But Allison can't get over it. When Don tries to comfort her without acknowledging that his actions are the source of her distress, Allison calls him on it: "This actually happened," she says. Don squirms.
This episode was all about the growing schism between the "This actually happened" generation and the "This never happened" generation. Remember Don, to Peggy, after she delivered Pete's secret baby? "This never happened," he told her. "It will shock you how much it never happened." A host of Sterling Cooperites have lived by this rule—your personal business is personal; your mistakes should be handled privately and carried with you to the grave. But Allison can't understand why she must subordinate her own (painful) experience to some abstract code of decorum and "getting over it."
I think that is partly right and partly wrong.
The right part is that there really is a generational shift both in the show and in real life at that time. And the way the drama that is Mad Men contrasts them one way of getting at that difference is Alison's insistence that "this actually happened".
But we should slow down a notch both in our analysis of what happens in the show and in real life here. In reality, the real contrast is not between what is real and what isn't but between the significance of things and our feelings about them. Or, as I must point out, between sense and sensibility. And the lesson is learn to control your feelings and hide them long enough to figure out what is really going on. If necessary, learn to handle the problem alone even if, as Turner puts it, that means carrying your mistakes silently to your grave.
It's not that we shouldn't care. I feel for Alison but I bet I could walk out my door right now and head down Bank Street and it wouldn't be two blocks before I walked by more than one person who'd had casual sex sometime in the last year and later found it meant a lot more to them than it did to the other person. She's learned a lesson, now let her learn to stand it like an adult.