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Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski remake ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ to emphasize consent

Lydia Liza (Nate Ryan/MPR)

“Baby it’s Cold Outside” is one of those classic Christmas songs we’ve been listening to every year since it was first penned by Frank Loesser in 1944, making its debut in the 1949 film Neptune’s Daughter. Today, though, it’s hard to listen to the song without cringing.

The charged duet between a man and a woman sounds cheesy on its surface, but listen closely and you hear an exchange between a woman who clearly states she wants to leave and a man that doing everything he can to get her to stay. With sexually aggressive lyrics like “What’s the sense of hurtin’ my pride?” and “How can you do this thing to me?”, the song is like the “Blurred Lines” of the holiday songbook.

That’s something Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski have worked to change in their rendition of the song: a rewrite that replaces the male duet partner’s lyrics with new messages like “Baby, I’m fine with that” and “Hoping you get home safe.” It’s humorous, but makes a serious point about the importance of sexual consent and mutual respect.

Lydia Liza, a singer-songwriter who rose to local fame as the frontwoman of Bomba de Luz, additionally makes solo music and performs with bands including MINNIE / BLUNTZ. Lemanski also writes and records his own music.

Their new version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” even finds a perfect answer to one of the original’s most unsettling lyrics. “What is this drink?” sings Liza.

Lemanski responds enthusiastically. “Pomegranate LaCroix!”

Simone Cazares is a sophomore at the University of St. Thomas, majoring in communication and journalism. Originally from Miami, Fla., she survives Minnesota’s cruel winters by immersing herself in the Twin Cities music scene.

  • GeorgeJ.

    Now will you rewrite 90% of rap songs to reflect consent?

    • Mickey Murray Hughes

      AMEN! and what about the Kardashians, Beyonce, and the Bachelor tv show? I never heard the original lyrics to that song and thought: “say what’s in this drink” and thought roofie; nor did I think (So really I’d better scurry) Beautiful please don’t hurry – was code for i want to rape you!

      • mh

        Did you think “this woman seems not to be quite sure whether she wants to stay, or go. She seems a bit conflicted, but maybe she likes me and what’s stopping her from acting on that is her inhibitions about what other people might think. Aha! I know what I’ll do – get her a nice stiff drink!”?

        Because if you did, like the original guy in the song appears to have done, that would suck.

        • Mark Rohaley


      • Worldview

        Sorry, you have never really listened to the song. There are lots of cues for psychological pressure, something I heard a lot in my dating days, and then there’s the hint of a “Micky Finn”. It is a disturbing song that poses as innocent flirting.

        • lcb

          It is you who should listen to the song and note the friendly, open tone of voice of both parties which indicates interest, respect, and adoration on both sides. Yes the man is “attempting persuasion” as mentioned by SkiMommy below but in doing so you can tell that he still respects the woman’s right to refuse his advances; he’s just trying to get her not to do so. There is no way he would want to use force and although he gets manipulative it is she that proposes another drink, not him and has the perfect right and ability not to drink it or to ask for water or something benign, and it is obvious that he respects her enough to do that if she asked. No one seems to consider anything other than the words themselves, which is a disturbing common trend these days as opposed to days past, when context and nonverbal cues meant much more. I guess Shakespeare would never be successful in these times.

  • Laurie

    That’s a really terrific rewrite, I enjoyed that. The original has always disturbed me, this is a huge improvement!

  • Abigail Davis

    This is just plain adorable

  • Mitch Berg

    I’m working on rewriting “Whole Lotta Love”, “Black Dog”, and 95% of the entire American delta blues catalog.

    Someone tell Howlin’ Wolf to cease and desist until we get him some updates.

    • (Disclaimer: Led Zeppelin is my all-time favorite band)

      I would adore a rewrite of Whole Lotta Love emphasizing consent. That would be incredible.

  • Mikayla Mehle

    I LOVE this! Amazing.

  • Joshua Holm

    ha ha pomegranate la croix – love it

  • “let’s not catch pneumonia and die” LOL

  • Christine Torchia Gordon

    awesome! Thanks for doing this!

    • Mickey Murray Hughes

      In our new “victim” culture this will get a fair amount of press. People need to stop! I wonder what the hell happened, everything that is said is twisted and evil behavior is implied! I am all about women’s rights and teaching them to be strong, but we don’t need to reword everything in order to protect them.

      • mh

        I don’t think evil behavior is implied in the original. But it’s still problematic. It’s problematic because, in the original, the woman clearly says no but doesn’t necessarily mean it, and the man picks up that no might not mean no, and proceeds to push, pouring her a stiff drink and using pressure and guilt to try to keep her around.

        The idea that when women say no (which they may need to do regardless of what they would like to say, under a misogynist social system, to avoid the social consequences of seeming “easy” or slutty), the expected male behavior (to ignore what she said and try to figure out what she really means, with the male’s discretion in deciding what she really means based on potentially ambiguous social signals being the only thing that protects the woman from sexual assault), is dangerous to women. The original song is a crystal clear example of this dangerous idea put into practice.

        The 2016 song is a man operating under a set of assumptions that is safer for women (if she says no, back off, and if she says yes, she reserves the right to change her mind later. If she says she has to go, assume she means she has to go, not she means “please pursue me and try to convince me to stay”) while the woman sticks with the same words she would have used in 1940. I think it’s kind of good that social expectations about how women can express themselves and how men should respond have changed so much that the conversation between these two people speaking from different times barely makes sense.

  • lcb

    I’m sorry but these new lyrics are absolutely stupid and unrealistic. First of all any man who acts like this is going to find himself completely unattractive to women because the man here is an absolute wuss. Despite what they say women don’t want men like that; they want men to be strong, resourceful, self confident, and in the end persuasive. Now I’m not saying they want men to rape them, but if you listen closely to the original song you’ll hear that though the woman feels she should leave, deep down inside she really would rather stay, and she’s making the man work to win her over with romantic overtures. Intelligent women have been doing that for decades as women’s therapists Sherry Argov and Barbara Engel have written about. I do agree that the part about the drink needs changing but the man should at least try romantic overtures in a respectful manner a couple of times instead of just rolling over and giving up at the start. That’s what men do, and what women expect despite anything else they say, and that is what is really going on in the original song.

    • Women are not a monolith. Like men, women are individuals with individual wants, needs, and desires. You cannot take the wants, needs, and desires of one woman and assume that is true for all women who exist. So I’m sorry, but everything you said is simply wrong. Perhaps there are women out there who would not appreciate the man in the song, but I can promise you that there are women who would love him… see: the woman in this song, who is, in fact, the man’s partner (maybe wife? I’m not sure). So there’s at least one woman who loves him.

      • lcb

        No I am not simply wrong. I am simply right. Yes women are individuals but they do have some common traits and desires and one of them that they do not want a milquetoast man, nor do they want a feminine one. If you doubt what I say, the next time you meet a new woman tell her that you don’t like football like most men and would rather go clothes shopping. See the puzzled look on her face. She doesn’t find that attractive at all. A big part of the attraction between the opposite sexes is in their opposing nature. Deep down inside women actually like many male traits they claim to not like. If you have time access David DeAngelo’s website whose members from all over the world write about their experiences with women. You’ll find many commonalities in what women find attractive (and not attractive) in men. Look around at the guys you know who attract lots of women. You’ll find them to be cool, unpredictable, mysterious, maybe a little dangerous. Not easily inhibited or dissuaded, not bending over backwards for a woman. Again I’m not saying women want to be raped but especially in the case of this song you can tell the woman actually likes the man (she speaks to him sweetly not angrily) and deep down inside wants to get close to him but she doesn’t want to be seen as a slut and she figures if she gives in too easily he won’t respect her. Case in point: It is she that proposes another cigarette and another drink, not him. In this new lyrics women might “love him” as a friend who will do anything she wants but they will not be attracted to him as a lover or anything more. Nor will they even respect them. I have a feeling that the songwriters went to extremes in this case to advocate anti-rape sentiment, but it is certainly not realistic.

        • Heather Hogan

          I’m a woman and I want a feminine man. If feminine means one that respects my wishes (and otherwise… Femininity is not a negative trait). Get over this toxic brand of masculinity society has taught you.

          • lcb

            Respecting wishes and otherwise is not limited to feminine traits. Just like having a backbone and your own mind is not limited to masculine traits. In the long run a milquetoast man will become tiresome and boring to you even if you’re the kind that likes to manipulate them, which it sounds like you are, which would make you toxic to any man especially the rich ones without sophisticated personality traits to spot that they are being taken advantage of.

        • Rose B.

          “deep down inside wants to get close to him but she doesn’t want to be seen as a slut and she figures if she gives in too easily he won’t respect her”

          You are the kind of man I stay far away from. Maybe that’s why you don’t get to observe the kind of man women respect (cue: the ones who respect us).

        • Rose B.

          “deep down inside wants to get close to him but she doesn’t want to be seen as a slut and she figures if she gives in too easily he won’t respect her”

          You are the kind of man I stay far away from.

          I’ve had plenty of experiences with men who try to tell me I don’t really mean what I’m saying, but am playing a game (that only exists in their heads). These encounters are not erotic and exciting: they are terrifying and demeaning, and potentially traumatizing for life.

        • Rose B.

          “deep down inside wants to get close to him but she doesn’t want to be seen as a slut and she figures if she gives in too easily he won’t respect her”

          You are the kind of man I stay far away from.

          I’ve had plenty of experiences with a man trying to tell me I don’t really mean what I’m saying, but am playing a game (that only exists in his head). These encounters are not erotic and exciting: they are terrifying and demeaning, and potentially traumatizing for life.

          Specific to “she doesn’t want to be seen as a slut”: I would never be with someone who would use this word or think in these terms, and so I would never postpone intimacy with someone I love out of shame.

          It is the man in this song who sounds confident, endearing, and trustworthy (and hence attractive): You sound like someone who formed all of their ideas about life from an MRA site.

          • lcb

            I’m not speaking of what I think but what the song is saying. Men often try different approaches if one doesn’t work. It’s not right to use force or manipulation and respect should always be there but it’s not wrong for a man to try different approaches if he wants to get close to someone. Intimacy as you say is with someone you love and that takes time, and the original song it is obvious that the woman might not be sure yet if that time has been taken. You’re the kind I stay far away from too; the fact that I have to explain this suggests you lack intelligence, a disqualifier if there ever was one. If you think the man in the new song sounds confident and trustworthy you’re incredibly naïve; he has the same goal any man has; trouble is he’s communicating that he’ll go along with her whatever he decides and that he has no mind of his own. Women like you take advantage of men like that. You’re completely undesirable no matter how good looking you are.

          • Rose B.

            “You’re completely undesirable no matter how good looking you are.”


          • mh

            I’m a man, and the fact that this song exists makes me incredibly happy. I’ve bought it, and I’m going to use it to illustrate my attitude and approach in situations where a woman might feel pressured by social convention to behave differently from how she wants to.

            I don’t regard this as a sign of weakness, and I genuinely don’t care if some women or some men view me negatively because of some notion you speculate they will have about my being a pushover. I’m not – and not being a pushover includes going against social conventions when it is important. I will not conform to your notion of how males have to behave. Call that what you like. It has worked for me in terms of having lots of close female friends and enough romantic relationships that I’m happy, but that’s not why I do it. I do it because it’s right.

