Yes “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is Rapey

There’s a lot of argument over new Christmas Songs. Say what you will about “newer” songs like “Mary Did You Know?” and “Christmas Shoes” but older ones are some of the worst offenders. (If you’d like to read of my hatred of Mary did you Know you can read last year’s post) If you need some newer Christmas Music check out “Earth Stood Still” by Future of Forestry and the Oh Hello’s Family Christmas Album.

For years die-hard lovers of Christmas music (which, by the way, I am a HUGE lover of Christmas music) have dug their heels in on some of the more questionable tunes, old and new.

I have had SO many conversation about how “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” isn’t about rape and how it’s just a flirty song. And you may like it, and whatever, I get that it’s fun to sing, but I’ll admit that every time I’ve had this conversation I get upset with the argument that “she’s flirting” and after months of #metoo stories I’m finally able to put my finger on why.

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Warning: Rape Story Ahead

As a survivor of “date” rape I can tell you this song almost identically mirrors my experience. I was not roofied, but other people who’s stories I hold were and their stories are very similar.

So here it is: We were alone in my house as we had been countless times before. We were at the end of our relationship. He was controlling and prone to anger and had been physically abusive more than once.

I had continued to see him knowing I was about to move away and could get away from him. I tried to create stronger boundaries with him but I was still very broken and loved him. So when he called one night, upset and asked to come over, I said yes.

From the moment he walked in the door I had a bad feeling. I decided we should go out (he had never acted out in public). So we went to get a drink and talk. On the way home I was acting tired and hoping he wouldn’t want to come in. He wanted to come in to make a phone call.

As he did, I went to the restroom (located through my bedroom). I had shut the bedroom door and as I opened it, there he was, standing in the doorway. I was so taken aback and off guard.

“It’s really late, I should go to bed” “I had a good time, but you should probably go” “I’m not sure when (person’s name) will be back and I should really stay here because they’ll worry if I’m not”.

Here are the lyrics to Baby it’s Cold Outside. The first is the woman talking and the second is the man:

I really can’t stay (but baby, it’s cold outside)
I’ve got to go away (but baby, it’s cold outside)
This evening has been (been hoping that you’d drop in)
So very nice (i’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice)

My mother will start to worry (beautiful what’s your hurry?)
My father will be pacing the floor (listen to the fireplace roar)
So really I’d better scurry (beautiful please don’t hurry)
But maybe just a half a drink more (put some records on while I pour)

The neighbors might think (baby, it’s bad out there)
Say what’s in this drink? (no cabs to be had out there)
I wish I knew how (your eyes are like starlight now)
To break this spell (i’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell)
I ought to say, no, no, no sir (mind if I move in closer?)
At least I’m gonna say that I tried (what’s the sense in hurtin’ my pride?)

I really can’t stay (oh baby don’t hold out)
But baby, it’s cold outside

I simply must go (but baby, it’s cold outside)
The answer is no (but baby, it’s cold outside)
Your welcome has been(how lucky that you dropped in)
So nice and warm (look out the window at this dawn)
My sister will be suspicious (gosh your lips look delicious)
My brother will be there at the door (waves upon the tropical shore)
My maiden aunts mind is vicious (gosh your lips are delicious)
But maybe just a cigarette more (never such a blizzard before)

I’ve gotta get home(but baby, you’d freeze out there)
Say lend me a coat(it’s up to your knees out there)
You’ve really been grand (i thrill when you touch my hand)
But don’t you see? (how can you do this thing to me?)
There’s bound to be talk tomorrow (think of my lifelong sorrow)
At least there will be plenty implied (if you got pnuemonia and died)

I really can’t stay (get over that hold out)
Baby, it’s cold
Baby, it’s cold outside

There are about a dozen different ways the woman says no, including one in the middle of the song where she says, “the answer is no”, it doesn’t get clearer than that. She cried for help at least a couple of times, “What’s in this drink” “I wish I knew how to break this spell”. She plays the game twice, “maybe just a half a drink more” (notice that is before she asks what’s in the drink) and “maybe just a cigarette more”.

And there is the one, the one line which people use to defend the song and say she gave consent, “I ought to say no, no, no, sir, at least I’m gonna say that I tried.”

Guess what? Still not consent.

You know what words came out of my rapist’s mouth?

“Come on, let me stay just a little longer.” “Look how good you look tonight, how could I just walk away?” “Why are you asking me to leave, don’t you like me?” “Can’t we just sit in your room?” “Why are you holding out on me?”

