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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Baby It’s Cold Outside
I always liked the sweet flirtatious duet between a man and a woman, “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” You know the song.  A couple, obviously sexually attracted to each other, ready to break up after, I assume, a night of canoodling is seeking a reason to extend the evening.  She sings,
“I really must go” and he responds,
“But baby it’s cold outside”
and they go back and forth with it ultimately ending with both singing in unison,
“Ah but it’s cold outside.”
Recently several young people have mentioned to me that this song was offensive.  The guy is overly aggressive and does not respect the girl’s wishes to leave…apparently to millennials, the guy is creepy and the song is an anthem for date rape.
Why has this song, which has survived and been popular for so many years, suddenly being interpreted as offensive?
I thought about it, and in one respect he is a little pushy, and it could be a bit creepy, but then I think of it in the context of the time the song was first popular.  This song came out in 1944. 
In 1944 aggressive men were called mashers.  They didn’t have date rape drugs, they had alcohol.  In 1944 no meant no, but only if it was said with authority.  If it was not respected, it was followed by a slap.  Any sexual activity after the slap was molestation. 
Sex was not casual in 1944.  It often ended in pregnancy and if it came before marriage, it often resulted in marriage.  It was serious and perhaps taken more seriously than today.
When I hear “Baby it’s cold outside” I don’t hear creepy, I hear flirtation and indecision.  “I really must go” is sung in a flirtatious manner, not in an I mean business manner.  The fact that today’s youth think the man is overly aggressive and this song is an anthem for date rape points to a difference in sexual attitudes today.
Today’s youth are more “promiscuous” than they were in 1944.  I put that word in quotes because it is almost not a valid word today, it does not have the same connotation as it did in 1944.  Today’s youth can be freer in their sexuality, for many reasons, not the least that there are fewer consequences to sex today.
Men today have a greater expectation of casual sex than in 1944, they may be more embolden because of that expectation.  Women are perhaps a little less aggressive in their rebuffs, not wanting to come off as prudish.  Sexual signals are just not as clear as they were in 1944.
When I hear this song, I hear a man wanting an excuse to neck with his best gal a little longer, and a lady also wanting to extend a kissing session but not wanting to seem to obvious.  They do a flirtatious dance of why she should stay and why she needs to go, both wanting the same thing and ending in using the excuse of the cold having her stay longer.
Millennials hear a man being aggressive and a woman saying no.  He does not give in because he does not respect “no means no.”  Millennials hear the lady staying against her will and probably having date rape sex.
In 1944, no meant maybe, NO! meant NO! and a sharp slap against the face meant anything further was creepy.  For the most part the sharp slap was respected.
I think of this song as a cute, sweet romantic duet.  Perhaps, if halfway through the song there was the sound of a sharp slap and he responded with,
“Ah come on baby you know you want it and it is cold outside”
then I too would think it a really creepy song.
Different times, different interpretations.
This cranky old man in no way advocates aggressive sexual behavior and fully understands and agrees with the meaning of no.  Please do not interpret this post as being in disagreement with the young ladies of today and their attitude against aggressive behavior.    


  1. I enjoyed the commercials last year with Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett singing the song. I can't remember what they were advertising for, but I did enjoy watching the commercial. I have a son that is a millenial and I have no idea what he might think about this song, or DIL too, now that I think of it. Might be interesting to bring it up in conversation (or not). Meanwhile, its definitely not cold outside here in Phoenix; supposed to be 76 on Thursday. I'll take that.


  2. Omgosh. I totally just had this same conversation with one of the young ones. They do seem to think this a creepy song. I hear it like you hear. Just flirty fun. Ya' wanna' know a real creeper song? "Every breath you take" by the Police. That's a totally stalker song. My favorite "Baby It's Cold Outside" is by Dean Martin. :)

    1. Yes! My daughter actually calls it "The Stalker Song".

  3. Good post. I love the song but then I'm an oldie, one of those oldies who dislikes modern interpretations or behaviour. There doesn't seem to be any values now. So sad.

