Baby It’s ‘Consensual’ Outside: Classic XMas Duet Gets Contentious Update

December 14th, 2016: As seen on Archive (PDF)


Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski sing their rendition of ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside on ‘The Current’; Photo: The Current

A Minnesota couple has taken it upon themselves to give a consensual updateto Frank Loesser‘s “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” and people are divided like it’s 2016.

You know, that classic call-and-response parlor room piano number where one party is trying to convince the other that it’s too cold outside to quit the evening just yet; Quick lyric logic example from the original:

My mother will start to worry/(Beautiful what’s your hurry)/My father will be pacing the floor/(Listen to the fireplace roar)

Since its debut in the 1949 film, Neptune’s Daughter [WATCH], of which notched Loesser an Academy Award for Best Original Song, everyone from Ray Charlesand Betty Carter [LISTEN] to Joseph Gordon-Levittand Lady Gaga [WATCH] has played around with covering the coy narrative, sometimes a male role playing the aggressor, while other times the female leading the entrapment.

Virtually all of those covers have not meddled with the lyrics, that tosses excuses ranging from a cab-less metropolis, snow too deep to tread, and of course a bitter cold front as deterrents to keep the night going.

Minneapolis songwriters Lydia Liza, 22, and Josiah Lemanski, 25, changed that, though, citing the song as ‘aggressive’ and ‘inappropriate’, and went to to quick work this holiday season creating a consensual narrative. In their interview with CNN, they elaborate.

“We started thinking of the open-ended questions that song has,” she said. “You never figure out if she gets to go home. You never figure out if there was something in her drink. It just leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth.”

The new lyrics envision an evening much different than the mystery cocktail and Jack Frost fear-mongering of yore; Verse-for-verse sub from the above Loesser orginal:

My mother will start to worry (Call her so she knows that you’re coming)/Father will be pacing the floor (Better get your car a-humming)/So really I’d better scurry (No rush)/Should I use the front or back door? (Which one are you pulling towards more?)

The punchline of Liza and Lemanski’s update: “Baby I’m cool with that,” backing up the sentiment with a portion of net proceeds going toward the Sexual Violence Center and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

Without going too deep down the opinion rabbit hole on how divisive this has Christmas song fans getting, here’s a vitriolic, millennial bash via The Federalist:

First of all, our boy here is apparently offering her POMEGRANATE LACROIX to drink. No wonder girlfriend is trying to GTFO as quickly as she can — her man is offering her a can of carbonated water that tastes like fermented garbage. Second, “you reserve the right to say no” is robotic and unnatural. Anyone who’s ever been on a date once in his or her life knows that a woman wouldn’t have this long of a back-and-forth discussion about her departure if she really did want to leave.

And a pro-consent rebuttal from a writer at SELF:

What positive consent doesn’t look like: Refusing to take “no” as someone’s answer. That’s where the problem with “Baby It’s Cold Outside” lies. It’s not that the man is literally forcing himself on the woman, it’s that he’s dismissing her hesitance and even her “no.” She says she ought to say, “No, no,” and in the 1944 version, the man responds by saying, “Mind if I move in closer?” It’s like, step back man and accept that this woman is clearly on the fence about hooking up with you. Discuss that—don’t just dismiss it.

So what’s a baby to do when it’s cold outside and he/she wants to end the night?

Frank Loesser’s Original Lyrics:

I really can’t stay
(But, baby, it’s cold outside)
I’ve got to go ‘way
(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)
Well, maybe just a half a drink more
(Put some records on while I pour)

The neighbors might think
(But, 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 the 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 of hurtin’ my pride?)
I really can’t stay
(Oh, baby, don’t hold out)
Ah but it’s cold outside
(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)
This welcome has been
(How lucky that you dropped in)
So nice and warm
(Look out that window at that storm)

My sister will be suspicious
(Gosh, your lips look delicious)
My brother will be there at the door
(Waves upon a tropical shore)
My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious
(Gosh, your lips are delicious)
Well, maybe just a cigarette more
(Never such a blizzard before)

I’ve got to get home
(But, baby, you’ll freeze out there)
Say, lend me your coat
(It’s up to your knees out there)
You’ve really been grand
(I’m thrilled 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 caught pneumonia and died)
I really can’t stay
(Can’t get over that hold out)
Ah, but it’s cold outside
(Ah, but it’s cold outside)

Baby it’s cold outside

Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski‘s update:

I really can’t stay (Baby I’m fine with that)

I’ve got to go away (Baby I’m cool with that)

This evening has been (Been hoping you get home safe)

So very nice (I’m glad you had a real good time)

My mother will start to worry (Call her so she knows that you’re coming)

Father will be pacing the floor (Better get your car a-humming)

So really I’d better scurry (No rush)

Should I use the front or back door? (Which one are you pulling towards more?)

The neighbors might think (That you’re a real nice girl)

What is this drink? (Pomegranate La Croix)

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)

Baby it’s cold outside

I’ve got to get home (Do you know how to get there from here?)

Say, where is my coat (I’ll go and grab it my dear)

You’ve really been grand (We’ll have to do this again)

Yes I agree (How ’bout the Cheesecake Factory?)

We’re bound to be talking tomorrow (Text me at your earliest convenience)

At least I have been getting that vibe (Unless I catch pneumonia and die)

I’ll be on my way (Thanks for the great night)