Relationships

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Baby It's Cold Outside

Have you heard this updated version of Baby It’s Cold Outside? Minnesota couple Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski kept the woman’s lyrics the same, but changed the man’s lyrics to emphasize sexual consent. It’s funny because I never thought of the original version as anything but flirty, but once I heard this version, it felt so refreshing.

Here are a few of the exchanges:

Her: “I really can’t stay.”
Him: “Baby, I’m cool with that.”

Her: “This evening has been so very nice.”
Him: “I’m hoping you get home safe. I’m glad you had a real good time.”

Her: “My mother will start to worry.”
Him: “Call her so she knows you’re coming.”

Her: “I have to say no, no, no.”
Him: “You reserve the right to say no.”

Her: “I’ll be on my way.”
Him: “Thanks for the great night.”

Her: “Where is my coat?”
Him: “I’ll go and grab it, my dear.”

Isn’t that awesome?

P.S. On being a feminist, and feminist stock photos.

(Top photo from Neptune’s Daughter.)

    • Sarah Jane says...

      visited

  1. Emily says...

    I didn’t hear this song until I was an adult (in Elf) and couldn’t believe the overtones! It’s one of my husband’s favorites and I give him grief about it all the time. I like the refresh and appreciate the social consciousness of it. Some people may say we’re taking the message too seriously, but that’s the type of attitude that encourages women to doubt whether their experiences of sexual assault are valid or important enough to report.

    • Anna says...

      Emily! Yes! A sincere thank you for this comment. I hope you get notified by email with follow up comments.

  2. Maggie says...

    The song was originally written for the movie Neptune’s Daughter (1949) and if anyone wants to take the time to watch, I think they will be surprised to see that the song can also be sung from the perspective of the female wanting to stay, and the male suggesting it’s not the best idea.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MFJ7ie_yGU

    Not to mention the song went on to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

    This new version is annoying at best.

    • AMP says...

      Riiiiight, just before he slips something into her drink and then she can’t think clearly. Other than that …

  3. Kaela says...

    Ha ha ha ha! “How ’bout the Cheesecake Factory?”

  4. Janine says...

    I think we should just can that tune. So many of the old holiday songs are toxic.

  5. Erin says...

    The more I scrutinized the lyrics, the more it seems to me that it’s not really about consent (or lack of), but more about fear of her family’s reaction and people gossiping if she stays. So, basically, she’s afraid of being slut-shamed.

    • AMP says...

      Date rape drugs, though?

      From the original lyrics:

      So really I’d better scurry (beautiful please don’t hurry)
      But 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)

    • Erin says...

      “What’s in this drink” might sound like a roofie reference nowadays, but back when it was written, it more likely her asking about the cocktail ingredients or using her tipsiness as a reason to stay. She’s the one who suggests another drink, after all.

  6. Colleen says...

    Utterly ridiculous! Love the old song!

  7. Ahahaha! Brilliant! Just shared on Facebook :)

  8. Dinah says...

    Yay! I actually deleted Baby It’s Cold Outside from my Christmas playlist this year. I think last year (my first Christmas with a daughter) I was sort of uneasy about it. And this year I realized I really couldn’t be cool with it. It has always made me feel Christmas-y, but it’s exciting to realize that I’m a major player in what will make my kids feel Christmas-y and that I can have nice, high standards that they will benefit from. There are SO many great Christmas songs! Silver Bells?! :)

  9. LOVE THIS!

  10. I absolutely love that song, even though a couple of years ago I really listen to it and something didn’t add up I try to listen to the flirty version hahah
    This new one is quite funny.

    Jules
    http://www.kiwidiaries.com

  11. Sian says...

    I’ve always found it a creepy song even as a child. Ditto Police’s “Every breathe you take” – the stalkers anthem!!

    • Jamie says...

      omg yes I used to love the police’s music when I was younger (what it sounded like at least) but always thought that song is super creepy! So is Don’t Stand so Close to Me!

