Etiquette Hell

Hostesses With The Mostest => Entertaining and Hospitality => Topic started by: lellah on September 04, 2013, 09:58:00 AM

Title: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: lellah on September 04, 2013, 09:58:00 AM
My partner and I are planning a party to announce our engagement in my hometown: a low key, cheerful celebration focused on reconnecting with old friends and relatives.  We're making the guest list, and I've run into a real sticky wicket.

My mom has a friend I'll call Hortense, a warm, kindly woman I like well enough.  Hortense has been a good and generous friend to my mom, including supporting her through some difficult times.  Unfortunately Hortense is married to Hector, and Hector is gross. 

Hector basically cannot leave the house without sexually harassing at least three girls/women.  A lot of what he says could sound innocuous coming from other people.  He doesn't leap out of bushes or molest children or anything quite so... dramatic.  But he does make girls and women feel really gross.  He makes me feel really gross, in fact.  He's been doing so since I was a tween.  I do not tolerate his behavior, and I avoid being at events where he is.

Here's the issue: Hortense is close to my mom.  I would love to invite Hortense to the party, for my mom's sake.  I will not invite Hector because I can't trust for one minute that he won't try peering down some fifteen-year-old's dress or telling my future S-I-L just how lovely she looks in a tone that will make her want to shower with a steel brush and bleach.  I will not spend the evening running interference on his lewdness.

Can I, due to these special circumstances, break the cardinal rule of inviting couples together and invite Hortense alone?  Or shall I invite neither?  I should add that if Hortense received an invitation for just her, she'd know right away why Hector would be excluded
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: violinp on September 04, 2013, 10:11:17 AM
Eeek. What a tough decision.

If I were in your situation, I'd probably just not invite the couple, because it's against the rules of etiquette to disregard social units, even if the spouse is a repulsive letch. I have friends and relatives with spouses who are...not people with whom I would choose to spend my time (borderline toxic behavior and the like). I still wouldn't only invite the spouse I liked, because, for whatever reason, the person I liked has chosen to remain with this person and I can't (in my mind) ignore that the person is married.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Twik on September 04, 2013, 10:17:00 AM
If you want to follow traditional etiquette, you are not allowed to split married or engaged couples (with modern society accepting that people who live together romantically should be the third unsplittable group). Therefore, you have to either leave Hortense out, or put up with Hector.

Now, this is etiquette, not law. If you invite Hortense but tell her to leave Hector behind, no one will arrest you. However, it's sending a clear message to Hortense that her S/O is not liked. If you don't want to make that so plain to her, don't try splitting the unit. If you *do* want to make it clear, be prepared for the fallout if she decides she likes her husband better than your mother.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: rose red on September 04, 2013, 10:17:42 AM
I would simply not invite this couple.  I have learned on Ehell that a married couple are a unit and is required to be treated as such.  Well, Hortense may be wonderful, but sadly there are consequences as well a benefits of being in a unit.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: SleepyKitty on September 04, 2013, 10:18:54 AM
I should add that if Hortense received an invitation for just her, she'd know right away why Hector would be excluded

Normally, I would say that you couldn't ever invite one half without the other to an event like this, and that you would just have to forgo inviting Hortense. However, this final quote changes my mind a little and I see two ways of looking at it:

The first is that you don't invite either. Frankly, if Hortense is aware of Hector's behavior and does nothing to curb it, then she needs to accept that she's going to be excluded from places where Hector isn't welcome.

On the other hand, if Hortense will know exactly why Hector is excluded and *not take offense* to his exclusion, then I don't really see why you couldn't just invite her. One point of etiquette is to help us avoid hurting someone.  If Horense wouldn't be hurt by the solo invite, then I'd say go ahead. (Note: I'm deliberately not concerning myself with whether or not Hector would be offended because, in my opinion, someone who behaves as he does deserves to be excluded from gatherings.)

Basically, if inviting her solo - considering she is well aware of why people wouldn't want Hector there - won't make any waves, then I don't see why not.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: lowspark on September 04, 2013, 10:41:25 AM
I should add that if Hortense received an invitation for just her, she'd know right away why Hector would be excluded

So Hortense knows what a boor Hector is. Does she frequently get invited to things without Hector? If it's sort of SOP to invite her without him due to his unacceptable behavior and it's something she accepts then yeah, go ahead and just invite her.

But if people always invite him anyway and you'd be setting a precedent by excluding him, I wouldn't do it. I'd just not invite either.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Zilla on September 04, 2013, 10:46:19 AM
I would consult your mom on the matter.  She is a good friend to her and can tell you what she thinks on this matter.  Tell her what you wrote in the OP about why not and see what she says.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: JenJay on September 04, 2013, 10:54:43 AM
I should add that if Hortense received an invitation for just her, she'd know right away why Hector would be excluded

So Hortense knows what a boor Hector is. Does she frequently get invited to things without Hector? If it's sort of SOP to invite her without him due to his unacceptable behavior and it's something she accepts then yeah, go ahead and just invite her.

But if people always invite him anyway and you'd be setting a precedent by excluding him, I wouldn't do it. I'd just not invite either.

Same

If your mom or Hortense complain I'd say "I'm sorry but I can't invite one without the other and, as you know, he'd make my female guests very uncomfortable."
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: lellah on September 04, 2013, 10:59:12 AM
I would consult your mom on the matter.  She is a good friend to her and can tell you what she thinks on this matter.  Tell her what you wrote in the OP about why not and see what she says.

This situation is pretty complicated by my parents.  For a lot of complicated reasons to do with small town politics, my immigrant mom's social attitudes, and a teensy dash of moral cowardice, both of my parents would really, really prefer I not rock the boat with this.  Their mindset is more "Obviously the socially prominent Hector should be at our party: otherwise people might gossip about his exclusion and/or have hurt feelings." 

Hortense is more realistic about the whole thing.  If she weren't a divorce-opposing Catholic, they would've split up years earlier.  She realizes he's beyond a boor.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: WillyNilly on September 04, 2013, 11:08:04 AM
I would consult your mom on the matter.  She is a good friend to her and can tell you what she thinks on this matter.  Tell her what you wrote in the OP about why not and see what she says.

This situation is pretty complicated by my parents.  For a lot of complicated reasons to do with small town politics, my immigrant mom's social attitudes, and a teensy dash of moral cowardice, both of my parents would really, really prefer I not rock the boat with this.  Their mindset is more "Obviously the socially prominent Hector should be at our party: otherwise people might gossip about his exclusion and/or have hurt feelings." 

Hortense is more realistic about the whole thing.  If she weren't a divorce-opposing Catholic, they would've split up years earlier.  She realizes he's beyond a boor.

Can you call Hortense then? This sounds like a "conversation" situation, not one where an invite can just be sent full of unspoken messages.

Call her and stress how important she is to you and how very much you want to include her at your party. Then say "but..." with a pause. See if she jumps in with, "I understand, its Hector isn't it?" And even if she doesn't after a pause you can say - and 'm sure emotion in your voice will give her a clue how very difficult a position you are in - "...I am concerned about Hector. I know the right thing to do is invite you both as a couple, but he really makes me and several other women uncomfortable. I need to think of the comfort of all my guests. I'm so conflicted because I can't imagine having a party without you there, you are a very important person to me."
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: lowspark on September 04, 2013, 11:09:02 AM
...
 both of my parents would really, really prefer I not rock the boat with this.
...

Then there's your answer. You either invite both or neither.
You're inviting her sort of on behalf of your mother, or as an acknowledgement of how kind she's been to your mother. So you need to honor how your mother feels about this. If you invite her but not him, and it ends up making your mother feel embarrassed or ashamed, well, then, what was the point of inviting her at all? Because this isn't solely about Hortense, it's about your mother's feelings too since your mother's friendship is the exact reason you're inviting her.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Zilla on September 04, 2013, 11:11:48 AM
...
 both of my parents would really, really prefer I not rock the boat with this.
...

Then there's your answer. You either invite both or neither.
You're inviting her sort of on behalf of your mother, or as an acknowledgement of how kind she's been to your mother. So you need to honor how your mother feels about this. If you invite her but not him, and it ends up making your mother feel embarrassed or ashamed, well, then, what was the point of inviting her at all? Because this isn't solely about Hortense, it's about your mother's feelings too since your mother's friendship is the exact reason you're inviting her.


I agree.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: lowspark on September 04, 2013, 11:13:17 AM
I would consult your mom on the matter.  She is a good friend to her and can tell you what she thinks on this matter.  Tell her what you wrote in the OP about why not and see what she says.

This situation is pretty complicated by my parents.  For a lot of complicated reasons to do with small town politics, my immigrant mom's social attitudes, and a teensy dash of moral cowardice, both of my parents would really, really prefer I not rock the boat with this.  Their mindset is more "Obviously the socially prominent Hector should be at our party: otherwise people might gossip about his exclusion and/or have hurt feelings." 

Hortense is more realistic about the whole thing.  If she weren't a divorce-opposing Catholic, they would've split up years earlier.  She realizes he's beyond a boor.

Can you call Hortense then? This sounds like a "conversation" situation, not one where an invite can just be sent full of unspoken messages.

Call her and stress how important she is to you and how very much you want to include her at your party. Then say "but..." with a pause. See if she jumps in with, "I understand, its Hector isn't it?" And even if she doesn't after a pause you can say - and 'm sure emotion in your voice will give her a clue how very difficult a position you are in - "...I am concerned about Hector. I know the right thing to do is invite you both as a couple, but he really makes me and several other women uncomfortable. I need to think of the comfort of all my guests. I'm so conflicted because I can't imagine having a party without you there, you are a very important person to me."

