This may be one that might irk a few people…sorry in advance.
Christmas carols are joyous and sad and nostalgic and funny, and at least one is downright creepy.
“Baby, It's Cold Outside,” was written in 1944 by Frank Loesser and was first sung by Ricardo Montalban and Ester Williams in the MGM movie Neptune's Daughter (the song was reprised in the same film by Red Skelton and Betty Garrett). It has been recorded by countless duos in the succeeding years including Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan, Zooey Deschanel and Will Farrell, and Dolly Parton and Rod Stewart.
The song is written as a dialogue between two characters designated as “Mouse” and “Wolf” on the original score. Through flattery, alcohol, and the threat of outdoor temperatures, the wolf persuades the mouse to “see it his way” and stay into the night. It's a beloved holiday classic.
But beneath the jingle bells is a darker reality. The wolf of our story is not anxious to keep the mouse out of the cold for mere companionship. If the name “wolf” isn't enough to tip you off, his smooth patter and double reference to her “delicious” lips betray his true intent. “Mind if I move in closer?” could be a subtitle of the entire song. Music, alcohol, cigarettes, and warmth are tools of a typical seduction.
And perhaps this wouldn't be so creepy if it ended here, but several lines would be danger signs in any time. “Say, what's in this drink?” reads like a headline from current news. Her continued resistance for herself and her reputation is ignored. “The answer is no,” should be the end of things, but it is only one more step toward the inevitable. His words are even more sinister, referring to her resistance as hurting his pride, and urging her to “get over this hold out.”
As much as the clever song suggests that the mouse has ultimately given in to her own true desire, it seems to me that she has been held against her will, perhaps drugged, and pressured to overcome her final decision.
As always, I welcome your comments