It’s been a long haul, but we’ve finally gotten to a place in the world — or at least in the U.S. — or at least in the aspirational version of the U.S. that is depicted by mainstream media — where we acknowledge that physical intimacy always requires consent from both parties. This is important because in the not-so-recent past it was considered bad form for one of the parties to say yes, meaning a whole lot of confusion got built into what should have been a fairly easy vetting process. On some occasions no meant no, but on other occasions it meant not yet, or try harder, or I want to say yes but I was told I’ll go to hell so don’t actually pay attention to the words coming out of my mouth. Unfortunately, not only did this often lead to hurt feelings, it also made it difficult to prove guilt when a crime was perpetrated.
It is only a good thing that no now always mean no. This is not to say, however, that confusion can’t still take place, as happened Monday night on Louie when Louis C.K.’s quasi-eponymous onscreen persona unilaterally decided he was going to kiss a recurring character named Pamela no matter how she felt about the matter. (You can see the moment, and the confusion it caused in at least one viewer, here.)