          • lcb

            Well first of all it’s not my notion but the way it is in society, and has been for a long time… if you want to disagree with that fine… but you and many others don’t seem to understand that there’s a world of difference between pressuring and flirtation/romantic overtures… in this day and age the art of flirtation has often been lost and many people especially men don’t know what romantic overtures are anymore… people have lost the ability of being able to tell if mutual attraction exists without having to say what you mention above…. that wasn’t the case seventy years ago when the original song was written…. another side effect of text messaging and email communication which are so predominant now…I never advocated pushing or force and never will… true “manly confidence” never uses that… never….
            In talking to others about this it became clear that another aspect of the new lyrics for this song is that not only have the words been changed; the context may have also. In the original song it was obvious that the couple had been seeing each other for some time, were mutually attracted to each other, had respect for each other, and that the man was now trying to become closer to the woman… in fact in a version of this song done in the 80s by an African-American couple the song ends with spoken dialogue where the man shows the woman a wedding ring and proposes….and she accepts (and stays the night)…
            If the context had been a man and woman on the first or second date the new song lyrics would make a lot more sense…. and have a lot more validity…. but the song has been around so long that even reading new lyrics there’s a tendency to think in terms of the original context…. and more so when people accuse the original song of being about date rape, which is absolutely not true….ok there are some undesirable things said (“How you do this thing to me”, “What’s the sense of hurting my pride”) but few young men are perfect about romantic overtures and the overall tone does not convey an attempt to rape…. I agree that the drink aspect is off too but as someone else pointed out the context about this was different seventy years ago than it is now…. It would have been better to write an original song with new lyrics instead of using an older song with well-established context… a new song for new times instead of taking an old song and trying to write in an opposing context.

          • mh

            Personally, I think the new song is a critique of and response to the old song, and that critique would have been less effective if the link between the old and the new wasn’t clear. A song where a guy goes “OK, if you want to leave, I support your right to do what you want, even though I really like you I’m not going to pressure you to stay”, by itself: boring. Of course it’s the right thing to do, to support another person rather than pressure them to do what you want. A song where a guy goes “OK, if you want to leave, I support your right to do what you want”, set to the tune of a song with undertones of “if you want to leave I’m going to push you to stay, potentially use intoxicants, and use guilt to apply pressure”: Interesting social commentary. There are some lines there that are really awkward and contrived (the bit about which door to go through, repeated “you reserve the right to say no”, and a couple other times) and writing a completely new song would have allowed those awkward bits to be removed, but then there could be a response of “but everyone gets this, why are you even writing this?”. The key here is the juxtaposition of the old and the new, to demonstrate changes that have occurred in society. The impact wouldn’t have been the same if they had written an entirely new song.

            Some people may find it a valid critique because they don’t fully understand the context in the 1940’s (I speculate – I’m not old enough to have known what the 1940’s were like directly, and I haven’t researched). But other people may find it a valid critique because they’re not into the notions of romance that were prevalent in the 1940’s, they find those notions restrictive and often misogynist.

            Listening to the original ((https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3bz8mfr1DM)), I hear what you hear, some instances where the woman indicates she would like to stay and is enjoying herself. I don’t believe you’re wrong about the thought behind the original . But it’s one of those situations like the bugs bunny cartoons from the 1940’s where one of the characters makes some kind of awful racist remark intended to get a chuckle, without realizing that future generations would find it cringe-worthy and an example of how racism was deeply embedded in the culture of that time. I get that, in the context of the 1940’s, it was expected that men would disregard it when a woman says no, up to a point, because they were expected to pursue and push, and to not do so might have been interpreted as a lack of interest. But that expectation, that a woman is supposed to say no and may not really mean it when she says it, and a man is supposed to try to “read the signs” to see if no really means no, and act on what he believes the woman wants rather than what she says she wants… that dynamic, which you label romantic, that set of expectations from a time when women voting or working outside the home was still contentious, is something that, today and probably also in the 1940’s, enabled men to disregard what women really wanted and do what they (men) felt like doing, and then claim they didn’t understand. The social expectations around courtship made it super-easy for men to disregard women’s wishes, and the original version is a very clear example of that ambiguity.

            Fast forward from 1940 to 2016. For at least a significant minority of the population, ambiguity of that sort, where the woman says no but is understood to mean yes and the man is expected to figure that out and proceed as if she had said yes even though she didn’t, is seen not as the expected roles men and women are to play at during courtship, or as romantic and desirable, but as dangerous to women, and symptomatic of deep problems in how men and women sometimes relate to each other.

            This may not have been expressed properly so that it would be clear to you, but when people call the old version part of “rape culture”, they’re not saying that the song is advocating rape. It’s not like the lyrics are “hey, y’know what’s fun? Making a woman stay the night when she doesn’t want to but eventually she decides she does, or something.” But what the lyrics are saying is “y’know what’s fun? When a woman says no but doesn’t mean it, and the man proceeds to ignore what she said and act based on what she really meant, which is the opposite of her actual words”. Which is clearly problematic, when sexual assault and domestic violence are as prevalent as they are. We don’t live in a society where it’s a good idea for the rule to be “a man should ignore what a woman said and base his responses on subtle social cues which often point in the other direction, but it’s up to him to interpret them.”

            You may be right that socializing-by-screen has reduced people’s ability to interact with skill in person. But also, the expectation that a man should “read the signs” instead of listening to the actual words the women in his life say, has changed. Instead of being the done thing, a required part of courtship, ignoring when a woman says no is seen as creepy and unacceptable. And I think that’s good. Regardless of my ability to read body language, I am much more comfortable with the chance of inadvertently sexually assaulting a woman because I’ve misread her nonverbal cues being 0%. I am happy that today, if a woman says “but I said no repeatedly” after a sexual assault, it is no longer seen as acceptable to respond “but might you have signaled to him that you didn’t mean it? What were you wearing? Did you smile? Did you have another drink?”. The social norm that when a woman says no to a man she may not mean it, which I’ll hope you’ll agree was a main premise of the original version of “baby it’s cold outside”, was dangerous to women, and it is that social norm that the “no means no” message from the 1990’s was about. I’m glad that norm of ignoring women’s actual words and going by nonverbal cues is gone. Or at least, going. Not going down without a fight from those who view the 1940’s with nostalgia, but clearly going.

            This song expresses something about what courtship is like today, as contrasted with what courtship was like when the song was originally written. It’s a compare and contrast with a social message. I think it was well done. Not perfect, but well done.

          • Worldview

            This attitude was NOT just in the 40s and 50s, I had to deal with it in the 60s as well.

          • mh

            Clearly, there was a reason “no means no” was a phrase in the 90’s – people must, even at that relatively recent time 50 years after the 40’s, have been unclear about this, and needed it to be stated explicitly in anti-date-rape campaigns.

            I say above that attitudes have changed, as if all people born at a certain time in the past believed and behaved in the same way, and all people in 2016 believe and behave differently. That is obviously not true – the truth is that the proportion of people who hold different views and attitudes about how men and women should relate to each other has changed over time, but views at all times are diverse. What makes me happy is that enough people’s attitudes have changed that the new version of the song is catching public attention and lots of people like it. I expect at an earlier time, enough people would have held lcb’s view, that those who would like to behave like Josiah Lemanski would have kept quiet about it and conformed, and nobody would have had to apologize for piling on lcb, because the number of people objecting to a song like the original “baby it’s cold outside” would have been small. I also know that there are several women I know who are concerned that if they show too much interest in sex, people including people they’re interested in having sex with might think poorly of them. Men still overstate their number of sexual partners, and women still understate them, when asked. So attitudes from past times linger.

            The change I have seen, is that lcb’s dating advice for men today is horribly off. If I tried doing the opposite of what a woman had said I should do because I decided she didn’t really want what she said she wanted but actually wanted what I wanted her to want, I’d be rejected very quickly and consistently, and the women I’d treated that way would tell all their friends about it, and I’d quickly find myself only able to get a romantic shot with women who didn’t have friends who’d heard of me, perhaps some strangers in a bar. It’s not that modern men can’t read nonverbal signals, it’s that the expected socially appropriate response when someone’s words and nonverbal signals conflict in a romantic context today has changed from what it used to be. Today, the correct response is to have a conversation about what’s going on so that the verbal and nonverbal communication is brought into alignment, and allow a conflicted person the time and space to decide what they want to do, before doing anything that might have serious negative consequences. And the women I know realize that being unclear exposes them to a risk of sexual assault, so their words and nonverbal signals are almost always carefully and consciously managed, and rarely in conflict.

            But in 1940 or 1960 or maybe even 1980, that might not have been the case. The expected socially appropriate interaction might have been for a woman to feign disinterest and a man to ignore what she’s saying and attempt to decode her true level of interest by indirect means. I know when I was first figuring courtship out in the 1990’s, attitudes were in transition, and I had to figure out whether the particular woman I was interacting with would appreciate open communication, or prefer if I played at being a romantic archetype. But I think attitudes have shifted enough now that the best bet is to interact like the guy in the new song does.

          • lcb

            Your third paragraph shows that you misunderstand completely what I said. I did not say you should absolutely do the opposite of what a woman says. I am saying that flirtation and courting is a back and forth game in which you have to look at nonverbal cues like tone of voice, expression of face, and other aspects as well. Since you do not understand this, I’ll mention a few examples: Smiling face versus serious face. Moving closer to you versus moving away. Inviting attitude versus imperious coldness. Friendly, interested tone of voice versus indifferent tone or no conversational response. For about the tenth time, the original song was about two people who had been seeing each other for some time, who were attracted to and who respected each other, who spoke to each other with friendly tone of voices and obvious smile on their faces. Even in today’s time it is still obvious that mutual interest exists in this case. Yes attitudes have changed over the years but mutual interest is as obvious now as it was back then, and the courtship ritual though less formal now still involves a lot of back and forth and ambiguity. The man was using “attempted persuasion” to quote SkiMommy below; you should read her posts carefully; as she illustrates a lot of people still hold the view of what I stated–both men and women alike. The classic “Pretty Woman” first done by Roy Orbison but covered by the most misogynistic David Lee Roth illustrates (though on a sterile level) what I am talking about. The man uses persuasive techniques, though finally accepts defeat (though the woman finally resolves her ambiguity and comes back to him). It is not wrong to attempt persuasion though it is important to be able to recognize when she really isn’t interested. Your callow youth and inexperience shows me that you do not have this ability yet so you should indeed act like the guy in the new lyrics so that at least you don’t try to give yourself the benefit of the doubt and wind up hurting some woman and acting the way like you mistakenly say I advocate.

          • mh

            I should clarify: I didn’t intend to suggest that your advice is “do the opposite of what a woman says” as a general rule. Your advice appeared to be to ignore what a woman says if the nonverbal cues you believe she’s putting out indicate she doesn’t mean it. Which I could easily see leading to doing the opposite of what the woman says. I advocate NEVER doing the opposite of what a woman says.

            Indirect social cues are easy for many people to get wrong, not just “callow, inexperienced” people. As I understand it, you advocate prioritizing nonverbal cues, whereas my position is you cannot ignore what a woman says today, even if her nonverbal signals indicate to you that she doesn’t mean it, and you’re pretty sure you’re right. The actual words that come out of a woman’s mouth take priority over potentially ambiguous nonverbal signals, and if there’s a conflict, the correct way to deal with that conflict is to speak to the woman about it and figure out what’s going on, not proceed as if the nonverbal cues you observe allow you to proceed. Much better to be thought socially dense, than to accidentally make a sexual advance that is not welcome.

