PSA: Baby... It's Not Actually Cold Outside

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Can we please… PLEASE!!!... all agree that when something is taken out of context, the likelihood of a miscommunication goes way WAY up? We can all get on board with that right? Communication is everything people… Now hold onto your Santa hats! Let’s dive in.  

“I’d like to tell you a story about a guy, a girl, and a bathing suit,” is how the 1949 movie musical, Neptune’s Daughter, opens.

Released in June of that year, this summer comedy tells a story of romance and mistaken identity. When the playboy Jose O’Rourke and his South American polo team are scheduled to play a big game in Eve and Betty Barrett’s hometown, boy crazy Betty decides to find herself a man. After barging into the therapy room in hopes of finding Jose, Betty accidently knocks out Jack Spratt, the team’s masseur and resident virgin. Upon awakening, Jack pretends to be Jose in hopes of winning over Betty.


Meanwhile, the real Jose has his eye on Eve, a bathing suit designer, who only agrees to go out with him if he stops seeing her sister. Since the real Jose has no idea who Eve’s sister is, this is an easy deal for him to make. Unfortunately for Eve, she finds herself falling for the Latin playboy.


Half way through the film, when Eve suspects Jose of still dating her sister, she arrives at his home and searches the place for Betty. Once she realizes she was wrong, and Betty is not there, she apologizes and agrees to have a drink with him.


“I’m not that sorry,” she says when he pours her a large drink. Jose swiftly produces another glass and pours half of the drink, intended for her, into it.


“A lovely lady, soft music, a warm summers evening,” Jose says. “You know for an evening that started so badly, it has definite possibilities.”


They cheers, and drink.     


After Eve gives a small flirtation and a coy smile, she says, “You know on second thought, I really can’t stay.”


To which Jose answers in song… YUP!! You guessed it!


‘But baby it’s cold outside.’


As she gets up and puts on her hat, Eve starts to sing about her mother, aunt, and brother, none of whom are a part of the story, and an IMAGINARY STORM!!!


She doesn’t need a coat people! It’s summer time! She doesn’t want to leave!


The scene then shifts to Betty and Jack where Jack (the nervous virgin, remember?) is singing the part listed in the original song as “Mouse”, while Betty is singing the part of “Wolf.”


This film is where the song was popularized. It was actually written 5 years early by a man named Frank Loesser who performed it with his wife at a housewarming party to end the evening and tell people to leave.


The controversy over this song has been going on for years. In 2015, Funny of Die released a re-enactment of the song that is… creepy… to say the least. So please, don’t get me wrong, I think that if you want to see an issue with this song, you will see it! But let’s take a moment to see how easy it is to find issues with other Christmas songs…


#1 Do They Know It’s Christmas by Band Aid 30


‘There’s a world outside your window, and it’s a world of dread and fear, where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears. And the Christmas bells that rings there are the clanging chimes of doom. Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you.’


What is this song talking about? Africa…. Living in Africa… where ‘The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life. Where nothing ever grows, no rain or rivers flow…’


WOOOOW I am pretty sure I don’t have to go to Africa to find starving children. I don’t have to go there to find people who need help but cool… let’s blast this bad boy on the radio.


#2 Christmas Shoes by NewSong


I’m sorry, maybe I don’t get … this kid who has no money, no food, and a dying mom, has been sent by his father to the store to buy her shoes to look good for Jesus if she dies tonight… Ummmm…. Does Jesus care about that stuff? Shouldn’t that kid be with his family?


I won’t lie, this song is a tear jerker for me. The first time I heard it, I sat down and cried for about 20 minutes. My mom died when I was young. It’s a trigger for me. Sometimes I change the station when this song comes on. And then I get on with my life…


Lastly, the narrator for this song finishes with, “I knew that God had sent that little boy
To remind me just what Christmas is all about.” Sir… this is not about you. God didn’t kill this kid’s mom to remind you of the commercialization of Christmas.


            #3 Any song about a strange man monitoring and judging your behaviour 24/7/365, sneaking into your home, or kissing your mom.


            Special Mentions:

I’ll be Home for Christmas is extremely misleading… really what the singer is saying is I will not be home for Christmas.

            Last Christmas is a cry for help. Wham!... please… get into therapy.

            Santa Baby… smdh… I’ll let you do that one on your own.


Released by many artists through the spring and summer of 1949, Baby It’s Cold Outside didn’t become a Christmas song until ten years later, November 16th, 1959 when Dean Martin sang it on his album, A Winter Romance.


I understand that what it is now is not what it was then. That how this song was intended has nothing to do with what listeners here now, and in the #metoo era, this song could be seen as problematic. ‘Say what’s in this drink’ and ‘What’s the sense in hurting my pride’ are two lines that I could look at and get really upset about… but now we get to the meat of the issue…or at least my issue. I think we are getting upset at the wrong thing…


Funny or Die people, angry Buzzfeed lady and all the other nay sayers...  Please take your internalized sexism away from Baby It’s Cold Outside. The issue is not the song. The issue is a society that enforces the idea that women don’t want, or like, sex. If she wanted to leave, she would leave. She wants to get laid, leave her be!


Women are not so subject to the will of men that we cannot take responsibility for our actions and desires. She doesn’t say I’m saying no no no dear, she says, I ought to say no no no. Well I oughta do yoga every day and stop eating so many damn baguettes, but that ain’t happening any time soon!


Women should be taught to be clear on what they want. Men shouldn’t be taught they need to insist. Open communication people! That’s the key.  


I believe the #MeToo movement and feminism in general have bigger fish to fry than Baby It’s Cold Outside, *coughcoughSantaBabycoughcough* and that the reason so many people do not identify as feminists is because they cannot understand or relate to controversies like this one.


It’s a song. It’s a really fun and cute song. I can appreciate that it may be problematic for some people. To those people I make a suggestion to please, join me, and Wham!, in therapy (I actually believe everyone should be in therapy but that’s a blog for another time), because if we got rid of every song that made someone uncomfortable, there wouldn’t be much music left.


To finish off here, this Man-Loving-Feminist-Christmas-Obsessed-Atheist (that’s me), hopes that we can all find a way to tell people what we want, understand what others say, be open and honest about how we feel, fry the big fish, and remember that context is a lot, but communication is everything.

HannaH Sunley-Paisley