I don't often disagree with WillyNilly but I'm going to here.
I wouldn't do this. It's one thing to send an invitation addressed only to her knowing that she'll get the implication because she recognizes her husband's shortcomings.
It's a whole other thing to say those things outright to her.

She might take it fine and be used to dealing with it. But it might also really hurt to hear those things said out loud, and not even by someone who is actually a friend, but the daughter of a friend. It has the potential to hurt her deeply and to hurt her relationship with your mother.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: JenJay on September 04, 2013, 11:15:23 AM
...
 both of my parents would really, really prefer I not rock the boat with this.
...

Then there's your answer. You either invite both or neither.
You're inviting her sort of on behalf of your mother, or as an acknowledgement of how kind she's been to your mother. So you need to honor how your mother feels about this. If you invite her but not him, and it ends up making your mother feel embarrassed or ashamed, well, then, what was the point of inviting her at all? Because this isn't solely about Hortense, it's about your mother's feelings too since your mother's friendship is the exact reason you're inviting her.


I agree.

I do too
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: WillyNilly on September 04, 2013, 11:20:26 AM
...
 both of my parents would really, really prefer I not rock the boat with this.
...

Then there's your answer. You either invite both or neither.
You're inviting her sort of on behalf of your mother, or as an acknowledgement of how kind she's been to your mother. So you need to honor how your mother feels about this. If you invite her but not him, and it ends up making your mother feel embarrassed or ashamed, well, then, what was the point of inviting her at all? Because this isn't solely about Hortense, it's about your mother's feelings too since your mother's friendship is the exact reason you're inviting her.

Isn't this mostly about OP's feelings as hostess? OP has a responsibility that goes way beyond her mother and Hortence to be kind and gracious to herself and the rest of her guests. This is a man who apparently leers at or makes crude comments to tweens and young teenagers as well as grown women. He might not be physically molesting them but he's still creating a horrible atmosphere. If the OP knowingly invites him, then she is by her actions condoning and welcoming his lecherous behavior towards her guests.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: lellah on September 04, 2013, 11:22:58 AM
I guess I'm trying to work some sort of crazy, non-confrontational magic here. 

Not inviting Hortense is a huge problem for my mother.  Or it will be.  I haven't brought it up.  But it's going to be perceived by my mom, and possibly Hortense, as a major slight.  Hortense threw a recent baby shower for my brother and sister-in-law.  She served cake at another brother's wedding.  In my hometown that's a big time honor for older women, wedding partywise.  So she's firmly ensconced as "friend of family."

But having Hector there is a huge problem for me.  For instance: upon meeting my fiancÚ (who's ten years my senior), he told me that he had no idea an older man could keep up with me.  Ick, ick, ick.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Zilla on September 04, 2013, 11:27:18 AM
So to be straight.  It will be a huge issue/slight for you mom to leave off Hector.  But it will also be a huge issue for you to have him there.  And it's a huge issue/slight for leave off Hortense.  Yep, it's a pickle.


Honestly, you will have to choose the lesser of the three evils and live with upsetting someone somehow.  Only thing I can think of is to host a small ladies only luncheon right after and invite Hortense to that along with your mom and maybe your sil?  That way you can celebrate your engagement and still involve Hortense.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: lowspark on September 04, 2013, 11:28:15 AM
...
 both of my parents would really, really prefer I not rock the boat with this.
...

Then there's your answer. You either invite both or neither.
You're inviting her sort of on behalf of your mother, or as an acknowledgement of how kind she's been to your mother. So you need to honor how your mother feels about this. If you invite her but not him, and it ends up making your mother feel embarrassed or ashamed, well, then, what was the point of inviting her at all? Because this isn't solely about Hortense, it's about your mother's feelings too since your mother's friendship is the exact reason you're inviting her.

Isn't this mostly about OP's feelings as hostess? OP has a responsibility that goes way beyond her mother and Hortence to be kind and gracious to herself and the rest of her guests. This is a man who apparently leers at or makes crude comments to tweens and young teenagers as well as grown women. He might not be physically molesting them but he's still creating a horrible atmosphere. If the OP knowingly invites him, then she is by her actions condoning and welcoming his lecherous behavior towards her guests.

By this, I mean, inviting Hortense, not the party as a whole. Yeah, the party as a whole is about OP and yes she needs to figure out what she is comfortable with as a hostess.

But inviting Hortense is due to her mother's friendship with Hortense so that is about her mother's feelings as well as OP's and Hortense's.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Shoo on September 04, 2013, 11:30:18 AM
...
 both of my parents would really, really prefer I not rock the boat with this.
...

Then there's your answer. You either invite both or neither.
You're inviting her sort of on behalf of your mother, or as an acknowledgement of how kind she's been to your mother. So you need to honor how your mother feels about this. If you invite her but not him, and it ends up making your mother feel embarrassed or ashamed, well, then, what was the point of inviting her at all? Because this isn't solely about Hortense, it's about your mother's feelings too since your mother's friendship is the exact reason you're inviting her.


I agree.

I do too

Same here.  I am leaning toward inviting neither.  Hortense has decided (for her own reasons) to stay with Horrible Hector, therefore she's going to have to live with the consequences of that decision, which means she may not get invited to events because no one wants her husband around.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: WillyNilly on September 04, 2013, 11:32:05 AM
...
 both of my parents would really, really prefer I not rock the boat with this.
...

Then there's your answer. You either invite both or neither.
You're inviting her sort of on behalf of your mother, or as an acknowledgement of how kind she's been to your mother. So you need to honor how your mother feels about this. If you invite her but not him, and it ends up making your mother feel embarrassed or ashamed, well, then, what was the point of inviting her at all? Because this isn't solely about Hortense, it's about your mother's feelings too since your mother's friendship is the exact reason you're inviting her.

Isn't this mostly about OP's feelings as hostess? OP has a responsibility that goes way beyond her mother and Hortence to be kind and gracious to herself and the rest of her guests. This is a man who apparently leers at or makes crude comments to tweens and young teenagers as well as grown women. He might not be physically molesting them but he's still creating a horrible atmosphere. If the OP knowingly invites him, then she is by her actions condoning and welcoming his lecherous behavior towards her guests.

By this, I mean, inviting Hortense, not the party as a whole. Yeah, the party as a whole is about OP and yes she needs to figure out what she is comfortable with as a hostess.

But inviting Hortense is due to her mother's friendship with Hortense so that is about her mother's feelings as well as OP's and Hortense's.

See I just don't think it can be broken down that much. The bigger issue - the whole issue - is Hector. Hortense and the mother are merely players in the issue, not the issue. There is no question of Hortense being welcome.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: nyarlathotep on September 04, 2013, 12:03:10 PM
TBH, I think you also have a responsibility to the other female guests not to expose them to a creep.

But while I wouldn't normally condone enabling his behaviour, might it be possible to assign him a "babysitter"? Maybe one who's prepared to be blunt with him.

Very blunt.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Venus193 on September 04, 2013, 12:10:26 PM
TBH, I think you also have a responsibility to the other female guests not to expose them to a creep.

But while I wouldn't normally condone enabling his behaviour, might it be possible to assign him a "babysitter"? Maybe one who's prepared to be blunt with him.

Very blunt.

This.  I would recommend a man who outweighs him by at least 20 lbs.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: shhh its me on September 04, 2013, 12:11:31 PM
   OP I think you have to invite both or neither IF and only if you know for  a fact Hortense considered her a husband a bore and she herself did not wish to include him *just to be clear the only way you could know this is if she told you expressly no reading between the lines* then you could exclude him.  The other option is to have a laides luncheon as a PP suggested. 

As it appears he has been invited to everything up to this point I think it would be a huge deal not to invite him with his wife.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: nyarlathotep on September 04, 2013, 12:13:09 PM
TBH, I think you also have a responsibility to the other female guests not to expose them to a creep.

But while I wouldn't normally condone enabling his behaviour, might it be possible to assign him a "babysitter"? Maybe one who's prepared to be blunt with him.

Very blunt.

This.  I would recommend a man who outweighs him by at least 20 lbs.

Yes! And preferably one who can actually spot when other guys are being creepy (rather than just making excuses for him - "He's just being frieeeendly" - like far too many dudes I know).
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Carotte on September 04, 2013, 12:30:02 PM
It's quite a pickle, and it doesn't seem to be the popular choice, but I say invite Hortense alone.
She will be happy, your mother will be happy, you will be happy and whatever happens the gossipers will gossip.
And amongst those female gossipers that will attend your party, I'm pretty sure most will be happy not to have Hector creeping them or their daughter/nieces out.

If someone comments on it, maybe Hortense herself will say something like "oh, Hector couldn't come today, but I'm happy to celebrate this engagement!", at least you know she won't say "what an affront, I'll never talk to this family ever again because of this slight" and that's the only thing that matter.

One poster said that she has to live with the fact that she is staying with her husband, true, but I say, cut her some slack, she has to live with her husband! let her have some nice time whitout worrying that her husband will embarrass her and bother every female guest.
If they where actively divorcing but still legally married wouldn't most say that it's OK to only invite her?
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: shhh its me on September 04, 2013, 12:43:48 PM
It's quite a pickle, and it doesn't seem to be the popular choice, but I say invite Hortense alone.
She will be happy, your mother will be happy, you will be happy and whatever happens the gossipers will gossip.
And amongst those female gossipers that will attend your party, I'm pretty sure most will be happy not to have Hector creeping them or their daughter/nieces out.