          • lcb

            No I am not saying ignore what a woman says if the nonverbal cues contradict what she says. I am saying that “attempted persuasion” in the form of letting her know how you feel about her and that you would like to be close to her might be the thing to do in that situation, depending on circumstances. I am not necessarily saying prioritizing nonverbal cues and I agree with that you cannot ignore what a woman says. It’s all very nuanced and yes it can be misconstrued. In the original song the man is not perfect at persuasion attempts; twice he uses manipulation. But I am saying it’s not wrong for a man to try to get closer to a woman he is attracted to if she is giving some clues, verbal or nonverbal, that she might be receptive. Which takes priority depends on the individual case and it may be true that in 2016 verbal takes priority whereas in days past nonverbal did, as today’s more independent women have a better handle on who they are and how they feel than they did in days past But what is as common today as in the past is that mixed messages, verbal and nonverbal, are as much a part of courting and flirting now as back then. Partially because people–both men and women—often have mixed feelings themselves. What hasn’t changed a whole lot is that it is still primarily the man who has to make the first move towards intimacy. Oh sure the woman has the right to do so today, and some do, but more often not. So the man has to read everything to determine if she is attracted to him, attracted but not quite ready yet, just a friend, or if she is not attracted to him at all. Part of that in some cases includes attempted persuasion as this gives him the picture as to what her attraction to him is. In the original song the man though manipulative at times is not being inappropriate given the circumstances. The new lyrics the man is almost guaranteeing that he’ll be a friend but nothing more. As SkiMommy said strong mentally healthy women are not attracted to doormats. That’s as true in 2016 as it was in 1616. And all times before after, and in between.

          • lcb

            “But that expectation, that a woman is supposed to say no and may not really mean it when she says it, and a man is supposed to try to “read the signs” to see if no really means no, and act on what he believes the woman wants rather than what she says she wants… that dynamic, which you label romantic,”

            What a pathetic interpretation you’ve taken thinking I label that as romantic…. that you say I label the man reading signs being romantic is not what I’m calling romantic at all…as I mentioned
            the art of romance and flirtation is all but lost in today’s times… I guess I have to explain that romance in its most basic clinical definition is the art of taking a love interest in someone and spending the time with them and behaving in such a way as to communicate that to them and entice them to develop a love interest in you–it used to be called wooing although I know now you have no possible idea of what that is.. It involves admiration, adoration, and respect –and yes friendship–and does not involve exploitation, taking advantage of someone, or manipulating them to do what you want them to do (or to do to them what you want to do irregardless of what they want).

            Yes it is true that throughout history there are men that have done such negative things in the name of romance just as there have been women that married men just for their money or social position in society and pretended to love them, a fact undiscovered by the hapless man until years later (if even at all). But none of this is romantic on any level and I never implied it to be, and I never will.

          • mh

            Ok. I apologize for misunderstanding you. Let’s keep in mind that we don’t know each other as people, but only by the words we have read so far.

            What you have said is that it is apparent that she likes the man. What is apparent to me is that she was experiencing internal conflict about whether to stay or go – that she probably likes the man, but may think this is not the right time to stay the night with him. And she directly says “the answer is no”, which doesn’t stop him. If a woman says to me “the answer is no”, I would take it seriously, and he didn’t, because he believes he knows better. Whether he’s right or not is beside the point – he should listen to what she says. And you have at least implied that you think that his disregard of what she said is a good example for others to follow. I respectfully but very strongly disagree.

          • lcb

            I appreciate the apology. I suppose I was a little too direct in the beginning myself. I need to keep in mind that words are all there are in this newfangled internet communication. As I am quite a bit older than you I’m used to the same nonverbal nuances in the song but I sometimes forget that that can’t transmit through email….
            Yes she is experiencing internal conflict and mixed emotions. That is every bit as true in today’s women as it was back then. From what I’m picking up he is also experiencing internal conflict and mixed emotions too—and again that is as present today as it was back then. For most men anyway. Their own feelings definitely have influence as does a moral sense. For most men anyway.
            What I picked up when she said “no” was that it was done in a sweet tone of voice, not the assertive tone and manner women use when they don’t like you, are not attracted to you, and want you to buzz off. Throughout the song it is obvious through their tone of voices that she likes and adores him and that he respects and cares about her. It is also obvious to me that though she may not be quite ready she doesn’t really want to shut him down; she stayed for another cigarette and half drink…. it also seems obvious that a little persuasion on his part might make her change her mind. Again, then, as now, women do frequently change their minds–not just from no to yes, but also sometimes from yes to no and many other things. Maybe that’s not quite as common in today’s stronger willed independent women, but it does happen. I guess maybe the thing with your generation is to take things very literally, and again I think that owes to social media, texting, and email taking the place of face to face and telephone communication.
            I have never implied that his example is a good example for others to follow. Many times I have said I would not use the same words he did nor would I attempt to ply her with alcohol. You’re still accusing me of things I never did, mh. It’s all about the individual circumstances and situation. In the case of this song it is not about rape or lack of respect or anything remotely connected to that. Citing SkiMommy once again, there is a big difference between attempted persuasion and disrespect leading to rape, and the latter simply does not exist here. On that I guess we do indeed disagree.

          • mh

            Writing the long post I just did (worth a read I think) has helped me to articulate something shorter, that gets at the core of the issue.

            In the 1940’s, it was socially improper/shameful for women to say yes to men’s advances directly. The social norm was that, even if they were interested, they would say no. Because women didn’t express themselves in plain language due to shame around sex, it was necessary that men ignore what the women were saying (“no”) and attempt to analyze subtle indirect cues in the women’s behaviour to figure out what they wanted.

            Today, the social norm is, it is not shameful for women to want sex and express this desire to men. Also, there is greater awareness around issues of sexual assault and intimate partner violence, and ignoring the words a woman says when she says no is definitely wrong. “But I thought she wanted me to even though she said she didn’t” is considered the last defense of the rapist, who, given women’s greater freedom to express themselves without social consequences, ought to know that no means no.

            This song wouldn’t have worked if it didn’t make those two contexts (1940’s and modern) clash. The juxtaposition of a man who is operating by the social norms of 2016 with a woman who is operating by the norms of 1940, makes a powerful statement about how things have changed over the years.

          • mh

            Hey lcb:

            Are you actually of an age where you know from personal experience what courting in the 40’s and 50’s was like? Because the speculation I have about what that time might have been like is just that: speculation. I really have no idea, I was born in the early 80’s and my days of figuring out how to interact with women I was romantically interested in occurred from the mid 90’s onward.

            I looked up the word “milquetoast”, because that’s not a word I hear commonly used. I had a general sense of what it means, but it appears it’s a reference to a character from a comic series which was published in the 1930’s, who was very timid. Other people may be thinking you get your odd language because you’ve isolated yourself in discussions with a small group of people on online forums (this is one common way people acquire different views and language nowadays) but now I’m thinking you might just be of a different generation than I am. And if that’s the case, then you might be unaware of recent developments on the dating scene for younger people, but very aware of the context in which the original version of this song was written. And if THAT is the case, then there’s a productive discussion to be had here, because we can determine what has changed over time and what has stayed the same.

            I’m not going to try linking to an image because that tends to get Disqus posts marked as spam, but if you read my series of ridiculous long posts and decide that’s too much hassle to respond to, here’s a parting Christmas message from Milquetoast:

            If you won’t think it presumptuous of me, I’d like to- uh-er – wish you a merry – or at least as reasonably pleasant a Christmas as we are entitled to, things – uh-er – being what they are.


        • Rose B.

          “If you doubt what I say, the next time you meet a new woman tell her that you don’t like football like most men and would rather go clothes shopping. See the puzzled look on her face.”

          Yeah, because she’s wondering why the fuck you’re telling her this.

          • David Bard

            Thank you for the thread. Don’t mean to pile on Icb, but there was something that struck me in the reply. But first- 10 years ago I heard similar advice on dating- that you need to be X, Y, Z- and advice devolved into something linking modern love to hunter/gatherer survival crap… Anyway- Thankfully times change. Like most dating advice offered, it sucked.

            On that note: “Look at the guys who attract lots of women.”- why… As I’ve gotten older those guys are usually The Worst. I’d rather be like that guy who takes his wife to Perkins and they smile like it’s their second date and they’ve been married for 55 years. It’s more important to be happy and work to be the type of person that makes your partner happy then to “look at they guys who attract lots of women”.

            There are some other dynamics in the song as well- the shaming of the family, ultimately this poor young woman appears to be stuck between a guy who’s coming off too strong (at best and total creepo at worst) and a very prudish/judgemental family.

            Thanks for reading and apologies if it sounded like someone 30 going on 78.

          • lcb

            “These guys” are always the worst at any age… why women are attracted to them I don’t know but it seems to be because they are secure, confident in themselves, and don’t allow anyone to manipulate them, and that seems to intrigue women… I’m not advocating being a jerk like many of them but I am saying that as a man you need to have a backbone and not be a pushover like the new lyrics make the man sound like he is. Again I agree that the original lyrics need change such as the part about what’s in the drink and remove some of the manipulation (“how could you do this thing to me?) but the fact is that for all their gains in society for the most part it is still the man that is expected to make the move towards romance from friendship and so that’s what they do despite the fact they are not perfect at it. Again I don’t advocate rape, abuse, violence in any form, or disrespect towards women in the process but on the other side women would lose respect for a milquetoast man pretty quickly and would either leave him or manipulate him, taking his money in the process, as is illustrated in a once popular song “It’s Just A Girl Thing” (look it up on youtube).

          • Rose B.

            Also with “Look at the guys who attract lots of women,” I hear women being used as a status symbol once again.

            “It’s more important to be happy and work to be the type of person that makes your partner happy.”

            Thank you.

          • lcb

            It’s called getting to know someone and them getting to know you. Something people do when they first meet each other, and everyone older than age 4 knows this. The fact that I have to explain this tells me what an imbecile you are. Your profanity tells me that you’re low life trash, unlike the lady in the original song. I’d never want your kind either.

        • This is going to sound way more snarky then I intend, but I’m being serious… could you use paragraph breaks, please? Walls of text are tiring.

          No I am not simply wrong. I am simply right.

          No. You’re not.

          Yes women are individuals but they do have some common traits and desires and one of them that they do not want a milquetoast man, nor do they want a feminine one.

          Can you prove that? I happen to know tons of women in happy relationships with what I assume you imagine to be “feminine” men; that is, men who respect their boundaries, encourage consent, (some who) don’t like Football, want their relationships to be built on equality, etc.

          If you doubt what I say, the next time you meet a new woman tell her that you don’t like football like most men and would rather go clothes shopping.

          Both clothes shopping and Football are things I… dislike, so… at least half of that would be true.

          Deep down inside women actually like many male traits they claim to not like.

          So you’re psychic, now?

          If you have time access David DeAngelo’s website whose members from all over the world write about their experiences with women. You’ll find many commonalities in what women find attractive (and not attractive) in men.

          Oh gee… a website set up by a man where a bunch of men get together to “discuss” what they think women find attractive… doesn’t sound biased and misogynistic at all.

          Look around at the guys you know who attract lots of women. You’ll find them to be cool, unpredictable, mysterious, maybe a little dangerous. Not easily inhibited or dissuaded, not bending over backwards for a woman.

          Okay… let me look around at the guys I know who are in happy, stable relationships, or have a lot of one-night stands.

          Let’s see… I see… diversity. I see… individuals who have individual wants, desires, likes, dislikes, needs, etc. I see some who have BDSM relationships; some of those men are subs, some are doms. And interestingly, some aren’t even straight!

          What do I not see? I do not see them all being a monolith, wanting and acting like their all clones of the exact same person.

          In fact, the one thing all these men seem to have in common is that they all seem to be very happy with their relationships.

          Huh… seems to go against what you’re saying, here.

          It’s… almost… as if your understanding of how these things work doesn’t actually comport to reality…


          Again I’m not saying women want to be raped but especially in the case of this song you can tell the woman actually likes the man (she speaks to him sweetly not angrily) and deep down inside wants to get close to him but she doesn’t want to be seen as a slut and she figures if she gives in too easily he won’t respect her. Case in point: It is she that proposes another cigarette and another drink, not him. In this new lyrics women might “love him” as a friend who will do anything she wants but they will not be attracted to him as a lover or anything more. Nor will they even respect them. I have a feeling that the songwriters went to extremes in this case to advocate anti-rape sentiment, but it is certainly not realistic.

