It’s not just that today’s the shortest day of the year, and that it feels as cold and dark as it’s going to get. It’s not only that in Rome – after a balmy autumn – we’re now experiencing chilly temperatures.

Coliseum, Rome/Sullivan

The real reason I constantly finding myself humming what has become a Christmas classic – “Baby, it’s cold outside” – is because of the ridiculous brouhaha that has surrounded this song that’s been popular for (more than seven) decades.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who has had this reaction. Listeners have been calling radio stations demanding its return. One Kentucky station looped the song in a marathon session to show its support, and it seems the Dean Martin version has hit the digital Top Ten.

If you don’t know the song, be sure to listen to this 1944 flirty duet between a woman making a (very) weak attempt to convince herself she must return home following a date and the man who attempts to persuade her to stay by retorting to each proffered excuse with “Baby, it’s cold outside.”

Does this flirtation sound dangerous? That’s the claim. More precisely, the duet has been labelled as promoting “toxic masculinity” and encouraging “date rape”. On the silliness index, this scores a perfect ten.

The controversy provided me the chance to introduce the song to my sons, and we shared some laughs over all the “dangerous messages” being conveyed here, especially when compared to any contemporary rap song or film. 

If anything, the faux outrage has made me appreciate this little ditty even more.

So on this winter solstice, be sure to bundle up and hang out by the inviting fireplace because (Trigger warning!!) “Baby, it’s cold outside!”

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