Baby It’s Cold Outside
In recent years, much has been said about whether “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is and ode to rape culture or a legitimate Christmas classic.
There’s no doubt the song says a lot about social norms that prevail to this day. But it also reflects the stereotypical roles men and women are expected to take up when they negotiate -
Offence vs defence. Ruthless opportunism that won’t take no for an answer, and common-sense moral responsibility (that is almost asking to be talked out of her position).
He’s thinking about getting her to stay the night, she’s thinking of the social punishment she will suffer if she does (whether she honestly does or doesn’t want to, remains a mystery).
For this specific post, I will set aside discussion of how problematic predatory behaviour such as physical grabbing, sweet talking, dousing with alcohol, gaslighting, and threatening to have one’s pride hurt, is.
Because as some of us know all too well, in many negotiations this is just a fact of reality.
What I want to do today is help you test yourself:
Are you in this situation when you negotiate? And what can you do about it?
Do you like the role you’re in?
This is one question you need to ask yourself, and usually if you allow yourself the time to reflect, you already have an inkling of the answer.
Does the situation seem right to you? And do you feel like you played an active role in deciding what your role in it is? This is one of those places where I highly recommend women trust their intuition, because our body knows when it feels uncomfortable or stressed much before we know to identify the reason for it.
Do you find yourself having to explain over and over again when “no” should suffice - eventually saying yes out of exhaustion?
Sometimes, it’s really hard for us to say no. But it’s also possible you have absolutely no problem saying no- it’s just you’ve said it so many times you feel the only way out of a situation is saying “yes”.
I’m sure you know that is a very bad baseline for negotiation. So next time you agree to something ask yourself why you agreed. Did your answer really reflect your wishes, or were they a response to strong outside influence.
If that type of dynamic is a repeated one, girl- you have a problem on your hands, and you need to tell that problem they better change their attitude, or else figure out a way to shield yourself from such behaviour.
Do you feel comfortable honestly acquiescing when you really want something? Do you feel comfortable saying “no, back off”?
In baby it’s cold outside, we know exactly what the male protagonist wants - he’s very clear about it. For the female protagonist, things are a little more complicated.
Layers and layers of social expectations limit her from being too direct about what she wants. Even if she actually did like the guy and wanted to stay the night, it would probably be very hard for her to say (and admittedly, the song wouldn’t be all that interesting if she did…).
Many women I work with tell me they feel awkward accepting desirable offers or praise, because it makes them feel greedy or arrogant to do so. That fear is only topped by the mortification of setting clear boundaries and saying “No.”.
Ask yourself, are you really able to speak your mind in the negotiation you're in?
Do you identify with any of these challenges? Take a look at my free training: “How to Confidently Negotiate for What You Want”
And in the meantime, I wish you a warm, safe, merry holiday season!
See you in 2022 <3
Founder of Negotiatress