          Considering the man and woman in this song are fucking married (err… I think… at the very least they are in a long-term relationship with each other), I think your little “analysis” of their relationship based on this song is just.



          Based on your posts, you seem to be someone who’s swallowed Pick-Up Artist bullshit hook, line, and sinker. So let me make this clear for you:

          PUAs are misogynistic assholes who basically share tips on how to rape women.

          And no, I won’t take that back. I mean it 100% because it’s true.

          So stop.

          You don’t know what women want, period. So stop pretending that all women are a fucking monolith. Because sexuality, wants, desires, etc are fucking diverse. Women, and men, are not all clones of one woman and one man. There was no Adam and Eve, nor was there a Garden of Eden.

          Yes, there are some women out there who desire what you say. But it’s not true of all women. Stop saying it is.

          • lcb

            Walls of text are tiring to those with poor attention spans whose thinking process can only handle 140 characters at one time…. but for you I’ll try to acquiesce….

            As I said before respect and boundaries are not limited to feminine traits…. just like having a backbone is not limited to masculine traits….

            I’ve talked to many women about the difference between males who are “friends” and those who they are attracted to, and many psychologists have written about it, so yes I think enough proof exists… I cited two female therapist-authors (Sherry Argov and Barbara Engel) who have it down on the male psyche….

            and that David DeAngelo website I mentioned has women that write and contribute as well and basically say the same things I’ve been saying… maybe you ought to actually check it out before commenting on it so you actually know what you’re talking about (sorry now I’m getting snarky and this paragraph is getting long)….

            Maybe you should go about it a different way. Go to a bar and watch groups of women to see what kind of guys they are attracted to. They won’t be Mr Milquetoast. Yes people have individual traits but the lack of a backbone is not something women want unless they want someone they can manipulate and take advantage of.

            Maybe if the guy is rich or famous…but if he’s that chances are he’s not Mr Milquetoast but has an ego that would make the man in original song lyrics seem like Alan Alda in his younger days (if you know who he is..)

            Go listen to the song again. I mean the original one. What state of relationship are they truly in? NO they’re not married! If they were spending the night together wouldn’t even be an issue! They’re at that point in a relationship where the man wants to take it towards full intimacy where they haven’t gone yet and is trying to convince the woman to do the same.

            While he gets somewhat manipulative his tone of voice is friendly and indicates that he is attractive to the woman in a romantic way. Her responses are a sweet tone of voice, not an angry one or even a serious one. My analysis of their relationship is right on. Yours makes you sound like you didn’t even listen to the song—I mean the original one.

            The tone of voices is why I think that the original song is not a song about rape. I think a lot of people in today’s world primarily using texting and email to communicate have lost the ability to interpret tone of voice and other nuances to understand what is really going on in dialogue between two people, especially when flirting is going on….
            although the part about the drink could give rise to think otherwise. I can see rewriting it to change that and also remove some of the worse manipulation (“How could you do this thing to me?”) but it shouldn’t be rewritten to make it look like the man just collapses and gives in. That’s not what happens in real life. Nor should it–women just don’t find that attractive at all. Yes, they like respect and consideration, but they don’t want the man to be a doormat…

            BTW your use of profanity makes you look like a low life. Maybe you should get together with Rose B. Seems like you might have a lot in common.

            I completely agree with your assessment of PUA’s. They give the rest of us a bad name and are a big part of why women are so down on men. Trouble is, women are astoundingly attracted to them. Not just younger women have this characteristic either; I see it again and again. Even when they think they should know better they still go for them.

            I’ll stop when you do. Until then I will speak my mind just as you do. That’s what sites like this are for. While women are diverse they share common characteristics in their orientation towards men. They can’t stand wishy washy milquetoasts. One day when you have a lot more experience in life you will come to realize that I am




          • Walls of text are tiring to those with poor attention spans whose thinking process can only handle 140 characters at one time…

            Your school essays must have been horrible to read, considering you seem to hate paragraph breaks so much… I feel bad for your teachers…

            As for the rest of your word salad… you still haven’t said anything to change my or anyone else’s (judging by responses to you) opinion that what you’re saying is misogynistic bullshit.

            Stop generalizing. You cannot assume that all women are the same, and that’s exactly what you’re doing.

          • lcb

            My school essays were excellent, always earned high grades, and made the use of proper prose and grammar, communicating excellent thought and logic processes backed with fact. Yours communicate complete lack of understanding (i.e. you thought the man and woman in the song were married !?!?!?) and profane, vulgar, low life existence on your part. Stop telling me what to say and do because it’s you who needs to change your ways and develop the capacity to think. Several postings at the bottom of this column also concur with my thoughts, even if they do so in a crude manner. Considering that it took 8 days for you to think of a response it is you who can’t think for yourself; instead you merely jump on the latest P.C. bandwagon to justify your own existence and by doing so it is you who are generalizing, not stopping to think critically each individual circumstances.

          • Multiple articles about this refer to Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski as a couple (example), so maybe they aren’t married, but they are together in some way (boyfriend/girlfriend, engaged, or married). And why do you think they aren’t married? Because she didn’t take his last name? That also happens a lot, you know.

            I even know a couple where the man took his wife’s last name!


            Replace “P.C.”, “politically correct”, etc with “treating people with respect”. Yes, I am jumping on the Treating People With Respect bandwagon, because that’s just a good fucking idea.

            And it didn’t take me eight days to think of a response. It took me eight days to see that you had responded, because I have a life outside of this article. I’m sure a proper, worldly, genius Nice Guy(TM) such as yourself finds that hard to believe, but I have a job, friends, and other things that keep me off the internet sometimes.

            As for those misogynists who agree with you… well yeah, I’m not surprised.

            This is my last comment in this… conversation?… with you. Take your fedora (excuse me… “trilby”) and fuck off.

          • lcb

            Another example of your imbecilic tendencies. As was made clear in prior discourse, I was talking about the couple in the original song, not the writers of the new song. Whether the writers of the new song are married, in a relationship, or whatever is irrelevant; it is the people in the original song I was talking about. As far as whose name any couple uses, that’s also totally irrelevant to the issue we’re discussing here. Treating people with respect is not limited to P.C.; and the former does not go hand in hand with the latter, as your discourse clearly illustrates. In the days before you came along people treated each other with far more respect than you could ever begin to imagine. I’m glad you have a life outside of this; your hypocrisy about talking about respect and then failing to show it speaks far more about you than anything else that was said.

        • barnstormer

          Oh, take your MRA blahblahblah somewhere else. Your scholarly reference is some internet marketing dating hack. Plenty of women are fine with men who don’t like football. Arbitrary metrics. Dislike the song, that’s fine, but maybe you can do so without helpfully informing the internet about what women like and dislike. It’s outside of the scope of the article and your scope of knowledge.

          • lcb

            Another callow inexperienced hack jumping on the latest PC trends to justify their own existence. I like the way you use half my sentence to argue with (losing the clothes shopping part) and thereby lose context. For your naïve education when you take a position on something you make a case using reason and factual evidence. That’s called intellectual conversation, something you have no experience with. Nothing I have said is outside the scope of this article and certainly not outside my scope of knowledge, but it is yours. As evidenced by the last three posts on this column, I am not the only one who sees it this way, though those posts are a little crude for my tastes So you go somewhere else if all you can come up with is emotional outbursts as I will continue to speak my mind with logic, common sense and facts. But remember one thing–as quoted by Joseph Klass and later requoted by Gloria Steinem—“The truth will set you free, but first it will p*&% you off”

      • Skimommy

        I have two really nice, attractive, wealthy, heterosexual male, friends from high school who would make you rethink your take on this, both are now over 40 & single with no real prospects …. But they’re really respectful. My husband, their good friend was sexually aggressive, less wealthy at the time, now wealthier (until their parents die) has a wife, two kids, multiple successful businesses and is an amazing provider. I am a strong woman and I’m turned off by doormat men that let me walk all over them, could have had an easier life with either of these two but chose the man I respect. Alpha women prefer alpha men. Most women prefer alpha men. Women want a man they can respect, men want to be respected.

        • mh

          I think there’s room for a certain amount of assertiveness and confidence while still being respectful. It’s not like the only alternatives for men are “sexually aggressive” and “doormat”. It makes sense that someone who treats you as their superior rather than their equal and just lets you “walk all over them” would be unattractive, but that doesn’t mean all women want aggression.

          • lcb

            I have not forgotten you. You wrote a lengthy post to me and I am taking the time to respond to the points you made. I noticed this though while responding to other shorter posts and I had to say I generally agree with what you said in this post. However these new lyrics and accompanying article makes it seem like the Milquetoast Doormat is how men should behave towards women today and as SkiMommy says it’s really not. There is no “assertiveness” in these new lyrics whatsoever and any man who behaves this way can hardly be said to be “confident”. If he is its highly misplaced. Yes respect is the key, but a man who behaves the way he does in the new lyrics is not inviting respect but contempt, probably veiled, but contempt nonetheless. Believe me, he will get that in spades and the worst thing is, because it is covert, he will not even realize it unless he finally wakes up one day. At the best he will be “just a friend” to women–useful for free dinners, shows, help in moving, etc

          • mh

            I think of it this way: How I would respond to each individual line the woman says in the new song, is about how he responded. But at a certain point, if she kept going “I really must go” and I kept going “Ok, well, see you later then”, I’d be like “Ok, so if you want to go, then go, are you not listening to me??”

            And in reality, that’s how I’d picture the guy eventually responding, if she didn’t listen. Except it would not get to that point. If both the man and the woman were using the words they would use today (rather than the man speaking as if it’s 2016 while the woman speaks a set of lines from the 40’s) there would be no miscommunication, and the conversation would be over pretty quick. Like:

            Her: I had a really good time, but I think I’m going to go, it’s late.
            Him: Yeah, I really enjoyed this too. Talk tomorrow?
            Her: Definitely. And don’t watch that episode of Breaking Bad without me, alright?
            Him: Ok, I’ll save it. Drive safe!

            It was a contrived situation to mirror the structure of the original song. There were a number of times in the original where the man did or said things that the writers of the new song clearly wanted to respond to. So it was a bit more stretched out, stilted and awkward than a real conversation would be. That doesn’t mean the guy is a pussy, the new song is conforming to the old song in some ways (structure, length, and most of the woman’s part) but diverging in others (the man’s part), to make a point. The point is “here are all the ways that man from the 40’s is not a good example for men today to follow”. And individually, line by line, I think that’s right. Don’t pressure people. Don’t feed them alcohol unexpectedly. Don’t use guilt. Support people in deciding for themselves if they’re conflicted about something. Recognize that a woman can say yes one time and no another, and the no still needs to be respected. Don’t take it personally and make it a matter of wounded pride if a woman you like says she’s gotta go. And so on. Those examples aren’t someone being a doormat, they’re good guidelines.

            But I admit, taken together, if the song wasn’t required to be the same length as the original for artistic reasons, him going “I support that decision” when she says “I have to get going”, a whole bunch of times, could sound either like he’s a doormat, or like he’s uninterested.

          • lcb

            I myself would not respond to each woman’s line in the song quite the same way the man would. I would use some “attempted persuasion” to quote SkiMommy but would not say “How Could you do this thing to me?” or “What’s the sense of hurting my pride?” That’s manipulation which is wrong and which any intelligent woman would recognize as such. And I would not use alcohol to ply women; besides being absolutely the wrong thing to do drunken women are really not pleasant to be around at all and it detracts from the quality of lovemaking. And yes if some (not lots) but some attempted persuasion didn’t work I’d stop it and see that she got home safely.
            I believe that in the original song the man would have done the last thing as well. It bothers me that many don’t seem to think so these days. A heightened sensitivity to date rape is likely responsible along with the fact that many relationships now seem to begin with defensive women determining to get power that they may not have had in relationships before. Bottom line is there is no trust anymore and maybe by writing extreme lyrics advocating the Doormat Milquetoast may be an attempt to raise awareness in the same way the counterculture movement in the 60s did. It alienates others who think in an intelligent manner and have true life experiences, however.

