Holiday classic or date-rape anthem?

By Diamond Victoria

Illustration by Sophia Espinosa


Any number of unassuming holiday music lovers may sing along to their favorite tunes while sipping on wine or putting up lights this year. But pay closer attention to these surely wonderful and wistful jingles and you’ll be left scratching your head, and maybe feeling a little dirty.

Not to dash anyone’s ideas of the seasons’ playfulness, but Frank Loesser’s, writer of Guys and Dolls, date-rape anthem “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is far and away the dirtiest, most inappropriate song you’ll hear at
department stores this time of year. Loesser wrote the call-andresponse duet in 1944 as a song he and his wife would perform as a party trick at swanky soirees in Los Angeles.

Loesser wrote his part as the “Wolf” and her part as the “Mouse.” MetroGoldwyn-Mayer eventually bought the song and debuted it in the film “Neptune’s Daughter.” The catchy jingle was featured twice in the film – sung by two different couples. Later that year “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

The song goes like this: A young woman, the Mouse, visits a seemingly older man, the Wolf, in a den of sorts on a snowy evening. As she continues to tell him, “I really can’t stay,” and “my answer is no” the wolf-inman’s-clothing is desperate, and creepy, and tries to convince her otherwise by countering with “no cabs to be had out there.” He continues to paw and howl at the woman after she asks, “Say, what’s in this drink?”

The two go back-and-forth with a couple or so minutes of nudging and recoiling. In several renditions of the song, the female’s voice squeaks with nerves while the male’s barks with confidence. But you’ll be hard pressed to hear our mouse give any consent.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” was written only 24 years after women won the right to vote, far before birth control or Beyoncé. The millennial generation of new feminism has ripped this song apart, and for good reason. And while I have your attention, have you ever really listened to that “Santa Baby” song?

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