby, it’s bad out there
    And why are you calling her “Baby?”
    That’s so belittling the way you use it. She has a name, you know.
    (F) Say, what’s in this drink?
    Did you give her roofies or something?
    (M) No cabs to be had out there
    Get an Uber.
    (F) I wish I knew how
    (M) Your eyes are like starlight now
    (F) To break this spell
    (M) I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell
    Ugh you’re so creepy.

    Christmas Ornament by Tobyotter from Flickr (Creative Commons License)
    Christmas Ornament by Tobyotter from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

    (F) I ought to say no, no, no
    Say it or don’t. It’s ok to enjoy intimacy.
    (M) Mind if I move in closer?
    Thanks for asking…finally.
    (F) At least I’m gonna say that I tried
    Where’s your integrity? Say what you mean, mean what you say.
    (M) What’s the sense in hurting my pride?
    Screw his feelings if he doesn’t respect you boundaries.
    (F) I really can’t stay
    Then leave!
    (M) Baby don’t hold out
    (B) Ah, but it’s cold outside

    (F) I’ve got to get home
    Walk out the door!
    (M) Oh, baby, you’ll freeze out there
    (F) Say, lend me your coat
    (M) It’s up to your knees out there
    (F) You’ve really been grand
    No he hasn’t! He’s being a dick!
    (M) Thrill when you touch my hand
    (F) Why don’t you see
    (M) How can you do this thing to me?
    It’s not all about you!

    (F) There’s bound to be talk tomorrow
    Who cares?
    (M) Think of my lifelong sorrow
    Really? Since when do your feelings trump hers?
    (F) At least there will be plenty implied
    (M) If you caught pneumonia and died
    And died – Really??
    (F) I really can’t stay
    Seriously – You. Door. Go!
    (M) Get over that hold out
    Ew ew eww! Lady – run away from this guy!
    (B) Ah, but it’s cold outside
    (B) Oh, baby, it’s cold outside
    (B) Oh, baby, it’s cold outside

    Whenever I hear this song, I think of a lesson from security expert Gavin de Becker: A person who doesn’t hear “no” is trying to control you. Perhaps it was sweet song when it was written, reflective of the times, but I still think it’s an indication of a misogynistic culture.

    I want to re-write this conversation in a way that works. I can see it going one of two ways:

    (F) I should get going.
    (M) What’s your hurry, Baby?
    (F) I’m tired. I want to go home.
    (M) It’s so cold out there.
    (F) Of course it is. It’s December. I’ll be fine.
    (M) One more drink . . .
    (F) No. Quit being a jerk. I’m leaving.

    (F) I should get going.
    (M) I had fun tonight. You’re welcome to stay.
    (F) Thank you. I’d like that. Let me text my family so they’ll know not to expect me until tomorrow.