          • mh

            What I would say is, we don’t know what the man in the original song would have done if the woman insisted on leaving. We do know that he plied her with alcohol, attempted to use guilt and manipulation, and pushed even after a direct statement like “the answer is no”. You have agreed that these things happened in the song, and that they were wrong, so there should be no debate between you and I. To younger people, these things are what we would call “red flags”. Any one of them would give a young woman pause, and taken together, they add up to a picture of a man that doesn’t understand appropriate behaviour, and is dangerous.

          • lcb

            I think that the outcome of the original song was left open intentionally as an artistic thing. Nuances, subtlety, and ambiguous endings with possibilities of differing listener interpretation were a much more important part of artistic creation in the past than they are now. European movies still have a lot of room for different interpretation possibilities and occasionally you see it in American films, but not often. BTW In the 80s this song was redone by an African American couple where the song ends with the man proposing—and her spending the night….
            I don’t agree that he plied her with alcohol. She requested half a drink, not a full drink, which even if straight alcohol is not enough to get her from the sober state she is obviously still in to the state where she could be vulnerable. She is obviously a full grown adult well used to cigarettes and alcohol, and has a mature voice implying that she’s not a kid. “What’s in this drink” might not necessarily mean alcohol and if it did the tone of voice in the man indicates that he respects here enough to get her a more benign drink if she wished. “Put Some records on while I pour” implies that he poured himself a drink as well as her, as people drink together in social situations such as this–both then and now.
            Yes he used guilt and manipulation. Many young men are not perfect at the art of attempted persuasion and as I said I would not have said what he did. But his tone of voice still implied respect and implicit in it all was that she still had the free will to say no and that if he didn’t succeed in changing her mind that he would have to accept that.
            What I hear in her tone of voice when she said “the answer is no” was sweet not overly firm. Like she didn’t want to give in right away but didn’t want to completely shut him down either. Then as now women typically use a much more assertive tone of voice if they really mean no. There were plenty of strong willed women back then—look at Mae West, Lauren Bacall, Babe Didrickson for example. Women may not have had the opportunities today’s women had but they had ways of getting what they wanted back then and if they weren’t attracted to someone they had no qualms about telling him to buzz off—repeatedly if necessary. Most men would back off if they saw that some attempted persuasion wasn’t effective. Just like the song “Pretty Woman”—some persuasion, then acceptance ….
            While we don’t agree on the above I do agree that it is a very different world now than when I was your age, a more dangerous world now. I guess people are also more sensitive now and tend to take things much more literally than in the past. I am decades older than you are and would not want to be a young person today for anything. Decreasing opportunities and increasing competition for everything means that for most the standard of living will be lower than in years past, though for the fewer people who are successful in today’s world the spoils will be greater. Everyone will have to be so on guard in interacting with others that for many they just stay home (all 200sq ft of it in today’s tiny apartments), lock the doors, draw the curtain, and interact through social media if at all. Stranger Danger indeed.

          • mh

            OK, a couple of things, and then I’m off for the night.

            First, something you might not have picked up on in the new song. The last line, where she tells him not to watch that episode of “Breaking Bad” without her is significant. It mirrors what you said above:

            “I think that the outcome of the original song was left open
            intentionally as an artistic thing. Nuances, subtlety, and ambiguous
            endings with possibilities of differing listener interpretation were a
            much more important part of artistic creation in the past than they are

            I listened to the new version, and what I heard left me with the impression that the two were romantically interested in each other. At first I couldn’t pinpoint why I thought that, but I knew it had to do with the exchange at the end. And then it clicked. For the current generation of under-25’s (the people who would be my children if I had children) “Netflix and chill?” is code for “Would you like to have sex/get physically intimate?” And “Breaking Bad” is a television show that is currently popular on Netflix. Not necessarily sex, but some physical intimacy between these two in future, is suggested. Think of that exchange as analogous to “Hey, that movie that’s on at the drive in… don’t see it without me, OK?”, but said in a way that only young people would be likely to pick up on. Another thing that occurs to me: the protocol for dating is, if you’re just getting to know someone, even if you’ve had a good night, you wait a bit before contacting them again so as not to seem too eager or stalker-ish. Typically a few days. The fact that the woman is “getting the vibe” (so not quite sure, but suspects) that they will be talking tomorrow, and the man says “unless I catch pneumonia and die”, indicates that they could be fairly new to each other, but are definitely interested, because they’re disregarding the normal way things are done. “So, when will I hear from you?” before parting, is code for “so, how do you think this went?”

            Second, I just watched the version that was a part of the 1949 movie Neptunes Daughter, to see if I could get more of a flavour for the context and interactions you might be talking about, and… interactions between men and women sure have changed. The man in that movie comes off as extremely pushy. If a woman puts on her coat, nowadays, that means she’s leaving (“take off your coat and stay awhile” is something people say to each other – coat on, I’m leaving soon, coat off, I’m not), and if I tried to repeatedly take her coat and hat off as she was trying to put them on, that would not go over well at all. It’s entirely possible she’d flee, and I wouldn’t blame her. And in that movie at least, the tone of “the answer is no” was not sweet, it was firm. The woman’s tone and body language, as seen through my young eyes, appeared to shift abruptly from rejecting the man to giving in, and back to rejecting. To a young man today, that might communicate the message “if you just keep insisting, eventually women give in”. Which probably wouldn’t have been been the message viewers would have gotten in 1949.

            Third, yes women are much more wary (I think, I of course don’t know what dating before my time was like, but I don’t think women could possibly be much more on edge than they often are now) but they have reason. I’m not sure if the rate of sexual assault and rape has gone up, but I know awareness has. Women’s willingness to talk about what is happening to them, has gone up. Where before women might have been ashamed and wondered if something they had said or done had provoked the assault (which is not helped by situations of ambiguity – this might be why both men and women have come to understand the importance of having more said and less implied) now they are encouraged to put the responsibility on the assailant, to do otherwise is thought of as “victim blaming”, and instead of it being a gentleman’s responsibility to communicate his interest and respectfully overcome objections as may have been the case in past, it’s a gentleman’s responsibility to listen very carefully to the woman and not disregard any signals to back off. Not everyone follows this code of conduct, but many do. I say women have reason to be on edge because many, many of them have been groped, harassed, assaulted, or raped. By groped I mean touched inappropriately or when they didn’t want to be, over clothes, by someone they had expressed no romantic interest in. By harassed I mean having a man stalk them at their home, place of work, or both, credibly threaten them, or flash them, by assaulted I mean unwanted genital or breast touching under clothes, and by raped I mean unwanted and actively resisted sex. Personally, I just made a list, and 16 people so far (that I can think of off the top of my head) have told me they’ve been harassed, assaulted, or raped, often multiple times, and it’s just kind of assumed that every woman has been groped by a stranger at one time or another. That’s on average a little less than one person per year since puberty, has told me of these things, which seems about right. Given that I’m a man and so less likely to hear everything that goes on in women’s lives, and I’m an introvert who prefers a few good friends to a lot of acquaintances, I would say the total number of women that I have known well enough they might have told me about some of their more difficult and personal experiences is under 100. You can make your own assessment, but from this I infer, the rate of assault against women is high enough that there’s a good chance every woman reading this has multiple close friends who have been harassed, assaulted or raped, and told her about it, even if she doesn’t have direct experience. And many of the stories these women have told me involved men exploiting ambiguities, not taking a clearly stated “no” for an answer and then blaming the woman for being unclear and using excuses about nonverbal signals as a cover for their “not understanding”, or using guilt and manipulation to attempt to convince the woman to keep quiet afterwards. I don’t know what the past was like for women, but I suspect it may actually have been worse, but there was just more shame and less willingness to come forward. Certainly I know there was more shame and less willingness to come forward when I was a teenager than there is now. The people who told me things when I was a teenager, I was often the only person they told, and they insisted I keep it confidential, whereas now hospitals are equipped with specially trained staff and university campuses have specific people assigned to handling reports of sexual violence, and I think women are much more likely to come forward, although it’s still hard. I was particularly heartened by the signal sent last month, when a Supreme Court Justice in Canada who suggested at a rape trial that the woman should just have kept her legs closed, was found to be unfit to serve as a member of the judiciary. But the fact that the justice system is structured the way it is, and social attitudes still have some way to go before they’re what I’d call ideal, does mean that rape convictions are difficult to obtain, and women know this.

            Perhaps the above, the fact that so many of my close female friends have described to me experiences of sexual violence, will give you a sense of why I think it is important to have conversations on these matters, and spend the time to challenge views that I see as potentially contributing to the problem, even if unintentionally and said with the best will in the world. This would also explain why some of the people on this message board have responded so forcefully to your words, and drawn negative and incorrect inferences about your character. They’re not imbeciles, they’re responding as if you’re of their age group and ought to understand what the standards are for members of their age group.

            But let me end this evening by agreeing with you about the core of the argument you seem to be making: It’s true that men do need to take initiative. As you say, women have the opportunity to do so (and all of the relatively few women who I have been romantically involved with have done so, partially because when I was younger I was less confident than I am now) but I still think it’s more often a man who asks a woman out, not the other way around. Given the high level of tension and fear that exists in relations between men and women today, reading non-obvious cues may be as important as ever, but for different reasons – women have a difficult balancing act, trying to signal interest without inviting assault, and not shutting someone they like down, while also setting appropriate boundaries so they aren’t left vunlnerable. But I do think the kind of persuasion you advocate has shifted to being something that’s done during the evening, rather than at the end of the night. Anything that resembles restraining a woman from leaving when she wants to, is a very high-risk move for a man. My approach is, if I haven’t made a good enough impression by the end of the evening that the woman wants to see me again, I am not going to be able to salvage the situation by pressuring her not to leave, that will just make things worse. And I think with the man and woman in the new song, that’s what happened – he made a good impression on her earlier, she wants to see him again, and he’s signaling to her that he’s trustworthy rather than threatening, by being very clear that she can go when she wishes.

          • lcb

            Very interesting about the new terminology Netflix and chill… I never would have known…. I agree that the two in the new song are romantically interested though less farther along in their relationship (probably first or second date) than the original song though I still say the guy had better grow a pair fast or she’s going to lose respect for him faster…

            But you are right about the modern day protocol not to contact someone too quickly after the date to not seem too eager… this is something that is much different than in my younger dating days in the 70s and something I had to modify in my own dating behavior in recent years….

