Yet to many, the song isn’t as innocent as it first seems. There are a few lyrics that on closer examination seem pretty, well, creepy. The guy is trying to pressure the girl into sex, when she is clearly not up for it. And then there’s the notorious line where she asks “What’s in this drink?”, implying that he might have spiked it. In 2013 Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon Levitt did a version with the gender roles reversed, which acknowledged some of the song’s problems, but still, it’s not a good look for a Christmas classic to feature date rape.
Now however, a couple have re-written the song to change the dubious lyrics and emphasise the importance of consent. Minneapolis singer-songwriters Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemansk both disliked the song and decided to recreate the track with its problems.
Whereas the opening line of the original was “I really can't stay /But baby, it's cold outside”, their new version starts with:
I really can't stay /Baby I'm fine with that
"My mother will start to worry /Beautiful what's your hurry? /My father will be pacing the floor /Listen to the fireplace roar” becomes:
My mother will start to worry /Call her so she knows that you're coming /Father will be pacing the floor /Better get your car a-humming
The “What’s in this drink?” line reveals it’s a non-alcoholic cocktail:
What is this drink? /Pomegranate La Croix
"We started thinking of the open-ended questions that song has," Liza told CNN. "You never figure out if she gets to go home. You never figure out if there was something in her drink. It just leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth.”
The full re-written lyrics read:
I really can't stay/Baby I'm fine with that
I've got to go away/Baby I'm cool with that
This evening has been/Been hoping you get home safe
So very nice/I'm glad you had a real good time
My mother will start to worry/Call her so she knows that you're coming
Father will be pacing the floor/Better get your car a-humming
So really I'd better scurry/No rush.
Should I use the front or back door?/Which one are you pulling towards more?
The neighbors might think/That you're a real nice girl
What is this drink?/Pomegranate La Croix
I wish I knew how/Maybe I can help you out
To break this spell/I don't know what you're talking about
I ought to say no, no, no/you reserve the right to say no
At least I'm gonna say that I tried/you reserve the right to say no
I really can't stay/...Well you don't have to
Baby it's cold outside
I've got to get home/Do you know how to get there from here
Say, where is my coat/I'll go and grab it my dear
You've really been grand/We'll have to do this again
Yes I agree/How 'bout the Cheesecake Factory?
We're bound to be talking tomorrow/Text me at your earliest convenience
At least I have been getting that vibe/Unless I catch pneumonia and die
I'll be on my way/Thanks for the great night