If someone comments on it, maybe Hortense herself will say something like "oh, Hector couldn't come today, but I'm happy to celebrate this engagement!", at least you know she won't say "what an affront, I'll never talk to this family ever again because of this slight" and that's the only thing that matter.

One poster said that she has to live with the fact that she is staying with her husband, true, but I say, cut her some slack, she has to live with her husband! let her have some nice time whitout worrying that her husband will embarrass her and bother every female guest.
If they where actively divorcing but still legally married wouldn't most say that it's OK to only invite her?

this is why I don't think OP can do this ...
quote
Not inviting Hortense is a huge problem for my mother.  Or it will be.  I haven't brought it up.  But it's going to be perceived by my mom, and possibly Hortense, as a major slight.

IF op was reasonable sure(80%+) Hortense would not take offense I might say "risk it" op is no where near sure enough to risk it. 
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on September 04, 2013, 12:57:13 PM
Ayiyi, that is a pickle.  I have an uncle like Hector.  Thank heaven it's by marriage and I can say I'm not biologically related to the oaf.  And thankfully for my FOO, he dislikes being around them as much as they like having him around. 

But I do remember when my folks stopped having parties at my grandparents house because he would come to those and drink till he sounded like the one guy on King of the Hill, then flirt with anything female, younger the better.  :P Eventually my folks just stopped having the parties because he made everyone uncomfortable.

I do think a ladies luncheon might be the best option.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: DavidH on September 04, 2013, 01:13:22 PM
I think that whatever his shortcomings, they are a couple and it's either both, neither, or a gender specific function.  Inviting her alone knowing it will offend her and will make your mother uncomfortable seems like a poor choice to me and rude both for splitting up a social unit and knowingly offending two people at your function. 

Basically, I think you need come up with a list of pros and cons to each solution and then pick the best one. 
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: lowspark on September 04, 2013, 01:20:32 PM
No matter what you do, someone is going to be unhappy.
If you invite Hortense but not Hector, your parents will be unhappy, and potentially Hortense will be unhappy.
If you invite neither, your parents will be unhappy and Hortense will feel slighted.
If you invite Hector with Hortense, you (and your guests) will be unhappy.

Personally, I'd be looking at making myself (and partner) happy first. It's your party, your engagement.
So it seems to me that Hortense without Hector is the least bad of the three options. But if you're going to do that, you probably ought to have a chat with your parents first and just lay it on the line. This is what I'm going to do... I know you aren't happy, but it's my party and my decision.

Just one additional thing to think about. This is an engagement party so I assume the wedding will follow. It's one thing to not invite someone (Hortense and/or Hector) to the engagement party, but it's probably going to be a huge big deal to exclude either or both from the wedding.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: NyaChan on September 04, 2013, 01:21:11 PM
I think inviting her alone is going to have a lot of negative backlash for you and your parents, not to mention imagine embarrass Hortense socially.  Is it really fair to open your parents up to that (I think Hortense has opened herself up to this) by doing something they don't agree with or have control over?  I would either make it a ladies only function or drop her from the invite list.  Explain to your mother that inviting Hector isn't an option, but you wouldn't ever embarrass her by inviting Hortense alone so....  ;)  I find people respond more favorably when actions are explained in terms of how much you intended to help and accommodate them.

ETA:  Missed that it is an engagement party.  Nevermind the ladies only bit, I would either accept that Hector will be at large during the party and perhaps tell your close female guests that it okay for them to point out that he being inappropriate, or not invite Hortense at all. 
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: cheyne on September 04, 2013, 02:00:23 PM
I would consult your mom on the matter.  She is a good friend to her and can tell you what she thinks on this matter.  Tell her what you wrote in the OP about why not and see what she says.

This situation is pretty complicated by my parents.  For a lot of complicated reasons to do with small town politics, my immigrant mom's social attitudes, and a teensy dash of moral cowardice, both of my parents would really, really prefer I not rock the boat with this.  Their mindset is more "Obviously the socially prominent Hector should be at our party: otherwise people might gossip about his exclusion and/or have hurt feelings." 

Hortense is more realistic about the whole thing.  If she weren't a divorce-opposing Catholic, they would've split up years earlier.  She realizes he's beyond a boor.

Who is hosting the party?  Your parents or you and Partner?  If your parents are hosting, I think they can invite both Hector and Hortense as it would be their "social standing" that would be affected by not inviting them.  Your father could try and corral Hector and keep him near the men talking about "guy things" but I doubt this would work.  You may just have to deal with it (as much as I hate saying that).

If you and Partner are hosting, I think you have more leeway to not invite either.  I know that etiquette says that you must invite both halves of a social unit, but I think since you don't live in the area you could get away with only inviting Hortense.  Of course, there may be people that will think and gossip about how rude you are once the party is over.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: lady_disdain on September 04, 2013, 02:24:40 PM
I would not have Hector at a party I hosted or where I was the guest of honor. That would be my hill to die on. However, Hortense herself isn't my hill. So I would leave that part up to your mother, as a compromise. If, to make her happy, Hortense should be invited solo, I would be willing to bend etiquette. If she prefers that Hortense not be invited solo, then she is the one to deal with the fall out.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Venus193 on September 04, 2013, 02:30:34 PM
Is there no etiquette rule that allows us to omit a guest who is guaranteed to make half the guests uncomfortable?  Why is his comfort or "image" more important than the hosts" or the other female guests'?
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: camlan on September 04, 2013, 02:42:21 PM
This is not just about the engagement party. Since Hortense is such a good friend to the OP's mom, there's a very good chance that Mom will want Hortense invited to the wedding. And in many places, an invitation to the engagement party more or less means an invitation to the wedding. And I think whatever the OP does for one, she should do for the other.

I'd go with not inviting Hortense or her husband. The social pressure to invite both halves of a couple has allowed this man to continue to behave inappropriately. If Hortense chooses to remain in a relationship with him, she should expect to reap the results of that. (Catholics I know who won't get divorced do get separated and live separate lives. Hortense does have choices.)
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: NyaChan on September 04, 2013, 02:47:38 PM
Is there no etiquette rule that allows us to omit a guest who is guaranteed to make half the guests uncomfortable?  Why is his comfort or "image" more important than the hosts" or the other female guests'?

The host makes the guest list - that's the rule that lets her leave him off.  But that rule is tempered by the spousal unit rule.  She can leave this couple off altogether, but doesn't want the natural consequences of doing so.  There is no etiquette rule that magically gives us what we want with no negatives. 

The reason why these rules are in place is to protect the general way of things, and yes, in specific unusual situations, it can be a hindrance.  However, picking and choosing where to apply the rules is one quick way to messing up the whole system.  This is what keeps upset MILs from excluding their DILs from family events, resentful friends keeping the new fiance from attending the annual couples' getaway, and spiteful neighbors from excluding the spouse who puts up better Christmas lights from their Holiday party.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: shhh its me on September 04, 2013, 03:26:34 PM
  I think this case is particularly difficult because everyone else seems to enjoy the wife enough that they are well liked and respected members of the community.  Also it looks like no one knows how to deal with a lech.  the thinly veiled sexual jokes you don't laugh at and you don't ignore you a little loudly play dumb " why what every do you mean, I'm afraid I'm not following you? My husband cant keep up with me ?"
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: MindsEye on September 04, 2013, 03:48:46 PM
My partner and I are planning a party to announce our engagement in my hometown: a low key, cheerful celebration focused on reconnecting with old friends and relatives. 

Note the strikeout above.  that is my first suggestion.  If you change make the engagement party about family only, then you no longer have to worry about the Hortense/"couples rule" issue. 

You can always have a "ladies tea" at some point later and invite her without her husband.

Hector basically cannot leave the house without sexually harassing at least three girls/women.  A lot of what he says could sound innocuous coming from other people.  He doesn't leap out of bushes or molest children or anything quite so... dramatic.  But he does make girls and women feel really gross.  He makes me feel really gross, in fact.  He's been doing so since I was a tween.  I do not tolerate his behavior, and I avoid being at events where he is.

Hector is a perv.  A well-known perv from the sounds of it.  Is this a case where safety trumps etiquette?  I certainly wouldn't invite someone who harasses/molests women to a party, regardless of the "couples rule"!
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Hmmmmm on September 04, 2013, 03:52:39 PM
Since Hortense know's her husband is such a bore, does she attend events and socialize without him?

My parent's had a friend, Eve, who was married to a jerk. For social, property, family and a whole lot of pig headedness, Eve would not divorce her DH. I literally have no memory of Eve not being in my parents social circle and she even gave a Eulogy at my Dad's funeral. I never met her husband, even though we lived in a relatively small town. She lived her life separately, so inviting Eve without her husband was quit common and acceptable.

We had a friend in our neighborhood who was married to an alcoholic. Any event he attended ended up with a major scene. My friend did not believe in divorce and she was able to eventually get him into counseling and he's been sober for several years. But for those 5 years, friend was invited and her DH wasn't.

So in my experience there are some situations where traditional etiquette rules can be broken without any major fallout.

On the other hand, if it is a small town, most guests will be used to his antics and will ignore him. You can worn guests unfamiliar with him and recommend they stay away from him. And if your SIL has the guts get her to respond to him with "Oh, YOU must be the dirty old man OP warned me about."
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: lellah on September 04, 2013, 03:55:04 PM
My partner and I are planning a party to announce our engagement in my hometown: a low key, cheerful celebration focused on reconnecting with old friends and relatives. 

Note the strikeout above.  that is my first suggestion.  If you change make the engagement party about family only, then you no longer have to worry about the Hortense/"couples rule" issue. 


