Baby, it's cold outside

Dear Hannah,

In the controversy over Baby, it's cold outside, one thing that seems to have escaped feminists' notice is the nature of a duet.  Perhaps never in the history of rape or music has anyone ever toured with her rapist to sing about him raping her.  And this is for two reasons.  The first is that singing about it would be painful for the woman.  The second is that it would be dangerous for the man.

What feminists have missed about the entire thing (aside from the fact that it was written by Frank Loesser to perform with his wife at parties) is that the no expressed by the woman was obviously given with a wink.   These days no is taken by our leftists as an end to the whole question.  They think a woman says it and she means it now and forever -- in short, the opposite of a marriage.  But women, like men, are far too complex to mean only no and yes when there's more than one good thing to pick from.  They say these no's and yes's as an answer for the moment; as though the balance between looking respectable, and parents' expectations, and keeping a schedule, and fear of disease, and horror of pregnancy, and an interest in making others happy, and the dance of false modesty, and shyness about being naked, and the overwhelming power of sexual desire finally urged us in a direction -- not in any kind of final say (which is a breakup or a marriage), but as a temporary agreement with oneself: that for the moment the scales have tipped to one side, and that they might easily (and we always hope eventually) be tipped to the other*.

In this case, the weapon in the man's court is persuasion.  He knows she's attracted to him in one way or another (which is why they're on a date); and he knows that the end result of all of this dating and dancing and tip-toeing around the obvious is that both of them are going to get closer; and if everything goes well, eventually get naked.  And she knows it too, because that's the point of all romance.  And if he has any brains and any balls and any charm he's going to try and persuade her to be his -- we're talking wholly and carnally.  He knows there are lots of little forces in her vying for control, and he wants to lend his aid to some of them while downplaying the dangers of others.  He wants to tip the scales.  In any other age this singing and asking and caressing and drinking and smiling and winking would be just known as wooing.  In the current one it's known as raping.  In any other age it would be known as persuasion.  In this one it's condemned as coercion.

Coercion, of course, is not what the song is about.  And if this proves anything about our feminists, it isn't only that their understanding of nuance borders on the autistic.  And it isn't that they believe women are too cowardly to walk out a door, or that they're too stupid to know the difference between asking and taking, or too irresponsible to drink like adults.  It's that they honestly believe a woman's decision is so final and so totally infallible that to persuade her is the same thing as raping her.  I remind you this is the same woman who should be able to walk down the street topless and sleep with whoever she wants -- unless the man talked her into it, in which case we're supposed to believe she's a victim.

These beliefs ought to convince us that feminists are plain stupid, and there's no real reasoning with a moron.  But if there is someone out there who honestly wants women to be safe and happy and live in a world where their no is taken seriously, then I have one piece of advice that I'd give to my daughter.

If a woman's made a mistake and left herself alone with any man she doesn't approve, she ought to be brave and leave him immediately.  And if he won't let her escape and he takes advantage of her, she needs to wait until the door swings open, and then break his nose before running through it.  She has to be brave.  She has to prove to the world that she said no and he said yes and she insisted no and he got his way and she was so against it that she left him a mark that couldn't be confused for anything else (claw marks on the back won't work, for obvious reasons).  A black eye or a broken nose is a defense of womankind -- that they'll let everyone know they mean no when they mean it. and that men deserve a fair trial.   Give rapists hell, and then let us men hang them.  But first let us know when we're dealing with rapists.  Leave your mark.  Make it a doozy.

Your father,

*The regret many of us have experienced after sex can be attributed, more than anything else, to one side of the scale being removed entirely.  Suddenly there's no weight in a particular direction, and we find the balance drastically upset.  You blow your load and then, left without the urge to procreate, you're left with all the reasons you shouldn't -- a horrible end to any sexual encounter, and the reason easy women often find themselves unhappy.

Biblical case in point: Amnon wanted his sister Tamar to the point of being sick about her, and after he forced himself upon her, he was left not only with the shame of the act, but with the potential for serious trouble.  Thus he found that after he "loved" her he hated her.  The second the act was over, so was his affection.

**What I haven't mentioned about Baby it's cold outside, and what's passed completely unnoticed by our modern-day "moralists," is that nowhere in the song is nakedness or spending the night mentioned.  Sex may be the end of a romance, but it isn't necessarily the end of this romance; and it certainly wasn't the end of all romances in the 40's -- a time when two members of the opposite sex could still be shamed for being alone together.  We have a difficult time imagining our grandparents singing it if it was, even though on both sides of my family, my grandpa impregnated my grandma before anyone was married. 

Much has already been written about how the invention of cars changed romance, much like the invention of the internet ruined romance in general; so I'll only remark that before the 1950's and the widespread use of the car, people were not often left alone together on dates.  Maxim Gorky, the revolutionary Russian socialist, after escaping Tsarist Russia in 1905 and fleeing to the United States, had his overwhelmingly popular speaking tour ended and his bags left out of his hotel room (in cosmopolitan New York, of all places), simply because his wife had been left behind in Russia, and the woman he was traveling with was his girlfriend.  Mark Twain (whose original business idea was being a coke dealer) refused to introduce him any longer as a speaker; angry protesters shut down all his public appearances; newspapers accused him of trying to spread anarchy to the U.S.; and dozens of celebrities who'd been happily seen with him before the scandal were suddenly embarrassed to know him at all.

This of course is only one example; and (as I've already written) this puritanical approach to sexuality wasn't entirely accepted by European aristocrats.  But it's enough to convince us that unlike today, and across most of civilized history, women haven't spread their legs so easily.  And the immense amount of shame associated with sleeping around, coupled with the fear of illegitimate pregnancy and the general likelihood of dying from something as horrible as syphilis, contributed to a culture where people were not only generally against free sex, but a world in which many were terrified of being associated with it.  The effects of this policy to this day are clear, and as Pope Francis has recently made obvious, measurable across nearly the whole of society.  The side of my family that impregnates without marriage is poor and uneducated.  The side which marries first is middle-class and literate.  Free sex is practiced in Africa -- so much so that the Maasai don't even have a word for virginity.  But who really wants to be an African? 


  1. Jeremy,
    Just found your Letters to Hanna blog today. What a wonderful collection of philosophica, ethical, political and cultural commentary.
    I love the photo of you and your daughter. Looks like it was taken crossing Puget Sound on a ferry with Whidby Island in the distance.

  2. Hi! I have found your blog today,anf it's awesome!I love it♥


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