Baby, It’s Cold Outside (The Five Short Minutes of Research Dance Mix)

by Chris McGinty of

I’m not really all that big about
holidays, so I won’t be doing the right thing by wishing you and yours the best.
I hope I didn’t just imply that I was. Bah humbug. I did figure I would do a
special holiday blog post though.
A couple of years ago, I noticed
that people were making nasty assumptions about some song that I’d never heard
before. This was weird to me, because I’ve heard way more music than most
people. Then someone called it something like, “The rapey Christmas song,” and
I realized what the problem was. I pretty much hate Christmas music. I’m not
into genre hate. I’ll give things a listen; and occasionally, I’ll find
something I like in genres I’m not wild about. There’s not a lot of Christmas
music that I do like though. Maybe I’ll do a post about what Christmas music I
do like sometime much later.
For now, I’m going to defend a
song that is mediocre at best, but has been the target of people who don’t know
what the… fudge they’re talking about, for Christmas tree’s sake. The song is
called “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” and is the victim of people taking a couple
of lines massively out of context, and I do mean massively, and running with it
like they were running from Harvey Weinstein singing it at karaoke.
Let’s start with the context. The
song is from a movie called “Neptune’sDaughter” from 1949. I’ve never seen this movie. The lyrics misunderstanding is result of one of
my chief complaints about the way people handle information on social media
websites. When something questionable appears on anything social media, I do a
little exercise that I call, “Five Short Minutes of Research.” Usually, after
I’ve done this research, I’ll find that people are making something of nothing.
Admittedly, the five minutes of research I did on the Harvey Weinstein thing
(the scandal, not the karaoke) showed that people were right to be disgusted
with his behaviour. On the other hand, the five minutes of research I did on
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” showed me that someone, somewhere should have done
their own research before stating their case, and everyone else should have
followed suit.
I’m going to give you a plot
synopsis based on the one I found on Wikipedia. “Neptune’s
Daughter” is a romantic comedy in which the male interest does something
questionable in character and integrity that is not so bad that he can’t be
forgiven later, as with almost every romantic comedy, ever.
In this case,
Eve is worried about her sister, Betty, being used by a womanizing polo player,
Jose. Betty meanwhile had mistakenly gone out with Jack, confusing Jack for
Jose. Jack is down on his luck with women, but has received some pointers from
Now, I haven’t seen the movie. If
it turns out that Jose suggests Spanish Fly in her drink then I’m completely
wrong here. But all that Wikipedia suggests is that he tells Joe to speak
Spanish, because it’s the language of love.
Eve goes to Jose after Betty’s
date with Jack (who Betty thought was Jose) and tells him to back off. Jose is
confused, but does the questionable integrity thing that isn’t so bad that it’s
forgivable later, and tells Eve he’ll break his date with Betty if Eve will go
out with him.
This is where “Baby It’s Cold Outside” comes in. Eve and Jose go out. They have a great time, and end up at
Jose’s place. Now, this next sentence is important, so I’ll give it its own
The idea behind the lyrics is
that Eve wants to stay, because she had a good time.
Wants to stay.
All her objections are what
others will think if she does stay, including her sister. I’m making a
presumption here that she realizes that she’s gone out with her sister’s date.
She backtracks twice on her resolve to leave, because she wants to stay. The
phrasing of “What’s in this drink?” is suggestive that her feelings to stay
must be the result of drinking too much.
Again, I haven’t seen the movie,
so I may be having context issues as well, but not the same kind of context
issues. The way people are making the song out to be is that they’ve been on a
date. She wants to get the… fudge out. He won’t let her go, and he’s probably
spiked her drink Cosby style. But that’s not the plot of the movie, so I’m
going to give my context more credit.
If anything, the song speaks to
cultural bias that existed 60 years ago that women can’t make the decision to
be with someone, because it’s improper. If you think about it, that’s the
opposite of the complaint about the song that exists now. It’s a woman who
wishes to stay with her suitor, but fears persecution for her decision, rather
than a woman who doesn’t wish to stay with her suitor. At best, one could argue
that he’s out of line because it’s not his reputation that will be tarnished.
That’s an old issue. The majority
of our current society doesn’t judge a woman for staying the night with
someone. There are some idiots, sure, but most people don’t care.
The thing with song lyrics is
that they are meant to convey grand ideas in very few words. Sometimes this
results in misunderstandings. Sometimes those misunderstandings are harmless,
but every so often people take a Christmas song that’s not a Christmas song and
turn it into a song about date rape.
Speaking of rape. This very thing
was the cause of the PMRC hearings in 1985. The Parents Music Resource
Committee was seeking to have a watchdog group to oversee suggestive lyrics in
popular music. They later accepted the offer by record labels to put a warning
label on albums with possibly offensive content.
One of the songs in question was
Under the Blade” by Twisted Sister. Dee Snider says that the song is about
fear of being put under the blade in an impending surgery. The PMRC believed it
to be about sadomasochism, bondage, and rape. Go read the lyrics twice. The
first time you read them, imagine that the song is about going in for surgery.
The second time you read them, imagine the other stuff. That’s the problem with
lyrics without context. And doctors without borders… um, performing surgery.
Ignore that. I clearly don’t know what I’m saying. What’s in this drink?
Here’s the funny thing to me. Dee
Snider has always been very vocal about his Christian faith. He may not be the
public image that the Christian church wants for Christianity, but he says he
is a true believer. His wife asked him to write a Christmas song one year as a
gift to her. He did. He put it into the catalog of available music, and under
his publishing rights. Years later, Celene Dion was doing a Christmas album,
and she picked his song, “The Magic of Christmas Day,” to sing as part of her album.
And that is the true Christmas
Chris McGinty is a blogger who has nothing against Celene Dion as a person, but really wishes he hadn’t been so curious what a Dee Snider Christmas song would sound like.

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