Baby, It’s Cold Outside
Words and Music: Frank Loesser
Technically this isn’t a Christmas song, but it is about winter and you certainly find it in lots of Christmas collections. The song has been recorded by practically everybody, but has anybody noticed that it’s kind of sleazy? I mean, it’s basically about a guy trying to get over on a girl:
Woman: I really can’t stay
Man: But, baby, it’s cold outside
I got to go ‘way
But baby, it’s cold outside
This evening has been
Been hoping that you’d drop in
So very nice
I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice
And a young one at that, at least one who still lives with Mom and Dad:
My mother will start to worry
Beautiful, what’s your hurry
And father will be pacing the floor
Listen to the fireplace roar
The song was written in 1944 by Frank Loesser, who wrote the score for Guys and Dolls and a lot of other songs for Broadway and movies. He and his wife used to perform the duet for friends, it began to appear in films and recordings in 1949. The song is a duet and, according to the Loesser family, the female is called “The Mouse,” with the male known as “The Wolf.”
Mouse: I simply must go
Wolf: But, baby, it’s cold outside
The answer is no
But, baby, it’s cold outside
This welcome has been
How lucky that you dropped in
So nice and warm
Look out the window at that storm
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m as much of a fan of the things that consenting adults do with each other as anybody, and I understand that in order to get there a certain amount of persuasion is sometimes necessary, but does this seem like just a seduction dance to you? Really, wolf and mouse? A wolf doesn’t try to coax a mouse into an evening of mutual pleasure, all he’s looking for is a midnight snack and that usually doesn’t end well for the mouse.
So really I’d better scurry
Beautiful, please don’t hurry
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
Yeah, what is in that drink? I don’t think they had roofies back in 1944, but getting a woman to consume massive amounts of alcohol is a time tested method of lowering her inhibitions.
OK, so maybe I’m taking the whole thing too seriously. Maybe I’m trying to apply a 00s mentality to a 40s song. But then what about Lee Ann Womack and Harry Connick, Jr., Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton, James Taylor and Natalie Cole, Leon Redbone and Zooey Deschanel, Michael Bublé and Anne Murray, and tons of other artists who have recorded the song in the 00s? Guess they didn’t get the memo.
Hell, my sainted Mom sings the song when she steps outside and it feels chilly.
Maybe I need to lighten up, but whenever I hear the song I just want to help the mouse find the nearest exit and tell the wolf that “No means no!”
Is it just me?
I realized that I neglected to put up a video of the song, so I looked through some different ones and saw this interesting role reversal one with Rainn Wilson of The Office and Selma Blair of hotness.
2014 Very Cheeky Update
So, it’s been a very good year for the beautiful and talented Idina Menzel. She’s a woman for whom I have had the incurable hots ever since she bared her ass in the movie version of Rent. This year, of course, her career hit the stratosphere with her singing the part of Elsa in the Disney movie Frozen.
So imagine my disappointment when I saw that Ms. Menzel decided to put BICO on her new holiday album…and with Michael Bublé…and this is the second time he’s recorded it.
Does it strike anybody as just a little weird that we keep listening to and singing a song that strongly implies date rape and possible drugging and yet everybody is (correctly) up in arms about the numerous allegations against Bill Cosby?
Is it just me?
At least in the video that Menzel and Bublé put out they clean it up a little bit. They star two kids in their parts, and at first I was ready to just go ahead, give up on humanity, and commit hari-kari all over my laptop. But they put the setting in a hotel lobby instead of The Wolf’s apartment, and they make a couple of important changes to the lyrics: “Maybe just a half a drink more” becomes “maybe just one soda pop more,” and “what’s in this drink” becomes “was that a wink?”
That’s for the video starring the kids, but if you check out the song on Spotify the lyrics are the same old, creepy wolf and mouse version that we’ve been listening to for 70 years.
I guess it’s over between Idina and I. Again, maybe I’m overreacting but until someone convinces me differently, Idina and anybody else who does this song can kiss my…