People are apparently upset by the lyrics of the classic Christmas song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” because it’s “too rapey.”
As we all know, the original 1944 version is sexy as hell. It’s about a couple who, after attending a holiday party together, find themselves at a somewhat awkward crossroads. The woman, who very clearly doesn’t want to go home, makes up little excuses as to why she should leave, but her date convinces her to stay by pointing out how cold it is outside.
The tension between the two is steamy — and not just because our guy has a roaring fire going, which he alludes to in the lyrics — but because it’s an elaborate dance of subtleties during which a man successfully seduces a woman into staying just a bit longer. The beloved holiday song encapsulates sexual tension and the art of seduction in a way that is interesting and relatable.
Here’s Joseph Gordon Levitt and Lady Gaga singing it together in 2013. The roles are reversed — Lady Gaga plays the part of the seductress and tries to sweet talk JGL into putting off his departure.
My favorite take is with Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton, who perform a version riddled with humorous improvisations.
But apparently this is all too much for the “can I touch you here” generation. A couple from Minneapolis (who probably shop at Whole Foods and wear Warby Parker glasses) say the song made them feel uncomfortable, so they decided to rewrite the lyrics.
“You never figure out if she gets to go home,” Lydia Liza told CNN. “You never figure out if there was something in her drink. It just leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth.”
Uhhhh. Okay. It’s obvious the song is left vague on purpose so the listener can intimate what happens, because seduction is a mysterious thing. Also, we know she probably does leave in the end, so why finish the song on a low note when you can end one a nice one?
Their version is the unsexiest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life. Here’s a portion of the newly updated lyrics:
The neighbors might think / That you’re a real nice girl
What is this drink? / Pomegranate La Croix
I wish I knew how / Maybe I can help you out
To break this spell / I don’t know what you’re talking about
I ought to say no, no, no / You reserve the right to say no
At least I’m gonna say that I tried / You reserve the right to say no
I really can’t stay / Well you don’t have to
Baby it’s cold outside.
First of all, our boy here is apparently offering her POMEGRANATE LACROIX to drink. No wonder girlfriend is trying to GTFO as quickly as she can — her man is offering her a can of carbonated water that tastes like fermented garbage.
Second, “you reserve the right to say no” is robotic and unnatural. Anyone who’s ever been on a date once in his or her life knows that a woman wouldn’t have this long of a back-and-forth discussion about her departure if she really did want to leave. It’s obvious the original “I really can’t stay” is code for “I don’t want to go, but I also don’t want to overstay my welcome, so if you want me to stay tell me why I shouldn’t leave.” Anyone who really wanted to leave would just grab her keys and go, likely mumbling a wan excuse. He’s not forcing her to stay, he’s just making it clear that he wants her to stick around for a bit longer. It’s an invitation. Yet in the age of affirmative consent, it’s apparently sexier when a man practically pushes you out the door for fear one might mistake flirting for something sinister.
Also, this dude’s obliviousness of the “spell” to which his gal is referring to is face-palm worthy. She’s obviously into him, but he’s too dumb to understand what’s going on, and treats it almost as if it’s an accusation that he’s coercing her into a situation she doesn’t want to be in.
That a flirtatious song from 1944 is triggering tells us that men and women simply don’t trust each other anymore. Using the legal system as a vengeful battering ram, like so many college students are apt to do, isn’t helping the situation either. Rather than hyping up legalistic interactions, we ought to repair the breakdown of trust between the sexes. To do my part, I’ll be listening to the original version of this song on repeat ’til 2016 comes to a close.