Literally, almost verbatim to the man’s line, “get over that hold out”.

We cannot claim to believe women and say we must do better with #metoo and then defend songs like “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

You cannot even defend it by saying, it’s not about rape but it is about a patriarchal society. No, the song promotes rape culture and is about coercion which very often leads to rape.

Think about the ways people defend the song, “no, she wanted it” “she was teasing” “she was leading him on, it was playful”. Sound familiar? It’s the things powerful men say about the women that have accused them of sexual assault.

It is rape culture that tells women that they are helpless in those moments, that a thousand no’s will not change anything if a man wants something. It is rape culture that told me simultaneously “you are alone” and “what happened to you happens to everyone”.

You want to applaud women for speaking out? Then listen to me when I tell you nothing in pop culture, nothing describes the moments leading up to my rape the way that “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” does.

And you wonder why women don’t speak up more? Because “it’s not about rape” is what I am told at every turn when I try to tell someone my experience.

I don’t owe you this explanation, but please understand why I will no longer tolerate your intolerance of countless women’s experiences.

Also, if you want to hear a version of the song that is “flirty” then here you go:

Dear Rory Gilmore: An Intervention

Netflix announced yesterday that it is in early talks about making another “Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life”. My response was admittedly unenthused after the first one, if they make it, I will probably still watch it, hoping and praying that Rory’s big news at the end will change everything. However, before I do, I need to have an intervention with Rory. This letter from a friend will contain spoilers, so stop reading if you don’t want to know what is happening in Rory’s life.

Intervention


Dear Rory,

I thought I would bring some friendly tv faces with me to smooth things over.

I was happy to hear your good news and even happier to hear it wasn’t the wookie. Now that you’re about to become a mother there’s a few things we need to talk about. I think this will be hard for you to hear, but it needs to be said.

You have become everything your mother hoped you wouldn’t. At 15 she was more together and mature than you are at almost 35. Throughout your life she dreamed of raising you without the snobbish privilege that she grew up with, she raised you as a friend and daughter, and wanted the best for you.

Despite her best efforts, you have lived into your full potential as a whinny, entitled woman of privilege. You think just because your mother struggled when she left behind the riches of her family means that you struggled too? No. It that’s not how it works, that’s not how any of this works.

When I met you at 16 you were shy, nerdy, and eclectic. I liked you immediately, but you were sheltered. I thought, “that’s fine, she’ll grow out of it.” I waited through your Chilton years for you to grow up, watching how people manipulated you and tricked you into trouble, you were naive and you learned to adapt, but by becoming them, using manipulation and passive aggressive tactics to get what you wanted.

You became closer to your grandparents, which is nice, but too often you used selfish child-like logic to solve very grown up problems. You could not see that there was a web of people effected by your actions. (I’m home from Yale, where are my movie channels?!? What do you mean sleeping with a married man is bad? He was mine first!)

That’s okay, you were young, but then throughout college you never seemed to mature. You threw fits and acted out in predictable ways, you made problems worse with your grandparents and allowed men to walk all over you. When you needed something you took advantage of the people around you to get it and you surrounded yourself with friends who treated you like dirt just so you could seem like the nice girl.

However, I am not above forgiveness, you were still young and as you went off into the world to be a journalist, I thought that would be your time to grow. We drifted apart, you and I, we hadn’t seen each other in 10 years. When you appeared back in my life I was excited, hopeful, and eager to see how you’d matured. I was disappointed to learn that you hadn’t.

So here it goes. Deep breath- Good God woman, grow up!

You tell me you have a boyfriend but can barely remember his name and string him along because you’re too “important” to break up with him. You’re not busy, you have no job and no life. You whore yourself out to Logan just to have a place to sleep while you “write a book” with a crazy woman. When you attend meetings with editors you are shocked and bewildered because they don’t simply hand over everything you could ever want. (I mean, don’t they know who you are?)

Nobody, you’re nobody.

All the while you’ve left your mother to deal with your grandmother’s grief and instead of coming home to help, you come home and disrupt her life as well. She is dealing with her own problems, she long ago established herself as an adult and is still waiting for you to do so. She’s worried about you. Everyone can see it.

So… you have about 6 months (approximately) left to hear this: GROW! UP!

Stop using and manipulating people. Sure, you learned that from your mom, but she batted her eyelashes for a cup of coffee and to get a broken window fixed. She didn’t walk all over people and then expect them to love you and give you everything anyway.

Stop taking your grandmother or your mother’s money. Get a job. Can’t get a job as a journalist? Then get another job. Stop sleeping with unavailable men because you feel abandoned by your father.

