Last Christmas there was a huge dust up over the Frank Loesser song ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’. It may have seemed innocent enough in the ’40s but in the new #MeToo world it was regarded as the picture of a persistent, predatory male. Fair enough. Males are predatory and persistent. Our minds conjure up the most colorful imagery, even in what are seemingly banal, everyday situations and encounters. And males are persistent. As Helen, Garp’s wife, said in ‘The World According to Garp’, “men are less demanding” when they’ve been satisfied.
So what to do? Pull a Holiday favorite from the air, as was done by many stations? Maybe. It must be said that the song ends inconclusively but it’s pretty clear where the evening is headed. While there’s not much that can be done about the version by Dean Martin and Marilyn Maxwell, what about going forward?
In addition to writing, I sing. Used to be Classical but now I do ’60s and early ’70s rock. It turns out that the combination of skills can be useful in this instance. Change a few lyrics and change the tone of the song (no pun). And lyrics can range, with respect to women, from misogynistic to egoistic and male-centric to unsatisfying.
Take ‘Another Saturday Night’ sung first by the ‘immortal’ Sam Cooke. Verse two falls in the first category. I always thought it pretty offensive:
‘Now, another fella told me
He had a sister who looked just fine
Instead of being my deliverance
She had a strange resemblance
To a cat named Frankenstein’
I’ll be singing this in the near future as part of an early ’60s set. So I rewrote the last three lines:
‘But despite my persistence, I ran into resistance And I didn’t get to make no time’
Perfect? Maybe not to some but definitely an improvement.
Then there is the ego bloated male, as in ‘Moondance’: Everytime I touch you YOU just tremble inside and I know how much YOU want ME that YOU can’t hide.
Just flip the first and second person pronouns. The guy just struck me as a self-centered jerk and I said to myself: “Rewite buddy”.
Finally there are the lyrics that are unsatisfying, as in ‘Daydream Believer’. The vocalist seems like a really good guy but he wants Jean to ‘cheer up’. Is Jean really mopey? I decided to give her a voice with a third verse:
‘As I left I ran my hand through your hair of golden sand, You opened up your eyes so bright and blue, You brushed your lips against my face and my heart began to race,’Cause my heart could feel the Happiness in you’
Any who have read my blogs know I love women. The three most important people in my life have been females. I’ve written several Blogs about ladies, WONDER WOMEN AND #METOO, WONDER WOMEN IN SPORTS BROADCASTING and others. And in my fantasy series, The Ur Legend, my women aren’t always right but they’re always STRONG.
So am I a soppy SoyBoy or a philogynist? You decide. But whichever you think I am, I’ll keep on singing and keep on writing.
My suggestion to two inspired jazz vocalists, who don’t like the original: rewrite the last few lines of lyrics to ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ and re-record for next Holiday season.