It’s been said that in this day and age it is very difficult to say anything without offending someone, and the more time passes, the more I am starting to agree with this saying.
This year, ears have turned away from the classic Christmas song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” written by Frank Loesser in 1944, who wrote the song to perform with his wife at parties. The song was performed five years later in “Neptune’s Daughter” and since then has been reimagined countless times with artists ranging from Dean Martin to Meghan Trainor.
Recently, however, the song has been banned from multiple radio stations, taken off many playlists. People have claimed that the song is a story of a date rape, with predatory lyrics of a persistent man who refuses the answer “no.”
Let’s start with the claim that the song tells the story of date rape. But the only evidence supporting this claim is when the woman says, “Say, what’s in this drink?” This lyric has led people to believe the song is implying the man has slipped a drug into her drink in order to get her into bed.
I’m not ruling out the possibility that the speculations are accurate. However, it seems a bit outrageous to think that a man who wrote a song to sing with his wife was thinking about different ways to slip a drug in her drink.
Frank Loesser’s daughter, Susan Loesser, spoke out defending her father’s song, referencing the allegation that the man put a drug into the woman’s glass.
“People used to say ‘what’s in this drink’ as a joke. You know, ‘this drink is going straight to my head so what’s in this drink?’ Back then it didn’t mean you drugged me,” Loesser said. “I think it would be good if people looked at the song in the context of the time. It was written in 1944.”
Her point is completely valid. Nowadays, we might say something more direct like, “I’m feeling this drink,” or “This drink was stronger than I thought.”
It also didn’t help this controversy when Kenan Thompson did a sketch on “Saturday Night Live” singing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” dressed as Bill Cosby, who recently was incarcerated for putting a drug into several women’s drinks and sexually assaulting them.
In the sketch on “SNL,” Tina Fey is the female singing, and when she says, “Say, what’s in this drink,” ‘Cosby’ replies, “Oh well it’s like a vitamin for when you’re bummed out about your career or it’s to make you smile and help you reach your goals.”
This skit made some realize that the lyrics are pushy and controversial, and it reassured others that the song had the hidden meaning they thought it had. The point of the skit was to make a joke of the accusations against Cosby. Unfortunately, the context of the skit put the song into great jeopardy since many listeners now saw and heard the negative meaning behind it.
I am not oblivious to the lyrics to the song. It is true that the man in the song is being pushy, and I am well aware that when a woman says no, it means no. However, it seems hasty to jump to date rape — it’s a playful conversation at best, an unhealthy relationship at worst.
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” was first banned from a radio station after a caller in Ohio expressed concerns about how inappropriate the song is. The radio station, WDOK 102.1, removed the song from the Christmas playlist after this concern was expressed, prompting other stations to follow suit.
While I think it’s noble for the radio station to put their listeners first, I find it confusing as to why a Christmas classic gets banned off the radio for some lyrics that were left up to interpretation, while the song “U.O.E.N.O” by Rocko feat. Rick Ross and Future that literally says, “Put molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it. I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.”
The artists are saying they put pills into a woman’s drink and then raped her, without her knowledge or consent. This song, along with Jamie Foxx’s “Blame It On The Alcohol” (“I hear you saying what you won’t do, but you know we probably going to do”), and Brad Paisley’s “I’m Still A Guy” (“When you say a back rub means only a back rub, then you swat my hand when I try, well what can I say at the end of the day I’m still a guy”), are all songs we should put on the banned list if we’re going to get rid of an almost 80-year-old classic over a couple lyrics that are up for debate.