PopZette

The Millennial Pushback on ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’

The cozy Christmas classic didn't need a PC remake

Thanks to a couple from Minnesota who re-imagined the classic 1944 Christmas song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” to make it “less sexually aggressive,” our holiday season just got a little creepier … not to mention unnecessarily politically correct.

“I’ve always had a big problem with the song. It’s so aggressive and inappropriate,” 25-year-old singer-songwriter Josiah Lemanski told CNN.

Lydia Liza, his 22-year-old girlfriend and co-writer of the remake, agrees. “You never figure out if she gets to go home,” Liza said. “You never figure out if there was something in her drink. It just leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth.”

She has missed the point of the song.

Little did Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton, Norah Jones and Willie Nelson, CeeLo Green and Christina Aguilera, and so many others know all these years — they’ve been singing a duet about date rape.

That’s because they weren’t. The problem is that after years of being brainwashed by colleges about what constitutes consent, our precious snowflake young people simply can’t fathom how consent and flirting could co-exist in the same universe.

This song was written at a more innocent time, when men were presumed to be gentlemen and the notion of women staying overnight at men’s homes was not common.

For anyone with a minimal understanding of the male-female dynamic, the song reflects two interested parties who attempt to extend an evening as long as they can. The man wants to move things along; the woman prefers to be romanced first. This is a look into the thought processes of both.

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The song is not about jerks or rapists. It’s about a woman who is attracted to a man and is wrestling with how to spend a special night. She wants to be won over. She makes the arguments for leaving, as if to invite him to keep giving her good reasons to stay. It’s a game they’re playing; both are enjoying it and neither really wants to leave. A simple look at the lyrics tells you that.

My sister will be suspicious … My brother will be there at the door … There’s bound to be talk tomorrow …
I wish I knew how (your eyes are like starlight now)
To break this spell (I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell)
I ought to say, no, no, no, sir (Mind if I move in closer?)
At least I’m gonna say that I tried.

She even asks for another drink:

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).

Of course, Lydia Liza, the millennial songwriter, shows she has missed the point of the song when she complains, “You never figure out if she gets to go home.”

Yes, you do. At the end, the couple sings in unison, “Baby, it’s cold outside,” which makes it clear she wants to stay.

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The original version is a song about being romanced; the millennial version is clueless about romance. It sounds as if the man and woman barely like each other at all.

I really can’t stay/Baby I’m fine with that
I’ve got to go away/Baby I’m cool with that.

He doesn’t even show any chivalry of offering her a ride home.

Father will be pacing the floor/Better get your car a-humming.

It sounds, actually, as if the man took the date on a bet.

I wish I knew how/Maybe I can help you out
To break this spell/I don’t know what you’re talking about
I ought to say no, no, no/You reserve the right to say no
At least I’m gonna say that I tried/You reserve the right to say no
I really can’t stay/…Well you don’t have to.

And then their millennial date closes as officially the lamest and most legalistic date ever: “I’ll be on my way/Thanks for the great night.”

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Conservative commentator Mark Steyn is appalled by the feminist attacks on this song and believes they have to be at least a “quarter-joking.”

“It’s merely their way of deriding the obsolete gender roles of man as the seducer and the gal as [on] the receiving end,” Steyn wrote on his website. “I mean, they’re not seriously arguing it’s about drugging a woman into sex, are they? If it were, wouldn’t it be available as a celebrity duet between Bill Cosby & [Insert Name Here]?”

Steyn points out seduction duets have been going on since at least Mozart’s “La ci darem la mano,” when Don Giovanni pursues a woman. Steyn’s “Marshmallow World” holiday album famously covers this song and he delights in singing it.

“You’ll have to pry ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ from my cold dead hands.”

The millennial version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is actually quite sad. In its robotic, antisocial interaction, it reveals a joyless generation numb to embracing the fun of gender roles and giving into love. We can only hope they discover one day the wonderment and delight of a budding romance that is reflected in the 1944 version of the song.