Bah, humbug.  It's bad enough to have a party which someone I genuinely like cannot attend because of a lamentable choice she made at 19 without also excluding my beloved third grade teacher and my parents' pastor and my best friend's sweet mum.   :(
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: MindsEye on September 04, 2013, 04:01:41 PM
My partner and I are planning a party to announce our engagement in my hometown: a low key, cheerful celebration focused on reconnecting with old friends and relatives. 

Note the strikeout above.  that is my first suggestion.  If you change make the engagement party about family only, then you no longer have to worry about the Hortense/"couples rule" issue. 


Bah, humbug.  It's bad enough to have a party which someone I genuinely like cannot attend because of a lamentable choice she made at 19 without also excluding my beloved third grade teacher and my parents' pastor and my best friend's sweet mum.   :(

Well... then just don't invite Hortense/Hector. 

Or invite only Hortense.  (I honestly believe that Hectors perverted/harassing behavior is a legitimate reason to exclude him despite the couple's rule)

Or tell your Mom that you refuse to attend a party where Hector is present and let her decide if she wants to invite Hortense only, or exclude both of them.

Really, a PP put it best.  You can't make everyone here happy.  Not gonna happen.  Someone is going to end up being unhappy, no matter what you decide to do. 

So you need to decide who's feelings matter the most.  Who do you want to be happy?
You and your fiancee?
Your parents?
Hortense?
Hector?
Your other guests?

Good luck!  It sounds like you are going to need it.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: JenJay on September 04, 2013, 04:10:25 PM
My partner and I are planning a party to announce our engagement in my hometown: a low key, cheerful celebration focused on reconnecting with old friends and relatives. 

Note the strikeout above.  that is my first suggestion.  If you change make the engagement party about family only, then you no longer have to worry about the Hortense/"couples rule" issue. 


Bah, humbug.  It's bad enough to have a party which someone I genuinely like cannot attend because of a lamentable choice she made at 19 without also excluding my beloved third grade teacher and my parents' pastor and my best friend's sweet mum.   :(

Well... then just don't invite Hortense/Hector. 

Or invite only Hortense.  (I honestly believe that Hectors perverted/harassing behavior is a legitimate reason to exclude him despite the couple's rule)

Or tell your Mom that you refuse to attend a party where Hector is present and let her decide if she wants to invite Hortense only, or exclude both of them.[/u]

Really, a PP put it best.  You can't make everyone here happy.  Not gonna happen.  Someone is going to end up being unhappy, no matter what you decide to do. 

So you need to decide who's feelings matter the most.  Who do you want to be happy?
You and your fiancee?
Your parents?
Hortense?
Hector?
Your other guests?

Good luck!  It sounds like you are going to need it.

The bolded, underlined part is exactly what I'd do.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: rose red on September 04, 2013, 04:29:44 PM
TBH, I think you also have a responsibility to the other female guests not to expose them to a creep.

But while I wouldn't normally condone enabling his behaviour, might it be possible to assign him a "babysitter"? Maybe one who's prepared to be blunt with him.

Very blunt.

This.  I would recommend a man who outweighs him by at least 20 lbs.

Yes! And preferably one who can actually spot when other guys are being creepy (rather than just making excuses for him - "He's just being frieeeendly" - like far too many dudes I know).

I'm not a fan of "babysitters" unless they are hired as one.  It's not fair to the guest who deserve to enjoy themselves at a party without worrying about a "job."
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Jones on September 04, 2013, 04:38:08 PM
Pass around the fly swatters and make sure the ladies knw how to use them. Hector will be retrained in short order!

I personally would not invite him, and would invite his wife, but that's not a very big faux pas where I live.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Allyson on September 04, 2013, 09:16:39 PM
The problem with the "babysitter" or flyswatter ideas, much as they appeal to me, is that often guys like this aren't doing anything so overt that most people would feel comfortable saying "Hey, knock it off!" These guys operate at that 'just under the line' place so any one comment, taken in exclusion, isn't so bad. And most people are just not going to feel ok telling someone off for something that, when described later, will sound 'complimentary'. "Why did you need to make a scene, he just complimented how you looked in that new sweater!" without being aware of the gross looks and overall creepiness.

I know guys like this, unfortunately. Since they aren't actually *doing* anything, it is really really hard to pin them down. even telling them to stop doesn't work, because it's 'stop what?' and pretending to be all hurt and confused.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Venus193 on September 04, 2013, 10:05:51 PM
I was on the receiving end of this crap some years ago... in a work situation, which is a real sticky wicket.  I remember someone saying something that creeped me out (It was the tone more than the actual words) and I replied "Excuse me, Mr [name redacted]?" in that tone that suffers no fools at all.  That stopped him for that occasion.

My boss was a man who had no sisters and no understanding of what this was about.  It took six women from the office to tell stories about this creep before he was willing to observe and tell him off.  This may require something similar in this case if the OP is forced to permit Hector to attend the engagement party and/or the wedding.

If that is the case I vote for hiring someone to do this rather than assigning this duty to a friend.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Queen of Clubs on September 05, 2013, 07:43:46 AM
I would not have Hector at a party I hosted or where I was the guest of honor. That would be my hill to die on. However, Hortense herself isn't my hill. So I would leave that part up to your mother, as a compromise. If, to make her happy, Hortense should be invited solo, I would be willing to bend etiquette. If she prefers that Hortense not be invited solo, then she is the one to deal with the fall out.

I agree with this.  Hector is a creep and the OP and her female guests should not be forced to endure his company for the sake of etiquette.  Hortense chooses to stay with him - which is her choice - but it doesn't mean anyone else has to put up with him.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: CakeBeret on September 05, 2013, 09:52:16 AM
I think the best thing to do is tell your mother, "Hector is not welcome at the party. Full stop. I can either invite Hortense alone, or not invite them at all; that is up to you."

Personally? I would go ahead and invite Hortense. She knows her husband is a perv and she makes the choice to stay with him, so I doubt she'd be mortally offended if she was invited without him.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: sammycat on September 05, 2013, 10:26:10 AM
I would not have Hector at a party I hosted or where I was the guest of honor. That would be my hill to die on. However, Hortense herself isn't my hill. So I would leave that part up to your mother, as a compromise. If, to make her happy, Hortense should be invited solo, I would be willing to bend etiquette. If she prefers that Hortense not be invited solo, then she is the one to deal with the fall out.

I agree with this.  Hector is a creep and the OP and her female guests should not be forced to endure his company for the sake of etiquette.  Hortense chooses to stay with him - which is her choice - but it doesn't mean anyone else has to put up with him.

These are these are my thoughts exactly.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: blarg314 on September 05, 2013, 08:21:13 PM
I guess I'm trying to work some sort of crazy, non-confrontational magic here. 

That's a problem, because there usually isn't in a situation like this - someone is going to be upset.  So you basically have to decide which option is least repugnant to you.

1) knowingly setting up your guests to be harassed by a lecherous pig, and having someone who makes you feel gross and slimy at your engagement party, but keeping Mom, Hector and Hortense happy.

2) protecting your guests and yourself, and setting a precedent that you won't be inviting him to the wedding, but having to deal with the fallout from your Mom.

3) Directly telling Hortense that she is welcome but her husband isn't. Deal with the fallout from your mom, Hortense and Hector. (I'd be very wary of assuming that someone would both recognize that the invitation deliberately excludes her husband and accept it happily  because she accepts that her husband is a lecherous pig who can't be trusted in public).

4) Change the party so you can exclude one of them without offense - make it a family only party, for example. Accept that you can't invite everyone else you want as a result.

5) Skip the party completely, and meet people a few at a time to introduce your fiance.

Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: blarg314 on September 05, 2013, 08:26:05 PM

Oh, and FWIW, I'd personally go with not inviting either, and accepting the fallout from my Mom. In part because I don't think it's fair to deliberately set up my guests like that, and in part to set the precedent that I'm not automatically going follow her expectations when it comes to what she thinks I should do, and to establish that I am willing to rock the boat for something that is important to me.

Establishing this before you start planning a wedding, starting a life with your fiance, and possibly adding kids to the mix is very, very useful and while unpleasant at the time can save a lot of grief later.



Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: sammycat on September 05, 2013, 08:38:11 PM
If I attended a gathering and later found out the host has invited someone she knew was a creep (to put it nicely), or a thief, or exhibited some other sort of antisocial behaviour, it would seriously taint my view of the host. Doubly so if I was subjected to said bad bad behavior.  I'd possibly reexamine my relationship with her/him, as it would seem they are exhibiting very poor judgement in some areas.

I would wonder why the host thought the feelings of the wrongdoer was more important than the feelings/safety/well being of the rest of the guests/victims.

Hortense is fully aware of her husband's behaviour. She is choosing to stay married to him. Unfortunately, sometimes decisions have consequences, and in this situation, not being invited to an event is one of those consequences. I wouldn't be changing the nature of my event (to all ladies/family only/whatever) simply because of one person.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Hmmmmm on September 05, 2013, 09:11:44 PM
If I attended a gathering and later found out the host has invited someone she knew was a creep (to put it nicely), or a thief, or exhibited some other sort of antisocial behaviour, it would seriously taint my view of the host. Doubly so if I was subjected to said bad bad behavior.  I'd possibly reexamine my relationship with her/him, as it would seem they are exhibiting very poor judgement in some areas.

I would wonder why the host thought the feelings of the wrongdoer was more important than the feelings/safety/well being of the rest of the guests/victims.

Hortense is fully aware of her husband's behaviour. She is choosing to stay married to him. Unfortunately, sometimes decisions have consequences, and in this situation, not being invited to an event is one of those consequences. I wouldn't be changing the nature of my event (to all ladies/family only/whatever) simply because of one person.