            I admit that I had not seen the 1949 movie when I first started writing this ad… I was going by the recording of Steve and Eydie Gorme found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4kb0hlGA9k which is the best known and most definitive recording of this song in many eyes (It’s gotten the most airplay) and also the 1959 recording by Dean Martin when I said what I did about tone of voice and non verbal cues. So I watched and listened to the 1949 recording—now that I think about it I should have done it earlier. I was horrified at what I saw in the first two and a half minutes. The man repeatedly grabbing the woman’s arm—that’s not romantic at all!!! His tone was a lot more aggressive than the Gorme recording. Again not wooing, not romantic–he’s really an a**h&*e! Not surprisingly her anger in her face and voice when she said “The answer is no”. In watching, I did notice one thing however. From the looks and accent the man is likely European—looks like Italian or Spanish origin and though I know that your generation hates stereotyping and celebrates diversity, the fact is that European men—at least of the 1940s to the 70s or so— were more aggressive about actively pursuing a woman than many American men–and they were actually expected to be in their culture. French singer Serge Gainesbourg for example. Did you know that there is no such word as rape in Spanish language? (I’m not talking about Mexican but in Spain). The man is considered to pursue and seduce the woman until she finally gives in. That long ago ceased to be a part of American culture–and rightly so. If this is what the new authors were referring to it’s no wonder they felt the need to rewrite the song and no wonder they were so reactionary as to neuter the male in the process…
            The second part of the movie clip at 2;28 is a consternation, where the woman makes the move on the man, and the lines are reversed gender wise. I’m not sure of the context of this within the movie and it looks exaggerated and contrived so I’m just going to disregard it as its’ not the key point of discussion here anyway.
            I think that in the first part of the1949 movie clip the woman was not so much as switching from rejecting to giving in as much as she was trying different things to not get this guy so mad that he’d beat her up or worse but at the same time get the hell out of there intact. Her wits were probably working overtime in survival mode. Why she ever went out with this guy in the first place is beyond me but I guess it had to do with that mystery, self confidence, and identity I talked about earlier that to this day attracts women so.
            Women are much more wary but also their attitudes about intimacy have changed several times. Before the 60s it was basically park, pet if necessary, but don’t go all the way until you’re married or at least engaged. And if you do don’t tell Anyone. After the pill and women’s liberation came out women prided themselves as being sexually free as men, often taking the initiative Somewhere in the early 90s I came across a copy of Ms. magazine and read an interesting article in which it was proposed that such casual attitude towards sex wasn’t working for women—it was only giving men a free ride and that women needed to work on themselves more and think about sex less. When Magic Johnson got AIDS it showed that that was not limited to gays or street drug users, and women started taking the initiative less and went back to making the man work a little before giving in. Which their mothers had been telling them for years but they never listened since the 70s or so.
            And maybe women’s increasing assertiveness and focus on themselves made them speak out more against rape and made some of them very defensive and sensitive as you say. And maybe this trend made it more difficult for young men to become intimate with women than it was in the 70s and 80s as part of the increasingly competitive nature of life today. Maybe some of them are developing unwarranted anger instead of proper respect and causing them to grope, harass, assault, and worse. I have dated a lot of women in my life and I admit that about 1 out of 4 of them have told me they’d been victims of sexual assault of some sort. (that’s also the same ratio that have been hit by men). I know I’ve had to modify my approach to women over the years but I have still had to take the initiative most of the time in developing relationships, and nonverbal cues have still had an influence as well as words, and ambiguity remains at times which I have to be on guard for to be sure the woman is still in a receptive mode. You and others of your age might not want to believe this but sometimes women do seem receptive for awhile and then suddenly reverse and I believe that when that happens it is truly the man’s duty to back off even if it’s like stopping Casey Jones’ freight train, which often it is. If a man can’t handle that, he shouldn’t date women at all.
            I don’ t think the days prior to rock and roll were worse in terms of sexual assault because the world was not as sexualized back then as it is now. People didn’t think about it as much because the standard of living was lower, survival was harder, three meals a day not a given as it is now. The dawn of Rock and Roll era (the term itself is a euphanism for sex among African Americans of the time) coincided with a higher standard of living and greater leisure which included increasing sexualization of our culture that probably peaked in the late 70s but maintained the sexual heat until about maybe 10 or 15 years ago when things started to slow down a little and women started becoming more defensive and outspoken. I think you’re right that it is important to have conversations on these matters but it’s also important not to jump to conclusions and assumptions the way I see many people do in this column. For my part I need to check my blunt direct nature in initial words as that obviously fires up the defensiveness and sensitivity of many. I truly believe that while the man may use attempted persuasion it is his job to assess whether she is truly receptive towards him and if she is not then he should not push her in any way.

          • mh

            Short post this time:

            Thanks for the context of how things have changed over time – very interesting. My speculation is that widespread contraceptive use and greater acceptance of abortion probably made rape easier to hide (less likely to result in visible pregnancy), which would have increased the rape rate, all else being equal. I don’t know if that’s true, but it seems logically that it should be. I’m in favour of women being able to control their own fertility, but that doesn’t mean all the consequences are positive.

            “You and others of your age might not want to believe this but sometimes women do seem receptive for awhile and then suddenly reverse and I believe that when that happens it is truly the man’s duty to back off even if it’s like stopping Casey Jones’ freight train, which often it is. If a man can’t handle that, he shouldn’t date women at all.”

            I think people of my age and younger do understand this. The new song even mentions it. “You reserve the right to say no” (said twice). That’s the song writer’s way of saying “sometimes a woman can be receptive at one time, but if she changes her mind it’s the man’s duty to back off”. There are some groups of men who do not seem to understand that “but you said I could earlier” is not a valid argument for doing something a woman no longer wants you to do, and “a woman always reserves the right to say no, even if she has said yes before” is the contrary position.

            I will review the video you linked later, and see what I think of it.

          • mh

            Ok, I’ve reviewed the audio/video clip. I will say that the elements I find most problematic were less emphasized in that version, but the lyrics are still the same, and still problematic. Also, I think somewhere I suggested he was plying her with alcohol, and you countered that you didn’t agree, he gave her half a drink when she asked for one. Your position is the correct one. For me “what’s in this drink?” stood out a lot more than her asking for half a drink more. If a woman asked me for half a drink, I definitely wouldn’t pour her a strong one, but that doesn’t excuse my only paying attention to the part of the lyrics I had a problem with.

            I think we’re near agreement on most things, now that I know your interpretation of the 1949 video is similar. What this tells me is, we can both agree that there are different possible interpretations of the song, some of them horrifying, others where we can acknowledge there are some problems and a song with different lyrics emphasizing more positive behavior in some places wouldn’t do harm, but massive outrage would be unwarranted. And regarding the new song, we agree that the man isn’t actively pursuing the woman at any point, and only indicated an interest in her at the very end (when the woman broke character and they both had a more realistic modern-person exchange). And if that was how the entire evening had gone, it is unlikely the very end would have gone as it did. So in the new song, we have no guidance on how to woo a woman, just guidance on how (in modern times) to end an evening where you have already made a good impression and will be seeing each other again soon. I think we also have an agreement that confidence is important and attractive. There seems to be some outstanding probably misunderstanding or miscommunication, about whether niceness is unattractive, but I expect that will be cleared up, because at base we both agree it’s about confidence, and treating people well (which is how I think of being nice) is fully compatible with being a confident individual.

            Regarding unwarranted anger rather than proper respect causing men to mistreat women… I think there is anger and blame, when immature males get rejected, but what I have seen is a bit more complex than that. There is a conflation of treating women poorly with being attractive to women. A lack of understanding of the distinction between kindness and subservience (both being called “being nice”, and “aggressive/jerk” and “nice/doormat” being presented as a false dichotomy from which men have to choose). When a woman says she wants a nice guy, what she means is someone who will be kind to her and treat her well, as contrasted with the negative experiences she may have had in the past (which she doesn’t want more of). When people say women don’t want “nice guys” or “nice guys finish last”, what they mean is subservient people who lack self-confidence don’t do well romantically. To someone who has just been (or frequently been) rejected by a woman who he thought wanted to be treated well, so he tried to do that, “nice guys finish last” will sound like “treating women well doesn’t work, you have to be an asshole, your mistake was being too good to her”. It isn’t what you meant, but it’s what some people, who feel angry or hurt, mean, and it’s what many people will hear when they read some of your words at the start of or prior to our conversation. And men who don’t know better, either take that advice (which is very widespread) to heart, or decide to opt out of romance. Which is how we get many women having negative experiences with men who are caught up in trying to be “what women want”, and many decent men thinking that being who they are is unattractive, when that is often the opposite of the truth.

          • lcb

            Yes there can be different possible interpretations..based on different presentations of the song…the 1949 movie clip gives us visual context as well as aural context, but even the latter was more aggressive on the man’s part as I said before. I think that perhaps the last word on the original song may have been made by Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, who did a duet on this song for a Barnes & Noble TV commercial that ran nationwide this Christmas season. Lady Gaga is a premier modern day performer whose successful transition (surpassing that of Madonna, her idol) from teenybop-star-of-the-day to jazz standard singer commands respect from everyone in the business, even those who despised here in her early days. Tony Bennett is a legend who is among the most open minded and widely life-experienced artists around, experiencing deathly risks and hardships on the front lines in WW2 to rise to fall to rise again in show business. Throughout it all I’ve never heard of him saying a bad thing about or to anyone. I don’t believe either of these would have done this song if they in any way thought it implied a tenth of what it is being accused of in this column, particularly Lady Gaga who was raped at age 19 and to this day still experiences PTSD from it.
            I just think the new song went too far in the other direction… in fact I’m a musician myself who rewrites lyrics all the time and during the slower days of post Christmas maybe I’ll try my hand at writing something more realistic… Outside of the movie every other interpretation of the song shows mutual respect and these interpretations are far better known to most people that the movie clip is.
            Being attractive to women should not be associated with treating them poorly. Many times men who are considered attractive to women treat them poorly because they can. Just as attractive women often treat men poorly and get away with it. When women say they want a nice guy what they are really saying is they want a guy who has respect—for them but also for themselves. Who has boundaries andwhile respecting other people won’t put up with being taken advantage of not only by the women, but by other people as well, and as they are getting to know the guy they will watch him in social situations to see how he acts and reacts when he is challenged on this basis. Now some guys especially younger ones take this too far to an extreme and walk around with a chip off their shoulder and a tough-guy jawset, daring anyone to cross them. That’s not what women want either. They want a guy who has an appropriate social response GIVEN THE SITUATION AND CIRCUMSTANCES. That’s part of maturity. Granted if you’re accosted by a threat in the parking lot an tough response may be called for. But generally is just as bad to start WW3 at the slightest provocation as it is to just sit there and take it. No, the opposite of being “nice” (translation of being a doormat) is not being an aggressive asshole. Many men who don’t know better will do this regardless of advice they would never heed anyway and have to learn on their own that their behavior is inappropriate. Which they eventually do if they want to get along with and be a part of this world. Another part of being mature is to be able to read something and not automatically jump to the extreme opposite point of view because it P.C. to do so and assume everyone who does not is an asshole, which is something that many in this column have done. If they have traumatic issues from the past that cause them to do this, they should seek out a therapist to help them resolve them or they will cause them trouble in many areas throughout their lives. As far as men trying to be attractive to women the best thing they can do is to be the best they can be with their own talents and personality traits. Then they will attract someone with enough commonalities that they are each other’s best friends, which is the way real relationships stand the test of time long after the physical attraction fades and the fashion trends move on.

          • Skimommy

            I disagree with your elaboration on my respect comment. Women fundamentally want a man they can respect, being respected in return is NOT fundamental, the man can, frankly, be a jerk, if they’re too nice, too respectful they’re unattractive. Men want to be respected, a woman that is respectable is NOT fundamental, the woman could kinda be a basket case, a nitwit, men don’t really care. I’m not talking about a perception I came up with right now but a truth discovered over many years and corroborated by experts many, many times. Respect is earned not given away.

          • mh

            Ok, I guess our experiences are different then. The women I am interested in dating are women I respect, and those women will not continue dating me if I don’t respect them. There are probably plenty of “basket cases” I could date (there are lots of messed up people in the world), who wouldn’t care how I treat them as long as I’m high-status and dominant, but that seems like a giant hassle, why would I put myself through that? Just the sensation of being in a substantially unequal relationship, makes me go “ok, what this person needs is a stable friend, and time to figure themselves out, not a boyfriend”. Now that I think about it, there was a really attractive woman I decided not to try and date in university, on these grounds, and became good friends with her instead. She’s in a better spot now, 15 years later, and is engaged, and I’m happy for her and we’re still good friends.