  12. I think the reason the song never bothered me was because I knew it first from its movie (Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban in Neptune’s Daughter). It’s definitely a romantic comedy of it’s time. It’s made clear that she’s highly attracted to him, but she’s a serious business woman and he’s a playboy polo star ( betcha didn’t know there was such a thing!). Their whole relationship is played out in the song as he pursues and she retreats… a little less each time. If you watch the video he does spin her around a few times, in a kind of dancey way, but he doesn’t seem threatening… just wheedling and flirty. And the work with the hat, purse and stole are great! And it’s immediately mirrored by a hilarious version by Red Skelton and Betty Garrat (their’s is the played for laughs gender reversal). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRGZULIkfwE

    My husband has the same feeling about Maurice Chevalier’s song Thank Heaven for little Girls from Gigi. It doesn’t matter that I explain that he’s thankful for little girls because they turn into his actual interest… lovely women. To my husband’s ears it’s creepy.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha i love that!

  13. Heidi says...

    This is awesome. Whenever this song comes on the radio I get a super creepy feeling and am pretty uncomfortable with the pushiness of the man, and the way they are being portrayed (her as uptight, him as cool). I definitely think the original has passed its sell-by date and would be happy if this version replaced it forever and ever. Amen!

  14. Corinne says...

    I never really felt the old version was so bad, but this one is cute too. I can’t help laughing, though, because he sounds like he actually can’t wait for her to leave! haha! Like it’s a bad Tinder date he can’t wait to be over with :D “Here’s your hat, don’t let the door hit you on the way out, kbai!”

    • Mandy says...

      Hahaha exactly my thoughts! “Yep! Bye! Here’s your coat! I’ll totally call you. Suuuuuure.”

  15. N says...

    This is literally my favorite Christmas song! Not everything has to have dark overtones (especially such an old song) or be fixed to be politically correct! Just let people enjoy. Love the blog just not this post.

  16. Joanna says...

    It must be exhausting to be a millennial! Everything has to pass your ever lengthening list of what is acceptable. By the way, this song was also sung way back when by Betty Garrett TO Red Skelton. I never loved the song, but lighten up kids!
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xpDLpz88V-I

    • Lorri says...

      Thank you.

    • Kristen says...

      Agreed!

    • Eliza says...

      Agree 100%.

    • Marianne says...

      I am a millennial, and completely agree.

  17. Stacy says...

    I love the song, always will. No apologies. I guess I view it entirely different than many!

  18. Stacey says...

    Love the pomegranate La Croix line! Lol

  19. Great remake. Much better than the original.

  20. Lizzie says...

    oh man…. “What is this drink?” “Pomegranate La Croix” … had me laughing aloud!

    • danielle says...

      Me too! So unexpected.

  21. Emma says...

    This song has always bothered me! I’m glad someone finally did something about it!

  22. Meg says...

    Re: feminist interpretation then vs. now. It just goes to show, context and perspective is everything! Timely message for times such as these.

  23. It’s funny to hear different generations talk about the way they “take” this song. I refer to it as the Date-Rape Anthem for the Holidays and when I did so on Facebook, my mother-in-law got all huffy and said “It’s about SEDUCTION…”
    Ohhh-kay lady whatever.

    • my husband and I have always referred to this as the Date Rape song :) I’ve grown up absolutely loving the song anyway, though…it’s just such a fun one to sing. But I LOVE this new version!

  24. Laura says...

    This is off-topic, but I’d love to see a post on your blog about raising girls versus raising boys and the expectations that may construct. Personally, I related the song more to the girl wanting to stay but not being able to due to her relatives’/society’s standards. I don’t have any kids and, since your blog comments are my favorite to read, I’d love to hear more about what you and your readers think.

    • Angi says...

      I so agree Laura. I’ve always thought of this song as a summary of the double standards between girls and guys. I actually thought that it was pretty progressive in recognizing the internal struggles that girls face when it comes to interactions with guys. In fact I never thought of her wanting to go because she wanted to, it always seemed to me she would have stayed were it not for concern of what would those in her circle say. (My maiden’s aunt’s mind is vicious.)

    • Jasmine says...

      I don’t necessarily agree with the ‘date rape song’ label it’s been given.

      I ought to say, no, no, no sir (mind if I move in closer?) <— consent?
      At least I'm gonna say that I tried <— she wants an excuse to stay and is most certainly stalling on getting her ass out the door.