Really, having someone you thought had questionable social skills would color your opinion of the host for ever? 

The OP isn't describing a criminal or even someone who openly propositions women. It's someone who makes her and to her knowledge some others uncomfortable. But I think there would also be a group who would find his "old guy keeping up" as funny. He's a bore, and unfortunately a bore focused on sexual innuendo. But people also encounter bores who focus on social status or money or elite educations. Personally, I'd rather spend the evening laughing at the old guy trying to be a stud than the snob looking down on people who don't meet his social expectations. But if a friend invited a snobbish bore to her event, I wouldn't judge her by that single action.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: sammycat on September 05, 2013, 09:20:11 PM
From the OP:

Hector basically cannot leave the house without sexually harassing at least three girls/women.  A lot of what he says could sound innocuous coming from other people.  He doesn't leap out of bushes or molest children or anything quite so... dramatic. But he does make girls and women feel really gross.  He makes me feel really gross, in fact.  He's been doing so since I was a tween.  I do not tolerate his behavior, and I avoid being at events where he is.

If the OP knowingly subjected me to that, then yes it would colour my view of them. 
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Bluenomi on September 05, 2013, 09:34:24 PM
I'd invite Hortense and not Hector only if I knew she would come alone and there was no chance he's come along anyway. If there was even the slightest chance he'd come because his wife was invited I wouldn't invite either. If he's happy to sexually harass women, he's going to have no problem gate crashing an event his wife if going to
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Hmmmmm on September 05, 2013, 10:32:59 PM
From the OP:

Hector basically cannot leave the house without sexually harassing at least three girls/women.  A lot of what he says could sound innocuous coming from other people.  He doesn't leap out of bushes or molest children or anything quite so... dramatic. But he does make girls and women feel really gross.  He makes me feel really gross, in fact.  He's been doing so since I was a tween.  I do not tolerate his behavior, and I avoid being at events where he is.

If the OP knowingly subjected me to that, then yes it would colour my view of them.

Sexually harassment is unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks. Her one example was an off color remark which I personally would have a hard time classifying as obscene but more in very poor taste. I wouldn't shun a friend because they invited a close family friend to an event and exposed me to off color or even obscene comments.

I'm not saying she should invite him or that his behavior is acceptable. But I can't imagine letting this one instance color my friendship with this person. I'm adult and can handle dealing with distasteful people when necessary.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: shhh its me on September 05, 2013, 10:49:33 PM
From the OP:

Hector basically cannot leave the house without sexually harassing at least three girls/women.  A lot of what he says could sound innocuous coming from other people.  He doesn't leap out of bushes or molest children or anything quite so... dramatic. But he does make girls and women feel really gross.  He makes me feel really gross, in fact.  He's been doing so since I was a tween.  I do not tolerate his behavior, and I avoid being at events where he is.

If the OP knowingly subjected me to that, then yes it would colour my view of them.

Sexually harassment is unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks. Her one example was an off color remark which I personally would have a hard time classifying as obscene but more in very poor taste. I wouldn't shun a friend because they invited a close family friend to an event and exposed me to off color or even obscene comments.

I'm not saying she should invite him or that his behavior is acceptable. But I can't imagine letting this one instance color my friendship with this person. I'm adult and can handle dealing with distasteful people when necessary.
Her other example was it was not what was  but the tone , OP I do understand how much tone can change something.  plus this  A lot of what he says could sound innocuous coming from other people. 

 OP I presume other woman have said "he creeps me out." or something to that effect.  Maybe I have the wrong impression or misread something but I'm under the impression.......  Hortense is an active respect member of the community and invited to lots of events therefore Horace is also invited to lots of events and these events commonly have overlapping guest lists?  Maybe everyone is too "shy" to say anything. 
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: GreenEyedHawk on September 05, 2013, 10:58:52 PM
I haven't read the whole thread, but if Hortense is aware of what Hector is like and she wouldn't want him there either, why not speak to her beforehand and ask her what she feels is best.

I might be way off base here, but I'm wondering if Hortense could come on her own and silence the gossipers by telling them Hector was invited, but for (reason) could not make it.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Nikko-chan on September 05, 2013, 11:15:13 PM
I am with team "Do not invite hector, but invite hortense."

A few things really stuck out to me in your OP.

He makes me feel really gross, in fact.  He's been doing so since I was a tween.  I do not tolerate his behavior, and I avoid being at events where he is.


Here's the issue: Hortense is close to my mom.  I would love to invite Hortense to the party, for my mom's sake. I will not invite Hector because I can't trust for one minute that he won't try peering down some fifteen-year-old's dress or telling my future S-I-L just how lovely she looks in a tone that will make her want to shower with a steel brush and bleach.  I will not spend the evening running interference on his lewdness.


Those two comments really stuck out, especially the bolded. He has been making you feel gross since you were a tween. That would be what, eleven, twelve? And not just gross, I'll wager. Maybe he even made you feel unsafe. So you know exactly how your guests are going to feel.

The second thing that stuck out was that second sentence. Peering down a fifteen year old's dress. Fifteen. That means the young lady is still a minor. She might not know how to handle the situation like you can. She might not be used to Hector's ways. And you said he's been making you feel gross since you were a tween. You think you are the only tween he's done that to? There were probably more before that, and there will probably be more after. Protect them. Don't invite this this... person to what is supposed to be a celebration of your upcoming marriage.


If your mother protests, explain what you explained to us. "Mom, Hector has been saying suggestive things and making me feel uncomfortable since I was (insert age here). I am done with dealing with this. He looks down peoples dresses for cripes sake! Some of the people he does that to are minors. Shouldn't we protect them? And what about the other ladies? Don't they have a right to feel and be safe?"

I am sure other ehellions can come up with better wording, but your OP threw up red flags for me. This man looks down people's dresses, and not even the woman he does it to will not call him out on it? Something is very wrong with that.

edited to add a word.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: cicero on September 05, 2013, 11:37:24 PM
I would not have Hector at a party I hosted or where I was the guest of honor. That would be my hill to die on. However, Hortense herself isn't my hill. So I would leave that part up to your mother, as a compromise. If, to make her happy, Hortense should be invited solo, I would be willing to bend etiquette. If she prefers that Hortense not be invited solo, then she is the one to deal with the fall out.

I agree with this.  Hector is a creep and the OP and her female guests should not be forced to endure his company for the sake of etiquette.  Hortense chooses to stay with him - which is her choice - but it doesn't mean anyone else has to put up with him.

These are these are my thoughts exactly.
add me to this camp.

If I were in your shoes, OP, my basic red line would be 'I don't care how this gets done but Hector will not be at *any* gathering that I am hosting/GOH. I will not subject *my* friends to his behavior, period, end of discussion. Our options are to invite Hortense alone or to invite neither. Since they are your close friends I will let you make the call'

Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Psychopoesie on September 06, 2013, 12:30:51 AM
I am with team "Do not invite hector, but invite hortense."

A few things really stuck out to me in your OP.

He makes me feel really gross, in fact.  He's been doing so since I was a tween.  I do not tolerate his behavior, and I avoid being at events where he is.


Here's the issue: Hortense is close to my mom.  I would love to invite Hortense to the party, for my mom's sake. I will not invite Hector because I can't trust for one minute that he won't try peering down some fifteen-year-old's dress or telling my future S-I-L just how lovely she looks in a tone that will make her want to shower with a steel brush and bleach.  I will not spend the evening running interference on his lewdness.


Those two comments really stuck out, especially the bolded. He has been making you feel gross since you were a tween. That would be what, eleven, twelve? And not just gross, I'll wager. Maybe he even made you feel unsafe. So you know exactly how your guests are going to feel.

The second thing that stuck out was that second sentence. Peering down a fifteen year old's dress. Fifteen. That means the young lady is still a minor. She might not know how to handle the situation like you can. She might not be used to Hector's ways. And you said he's been making you feel gross since you were a tween. You think you are the only tween he's done that to? There were probably more before that, and there will probably be more after. Protect them. Don't invite this this... person to what is supposed to be a celebration of your upcoming marriage.


If your mother protests, explain what you explained to us. "Mom, Hector has been saying suggestive things and making me feel uncomfortable since I was (insert age here). I am done with dealing with this. He looks down peoples dresses for cripes sake! Some of the people he does that to are minors. Shouldn't we protect them? And what about the other ladies? Don't they have a right to feel and be safe?"

I am sure other ehellions can come up with better wording, but your OP threw up red flags for me. This man looks down people's dresses, and not even the woman he does it to will not call him out on it? Something is very wrong with that.

edited to add a word.

parking my pod here. Well past time to rock the boat on this one. Would be my hill to die on too.

Still remember how creepy it was when one old family friend started talking to my breasts when I was barely a teenager. Go with your instincts on this one, OP. The fallout can't be worse than having another generation of young girls subjected to this behaviour.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Mel the Redcap on September 06, 2013, 04:18:30 AM
I am with team "Do not invite hector, but invite hortense."

A few things really stuck out to me in your OP.

He makes me feel really gross, in fact.  He's been doing so since I was a tween.  I do not tolerate his behavior, and I avoid being at events where he is.


Here's the issue: Hortense is close to my mom.  I would love to invite Hortense to the party, for my mom's sake. I will not invite Hector because I can't trust for one minute that he won't try peering down some fifteen-year-old's dress or telling my future S-I-L just how lovely she looks in a tone that will make her want to shower with a steel brush and bleach.  I will not spend the evening running interference on his lewdness.


Those two comments really stuck out, especially the bolded. He has been making you feel gross since you were a tween. That would be what, eleven, twelve? And not just gross, I'll wager. Maybe he even made you feel unsafe. So you know exactly how your guests are going to feel.

