I recently picked up a seasonal job at Macy’s to earn a few extra bucks for gifts. While the gig is great, hearing non-stop Christmas music for nine hours a day is not. I learned to mostly ignore the audio assault, but one particular song still caught my attention: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” And as I listened to it at least four times a day, I began to notice something a bit odd. The lyrics sort of conjure a sense of, well, immense creepiness. Perhaps I’m being overly-sensitive, but this cheery holiday tune now gives me the heebie-jeebies every time I hear it. Let’s take a look at the more disturbing lines after the cut.
1. “Say, what’s in this drink?” Clearly someone realized the trouble with this line, because later versions change it to “what’s in this sleigh?” — which just sounds like silly innuendo. But in the original, a woman spends the first verse telling a man she needs to leave his house. He responds by ignoring her protests and pouring another drink. Then comes this line, and things go from uncomfortable to insanely strange.
2. “I ought to say no, no, no, sir.” “Mind if I move a little closer…” I guess she isn’t technically saying “no” here, but her discomfort leading up to it doesn’t do the guy any favors. Also, his line here isn’t phrased as a question. Creeptastic!
3. “At least I’m gonna say that I tried.” “What’s the sense in hurting my pride?” Oh good, the guy is guilting her into staying so that his pride isn’t wounded. If my boyfriend relentlessly nagged me to stay over because it would be good for his pride, I would snort-laugh so hard. And then leave.
4. “I really can’t stay.” “Baby,K don’t hold out.” OK, I thought I would have about three lines for this post. But they just keep coming. Also, this couple has to be in high school. I’ve never seen such a lack of “romantic” subtlety from anyone over 18 (aside from a few visits to frat bars in college). “Baby don’t hold out”? Maybe if you give her a promise ring first she won’t?
5. “The answer is no.” Now she actually does say no! And yet Mister Let Me Pour You A Drink just keeps going, complete with some heavy guilting and a dash of “how can you do this to me?” Ladies, for future reference, this is not romantic. Men, for future reference, this usually won’t get a girl’s shirt off.
“Baby It’s Cold Outside” was written in 1944, which I’m sure was a simpler time in which paranoid weirdos like me didn’t see the bizarre implications of its lyrics. But how is this still a holiday hit? I know Christmas albums are barfed out like clockwork this time of year, but is it really so mechanical that people don’t stop and reconsider including this tune? I know people are going to say I’m taking this too seriously. Readers, I don’t think the song is going to cause any damage, but hey, why not have one less Christmas jingle on the radio? Read the full lyrics here.
Do you think the song is strange? Do you love it or hate it?