Baby, It’s Cold Outside
Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. (Proverbs 9:17)
By now, I’m sure you will all have heard about the controversy swirling around the (for some reason) favourite “Christmas” song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”
Yeah. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” In my opinion, this is one of the most annoying pieces of music ever connected to the Yuletide season. But the controversy has nothing to do with how irritating you or I might find it.
No. It’s all about political correctness—and also about legitimate concerns regarding the sexual exploitation of women. In late November, a Cleveland, Ohio radio station announced that it had pulled “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from its Christmas playlist, citing listener concerns over the song’s content in the wake of the “Me Too” movement.
It’s not hard to figure out the reason why. Consider lyrics such as these:
I ought to say, no, no, no sir (mind if I move in closer?)
At least I’m gonna say that I tried (what’s the sense in hurtin’ my pride?)
I really can’t stay (oh baby don’t hold out)
But baby, it’s cold outside.
I simply must go (but baby, it’s cold outside)
The answer is no (but baby, it’s cold outside)*
And—most damningly, in an era of date rape drugs:
Say, what’s in this drink?
Yeah. It’s horrible, isn’t it? Never mind that the lyrics were written in the 1940s. It was horrible then, too, but … somehow, people just didn’t notice.
Anyway, in early December of 2018, the Canadian radio broadcasters BellMedia, CBC Radio, and Rogers Media followed the lead of that Cleveland radio station, condemning the sexist lyrics and (ostensibly) banning “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from all their playlists.
Except … here’s the thing …
In more than six decades of listening to “Christmas” playlists on the radio, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” played more frequently than I have in the week or so since it was supposedly “banned.”
And usually, I hear it played in connection with a news item or a commentary explaining why … the station is not going to play it … anymore … because … it’s so… awful. But here it is. We’re going to play it for you anyway … so you can understand how … awful … it is.
It’s ironic. I’m sure the copyright holders of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” haven’t collected this many royalties in … decades.
Some things never lose their appeal.
*Songwriter: Frank Loesser
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.