The second thing that stuck out was that second sentence. Peering down a fifteen year old's dress. Fifteen. That means the young lady is still a minor. She might not know how to handle the situation like you can. She might not be used to Hector's ways. And you said he's been making you feel gross since you were a tween. You think you are the only tween he's done that to? There were probably more before that, and there will probably be more after. Protect them. Don't invite this this... person to what is supposed to be a celebration of your upcoming marriage.


If your mother protests, explain what you explained to us. "Mom, Hector has been saying suggestive things and making me feel uncomfortable since I was (insert age here). I am done with dealing with this. He looks down peoples dresses for cripes sake! Some of the people he does that to are minors. Shouldn't we protect them? And what about the other ladies? Don't they have a right to feel and be safe?"

I am sure other ehellions can come up with better wording, but your OP threw up red flags for me. This man looks down people's dresses, and not even the woman he does it to will not call him out on it? Something is very wrong with that.

edited to add a word.

parking my pod here. Well past time to rock the boat on this one. Would be my hill to die on too.

Still remember how creepy it was when one old family friend started talking to my breasts when I was barely a teenager. Go with your instincts on this one, OP. The fallout can't be worse than having another generation of young girls subjected to this behaviour.

Sticking another POD here and applauding Nikko-chan's choice of suggested wording!
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Venus193 on September 06, 2013, 06:09:40 AM
I'm agreeing with the two previous posts.  Emphasize to your mother that those are the only choices.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Margo on September 06, 2013, 06:54:34 AM
I agreeDon't invite Hector. Make it absolutely clear to you Mom that you do not want Hector at the party,and that if he is there, you won't be.

Lt her know exactly why, and stress that you are not prepared to tolerate his behviour to yourself and are not willing to be associated with an event where he will subject your friends and relatives to the same kind of sexual harassment  (use that term, if your mom or others try to persaude you to let him come)

Explain that you are happy for Hortense to be there and are content to let you mom make the call as to whether Hortense is invited alone, or not invited, or whether mom speaks to her privately to say that she is welcome is she comes alone.

I am also in the camp where it would affect my view of friend, if I were subjected to sexual harassment at their event, and learned that they knew that the pepetrator was likely to behave in that way. I wouldn't necessarily end a friendship over it, but it would affect how I thought of that person, and how much I felt able to trust them and trust their judgement in future.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: MindsEye on September 06, 2013, 08:56:59 AM

Oh, and FWIW, I'd personally go with not inviting either, and accepting the fallout from my Mom. In part because I don't think it's fair to deliberately set up my guests like that, and in part to set the precedent that I'm not automatically going follow her expectations when it comes to what she thinks I should do, and to establish that I am willing to rock the boat for something that is important to me.

Establishing this before you start planning a wedding, starting a life with your fiance, and possibly adding kids to the mix is very, very useful and while unpleasant at the time can save a lot of grief later.

Yes.  Begin as you mean to go on.  We say that a lot here.  And a change-in-life-status is a great time to put this into action.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: ClaireC79 on September 06, 2013, 01:28:53 PM
Their mindset is more "Obviously the socially prominent Hector should be at our party: otherwise people might gossip about his exclusion

If they all know what he is like the gossip is far more likely to be 'thanfully someone had the balls not to invite him, we could do that next time too'
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: YummyMummy66 on September 07, 2013, 11:36:04 AM
Why has no one ever called this person out on their behavior?   

I don't care who he is or where he is at.  If he is looking down anyone's blouse, especially mine, I would be telling him off and not in nice, low words either. 

When he starts in, why isn't anyone stopping him?  Your SIL, "I find that statement highly inappropriate and I am tired of dealing with your crap.  I am telling you now if it does not stop, I will pursue harrassment charges" in a voice that everyone hears.  Eveyrone needs to start telling him this. 

And if anyone catches him peering down a minor's blouse, I would so be telling him, "You do realize she is a minor?   If you don't leave her alone now, I will be calling the police".
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: gramma dishes on September 07, 2013, 12:03:27 PM

This situation is pretty complicated by my parents.  For a lot of complicated reasons to do with small town politics, my immigrant mom's social attitudes, and a teensy dash of moral cowardice, both of my parents would really, really prefer I not rock the boat with this.  Their mindset is more "Obviously the socially prominent Hector should be at our party: otherwise people might gossip about his exclusion and/or have hurt feelings." 

Hortense is more realistic about the whole thing.  If she weren't a divorce-opposing Catholic, they would've split up years earlier.  She realizes he's beyond a boor.

I read every post and I don't think anyone addressed this (bolded) statement.  How can he be "socially prominent" with virtually everyone knowing his heinous proclivities? 

I'd discuss this with my Mom, using pretty much Nikko-chan's wording, stressing that his behavior was bothering YOU personally as early as your early teens or maybe even preteens.  Your parents apparently didn't feel comfortable protecting you from this nonsense, but you aren't going to be responsible for putting other young ladies through it now. 

Your Mom ultimately has two choices.  Invite her friend sans lecherous husband, or don't invite either of them.  Inviting them as a couple is NOT an option!
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: RingTailedLemur on September 07, 2013, 12:09:23 PM
PPs are correct, I think, when they say that whatever you do someone will be upset.

I wouldn't invite either Hortense or Hector.  I would be worried that, if Hortense alone were invited, Hector might tag along.

Also, if they attend your engagement party there is a very real chance that you'll have to invite the, to your wedding too.  Do you want to spend your wedding day worrying what Hector is getting up to?
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: shhh its me on September 07, 2013, 12:59:02 PM
Why has no one ever called this person out on their behavior?   

I don't care who he is or where he is at.  If he is looking down anyone's blouse, especially mine, I would be telling him off and not in nice, low words either. 

When he starts in, why isn't anyone stopping him?  Your SIL, "I find that statement highly inappropriate and I am tired of dealing with your crap.  I am telling you now if it does not stop, I will pursue harrassment charges" in a voice that everyone hears.  Eveyrone needs to start telling him this. 

And if anyone catches him peering down a minor's blouse, I would so be telling him, "You do realize she is a minor?   If you don't leave her alone now, I will be calling the police".

Since what he said to SIL was " you look nice today."  I'm not sure I would go with this for that case.

The innuendo people can confront but I still think it has to be with " why whatever do you mean?"  people making vulgar jokes often will go right ahead and explain them.   

Staring down people dresses I'm really surprised no one has said " Stop leering at my 15 year old's breasts you perv."
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Mikayla on September 07, 2013, 04:16:49 PM
This is a random comment on the "couples rule", but I have never taken this to be unconditional.  That's because there are also etiquette guidelines about a good hostess doing everything she can to make her guests comfortable.  And I also think there's a guideline stating that anyone whose past behavior indicates they'd be disruptive or obscene can be excluded.  It's interpretation at that point, and I think the latter trumps the former.

Beyond that, my vote is invite neither.  That way, if she does decide she wants Hortense at the wedding, she could include her.  She's not trapped by the rule that all attendees at pre-wedding events must be invited to the wedding.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: nyarlathotep on September 07, 2013, 07:30:40 PM

This situation is pretty complicated by my parents.  For a lot of complicated reasons to do with small town politics, my immigrant mom's social attitudes, and a teensy dash of moral cowardice, both of my parents would really, really prefer I not rock the boat with this.  Their mindset is more "Obviously the socially prominent Hector should be at our party: otherwise people might gossip about his exclusion and/or have hurt feelings." 

Hortense is more realistic about the whole thing.  If she weren't a divorce-opposing Catholic, they would've split up years earlier.  She realizes he's beyond a boor.

I read every post and I don't think anyone addressed this (bolded) statement.  How can he be "socially prominent" with virtually everyone knowing his heinous proclivities? 

You'd be surprised what some people would let men like this get away with :(
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Iris on September 07, 2013, 09:01:29 PM

This situation is pretty complicated by my parents.  For a lot of complicated reasons to do with small town politics, my immigrant mom's social attitudes, and a teensy dash of moral cowardice, both of my parents would really, really prefer I not rock the boat with this.  Their mindset is more "Obviously the socially prominent Hector should be at our party: otherwise people might gossip about his exclusion and/or have hurt feelings." 

Hortense is more realistic about the whole thing.  If she weren't a divorce-opposing Catholic, they would've split up years earlier.  She realizes he's beyond a boor.

I read every post and I don't think anyone addressed this (bolded) statement.  How can he be "socially prominent" with virtually everyone knowing his heinous proclivities? 

You'd be surprised what some people would let men like this get away with :(

I wouldn't, but the 15 year-old thing does puzzle me. IME some sorry excuses for husbands sadly will want wives to deal with lecherous behaviour quietly or simply put up with it to avoid social embarrassment but I have never known a man who would quietly ignore someone ogling his daughter.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: LifeOnPluto on September 08, 2013, 12:31:29 AM
I'm also in the camp of not inviting either Hortense or Hector. Hopefully your mum will accept this, and not invite them behind your back or anything like that!

Otherwise, if H and H absolutely HAVE to come, I'd ask your parents to speak with Hortense about reining Hector in. They don't have to say anything overt like "Tell your husband not to perve on the underage girls!" It can be more subtle like "Some of our young female relatives will be attending this party. It's going to be a classy affair. We want everything to run smoothly." etc.

Then I'd ask a few male friends or relatives to keep an eye on Hector. The slightest sign of sleaziness, get them to kick him out.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Curly Wurly Doggie Breath on September 08, 2013, 12:35:13 AM
Put a Gibbs style marine on 'Guard/minder' duty on Hector.

