I’ve been thinking Thursday: Baby, it’s cold outside

Seems like lots of people are up in arms about this Christmas song this year. I heard even the composers daughter has felt compelled to defend her father. How sad is that? Defending her dead father because of the way people now choose to view a song written in 1944.

It’s been suggested the song was actually written by Loesser to sing with his wife, Lynn Garland, at their housewarming party in New York City at the Navarro Hotel, to indicate to guests that it was time to leave.

It’s been viewed as a critique of drinking alcohol.

Other have suggested over the years it was a critique of a society which shunned women who spent the night willingly with their boyfriend or fiances.

And really, the lyrics can be read many ways.

In the study of history, we talk about something called temporal chauvinism. That’s where you judge the people of the past by the standards of today. A simple example is people used to bathe weekly at best, frequently once a month or less. By today’s standards, ewwww. But that was a norm then.

So when I look at the lyrics to this song, and I think 1944, I hear a woman who actually wants to stay but is afraid of what society will say about her if she does what she wants. She’s looking for any excuse to stay. And the man, a problem solver, is giving her many options to choose from.

Think of the privilege we women now enjoy that we can interpret the lyrics as something bad because spending the night with a man is a choice we can freely make.

 

 

7 thoughts on “I’ve been thinking Thursday: Baby, it’s cold outside

  1. I’ve cringed at the song for years, simply because of the modern day lyrical context. But then again, the lyrics of Santa Claus is Coming to Town also aren’t entirely innocent – it is a song about a grown adult male who sees you when you are sleeping and knows when you’re awake. Without the music (and context) it actually is kinda stalkerish if you think about it, but my kids still belt it out. The nice thing about music is a song’s meaning really depends on how it is performed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it’s a fun song. Flirtatious and reminiscent of holidays and a time when reputation and desire were at odds. I agree with your interpretation of it as a woman struggling with mores of her time, and her beau teasing her and letting her know she’s desired…and maybe we could use this excuse or that to be together as we wish on this happy holiday. I don’t see the harm in it at all.
    It seems to me that people’s problems with it are two fold. They don’t know history, so don’t appreciate the tongue in cheek/cat and mouse lyrics of the time. And they get so worried about politically correct current attitudes that they can’t have a sense of humor to appreciate something that’s just suggestive and playful. It wasn’t painfully serious like the current ‘analysis.’ I think it was meant as a playful tease and appreciation of attraction and holiday evenings together. Fun, right? I think we still have fun sometimes??

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the song. I care zip what others think about it. I was 13 when it came out and been enjoying it since. Ever been in the basement of the Nation’s Capitol building? Bath rooms with bath tubs. That is were the important people went to take a bath. Tubs (forget showers) were not in many homes back in the day. Excuse me. My PC halo is slipping. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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