Get a therapist. (I cannot stress this one enough). Get a damn therapist.

You don’t need any more “getaways.” Stop letting people give you things. No more keys to houses in Maine. No more buying you cars or clothes, or renting out an entire bed and breakfast just for a night of fun. Don’t let anyone give you anything unless you’ve earned it, and being pregnant doesn’t mean you’ve earned it.

Look at the world through someone else’s eyes for once. Learn from your mother, don’t just copy her. If you want Logan in your life, then go after him. Just because it was right between your mother and father (remember they were 15/16) doesn’t mean it’s right for you too, you and Logan are grown ass adults, (at least in age.) And if you don’t deem him worthy to be in your child’s life then take a long look in the mirror my friend.

Most of all. It’s time to cut the umbilical cord from your mother. (your therapist can help you do this.) Mothers can’t cut it, we just can’t, you’ll understand in a few months. But when everyone else was doing it in their early 20’s you pretended to (redecorated pool house anyone) and couldn’t follow through, you couldn’t quite do it, you never have become an adult.

So, this is an intervention. I’m here for you, but I’m not going to enable you anymore. You’re no longer cute or charming, your manipulative and entitled and the only way to wash those sins from your life is to make the choice to grow up.

I’ll be here to love you, but until you can show me you’ve learned from your mistakes, I’ll admit I won’t be looking forward to our next meeting.

You’re in my prayers, Shannon


Note after publication: My friend Aaron wrote a letter to Logan, check it out.

Snow Daze

*steps on soapbox* *taps mic* “is this thing on?… ehem…

An opinion writer in the Baltimore area wrote a piece on how we Baltimorons need to get over our fear of snow. Then, a Minnesotan decided to weigh in, and now we have a war…

I grew up in Kentucky and Tennessee where snow shut the place down, why? A few practical reasons. Large snows were rare, and it would have been wasteful spending to have the amount of supplies sitting around each year “just in case”. Second, and most importantly, we had higher temperatures.

Having lived in upstate New York for seven years I know this: in northern states in the winter, it gets below freezing and it stays that way; in the mid-atlantic or the south, it doesn’t.

A few frigid days after 2-3 feet of snow we are above freezing again and all this fluffy white stuff starts to melt by the miracle of the sun. Then my the light of the moon, it freezes again. Ice, is dangerous.

Now that our science lesson is complete, let me tell you the more important sides to snow days.

Do. Nothing.

Why are we in such a hurry to get back to work? Back to normal?

Yes, our kids have cabin fever, I hear ya. Totally. But stop! This is a God given sabbath. A few precious days to sit in my bed and read a book, watch the kids play, make popcorn and play video games. The meetings will wait. So will the work.

I am not insensitive to those who do not have the privilege of jobs on salary. I am not insensitive to those who are working tirelessly to get the snow cleared and hearing nothing but complaints.

These public complaints are not coming from those. They’re coming from us overachievers who need to get to our offices and keep the daily drone of work alive. What is so important that my child misses school for another day? I would rather them drive me crazy at home than to hear about bus crashes and accidents because the roads were not safe.

My road is drivable, my driveway is dug out, but I will admit, yesterday I left my house once for therapy, and I was a hinderance to those working tirelessly to get the road cleared. There is one lane where there should be 2, there are 2 lanes where there should be 4 or 6. When they ask you to stay at home, it’s for a reason!

Calm down people, take a nature imposed sabbatical. Work will be waiting.

Remember all those projects you never have time for? That journaling you always want to do? That new recipe you wanted to try? The conversation with your loved ones you wold like to have if you just had time?

And most importantly, why, dear God, why are you in such a hurry to leave your elastic waiste pants?

Snow and Jesus say you’re welcome.

*steps down*

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plowing the neighborhood after the snowstorm, the plow is stuck.

The Feminist Awakens: Maz Kanata

Note: This post will make no sense if you have not seen the movie, also Spoilers!

Preface: So those of you who don’t know me in real life and only follow my blog may be surprised that I like things other than church, social justice, and divorce. A few things: I like to consider myself a Renaissance woman. Another way of saying it: I’m a big nerd. I wasn’t always because I wasn’t privileged to grow up in the age where girls were allowed to be nerds. So I’ve “uncloseted” myself over time.

Here’s the shocker: I am a HUGE Star Wars Fan. I do not usually engage in conversation outside of people I know because 1: Star Wars fans are fearless in criticism and 2: because as a woman I inevitably get mansplained. That’s not “the woman card” that’s reality.