          • Skimommy

            I think it’s safe to say, you and I are very different people. I don’t need a man to give me respect, or be respectful, I command respect by my very being. If a man intended to “get anywhere” with me he’d have to be extremely assertive or slightly aggressive and if he wasn’t I’d never give him a second thought. I can handle myself, I’m not concerned that my personality will be overpowered and I don’t want a man that I have to worry about overpowering. I want to be wanted, my man is all gas pedal, I’m the brakes and his engine can just barely over power my calipers. I do what I please and if he has a problem he damn well better speak up. I have no time or inclination for being humored, I can’t stand fake ass kissing. If I look fat in the outfit, he’ll tell me & if I want to wear it anyway that’s up to me, he can look at a fatty all evening. He has his own thoughts, opinions, hobbies and does what he wants, if I don’t like it I lodge my complaints. I don’t play games, I demand honesty, integrity and an excellent provider. As a result, our relationship is strong 24 years in, our sex life active over 40, we make a good living, we rarely fight (often argue the same side) and we work toward mutual goals. Pretend respectfulness will get you tossed out of my life on your head. I suspect I’m not really alone, and if women listened to themselves rather than some BS feminist movement designed to weaken women and make their lives suck we’d see a lot more successful families and a lot more men on the gas pedal in life.

          • mh

            There’s a large difference between “fake respectfulness” and respect.

            To me, “commanding respect by your very being” seems like someone respecting you in your relationships, romantic and otherwise, is not optional. If it should happen that someone didn’t respect you, regardless of any attempts at fake respectfulness, they’d have no shot because you’d think they were an idiot. You may not need a man to give you respect, but you do expect that to be what happens, because you know you deserve it, and you won’t put up with it not happening. I’m definitely not “extremely assertive or slightly aggressive”, so I wouldn’t be your type, but being very sure that they deserve respect is something that makes women attractive to me. And I know many women who have a stable sense of their own self-worth (not “needing” respect, but rather expecting that that is how they should be treated and not accepting less) who find “very assertive or slightly aggressive” to be not their style.

          • mh

            I think maybe you’ve misunderstood what I mean by respect. I don’t necessarily mean being nice, or pulling out chairs and opening doors and letting them go through first, or being sensitive to how they may be feeling, I mean thinking highly of the person you’re with. “This person can handle the truth” could be one good quality which leads me to respect someone more. Or “this person can get stuff done”. Or “this person doesn’t take bullsh*t”. Or “this person is very good at understanding how other people feel” or “this person is careful not to cause unnecessary harm”, or “this person cares a lot about the same things I do”, or “this person is highly intelligent” or “this person has skills I admire”.

            When I say I respect someone, what I mean is, I think they have a lot of good qualities. I wouldn’t be very interested in someone whose only good qualities were that she was hot and she respected me, and the rest of the things I knew about her were kind of bad.

            Under that definition of “respectful”, I don’t think it’s possible for a man to be “too respectful”. If a woman has good qualities and the man she’s with sees that and values her because of it, then good. The more the better.

          • mh

            Y’know what? I think you can handle directness better than most people I would interact with over the Internet, so here’s the deal. Stop encouraging men to be jerks. Men who read what you write and are struggling with what sort of person to be because they want to attract women (so, men who don’t have their sh*t together enough to just be who they are and find someone who likes them), will treat women worse than they otherwise would, because of your advice. Which means more women will be treated badly, and fewer women who are looking for someone who won’t treat them badly will find one. Not only is that advice actively going to cause harm to women, it’s ridiculous.

            Suppose I like a woman. I think she’s got a lot going for her. Following your advice, if I wanted her to like me, I’d treat her at least somewhat badly, so as not to be seen as a “doormat” or “nice guy”. Now, that could work. If she’s a basket case, who doesn’t understand that the way I’m treating her is wrong and she deserves better, and this is how she’s used to being treated, she could put up with it, or even welcome it. But in order for us to have a good relationship in the longer term, she’d have to sort herself out, and make me stop being a jerk to her. Which isn’t what would happen – if she sorted herself out and I had been a jerk to her however long she’d known me, she’d leave, because in her experience, a jerk is the sort of person I am. Even though I only became that in a misguided attempt to attract women, that’s who I’ve been to her.

            Or maybe it wouldn’t work at all. Maybe this is a woman who’s got her sh*t together, someone I could have a good relationship with, and she’d be like “hm…. do I want to be treated badly? No, I don’t think that I do.” Because clearly, that’s what a fully sane and grounded person would think.

            The only way the “be a jerk” advice could potentially work is, you see someone who’s messed up, decide that unlike someone who had her sh*t together, what this particular woman would respond best to is mild abuse, abuse her for a bit, and then stop and help her get her feet under her. Which is pretty manipulative, and probably not going to work out well, because come on – you’re being an awful human being and taking advantage of a vulnerable person, and she’s going to figure that out, eventually.

            So, no thanks. If I meet a woman I like, I’m going to treat her well. If it turns out that she’s not able to handle that, then she has some problems. But in that case, the problems are hers, I can’t solve them for her, and the problem isn’t that I wasn’t enough of an asshole for her to be attracted to me. That thinking is backwards, and has awful consequences.

            It may be that many, many women are pretty messed up, and being a jerk is an effective way to introduce yourself to a large number of women, and/or get sex. But the ones you actually want to spend your time on, will be actively repulsed by asshole behavior. So: Do you want to attract messed up women? Great. Be an asshole, and feel awful about yourself. Want to interact with women who are grounded and confident and would enrich your life if they were a part of it? Be a decent human being. Some of them will end up your friends, others will want to have sex with you, depending what sort of man they’re sexually attracted to, which you don’t control.

        • lcb

          You’ve nailed it right on. I see the same thing with doormat men who go through life wondering why they are still single. At first I was one (though I didn’t even realize it) until I started noticing that the women I didn’t treat as special at first were the ones who were really attracted to me. I soon realized that you have to respect yourself first and foremost and be who you are and not try to conform to some notion that you think might attract others. When I was a teenager someone told me that you have to have yourself together before you can think about involving someone else in your life and looking back that was one of the most true statements I have ever heard. Strong Women indeed want Strong Men. In “Revolution From Within” Gloria Steinem talks about the men she was attracted to—and they were strong willed and couldn’t have cared less that she was a feminist. They didn’t jump on the latests P.C. bandwagon. They did what was right for themselves. As a result one of the most famous feminists of all time was attracted to them. Even though they had faults she didn’t like.

          • Skimommy

            Right! I’ve found every man can be categorized this way. My brother in law is nearly identical to my husband, same size, hair, mannerisms, similar build, face. although they have the very similar physical attributes, mybrother in law is not attractive because he’s a doormat. In fact I told him about the categories and he decided he’d been a doormat & that it probably ruined his marriage. His new gf is constantly trying to build his confidence although at 46 it’s probably hopeless but he has a full head of black hair & she’s over 50 so she’s still trying.

          • lcb

            Well first of all it’s never too late. Put him in touch with David DeAngelo website. The advice there is golden.

          • mh

            I just upvoted this, because this:

            “I soon realized that you have to respect yourself first and foremost and be who you are and not try to conform to some notion that you think might attract others. When I was a teenager someone told me that you have to have yourself together before you can think about involving someone else in your life and looking back that was one of the most true statements I have ever heard.”

            is perfect. Mirrors my experience exactly. Took me 10 years to sort myself out after a childhood that left me without much confidence, but once done, things went smoothly.

            I’ve been thinking about why I respond so negatively to the idea of “not being too nice”. Because I’m nice – as in, kind, and decent, and I treat the people around me well. And I was told as a young man that on the one hand that’s what women want, but on the other it’s not REALLY what they want, being too nice will make me unattractive (which is what you and skimommy keep saying, but I think you’re wrong – but it depends on how you define “nice”), what they really want (it’s said) is power and strength and violence and assholery (all mashed up together in a notion of what it means to be masculine that seems derived from violent movies). There are a very large number of articles titled “why do women date jerks”, which give the impression that you can either be aggressive and a bit of a jerk, or a doormat, but there aren’t really other alternatives. And as a result, decent human beings who try to be decent, but are struggling with their confidence and get turned down romantically because of this lack of confidence, attribute the rejection to being “too nice” and try being a jerk to see if it works, the way when I was bullied in school, I tried punching a random guy, just to see what it would be like. Didn’t like it, never did it again, even in defense, because violent is the opposite of the person I am. As for being a jerk to see if it would attract women, I never tried that – too many of my friends had been hurt, I decided if being me was unattractive, then I’d accept being unattractive. And I thought that was going to be what my life was, for decades, because any time I asked for advice, I was told not too be too nice, when being nice (as in kind and caring) is something I like about myself.

            Fundamentally, the advice in this area appears to be about signaling confidence. Which, you can do thousands of different ways. Get good at a musical or artistic pursuit, and then display your skill. Start a business, and make it a success. Become very good at public speaking. Do good work in an area you care about, and make a positive impact. Become the most violent and feared member in a criminal gang. Be very good at sports, and lead your team. Or, you can signal how valuable you are as a mate by being a jerk, because that says “no matter how I treat you, I know I’ve got enough going for me that you’ll put up with it”, which is the opposite of being incredibly careful not to offend and to be as accommodating as physically possible because you’re very afraid of rejection (the “too nice” that is unattractive). So… being a jerk, or aggressive, can work, because it does send a signal. But here’s another way, that harms no one: Buy a nice suit, and wear it in a way that shows confidence, even if that’s not how you feel – fake it until you make it, as they say. Or, here’s a thought, don’t fake it, actually do something useful with you life, and then be justifiably proud of that. But being aggressive or a jerk, without having actual accomplishments to back up your show of confidence, is like buying a suit on your credit card, when you don’t have a job or any money in your bank account. Eventually people will see through the sham.

            That’s what I’ve seen, in the women I’ve talked to who’ve been attracted to and dated assholes. The men in this case are wearing asshole behavior like a suit to display confidence – but since the suit is all they’ve got, without the underlying confidence, they have to wear it all the time, and are still very afraid of rejection – and in any instance where a fear of rejection rears its head, they use the tool that worked before – aggression and asshole behavior. And that’s how controlling and abusive relationships often start.

          • lcb

            The important thing to remember is that being an asshole is not the desired alternative to being a doormat. In the second paragraph you seem to indicate that these are the two possible paths in treating a woman… and you follow paths that many young men do in trying different behaviors to see what works and what is right for them…
            but in third paragraph you’re getting closer to the truth. Confidence is definitely key, and being happy, content, self-assured and self-secure, and centered within yourself (which is not the same as self-centered selfishness but is like a tree with a good root structure that is secure and can stand up to all but the extremes of wind, rain, or storm). Get into an area of work that aligns with your talents and has these features for you and you’ll be successful no matter what line of work it is–and you’ll be happier and attractive to other people to boot. As near as I can tell this is why women are attracted to guys who are jerks, because despite their negative factors these jerks have confidence and self-contentment down to a T. I’ll get my house set on fire for saying this but the fact is that most women, even richest, the best looking ones, deep down inside are surprisingly insecure. Gloria Steinem herself wrote about this. Imagine that–despite her physical attractiveness (she was once a playboy bunny) and her international fame she still had it. Insecure people are attracted to people who have the traits I mentioned in the Confidence line above like flies are attracted to… well you know. The secure people who are decent avoid insecure people because they are like parasites to their own state of self—and because insecure people tend to get clingy with secure people like a drowning man at sea is to a perceived life raft. Jerks tend to keep these people around and use them for whatever they want from them until even the insecure people realize what’s going on and indignantly leave, vowing never to be in that situation again. What the insecure people fail to realize (though some finally do) is that they have to look inside themselves and develop inside themselves that which they are looking to others to create for them. You need to get yourself together before involving anyone else in your life, and I think the latest generation now to come of age is realizing this. In my younger days everyone had a priority in being in a relationship and if you weren’t it was like something was wrong with you. Now that is almost the last thing on the minds of a good number of 20somethings. I suppose the ultracompetitive job economy combined with chronic STDs necessitating almost mandatory use of condoms has a lot to do with that. I also think that the latest generation, raised on divorce (40% of all kids are now born to single mothers) are rethinking relationship priorities and vowing not do that which they see doesn’t work.

