In “A Christmas Kiss,” the 2011 Hallmark-style Christmas movie (that premiered on the Ion channel, but really would have been right at home on the Hallmark channel, or for that matter, the Crap Channel), Wendy Walton is an aspiring interior designer. One night, while preparing to go out with her roommates in glitter makeup, she encounters an impossibly handsome, formally-dressed stranger in the elevator. When the elevator stalls and seems unstable, Wendy is thrown into the stranger’s arms….or perhaps grabs him for support, or in fear. The elevator starts moving again, and he impulsively embraces her and gives her a passionate, romantic kiss. They part without her learning his name, and Wendy breathlessly tells her roommates about her magical encounter with the handsome stranger.
1 Was the kiss sexual assault? Wendy did not consent to it.
2. Did her gabbing him when the elevator shuddered constitute sexual assault?
3. Did that act provide sufficient license for him to initiate the kiss without it being labeled assault?
4. She clearly enjoyed the spontaneous kiss. Does she have the right to do that, or does her after-the-fact approval simply encourage sexual assault?
5. Is it sexual assault whether she likes the kiss or not?
6. If she decides years or decades later that even though she liked the kiss in the moment, now that she is “woke” and a feminist she regards the kiss as sexual assault, would it be fair for her to accuse the stranger, now a Senator, candidate for President or SCOTUS nominee, of assaulting her?
7. If not, why not?
8. If the man were not a stranger but a co-worker, would that make the kiss more or less likely to be sexual assault? What if they had dated in the past? What if he had asked her out a while, and she had turned him down? Is she obligated to regard the kiss as sexual assault then? What if she likes it?
9. What if the romantic, beautiful stranger was a woman?
10. What if the romantic stranger wasn’t impossibly gorgeous? Are men or women who aren’t gorgeous allowed to attempt a spontaneous kiss?
11. Do women want such moments in their life, but only under perfect circumstances?
12. If they don’t, why is this film still popular? Why isn’t watching and enjoying this movie the same as cheering for rape?
13. If the handsome stranger misreads the moment—or isn’t handsome enough—or is a little too old, or short—or isn’t a great kisser–is it sufficient for him to apologize and claim that he misread the “signals”?
14. If the woman accepts his apology, can she still come out a decade later and say he assaulted her?