  4. "When I hear this song, I hear a man wanting an excuse to neck with his best gal a little longer, and a lady also wanting to extend a kissing session but not wanting to seem to obvious. They do a flirtatious dance of why she should stay and why she needs to go, both wanting the same thing and ending in using the excuse of the cold having her stay longer."
    That's exactly what I hear, nowhere in the song do I hear her saying "no". I hear her asking him to ask her to stay a little longer.
    Have you heard the Glee version where the two young gay men sing it to each other? It's very sweetly done. You can find it on you tube.

  5. It's become a symbol of how times change. It would be nice if we could go back to those innocent times.

  6. I had no idea. Boy, between adultery (Mommy Kissing Santa Claus) and now date rape, I guess we can no longer enjoy holiday music.

    Maybe I'm Dreaming of a White Xmas is racist?

  7. It is what it is (another cliche!). If they want to listen, perhaps our take on the song will become obvious. I do think "they" will be listening to the music (starting at Halloween) long after we're gone, because that's what retailers do, and "they" haven't replaced it with reasonable amount of current seasonal easy listening.

  8. Not once does she say NO. If she can't send a clear signal she deserves what she gets. Boy, isn't this a confusing world we live in?

  9. What kids are doing now is disgusting. I've heard what goes on in high schools. Good grief.

    This song is a classic for us, and it's creepy for the kids. There is a lot of that going on and some of what they do is creepy.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  10. I can't listen to Dean Martin sing this great old song and think of date rape. And while looking it up I see there's a newer recording of it with Idina Menzel and Michael Buble. I think the proper response to these complaining millenials was in yesterday's post.

  11. I love the song and it makes me think of my mom and dad. I had a photo of my dad in Korea, and on the back, he wrote to my mom, "Baby it's cold outside." He loved that song - it was Their Song.

    The art of flirting has been tainted. Guys can't flirt because it is taken wrong - girls can't flirt it is taken wrong. It's sad. I see the song, as two people who mutually like each other and are flirting. No harm done. But yes, we are living in a different world. I like my old world better.

  12. Aww and here I thought it was a sweet, flirty song all these years. Boy am I glad I am not young.

  13. Maybe I don't know enough millenials, or maybe I don't know the right kind of millenials, but I've never heard this song called creepy or offensive. I hear it like you do - and I laughed like crazy about the youtube clip that had this song over one of the Trump and Clinton debates:


  14. Joeh.
    Good post, sport. I like it.
    I think it's interesting to ponder how the comments would have gone on another...venue.
    I'm guessing that most of your commenters, me included, are well north of 50. I'm north of 71 in a day or so.
    It seems we're....what, reinforced? Validated? By our views only viewed by our 'peers'.
    Not critical, as I'm sure you know. I just wonder about the divisiveness we see in our daily lives, reading. How much is age, how much is income/status, etc.
    I'd like to think that this is just an extension of what we heard back in the late 60's...." kids, your clothes, the music,....", and how much it's something else, more basic, more scary.

    1. My point is that as you say, we often do not understand younger generations, their music, their attitudes, their fashion because we can not always identify with their language and their view of life, this is a case where many young people completely misinterpret this song because of their differing attitudes and in ways a different culture. Generations often see things through different lenses.

  15. Yes date rape is real and is a real problem, NO Baby It's Cold Outside is not a date rape ballad in any way shape or form. We've grown as a culture to better handle sexual assault but we have far still to go, but making up stories based on hokum benefits no one.

    But really, we're letting folks dictate what we say and how we say it to match some made up narrative that says we're mostly nasty beings.

    Well, some of us are but the rest of you is OK ..... ;-)

  16. Seems like a give-and-take to me. I first heard it a long time ago on SNL, a duet with host Sigourney Weaver and Buster Poindexter.

    I wonder what those outraged young whippersnappers would think about THIS song! "Little Children," by Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas. It even gives me the creeps.

  17. Well said Cranky. I've been watching The Sopranos lately and my inner Jersey had come out. These Milenniums with their safe rooms and coloring books should just shut the F up! You think Buddy the Elf would sing such horror? (Elf movie reference/scene).

  18. I think our millenials of today were taught to overanalyze and overthink every single thing in life. It's crazy. I loved that song when I was younger, I love it now. It seems innocent enough to me, about kissing and cuddling. Just enjoy it for what it is.