Thanks to a nail technician, I support John Legend’s “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”
How a trip to the spa made me reevaluate this Christmas song rewrite
There’s about a 95 percent chance that I’m “on go” at all times to have a discussion regarding politics, race, culture and womanhood. But yesterday was my holiday birthday weekend, and that wasn’t on my radar at all. I was invited to go to my favorite spa and catch up with my favorite nail technician. I snuggled up for my mani-pedi, and got ready to enjoy those glorious hand and foot rubs. What I did not expect was the second nail technician to make me feel the need to defend the #MeTooMovement or Christmas songs.
What I did not expect was the second nail technician to make me feel the need to defend the #MeTooMovement or Christmas songs.
In the middle of a friendly chat with my nail tech about dog walking, house hunting and my nail tech’s interior design tips for her mother in Russia, I could see the other nail tech sigh aloud and look at the two of us. Out of absolutely nowhere, she asked, “So what do you guys think of that ‘It’s Cold Outside’ rewritten song? Honestly, if I had a son now, I’d make him walk around with a contract. It’s so hard to court anyone nowadays.” Initially I was confused about why the topic came up considering Christmas music was not playing, and neither me nor my mother (who was in that nail tech’s chair) were talking about music at all.
The largest majority (48 percent) of sexual assault survivors were sleeping or doing some kind of activity at home — a place where they are supposed to be the most safe.
I knew the song lyrics were a little “suss,” as Willow Smith put it (in the video below at 3:02). However, this Frank Loesser song was never in my Christmas lineup as a kid or an adult. Christmas didn’t feel like Christmas to me unless I heard the Jackson 5’s “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and the rest of the Motown Christmas album. I blast Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” at top volume in December. But the only time Frank Loesser’s song caught my attention was when Dwayne Wayne and Whitley Gilbert sang it to each other in a Season 6 episode of “A Different World.”
Up until this past weekend, my view on the song was, “Meh, let the song be what it is. If you don’t like it, don’t listen to it.” But as I listened to this nail tech discuss how the song was “from a different time” and how it’s “just too much” for single men nowadays, I realized this conversation was much bigger than the song. And it wasn’t just with her.
Another older woman (in her 50s or 60s) also mentioned that “It’s not that deep” and people are “overanalyzing the song.” However, I did make a quip that the original lyrics were getting a little “rape-y” when the female singer asks, “Say, what’s in this drink?”
But what sat me with differently while listening to older women debate the song lyrics of the original was the part about it being “hard” for single men nowadays. If mutual consent is “too hard” to confirm, then that lady’s male relatives (and people in general) have no business dating anyone to begin with.
Why the #MeTooMovement encourages mutual consent
Sexual violence has decreased in half since 1993. However, every 73 seconds in America, someone is still sexually assaulted. And while 3 percent of American men (one in 33) has experienced some form of attempted or complete rape, the odds significantly increase for women — one out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or complete rape, RAINN reports. And the largest majority (48 percent) of sexual assault survivors were sleeping or doing some kind of activity at home — a place where they are supposed to be the most safe.
For that reason alone, I am in full support of the #MeTooMovement calling out sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, etc., far more. If the number can slash to half in a little more than two decades, let’s get the number down even lower if we can.
Part of that change must be in the actual culture of how we view what is considered “so hard” about dating now. I listened to this nail tech complain about the song lyrics and why John Legend and Kelly Clarkson needed to leave well enough alone. But at no point and time during her complaints did I hear how changing the song lyrics “hurt” the song.
Although John Legend’s lyrics jokingly shade Kelly Clarkson’s lyrics for still living at home with her parents (which was always a bit strange to me while listening to the original), the larger message is this: If she wants to go home, let her. It should be a woman’s “body and your choice.” And if a woman does say no, then you both do “need to go, go, go.” Because you know what else gets cold outside (and inside)? Prison.