Written By: Johnny
This song is everywhere and I can’t stand it. It was written in 1944, the same year of D-Day, and the same year scientists isolated DNA strands (Oswald Avery). Yes, this song was written the same year the United States entered WW2 in Europe, in a time where women had fewer rights then men, in the following “war times”, Women began to be part of the workforce, and started to get more equal rights. Everything this song represents is a disgrace to women and undermines their efforts in equality.
On the other side of this biased coin, the song is just a catchy Christmas song and nothing more. But everyone has an agenda so in my opinion not very likely.
I think I my displeasure to this song began while working in retail, I have been exposed to over 60 listens a season over the years and I truly fucking hate it. Year after year I am forced to listen to the sultry tones of Bing Crosby or Dean Martin or whoever decides to cover it each season. But this year, during a promo for TBS’s Ground Floor, the two leads sang this song. I’ve had enough. I’ve decided to make this blog in an effort to draw attention to its suggestive overtones.
Here are the lyrics.
I really can’t stay – Baby it’s cold outside
I’ve got to go away – Baby it’s cold outside
This evening has been – Been hoping that you’d drop in
So very nice – I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice
My mother will start to worry – Beautiful, what’s your hurry?
Father will be pacing the floor – Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I’d better scurry – Beautiful, please don’t hurry
Maybe just a half a drink more – Put some records on while I pour
The neighbors might think – Baby, it’s bad out there
Say, what’s in this drink? – No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how – Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell – I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell
I ought to say no, no, no – Mind if I move in closer?
At least I’m gonna say that I tried – What’s the sense in hurting my pride?
I really can’t stay – Baby don’t hold out
Ah, but it’s cold outside
I’ve got to get home – Oh, baby, you’ll freeze out there
Say, lend me your coat – It’s up to your knees out there
You’ve really been grand – Thrill when you touch my hand
Why don’t you see – How can you do this thing to me?
There’s bound to be talk tomorrow – Think of my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied – If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can’t stay – Get over that hold out
Ah, but it’s cold outside
Oh, baby, it’s cold outside
Oh, baby, it’s cold outside
I tried very hard to find articles defending the lyrics, to which there was plenty, but none of them really convinced me. Maybe I’m too dialed in on hating the song. But seriously, the lyric “Hey, what’s in this drink?” churns my stomach. In other versions of the song, the lyric “I ought to say no, no, no” is changed to/from “the answer is no“.
I believe the same people who defend the innocence of this song also tweet stupid shit like #NotAllMen. It doesn’t matter that not every man has attempted a sexual assault, it’s that when we hear about it on the news the story is 20 seconds long because it happens ALL THE TIME! There isn’t a shock value to it because it’s pretty common. This song is outdated and part of a system that makes date rape an acceptable act. The entertainment industry is part of the problem, addressing these issues in the industry is one of the first steps to societal change, and consider this blog as part of my contribution. I stand with women for equality, because most women I have met are better than most men I’ve met.
I’m not the only one who things the song is dark and creepy, it was recently satired on an episode of South Park where, now infamous, Bill Cosby tries to sing at and seduce Taylor Swift during the Washington Redskin’s Go Fuck Yourself Holiday Special. If you’re up to date with all of this year’s shittiest things then there’s no need to explain. But if not, here we go, in the past two months Bill Cosby has been accused of sexual assault by twenty women and counting. The Washington Redskins have yet to rename their team even though many have come out against saying it is offensive to Native Americans, for the record I believe there should be a name change. I don’t know why Taylor Swift has been wrapped up in this other than she seems to be a very popular singer and pretty person; I never liked her, but truthfully never gave her the chance so yeah.
I know Disney doesn’t have the best reputation with sex or racism included in their children movies. But I’d like to revisit one obscure, overly racist one. The movie Dumbocame out in 1941, three years before Baby its Cold Outside. It’s a fairly short movie, only sixty four minutes, but is ripe with racism. In the opening scenes as the circus is being set up, animals are forced to help (seemingly against their will), but the other workers were just faceless black men. Later on, as the circus is approaching New Orleans, Dumbo and Timothy (the mouse) meet a group of Black Crows they were all being voiced by black actors, and their leader was named Jim. Yes, Jim Crow was the character’s name. As I was growing up my grandparents showed me this film. I thought it was a good story until I saw it again recently on Netflix. The intended message was drowned out in racist overtones and poor animation. I may be wrong but I do not think it was ever aired on television in my lifetime. I think because of the strong racist presence, being written in a time where it was acceptable, this movie has been tossed aside for more appropriate worldview.
I had to privileged to attend college and be taught by many insightful people. In my first year at Penn State I took at class called the Bible as Literature. Which changed the viewpoint of the bible from the true word of god to just a book. In one lecture our teacher asked us to read the poem “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke (1941), which vaguely describes a child waiting for his father to return to the bar. At first most of the students, myself included, were disgusted in what we thought we were reading. From our perspective, the poem describes a young boy getting beat by his drunken father as his wife looks on in disgust. Our teacher explains that to him, being from a less violent generation, saw it as nothing more than a young boy standing on his father’s feet as they literally dance through the kitchen. The lesson was of changing perspective, so I learned early on that my perspective wasn’t the only one that matters. I reached out to my professor for his opinion on Baby its Cold Outside, and this was his response.
“I absolutely detest this song. I hear it all too frequently on 101.1 FM, and it turns mystomach each time. It has nothing to do with Christmas, but it is rather a clumsy attempt at seducing an apparently not very bright young woman. It doesn’t help that Dean Martin is the male vocalist, and apparently he was quite a lecherous person in his day.
Just this season, though, I caught the line, ‘Say, what’s in this drink?’ Yuck. Maybe it was intended as a stronger than usual liquor, but now I think of a date-rape drug he put in there. It disgusts me on every possible level. Maybe I should complain to the radio station…”
He is definitely someone whose opinion I respect, and I was sort of surprised by his response, definitely comforting to hear I wasn’t the only one who feels this way. I know this blog is one of many so if you happen to stumble upon to it, Thanks for reading.
Drawing conclusions, in the pasty seventy years we have made great strides in equality of race. I challenge you to think of any song written 70 years ago that discusses race, or better yet ask 5 of your friends if they’ve seen Dumbo in the last ten years. Chances are you can’t or most of them haven’t, simply because they have been pushed away and ignored. Maybe it’s about time we start putting away songs that attack women also.
Merry Christmas from the Dork of All Trades!