      Sure, he's aggressive, but she's playing along and most importantly, the song is from a different era. I do think the update is cute and sweet.

    • I totally agree with this. It was written by a husband and wife team and they used to sing it at their Christmas parties. It seems obvious that for the time period it’s about the woman trying to find a way to explain her absence to her family, as well as her teasing out how much the man loves her. This is especially evident when you hear it sung by someone from that time period.
      Now as women we’re able to (mostly) do what we want without society’s harsh smackdown and in that light it changes the conversation between the singers. If anything, this is a great song to talk to teens about to give them an example of how different society used to be.

    • Ellen says...

      Laura, I would also love to see a post about the expectations surrounding raising girls vs raising boys!

    • Sadie says...

      I enjoy the conversation around this song, even though I don’t find the original creepy. I think people forget that the culture surrounding women’s sexual choices was (and still is, really) also coercive, which I think the original speaks to pretty well! I’ve always felt like the woman in the song really wanted to stay, but worried about facing social censure if she did, and the man was coming up with excuses for her to do what she really wants!

  25. Such a relevant update from an otherwise sort of creepy song! Lol, I’m from Minnesota and proud it came out of my state, we’re much more progressive and fun then people give us credit for!

    Now can we do a remake of “l’ll be watching you” by Sting? Lol!

    Xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

  26. Jill Palumbo says...

    I guess I’m showing my age, because I never noticed the lyrics could be taken a different way. I think of it as a cute little catchy song from way back then. I think we have a tendency in this day and age to pick things apart instead of putting some context in it.

    • Ali says...

      Interesting. The whole “what’s in this drink?” and “What’s the sense in hurting my pride?” concerns me, even as an “older” woman who grew up with this song. Especially since she will be the one to accept the very real societal consequences and he will get off scot-free (“My maiden’s aunt’s mind is vicious.”).

      I really don’t like this song. Never have. She and Him have a version that is flipped, too–but on the whole, I don’t like the lyrics.

  27. kristen says...

    Laughed until I cried (and only partially because my face mask is cracking and ouchy!)

  28. Sara B. says...

    This remake was a long time coming! I love it!

  29. Katie says...

    I LOVE THIS

  30. emily says...

    My husband always calls it the rapiest of all Christmas songs.

    • Elisse says...

      Oh my gosh, mine too! It kills him

  31. V says...

    Have you seen the SNL version? Check it out!

  32. Shan says...

    This is a really great article that puts the song in its historical context: http://persephonemagazine.com/2010/12/listening-while-feminist-in-defense-of-baby-its-cold-outside/

    I DO love that we are using this song to talk about consent. That’s so important. As feminists, it’s important to question the messages we receive from pop culture. I think it’s also worth noting that Baby, It’s Cold Outside in its historical context is about a young woman pursuing her own sexual desires in a conservative culture where spending the night with her boyfriend would have caused quite a stir. She’s liberated from society’s expectations of her as a woman in this context, not oppressed or coerced.

    Thanks for the discussion!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so interesting! thank you so much for sharing, shan.

    • Lizzie says...

      Yes, good point. If you listen closely, the woman’s excuses for leaving are all about what she “ought” to do, and what other people think. She herself asks – how about half a drink and a cigarette!

    • Karen says...

      Exactly!! Everybody else’s apparent preoccupation with her sex life is almost as creepy as the date rape factor. Either way, the parody is spot on.

      Also agree with Renee about sexy Christmas songs. Ewww

    • Lorri says...

      Exactly. Thank you.

      I get so tired of revisionist history that I could scream.

    • Amy says...

      Just echoing the chorus of “Thank you!”s. That article expressing exactly how I’ll always felt about that song! People who fixate on the “say what’s in this drink?” line might not have watched many movies from that era and don’t get the (then-common) joke, which of course has nothing to do with date rape. It’s more like, “It’s 1950, and I can’t simply say I want to spend the night with you because everyone will judge me, so I have to make a little joke about being tipsy.” I usually get annoyed by accusations of millennials being too sensitive, but the revisionist history around this song makes me feel like that accusation is true.

  33. Gigi says...

    I love this! Such a relevant update. I have shared it already.