Guys won't want their galls being treated to the 'special Hector attention' You should get a lot of offers  >:(
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Phoebe on September 08, 2013, 07:49:42 PM

This situation is pretty complicated by my parents.  For a lot of complicated reasons to do with small town politics, my immigrant mom's social attitudes, and a teensy dash of moral cowardice, both of my parents would really, really prefer I not rock the boat with this.  Their mindset is more "Obviously the socially prominent Hector should be at our party: otherwise people might gossip about his exclusion and/or have hurt feelings." 

Hortense is more realistic about the whole thing.  If she weren't a divorce-opposing Catholic, they would've split up years earlier.  She realizes he's beyond a boor.

I read every post and I don't think anyone addressed this (bolded) statement.  How can he be "socially prominent" with virtually everyone knowing his heinous proclivities? 

You'd be surprised what some people would let men like this get away with :(

Exactly.  You only need to turn on the news or glance at newspaper headlines to hear about dozens and dozens of examples.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Psychopoesie on September 08, 2013, 08:07:06 PM

This situation is pretty complicated by my parents.  For a lot of complicated reasons to do with small town politics, my immigrant mom's social attitudes, and a teensy dash of moral cowardice, both of my parents would really, really prefer I not rock the boat with this.  Their mindset is more "Obviously the socially prominent Hector should be at our party: otherwise people might gossip about his exclusion and/or have hurt feelings." 

Hortense is more realistic about the whole thing.  If she weren't a divorce-opposing Catholic, they would've split up years earlier.  She realizes he's beyond a boor.

I read every post and I don't think anyone addressed this (bolded) statement.  How can he be "socially prominent" with virtually everyone knowing his heinous proclivities? 

You'd be surprised what some people would let men like this get away with :(

Exactly.  You only need to turn on the news or glance at newspaper headlines to hear about dozens and dozens of examples.

Agree - so many headlines. Jimmy Savile is one socially prominent person (household name in UK) that's had a lot of press.

People get away with it because often no one wants to rock the boat and they explain away or minimise what they do see.

People like this are also really smart about who they target, when (less likely to happen when someone else is around to witness/overhear) and how. They usually don't leer at the teenager in front of a parent.

If the person has power (socially or otherwise) those they pick on may not feel able to speak up - no one would believe them or there would be repercussions for their families. Also a reason why others may not call them out on the behaviour.

Just some thoughts about motives. & not saying Hector has actually done any of what Jimmy Savile is accused of.

Edited to correct spelling of Savile.

Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Allyson on September 09, 2013, 05:31:01 PM

I wouldn't, but the 15 year-old thing does puzzle me. IME some sorry excuses for husbands sadly will want wives to deal with lecherous behaviour quietly or simply put up with it to avoid social embarrassment but I have never known a man who would quietly ignore someone ogling his daughter.

In my experience, often guys don't really see the nuances--so they'll respond with "what, he was just paying you a compliment!" or something similar. They think of 'guy who needs warning off daughter' as a 'direct threat', so a guy taking her out on a date, or someone straight up grabbing her, but will not 'see' the older guy giving her creepy looks. This isn't true for everyone, but many people still have the 'creep=molester hiding in the bushes'. Not nice Uncle Leroy or whoever.

Also very often the creepy guys will wait till the father/relatives aren't right there before they make their little comments, and the daughter will be too embarrassed to say anything, or will feel like she's making a big deal out of nothing. I know that at that age I was *way* too embarrassed to talk to a male relative about creepy guys, so I might mention it to a female older cousin or something, but not a dad.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: VorFemme on September 09, 2013, 06:01:27 PM
Ooohh - let all the women under the age of Hector and old enough to talk (say four) know that if he gives them any kind of discomfort, to ask loudly "why are you looking (down my blouse, at my backside, or anywhere else he's perving on)" so that NONE of their fathers, uncles, brothers, grandparents, nephews, sons, or whatever can miss that Hector has done something BAD. 

If it happens more than once at the party - Hortense may drag him home.  If someone's male relative doesn't have a come-to-deity comment to make to him first....

The man needs to be the one getting publically humiliated, not the young girls and young women that he's been preying on...and it does sound like he is preying on them.

Having been lucky enough to ask "what it meant" at about nine or ten, I didn't get left alone with pervy guy again (I found out some twenty years later that it was because he died three months after my questions led to telling my folks what had happened).  I just knew that if someone misbehaved like that again - I was to tell my parents and that I was NOT to go over to that house again.

What can I say - the 1960s were a lot less open about that sort of thing....
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on September 09, 2013, 07:41:53 PM
Well my uncle was just dumb or drunk enough (or both) to get caught leering at a teen girl at one of the parties my parents held.  My aunt (not the one married to him, one on the other side of the family) looked at him like "Really? That girl's young enough to be your daughter."

She then proceeded to tell other members of the family and that was the last party he attended, because that was the last one they held.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: blarg314 on September 09, 2013, 09:44:55 PM

I can definitely believe that he's managed to be a prominent member of the community who also makes young women feel icky.

As a short list for reasons how this can happen - He's in a prominent position, maybe one with power, so people don't want to jeopardize their own standing in the community by challenging him. They don't want to cause a fuss and risk break their relationship with people close to him (spouse, kids, parents). Everyone else goes along with it, so making a fuss probably won't work. He's only pervy to people who don't have the power to challenge him - like young women - so the people who do have the power to make a fuss don't notice a problem. Or, for that matter, his behaviour is seen as acceptable by the people who have the power. Of course a powerful, virile man is going to like looking at pretty young things - she should take it as a compliment.  Oh, he was drunk - he didn't really mean it.  If she didn't want the attention, why was she wearing a low cut shirt?

Take this specific case, for that matter.  The OP has said that he has been making her feel gross since about the time she hit puberty. Her parents don't sound like terrible people by any means. But Hector was still invited over and given the chance to leer and make pervy comments to her - he wasn't banned from parties, or kept away from the OP, even when she was too young to defend herself.  And her parents are likely going to get really, really upset if she says she doesn't want him at her engagement party, even though they know about his behaviour.

Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: lellah on September 09, 2013, 10:01:49 PM
Y'all want to know how someone so gross is such a big cheese?  Small town.  One big employer, and he owns the joint.  He used to be my dad's boss, and the boss of a ton of folks in our town.   People are "upper middle class" in our rural, Southern town are unlikely to rock the employment boat over a few "I like that dress on yous," no matter how foul he sounds when he says that.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Pen^2 on September 09, 2013, 10:16:52 PM
This hits very close to home for me.

I was assaulted two years ago. When DH and I told my parents we were engaged some time later, they insisted that I invite the responsible parties to the wedding. That was, I'm sure you'll understand, not at all negotiable. But, from their point of view, it would look bad (small town and all) if these people weren't there due to the close family relationship they had.

This was one of the last few straws that lead to a cut. To say the process was unpleasant would be a horrendous understatement. I had counselling for almost a year.

I understand how sticky and tense this situation must feel, and how it can be awful to accept that maybe, no matter what you do, someone will be upset. If that is how it turns out, then please just remember: this is your engagement. Of all the events in life, this is one of the few where you don't have to feel guilty about not doing something that makes you understandably uncomfortable.

Hortense understands how her husband is. Depending on how close you are to her, could you ask her in person if she'd be offended or unable to attend if you didn't invite lecherous Hector as well as her? If she was fine with it, then you'd make your parents and yourself happy.

If your relationship isn't one where this would be feasible, then don't invite them. Part of being a unit with someone else is taking what comes with it. "For better or worse" and all that, if you like. I'm sure Hortense is lovely, but you won't be able to relax during your own celebration if Hector comes along and leers or makes sexual passes at children.

Moreover: the whole point of being a good hostess is doing what is best for your guests. Inviting Hector hardly fits the bill here. It would be a far better thing, hostess-wise, to not invite someone who will upset half the guests and make disgusting, sexual comments at young girls who should never, ever be subjected to such a thing. Allowing this would not be the mark of a good hostess at all.

If somehow not inviting the couple isn't possible either, then you might have to scale back the event, sadly. Unless you feel that having Hector harass your guests is a better option, which I don't.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: lellah on September 09, 2013, 10:26:57 PM
This hits very close to home for me.

I was assaulted two years ago. When DH and I told my parents we were engaged some time later, they insisted that I invite the responsible parties to the wedding. That was, I'm sure you'll understand, not at all negotiable. But, from their point of view, it would look bad (small town and all) if these people weren't there due to the close family relationship they had.

This was one of the last few straws that lead to a cut. To say the process was unpleasant would be a horrendous understatement. I had counselling for almost a year.

I understand how sticky and tense this situation must feel, and how it can be awful to accept that maybe, no matter what you do, someone will be upset. If that is how it turns out, then please just remember: this is your engagement. Of all the events in life, this is one of the few where you don't have to feel guilty about not doing something that makes you understandably uncomfortable.

Hortense understands how her husband is. Depending on how close you are to her, could you ask her in person if she'd be offended or unable to attend if you didn't invite lecherous Hector as well as her? If she was fine with it, then you'd make your parents and yourself happy.

If your relationship isn't one where this would be feasible, then don't invite them. Part of being a unit with someone else is taking what comes with it. "For better or worse" and all that, if you like. I'm sure Hortense is lovely, but you won't be able to relax during your own celebration if Hector comes along and leers or makes sexual passes at children.

Moreover: the whole point of being a good hostess is doing what is best for your guests. Inviting Hector hardly fits the bill here. It would be a far better thing, hostess-wise, to not invite someone who will upset half the guests and make disgusting, sexual comments at young girls who should never, ever be subjected to such a thing. Allowing this would not be the mark of a good hostess at all.

