Monday, January 7, 2019

Once More On Baby It’s ....

I wasn’t aware of the line “Say what's in this drink?” So at least I can now understand the argument that the song is objectionable for it, for the guy’s doping or stoning or inebriating the woman into submission. But, textually that argument falls flat. Throughout the course of the lyrics, she doesn’t lose any coherence and keeps up the same objections all the way through: see the last verse:

....I really can't stay (get over that old out)
Baby, it's cold
Baby, it's cold outside...

We don’t even know if she stays. Clearly the guy’s working hard on getting her to stay. 

1/2 of her wants to stay: “You've really been grand.”

The other 1/2 wants to go but she’s reluctant: 

“But maybe just a cigarette more (never such a blizzard before)
I've gotta get home” 

The main rationale for her staying remains the same, “Baby it’s cold outside.”

So now that I know the damning line, I can say it’s a fair question whether knowing it changes my mind about the song not being objectionable. I couldn’t answer that without seeing the whole song in front of me. But now having seen it and reviewed it, my mind stays the same. 

The argument for it being objectionable doesn’t stand up to textual scrutiny, I argue. It’s strained and wants to impose a #metoo sensibility on the song that its lyrics don’t bear out. Just the opposite, the song’s a delight and sits on the right side of the line of men non-objectionably pursuing women.  

That the guy by the end of the song seems to be not much further ahead, regardless of “what’s in this drink,” suggests his quest his endless, and that this general quest of men pursuing women is endless, sometimes working out, sometimes not. 

Here we don’t know how it’ll work out. 

I really can't stay (but baby, it's cold outside)
I've got to go away (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)
My mother will start to worry (beautiful what's your hurry?)
My father will be pacing the floor (listen to the fireplace roar)
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)
The neighbors might think (baby, it's bad out there)
Say what's in this drink? (no cabs to be had out there)
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 (what's the sense in hurtin' my pride?)
I really can't stay (oh baby don't hold out)
But baby, it's cold outside
I simply must go (but baby, it's cold outside)
The answer is no (but baby, it's cold outside)
Your welcome has been(how lucky that you dropped in)
So nice and warm (look out the window at this dawn)
My sister will be suspicious (gosh your lips look delicious)
My brother will be there at the door (waves upon the tropical shore)
My maiden aunts mind is vicious (gosh your lips are delicious)
But maybe just a cigarette more (never such a blizzard before)
I've gotta get home(but baby, you'd freeze out there)
Say lend me a coat(it's up to your knees out there)
You've really been grand (i thrill when you touch my hand)
But don't you see? (how can you do this thing to me?)
There's bound to be talk tomorrow (think of my lifelong sorrow)
At least there will be plenty implied (if you got pnuemonia and died)
I really can't stay (get over that old out)
Baby, it's cold
Baby, it's cold outside
Songwriters: Frank Loesser

Baby, It's Cold Outside lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

No comments:

Post a Comment