Introduction: My boyfriend (more on that later) wanted to write a series on The Force Awakens Characters. Yes we saw it on opening night, yes we went back the next day (and a few times since), yes we are taking the kids again tomorrow. We are writing the character blogs to cross pollinate, here’s the two written so far: Kylo Ren and Luke Skywalker. This is not a debate on the backstory or actress Lupita Nyong’o or any of that, this is a character post.

As soon as he asked there was no question who I wanted to write about Maz Kanata. 

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First, let me say, I know this woman. She used to live next door to me. A strong badass woman who is full of wisdom, she is extremely old, but you also knew she could kick your ass any moment.  She’s saucy and playful- “I like that wookie”, she is the definition of eccentric.

She is the woman I strive to be when I’m over a thousand years old. She is perfectly made: from her scarf, glasses, hand sewn vest, bangles, high wasted pants, down  to her macramé boots. Her shoulders slump from slight osteoporosis, she’s got a post-menopausal pooch and boobs (if she had any) that have disappeared. What’s not to love?

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When the trailers were first released hers was the voice you heard, it was comforting, soft, and intriguing. Immediately after the first film I was flooded with emotion over Maz. She is Women Wisdom, Sophia, she is the guide we have been looking for.

Not only does The Force Awakens have a female lead, it has a female voice, literally and figuratively, and in my opinion, it’s about bloody time. Leia is the general, but is also the old guard, still haunted by her past “princess” status (Thanks Han and C3PO).

Rey has no time for chivalry, to Finn’s astonishment, she’s survived on her own too long. When Kylo Ren reads Rey’s thoughts he focuses on Han as “the father she always wanted” but I believe he was looking for info on Han, the scenes right before her capture prove, she may have been wanting a father, but what she needed was a wise womanly mother.

In many ways the Force Awakens was the death of the search for the father. All of the 6 prior to this have been about the making of a father (Anikin) and the search for the father (Vader), AND the death/disappointment of said father. The force awakens continues this theme by the death of a father (Han) and the theme of a very disappointing father/father figure. It’s continuing an idolization of fatherhood, but the shift of voice declares the age of women. I am curious to see how this plays out between Ben Solo and his mother.

I like a few things about Maz and her part in the canon. First, she is old, very old, older than Yoda. Yoda until this point in the series has been the oldest and wisest. He is the ultimate source of zen. Maz, is not a jedi knight, she had no time for that. She has deep respect and is force sensitive, but her job is a guide. She wasn’t part of any super sonic light saber fights, she did what she had to do when battle came, but she understood this was not her fight and got the hell out of the way. She does not need the status of master, but is the one important people come to for guidance, I like that.

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Her place is serving in the bar, talking to interesting/scary people, and reading into the souls of others. She doesn’t care how shady you are (she has both First Order and Resistance spies in her midst). She keeps everything and has somehow acquired Luke’s original blue light saber. She is not giving away any of her own secrets, but she knows all of yours.

She lives in a temple which she has turned into a bar (this by the way, is a popular thing happening around the world due to many a empty churches…). She has flags from all the galaxies decorating it. (Buddhist prayer flags anyone?). She calls the First Order “beasts” and has survived through the Dark Side (in all their various forms) throughout all these years. Her bar will not, after the childish Ren gets ahold of it. You can see her contempt for his disrespect and lack of empathy (without ever seeing him).

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She has no time or patience for Finn’s lying or Han’s stubbornness, she does, however, have great sympathy for Rey’s struggle. This is not a male/female difference. It is a contempt of the futile and a respect of the existential. She has lived long enough and knows from experience that the search Rey is on is a search of the soul, the essence of being. She is Rey’s first teacher. Rey has her “cave experience” in Maz’s storage area and Maz gives her instruction on how to better control the force.

She see’s Rey’s future better than she does. She embraces Rey’s heartache and gives her assurance of the future. To do this she removes her glasses, maybe for some “magical power” her eyes possess or simply as sincerity. Rey is a little girl who was abandoned and hurt, then had to grow up WAY too fast to survive. Maz is the first to see her pain, and I mean, really see her pain. You can see her own hope that Rey will embrace her destiny sooner rather than later and there is disappointment when she cannot.

(I could not find the picture I wanted here, the one where Rey closes her eyes while fighting Kylo Ren. She is on an embankment and faltering, but she remembers the force and closes her eyes. She is channeling and it’s Maz’s instructions she’s following.- All this pics are of Rey on her knees losing…)

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During the battle, the last time we see her, she is going for cover, fighting while she can. She gives the lightsaber to Finn knowing it’s not for him, but believing it will get back to Rey and eventually she will be trained by Luke. Woman Wisdom will appear again, she is not gone. She is the voice guiding Rey to the light.