  34. I’ve always HATED this song! It sounds very date rape-y to me. I also don’t understand why trying to get someone to stay to hook up has anything to do with Christmas. But I hate all of the “sexy” Christmas songs, I just think they’re a bad fit – Santa Baby (creepy!), I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa (EW!), and Baby, It’s Cold Outside…. so this is refreshing :)

  35. Sigh of relief that someone has finally gone and changed the lyrics to this song! Love this.
    -E

  36. Tess says...

    I have to say I’m surprised you never noticed how creepy the lyrics are! It is, to me, a sensationalized date rape song- at one point she literally says “Say, what’s in this drink?”. Every single year I ask myself how we include the song in our holiday selections. It is the worst.

  37. Heather says...

    love love love this

    • Andrea says...

      I agree. I’ve never taken it as coercive.

    • Karla says...

      YES! This!

    • MG says...

      The Daily Caller is run by Tucker Carlson, formerly of Fox News, and Neil Patel, who was an adviser to Dick Cheney.

      Not saying that this song is *necessarily* date rapey as a fact (though it’s always creeped me out), but the yahoos running the Daily Caller wouldn’t know the definition of consent if it slapped them in the face. Hope you’re aware of that

  38. Carrie says...

    It’s almost insane how terrible the original version is. “Say, what’s in this drink?” …. SERIOUSLY?

  39. Emma says...

    I love this so much! Beautiful vocals, too.

  40. Melissa says...

    I always thought Let It Snow was the actually cute non scary alternative to this song anyway–but I like both the version you posted and the one mentioned in the comments too!

  41. Powerful as heck.

    I’m 60. It made me cry about things I’d forgotten were painful.

  42. Jessica says...

    This song has been bothering me so much the past few years. Love the update! It was overdue!

  43. Laura says...

    I love this version so much! I remember first picking out the line, “what’s in this drink?” as a kid and it immediately ruined the song for me—so creepy!

  44. Heather says...

    My sister and I were just talk about this song this morning after hearing it in an Uber. We were fantasizing about remaking the song to sound less “date-rapey”. So glad someone with talent beat us to it!

  45. Didn’t notice until adulthood how very uncomfortable this song is to listen to. I’ve tried to think of it as playful and flirtatious, but it always just strikes me as something graver. Love this version and the lyric switch up!

    • Carrie says...

      Yes! I always picture the guy in the song blocking the door so she can’t leave. Just so creepy!

  46. Wow, I love this. Listening to that song in my holiday playlists has been freaking me out this year.

  47. Yes!! The original version always creeped me out because of the age difference (she sounds like a young girl and he sounds SO much older – yuck).

  48. Sara says...

    That song always felt like date rape! For sure!

  49. I love this! The original, while musically lovely, always have me a bit of the creeps!

  50. K. says...

    I noticed the past couple years how the lyrics of that song seemed very weird and gives a nod to non-consent. Especially as a mother, the weird dynamic totally caught my ear. I hope this gets a lot of play!

  51. Talitha says...

    Hold up–the actual feminist tragedy of the song is not date rape or coercion, it’s that the young woman actually WANTS to stay with her beau, but social mores of the time kept her from embracing her sexuality with the threat of being labelled a “loose woman”. The call-and-response serves to lay out a practical excuse for her staying the night with him, as well as cheeky banter (“what’s in this drink?”, i.e., “this decision to have sex with my boyfriend is so naughty, I must be drunk!”).

    • Amanda says...

      I completely agree with you!

    • YES! That’s exactly how I see it! Like, come on, who cares what your maiden aunt / neighbors / brother / whoever thinks about you staying out so late on a date?

    • Laura says...

      Lol yeah I never interpreted it as being “date rape.” I mean, I do hate the idea that a girl denying someone is her being flirty/coy, but in the song (to me) it seems like she’s considering leaving because she ought to, not because she wants to.

    • Carrie says...

      That, or she just has manners and doesn’t want to offend. I’ve found myself in a place of making a lot of “half-assed” excuses while really wanting to leave.

    • E says...

      Agree.

    • Kris says...

      Ah, the voice of reason. Thank you!!