          • lcb

            Oh as far as my support to crude people I understand the viewpoint that they are coming from and am giving them credit for that but also acknowledging that they way they put it is not a direct way of how I feel. Nor do I accept it as an excuse to treat women badly.

          • lcb

            One other factor of my posting below is that as you achieve Confidence is that when you meet an attractive women, instead of thinking, “Wow She’s Hot! I hope I can get somewhere with here” you’ll think ” Hmm let’s get to know her and find out if she’s really worth getting close to–let’s see if she is RIght For Me” Women are psychic about reading the unconscious signals men send which show which of the two general thoughts among the above lines men send and are repelled by the first and intrigued by the second. It’s that insecurity thing, maybe. Or maybe it’s that although they want to be respected they like being treated like a normal person, not like a goddess by a worshipping slave or lovestruck puppydog. In any event they’ll pick up that you have enough respect for yourself not to fall for her until you really get to know her. Otherwise they suspect you like her just for her looks and that turns most women right off….

    • Rose B.

      Let me tell you something about strength: It involves self-sacrifice, self control, and protecting the more vulnerable (for both sexes). Not manipulating people physically smaller than you for your own selfish gratification.

      “what women expect despite anything else they say” — Then yes, you are straight up advocating sexual coercion and rape.

      • lcb

        First paragraph–no duh. Stating the obvious. I guess at this point that’s all I could expect from you. You just don’t have the intelligence or life experience to realize that in the original lyrics she’s manipulating him almost as much as he is trying to manipulate her. Second paragraph—generalization that was once typical of many women but for most as since changed. Not you. I never advocate coercion and rape. It’s not wrong for a man to try and make the first move toward romance—in fact that is still expected even in today’s society. You don’t understand that either. Sounds like you’re 10 years old. Repeated responses because that’s how long it takes you to gather your thoughts together. Another sign of the kind of emotional lack of control that interferes with real thinking. Again totally undesirable no matter what your appearance.

      • Skimommy

        If you can’t handle a little attempted pursuasion … I would like to offer you a free weekend in Vegas, you just have to attend a 90 minute presentation and the rest of the time is yours…. Do you assume when you get there, you’ll be raped? Idiot.

    • Worldview

      No, a man who acts like this is charming and she will go out with him again because he is not putting her under duress. Indeed, he might even get the intimacy he wants because he is not being a psychological bully.

      • lcb

        You know what? I actually used to think this too— but experience and testament of others has taught me that the “Nice Guy” indeed finishes last–or in this case not at all. Most all women don’t want the “Nice Guy” they want the “Cool Guy”. Look at how many of them bought the book “50 Shades of Grey” or went to see the movie. Look at how many of them attend concerts by and swoon over Mick Jagger and David Lee Roth—possibly the two most misogynistic chauvinist pigs the world has ever seen. Oh she might go out with him again—especially if it’s to an expensive restaurant or show and if it’s on his dime—but his chances of being more than “just a friend” to her are really not high at all. Now being the Cool Guy does not mean being forceful manipulative, or even dominant (though many are) but it does mean having a certain attractiveness that involves a sort of mystery, a high self esteem, a drive to succeed at whatever he attempts, and conviction that he is right the way he is regardless of what anyone thinks. Most all women will put up with most anything to to be with a man like this just as many men put up with a lot to get to be with a woman who is physically attractive. As SkiMommy says above there is a big difference between attempted persuasion and rape, and as she says she can’t stand doormats. Most women actually feel this way.

        • mh

          Hey lcb: I posted something above to skimommy about not encouraging men to be jerks, but this part:

          “Now being the Cool Guy does not mean being forceful manipulative, or even dominant (though many are) but it does mean having a certain attractiveness that involves a sort of mystery, a high self esteem, a drive to succeed at whatever he attempts, and conviction that he is right the way he is regardless of what anyone thinks.”

          I agree with. There’s no element of being a jerk in having a clear sense of self, and self-confidence. There’s a conflation of being a jerk with being cool, I actually think you can be cool and a “nice guy”. Not in terms of being a pushover, but in terms of deciding that who you want to be is a really good and kind human being, the best sort of human being you can figure out how to be, and if other people (including women) have some problem with that or think that you should be different, then screw ’em, you’re being who you want to be, not who someone else wants you to be.

    • Skimommy

      I see the drink part as her looking for an excuse to throw her inhabitions side, she had agreed to the “drink” hinting at an alcoholic beverage earlier.

  • Rose B.

    My new favorite holiday song!

  • Matt

    I’m sorry, but this sounds like the
    most whiny thing possible. I could barely understand what the hell they were singing about, so I guess they were taking lessons from some of today’s mush mouth rappers. Since you decided to choose a holiday song, why the hell couldn’t you have done anything else? I’m expecting a remake of Snoop Dogg’s “bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks” now. What about Billy Ocean’s “Get out of my dream and get into my car”? How about even Teddy Pendergrass “Come go with me”. That’s even worse than “it’s cold outside”

  • Stephen Fife

    Cold Blood by Yo Gotti. Excuse Me by Kevin Gates. I can go on and on. Who do these people think they are?
    Get a grip…

  • anarchyistheiragenda

    But nat king cole and daughter did an edited remake and sang it together!

    You are all incestuous racists!!!

    Would any of you family f!#krs care to fondle my cuttlefish?

  • JeremiahJenkemHuffer

    After looking at her, I think I’d be singing “baby it’s cold out there….so out you go troll!”

  • DarkVanilla

    Dumbest shit ever.
    Is consent important?…abso-fuckin-lutely.
    Is it okay to change someone’s words artistically?…no.
    Maybe we should change the lyrics to Superfreak or Purple Rain.
    And furthermore, who is this pussy trying to fit the mold of a good guy???
    Ask him in 10 years when he’s divorced from the same lady he wrote this “version” with…how he feels then.

  • Herbie Verschmelz

    This is why Trump was elected. We need to stop looking for things to be offended by.
    As many have said there are so many other songs that are so much more overt. See the movie and research sayings back in the 40’s. Things like “what’s in this drink” had a different meaning back then. This song is about an established couple that “want to” but she worries about what society may think.
    We keep being offended by things like this, say hello to Trump 2020

    • Mickey Murray Hughes

      I agree with everything you said EXCEPT blaming this on Trump!

    • mh

      “There are so many songs that are so much more overt”

      Good point.

      Songs about actions that are overtly and obviously wrong (rape, killing, etc.) should be addressed differently than those where the problems are a little more subtle (feeding a conflicted woman who might like you alcohol and pressuring her to stay the night) though.

      I don’t think you’re going to get people to stop being offended by misogyny, by going “if you don’t accept misogyny, the misogynist will be president for longer”. That’s kind of like beating someone over the head, and then going “if you complain, I’ll keep it up for longer, so you’d best just keep quiet.”

  • Adam

    This is the most obnoxious thing I have ever heard. The attempted humor is overshadowed by supercilious lyrics. I admire wanting to tackle the objectification of women in music. Here’s a suggestion – RAP, maybe? There is plenty to work with in that genre then a song from the 1940’s.

    • mh

      Guess how I found out this song existed?

      A grade 5 class was taught to sing the original as a part of their Christmas pageant, and a friend posted about how having children learn how men and women should interact based on this song was a horrible idea.

      How many grade 5 classes do you figure are having awful rap lyrics held up as their example of how men and women should interact?

      Addressing what was wrong with the original song is important because it’s still being held up as an appropriate model of interaction between men and women.

  • aftermarketcrf

    This is possibly the most pointless act the SJW have done yet. No one tried to rewrite “blured lines” and as I recall women loved that song and it was on the top 40 for months. Feminist fart noise.

  • Skimommy

    When radio stations are trying desperately to capitalize on the commercial aspects of Christmas 24/7 while avoiding any classic Christmas hymns about Jesus, you’re going to find that some of the popularized songs are disturbing. “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer”, “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, “I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” in which mommy is seen to be cheating on Daddy and the naive child thinks it would be funny for Daddy to stumble onto the scene which would likely touch off a catastrophic life shredding disaster divorce, “Please Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas)”, thank you for that gem John Denver, it makes ME want to fly an airplane into a crowded beach, “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, don’t forget the fatalistic, anarchist “Frosty the Snowman” who has no respect for authority as he only has a few hours to live, the two faced bullying reindeer song in which the abusive bullies unrealistically turn and love the now useful freak, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”. Each song reduced to it’s core message is disturbing.

    Look, if the woman in the song had her sh*t together, she’d grab her stuff and get out of there or stop trying to leave and stay, she’s conflicted, there’s a raging blizzard outside and there aren’t phones in every home in 1944, I’ve always seen it as an elaboration on or pre-quel to “Let it Snow”. If the guy roofied her he doesn’t need to convince her, he needs to wait till she passes out and ravage her warm corpse before she comes to. So what they’re really saying with the rewrite is that men, all men, unless they’re pussyfied liberal men, are sex perverts waiting to knock unsuspecting women over the head and rape them and women are too GD stupid to avoid it. The rewrite should be titled, “Baby, He’s Not That Into You.”

    • mh

      The rewrite makes it clear that he’s into her, and she knows it.

      Her: We’re bound to be talking tomorrow
      Him: Text me at your earliest convenience
      Her: At least I’ve been getting that vibe
      Him: Unless I catch pneumonia and die

      I think lcb below, despite the fact I don’t agree with most of what he said, had a point about the context the original was written in. Today, you’re right – a woman who had herself together would either stay or go, and in either case would communicate clearly. And today, a man who saw a woman who was conflicted, if he was a decent guy, wouldn’t take advantage, but let her figure out what she wanted. But in 1940, she wasn’t just caught between desire to stay + the fact the weather wasn’t good, on the one hand, and desire to appear proper and leave at a socially appropriate time, on the other. Perhaps the 1940 song represents how a “together” woman of that time would have acted – caught between wanting to make it clear she liked a man and sexual/social norms that prevented her from making that clear the way a woman today can just go “OK, here’s what’s happening: I’ve had a great time and I want to stay the night. What do you think about that?”, a woman in 1940 might have been forced to adopt behavior that today would seem conflicted and confused, and there might have been a very blurred line between a man being a gentleman and politely allowing a woman out of the trap repressed social norms around sexual self-expression had put her in, and a man taking advantage of a woman who was conflicted between wanting to be polite and inoffensive, nice and ladylike (which has also been a strong norm for women in the past), and also wanting to leave. To me, the original illustrates how trapped the woman was between conflicting expectations which men could either help them deal with or take advantage of, and the rewrite illustrates how today, things are different and men are expected to assume that the woman means what she says, unless she makes it VERY clear that this is not the case.

      The man in the new version isn’t being a pussy, he’s just going “I’m going to assume what she says is what she means”. Which is a healthy way of interacting with people, in my opinion.

      I don’t get why you believe the song says “all men, unless they’re pussified liberal men, are sex perverts waiting to knock some unsuspecting women over the head and rape them and women are too GD stupid to avoid it.” None of the lyrics make statements about the man’s intentions in the original version, or the woman’s intelligence in the original version, they just illustrate a different way of interacting, and allow the listener to draw their own conclusions. Maybe I’m missing something though. Please explain. I didn’t get the idea that the man in the original was behaving in a way that was dangerous and creepy from listening to the new version, I got that idea from listening to the original version. All the new version did was illustrate how that situation could have been handled differently. If any song conveyed the message that men are dangerous, it would be the old version.

  • Mark Rohaley