I believe she will advise Leia, or at least… appear again to tell the story of how she acquired the lightsaber (please, PLEASE don’t let that just hang out there!) She is too interesting of a character not to return, she is the voice of narration and tough love, she, along with Luke, I hope will be the source of her teachings.

Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Yesterday, through my great powers of manipulation, a small miracle, or perhaps just dumb luck, I somehow convinced our Director of Christian Education to preach on Rally Day (the day Sunday School returns). Because she is a people pleaser and cannot say no to me, (and because she somewhere must have a deep seeded need to be punished for something she did in a past life) Katie said yes. As if she didn’t have enough to do that day…(FYI- Katie is our Christian Educator, she is a Pastoral Counselor, and has the voice of an angel)

Anyway, Katie, a double PK (meaning both of her parents are ministers) did a beautiful job, really. And as she preached about forgiveness and reconciliation Using Matthew 18:15-20 she preached about how to be the church together, how to be communal. On one hand I felt proud of Katie, I felt happy for the congregation, and I admit, it was also nice to hear a word from our pulpit that is so similar to one I would have given, but as she preached, I felt myself being moved, being preached to, being “fed” by the word. (yes, “fed” is problematic for me, but it’s the only word I can come up with- hold on, I’ll get more coffee).

This is an interesting thing as a preacher. I preach to myself most often. It just happens sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. But I am preaching the word God is wanting me to hear. I often get comments on the way out the door like “You can stop talking directly to me now!” or “How did you know?” or “That was exactly what I needed to hear.” These are high compliments as a preacher, but what I really want to say is, “Yeah… that’s great, but that word the Spirit was bringing, it was for me too.”

But then Katie preached, and I heard the gospel in a new way, I asked her to send me the sermon, she did some good exegesis that I wanted to share:

In the Old Testament there is salach, which most of us would understand as pardoning or freeing from the constraints of guilt. Salach is the forgiveness that God offers as it is exclusively used in instances where God is the subject. Kipper or atonement is related to the journey from sin to forgiveness, again usually between a person or people and God. And then there’s nasa’, which is used in the context of expelling sin from the individual, usually by way of communal sacrifice.  Did we catch that? Individual sin, communal sacrifice. The remedy for one person’s wrongdoing is reconciled within community.

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Did you catch that? I talk a lot about community here on this blog, it is vital to my faith. But think about this: The way to be reconciled to God, to yourself, to your neighbor is through a communal act. Individual sin. Communal Forgiveness.

We do not sin alone, even if the sin is to ourselves. Say I self hate, that still effects the community. Think about what self hate does to my work, my children, the people I encounter at the checkout line in Target. “Working on myself” is a communal act. We need the community to be free from sin. This is even easier to understand if I sin against another. Then I don’t just effect my bubble, I effect another’s as well.

It was a beautiful message, one worth sharing. One my heart needed to be reminded of, and one that we all need to remember. There is hope for me, me who tries to make it all happen myself. There is nothing wrong with needing others, needing them in order to reconcile with God, with my neighbor, and especially, with myself.

Thanks Katie, and Thanks be to God!

Everything is Beautiful (in its own way)

ImageUgly-  this is not a pretty word.  It is not meant to be.  Is it true that if every thing is considered beautiful or special than nothing really is?

In a world where we just “love” everything from someone’s haircut down to their shoes then how can we really know they mean it when we say we love their heart?

Right now there is a stink bug in my office driving me crazy, is it beautiful? One of God’s own beloved creatures?

I once had a woman whom I was living with for a time say she didn’t understand why God ever created dust… “well” I thought, “God didn’t really create the dust, we cut down the trees and built shelter for ourselves, like Adam and Eve covering themselves in the garden, we build this house with wood and nails plaster, we created the dust.”

I look at that statement now and think, “smart ass”.

We are all put on the earth for a time, to worship and glorify our maker, but what does that mean when all we do is complain? The beauty and love of God are unsurpassed, but instead of rejoicing, we blame God for the ugliness we’ve created, the boxes we put ourselves in, and we turn on each other like thieves in the night.

Come to us today gracious God, show us to love you through stink bugs and dust bunnies, show us to radiate the type of beauty that comes from true, unselfish love.  Shine your heart through mine so all may know and understand that we are beautiful in your own way. Amen.