    • Agreed 100% – the historical context is everything for this song. When my husband and I were first dating (we are both pretty conservative and with conservative parents), I saw this song in a whole new light. We never wanted to separate at the end of a fun night, but we felt we had to, and we would make these kinds of excuses. He wants her to stay, she wants to stay, but for appearances she feels like she has to leave. She’s not saying, “oh I don’t want to stay,” she’s saying “I feel like I have to leave because of what it will look like if I do stay, which is what really want to do.”

      More food for thought: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/12/19/baby-its-cold-outside-was-once-an-anthem-for-progressive-women-what-happened/?utm_term=.e3a3cf2740c8

    • Also I just checked, and it was written in 1944!

    • Shay says...

      I can get on board here… but 16 times of saying no is a little excessive for a man to keep trying to make it that happen when a women says NO. Even if she did really want to stay… he’s still saying “what’s the sense in hurtin’ my pride?” and “how can you do this thing to me?” “think of my lifelong sorrow” “get over that old out” … Those responses sound very much like modern day coercive phrases I’ve heard before.

    • Sandra says...

      Yes, very well said. I 100% agree.

    • heather says...

      First, debating over what the real feminist issue is in a Christmas song is why I love the readers of this blog. <3

      Second: I think that the song can be offensive in both ways. I think it's offensive that the woman feels that, due to social norms in the '40's, she can't just act upon her own wishes. BUT ALSO, I think that the whole "she's saying no but we all know she means yes" rationale is dangerous. The goal of promoting consent is that when a woman says "no no no" and "no" again, the guy takes her at her word, and waits for her to say "YES" instead of just thinking, 'Oh she doesn't really mean it."

    • Haylie says...

      Yeah, this is how I read it, too, but I realize that the other, date-rape-y reading is the more obvious one. It takes really good performers to pull off the playful pretending of this version.

    • Sandra says...

      Oops, just to clarify meant to say I 100% agree with Talitha.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “debating over what the real feminist issue is in a Christmas song is why I love the readers of this blog” = me too :)

      and these perspectives/readings are enlightening and smart and fascinating. thank you so much, talitha and everyone!

  52. Laura says...

    She & Him does a version where the genders switch, so the girl is singing “Beautiful, what’s your hurry?” All their Holiday music is lovely, so I recommend checking them out!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love that!

  53. Paige Posladek says...

    My favorite part is about the pomegranate Lacroix :)

    • me too…hilarious!

  54. Melissa says...

    I HATE this christmas song. I call it the Date Rape song. I don’t understand why it’s a classic. “Hey, what’s in this drink?” ?!?!?!?!

  55. Jean says...

    I think the original sounds quite bad to modern ears, and so I’d agree that the rewrite is quite awesome. But, I have read interpretations that argue that when the song was written (1930s) “good girls” wouldn’t stay over at their beau’s house, so she’s justifying it with some excuses. And he’s helping her out by pointing out how cold it is. It’s everyone else who would judge her for staying over (her mother will worry, her father will be pacing the floor). But she wants to stay.

    Funny how time changes these things.

  56. Jane says...

    Yeah, I really can’t help feeling creeped out by that song. She needs to get out of there, pronto! I like this version much better.

  57. I’ve always hated that song, and this points out one of the main reasons why. I would like this version much better!

  58. heather says...

    I love this! Am going to be sharing with everyone.

    I have long argued that Baby It’s Cold Outside is the creepiest Christmas song b/c it’s basically about sexual assault (runner up: Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – a weird Christmas song about a child thinking it’s funny that his Mom cheating on his Dad (b/c he doesn’t know Santa is actually his Dad)).

  59. Tricia says...

    Haha – my husband and I did something similar: we kept her lyrics, but changed his to make it seem like he actually wanted her to leave and she was passive aggressively overstaying her welcome. “The neighbors might think….” “It’s really quite nice out there.”/ “Say, what’s in this drink?” “Just water and ice in there…”

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Hahaha

    • Ha! That’s even better!

    • Amelia says...

      That’s perfection.

  60. Leah says...

    I’m Jewish, and never really heard or paid attention to the song until I saw it covered on Glee. I couldn’t believe how much it sounded like date rape! I can’t believe it’s so popular.