Saturday, December 18, 2010

Creepy Christmas Classics #2: Baby, It's Cold Outside

Hey, it's Christmas Carol time again! Everywhere you go this month, you'll hear all the classic carols you've heard ten thousand times before, whether you want to or not. I often wonder how some of these songs ever became classics in the first place. My theory is that the public hears them so much that they don't listen to the lyrics anymore, rendering them meaningless. If they did actually sit down and listen, half of these so-called "classics" would be stricken from the list.

Another case in point: Baby, It's Cold Outside. This seemingly innocent duet is an admittedly catchy song, but can someone please explain to me how it became a beloved holiday classic? Scratch the surface even slightly and you'll reveal a dark, sordid current flowing underneath.

Anyone who thinks this song is an acceptable Christmas carol has obviously never listened to the lyrics. It's pretty much a heartwarming Yuletide ode to date rape. Seriously.

Don't believe me? Let's examine the lyrics, shall we? As I mentioned earlier, it's a duet, so I'll put the woman's lyrics in black, the guy's in blue. My comments are below in bright rape whistle red.

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
OK, these three lines seem innocent enough. Stay tuned though, it's about to get worse.

So very nice - I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice
OK, that one registered a little on the Creep-O-Meter.

My mother will start to worry - Beautiful, what's your hurry
My father will be pacing the floor - Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I'd better scurry - Beautiful, please don't hurry
The woman just realized she didn't tell her family where she was going, and there's not another living soul on Earth who knows where she is right now. The guy totally blows off her justified concerns and starts pouring on the sleazy charm.

Well Maybe just a half a drink more - Put some music on while I pour
Ack! What the hell is wrong with her? She just begged the dude to put a roofie in her drink! Notice that he wants her distracted while he "pours" her drink.

The neighbors might think - Baby, it's bad out there
Say, what's in this drink - No cabs to be had out there
What'd I tell you? Roofie in the drink. She can taste it. Any minute now she'll start slurring her speech, saying, "Something... in... drink. Can't... think... straight." The guy might as well be saying, "Go ahead and scream, we're miles from where anyone can hear! Bwah ha hah ha ha!"

I wish I knew how - Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell - I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell
Yeah, she's starting to get drowsy now. The guy deflects her protests with empty compliments, and even starts hiding her belongings so that she can't easily leave.

I ought to say no, no, no, sir - Mind if I move a little closer
Shields up! Red alert!

At least I'm gonna say that I tried - What's the sense in hurting my pride
Well now here she's apparently given up and accepted the inevitable.

I really can't stay - Baby don't hold out
She's beginning to repeat herself in her delirium. The guy can't seem to fathom why she might find his greasy advances repugnant.

Ahh, but it's cold outside
Baby, it's cold outside

I simply must go - Baby, it's cold outside
The answer is no - Ooh baby, it's cold outside
He's hoping that if he repeats the weather report enough times that she'll eventually believe it. And no means yes, right?

This welcome has been - I'm lucky that you dropped in
So nice and warm - Look out the window at that storm
Yeah, the kind of warmth that envelopes you after you fall through the ice.

My sister will be suspicious - Man, your lips look so delicious
My brother will be there at the door - Waves upon a tropical shore
My maiden aunt's mind is vicious - Gosh your lips look delicious
She remembers that no one in her family knows where she is, and visions of police tape and chalk body outlines fill her thoughts. She tries some weak and vague threats, but the guy just keeps up with the phony compliments, even running out of material and repeating himself.

Well maybe just a half a drink more - Never such a blizzard before
OK, even I have to admit she's asking for it here.

I've got to go home - Oh, baby, you'll freeze out there
Hey, she's lucid again! Maybe she'll get away after all. Seeing that the shallow compliments didn't seem to work, he's bringing up the grisly image of her freezing to death if she tries to leave.

Say, lend me your comb - It's up to your knees out there
I...wait, what? OK, she's delirious for sure here.

You've really been grand - Your eyes are like starlight now
But don't you see - How can you do this thing to me
There's bound to be talk tomorrow - Making my life long sorrow
Bound to be talk tomorrow? Yeah, on the police band radio. The guy's starting to get a little whiny here.

At least there will be plenty implied - If you caught pneumonia and died
Oh, now she's worried about her "reputation." The guy seems to be showing a bit of genuine concern here. Is he feeling guilt? Or just not wanting a messy police investigation?

I really can't stay - Get over that old out
Nope, he's not guilty. Just impatient for the "festivities" to begin.

Ahh, but it's cold outside
Baby, it's cold outside

And as the song ends, she echoes his statement, and it's heavily implied that the guy had his way with her. What a lovely way to end a Christmas song.

Amazingly it was originally written in 1944 (!) by Frank Loesser, who sang it with his wife at a housewarming party. So it wasn't written for the holiday season after all, which again raises the question, how the frak did this ever become a Christmas song?


  1. Oh Wow! If I had been drinking coffee, my monitor and keyboard would be a mess. I need to print and share this with everyone I know lmao!

  2. Thanks, Dawn! That's my goal, to ruin every monitor in the world!

  3. Bob...that song was never meant to be a holiday tune, or even in a movie. Composer Frank Loesser created it simply for him and his wife to perform together at Hollywood parties. When Loesser decided to allow the song to be used in the film NEPTUNE'S DAUGHTER, Mrs. Loesser was seriously upset, and it likely contributed to the end of their marriage (even though the tune won an Academy Award).

  4. @tomservo56954: Bob...that song was never meant to be a holiday tune, or even in a movie. Composer Frank Loesser created it simply for him and his wife to perform together at Hollywood parties.

    Which I explain in my post above. I get that it was written for a private performance only. What I'm questioning is why anyone ever thought it would make an appropriate PUBLIC Xmas carol.

  5. Bob.... I am glad I am not the only one who thinks that song was about a date rape. I have been telling my wife for years, but she just laughed it off until I had her listen close. Definitely creepy. Keep up the good work, and the laughs.

  6. @Timothy:

    HA HA!! I'd sort of heard bits and pieces of the song over the years, but never paid much attention to it. The first time I ever heard the song in its entirely was in the movie "Elf." When I heard it there I thought Will Ferrell made up the creepy lyrics just for the movie. Then I heard it again elsewhere and realized that no, it's always been that creepy!

  7. I always think of that song as a Christmas song too regardless of its origins - maybe because I first heard it on a Christmas album, but one station I listen to plays it throughout the winter and it always seems out of place after December. But I have to agree, it's catchy.

    A similarly unfortunate song with a questionable message is "Oh Honey" by Gloria (Definitely Not Steinem!) Wood. It should be parenthetically titled "No Means Yes." (Though it's not a Christmas-type song.)

  8. When I first heard this song, on a youtube playlist it had a picture of this dude holding a tiny present with a creepy smile, and when I heard these lyrics it just annoyed me. Now I swear it comes on all the time and this song just irritates me now.

    The dude just sounds like a creeper to me and that image of this creepy dude holding a tiny neatly wrapped present appears in my head. (Probably condoms that he is gifting to the lady and says 'hey at least I won't knock you up!)

  9. There's only one version of this song I enjoy, and that's the version done by Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton. And that's only because I love Satchmo and he puts his own humorous lines in there. Otherwise, yeah, this song's a bit creepy. Not near as bad as that awful "Santa Baby" 'song'.


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