If somehow not inviting the couple isn't possible either, then you might have to scale back the event, sadly. Unless you feel that having Hector harass your guests is a better option, which I don't.

I'm so, so terribly sorry you went through this.  You deserve so much better than the way you've been treated.  I hope you're in a very good, supportive, beautifully loving place now. 

Thank you for sharing this and for providing the sort of "tipping point" advice here. 

(also, thanks everyone else.)
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Danika on September 10, 2013, 12:43:05 AM
My mother has many siblings. When DH and I were planning our wedding, I decided that there were two siblings of my mother's that I did not want to invite to the wedding.

One uncle had hit his adult daughter in front of her two children. An aunt had a history of being mean and rude to me. I had witnessed her say very mean things to my cousin (also her niece) at my cousin's wedding just before the ceremony was to start.

Ironically, the best advice that I got about this was from an exboyfriend who I have remained friends with. He told me "Weddings are already very stressful times, by nature. Why add stress to it by inviting someone you don't like who will add more stress?"

This is your and your fiance's event. It's about you two. You, ultimately, choose the guest list. And if someone else is throwing/hosting the party and the money comes with strings attached, I encourage you to reject the offer of the strings/cash and not allow them to host if they're going to try to force you to have guests at an event who are going to be negative and take away from the event, rather than attend to support you.

However you go about making sure that Hector is not invited, and does not show up uninvited, is a better decision than allowing him to come.

ETA: I have never ever regretted not inviting those two siblings of my mother's. It was the beginning of my nice, shiny spine.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: VorFemme on September 10, 2013, 09:06:08 AM
Hector is the owner of the business that employs many of the town's people?  Um - so not inviting him could be Professional Darwinism if your parents aren't retired yet.....  Inviting him could cause other issues (mental, social, etc.).

That does...complicate things a bit.

Is there any time of the year when Hector goes off by himself - doctor appointment at the Mayo Clinic, convention in Las Vegas, etc. that Hortense can stay home instead and the party can be set up at that time?  Or would this be important enough for him to reschedule around the engagement party?

Doing a "women only" thing might be the only way to avoid having him there without causing social and potentially, other, issues for the OP's parents.....
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Venus193 on September 10, 2013, 09:11:48 AM
There is also the possibility that one person taking a stand could help everyone else realize acknowledge that Hector is a menace and make him an outcast.  On the chance that he owns a business that employs a lot of these people he can't fire his entire payroll.

Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: gramma dishes on September 10, 2013, 09:15:26 AM
There is also the possibility that one person taking a stand could help everyone else realize acknowledge that Hector is a menace and make him an outcast.  On the chance that he owns a business that employs a lot of these people he can't fire his entire payroll.

Actually, with the economy such as it is coupled with the fact that it's a rather small town, he could probably do exactly that.  There would be a lot of people who would never go along with rejecting him in any way because their job is too important to them and other work is simply not available. 

Even if he fired every single solitary employee, I have no doubt that a neighboring community would have people lined up around the block to fill those now vacant positions.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Venus193 on September 10, 2013, 09:22:26 AM
Before we go nuts on this kind of speculation I think we should wait for an update from lellah.  I refuse to believe that nothing can be done about someone like this.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: blarg314 on September 10, 2013, 09:46:16 PM
Before we go nuts on this kind of speculation I think we should wait for an update from lellah.  I refuse to believe that nothing can be done about someone like this.

Oh, you definitely *can* do something about people like this.

The problem is that quite often people don't really want to. The other problem is that when you stand up to someone who is used to treating people badly and getting away with it, there can be unpleasant consequences that you have to accept as part of the price of doing so.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: PastryGoddess on September 10, 2013, 09:59:31 PM
Before we go nuts on this kind of speculation I think we should wait for an update from lellah.  I refuse to believe that nothing can be done about someone like this.

Oh, you definitely *can* do something about people like this.

The problem is that quite often people don't really want to. The other problem is that when you stand up to someone who is used to treating people badly and getting away with it, there can be unpleasant consequences that you have to accept as part of the price of doing so.


And it wouldn't be OP, but her parents who would suffer the brunt of the consequences.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Maude on September 11, 2013, 12:33:24 AM
A PP suggested a "girls only" thing. An afternoon tea (high tea) would be lovely. This is not to be confused with a Bridal Shower. After an hour or so of "get-togethering" your fiancÚ makes his appearance and together you receive the congratulations of all in attendance. The male members of the family also arrive at this time closely followed by any other guests you wish to have help you celebrate.

It does make for a long afternoon /evening but it skirts the issue of Having An Engagement Party.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: TootsNYC on September 11, 2013, 11:27:05 AM
I think if you want to exclude him, you need to own it.

you need to go directly to the woman and, in person, say, "I want to invite you to this party, because you know how very much we love you. But I specifically am not going to invite your husband. I wanted to explain to you why, so you will understand. He stares at my boobs; he makes creepy, lewd comments with a tone of voice that gives me the willies and then says, 'what? i just said something ordinary!' if you challenge him. Basically, he sexually harasses every woman he comes into contact with, even if they're 15 years old. I would be a really bad hostess if I subjected my friends and relatives to this. I just can't--I've never felt safe around him, ever. Other friends and relatives have expressed this to me as well.
   Now that this is my event, I will not do that to my guests. You may not bring your husband. However, you know how very much I love you, and I would really like for you to come.
    I understand how unusual this is, however, and I know that it must strike at your sense of loyalty. I am truly sorry if this hurts you. I will certainly understand if you decide not to come. But I'd be greatly grateful if you would be able to attend."
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Danika on September 11, 2013, 01:02:07 PM
I think if you want to exclude him, you need to own it.

you need to go directly to the woman and, in person, say, "I want to invite you to this party, because you know how very much we love you. But I specifically am not going to invite your husband. I wanted to explain to you why, so you will understand. He stares at my boobs; he makes creepy, lewd comments with a tone of voice that gives me the willies and then says, 'what? i just said something ordinary!' if you challenge him. Basically, he sexually harasses every woman he comes into contact with, even if they're 15 years old. I would be a really bad hostess if I subjected my friends and relatives to this. I just can't--I've never felt safe around him, ever. Other friends and relatives have expressed this to me as well.
   Now that this is my event, I will not do that to my guests. You may not bring your husband. However, you know how very much I love you, and I would really like for you to come.
    I understand how unusual this is, however, and I know that it must strike at your sense of loyalty. I am truly sorry if this hurts you. I will certainly understand if you decide not to come. But I'd be greatly grateful if you would be able to attend."

POD. I'm in complete agreement.

A few pages back, I mentioned that I didn't invite a nasty aunt to my wedding. I don't regret that. What I do regret is that I also didn't invite her adult son (my cousin) because he lived with her. I had nothing against him. I knew he wouldn't come without her. I was afraid she'd see the invitation and try to come anyway. So I just didn't invite either of them.

Years later, I sent my cousin a long email apologizing for not inviting him and explaining to him that he was innocent and it was only because I wasn't inviting his mother.

He was entitled to know the truth and I should have told him from the beginning. I was afraid of the rejection that he wouldn't come even if I invited him. But I should have been honest with him from the get go. I was afraid to have an uncomfortable conversation. I thought it would be more subtle and more polite to not address the issue at all, but I regret that in hindsight.

Cousin and I were never close so it didn't ruin any relationship, but he shouldn't have been punished for her behavior.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: gramma dishes on September 11, 2013, 01:09:38 PM


POD. I'm in complete agreement.

A few pages back, I mentioned that I didn't invite a nasty aunt to my wedding. I don't regret that. What I do regret is that I also didn't invite her adult son (my cousin) because he lived with her. I had nothing against him. I knew he wouldn't come without her. I was afraid she'd see the invitation and try to come anyway. So I just didn't invite either of them.

Years later, I sent my cousin a long email apologizing for not inviting him and explaining to him that he was innocent and it was only because I wasn't inviting his mother.

He was entitled to know the truth and I should have told him from the beginning. I was afraid of the rejection that he wouldn't come even if I invited him. But I should have been honest with him from the get go. I was afraid to have an uncomfortable conversation. I thought it would be more subtle and more polite to not address the issue at all, but I regret that in hindsight.

Cousin and I were never close so it didn't ruin any relationship, but he shouldn't have been punished for her behavior.

But you see, in a way he really was at least partially responsible because you knew already, probably from previous experience, that if you invited him he would either not come at all or he would bring her with him.  So you actually did have good reason not to invite him, even though he wasn't the one you really were concerned about. 

ETA:  However, I do think it was nice of you to apologize.  I'm curious though.  How did he respond to your telling him you really really didn't want his mother there?
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Danika on September 11, 2013, 06:45:25 PM


POD. I'm in complete agreement.

A few pages back, I mentioned that I didn't invite a nasty aunt to my wedding. I don't regret that. What I do regret is that I also didn't invite her adult son (my cousin) because he lived with her. I had nothing against him. I knew he wouldn't come without her. I was afraid she'd see the invitation and try to come anyway. So I just didn't invite either of them.

Years later, I sent my cousin a long email apologizing for not inviting him and explaining to him that he was innocent and it was only because I wasn't inviting his mother.

He was entitled to know the truth and I should have told him from the beginning. I was afraid of the rejection that he wouldn't come even if I invited him. But I should have been honest with him from the get go. I was afraid to have an uncomfortable conversation. I thought it would be more subtle and more polite to not address the issue at all, but I regret that in hindsight.

Cousin and I were never close so it didn't ruin any relationship, but he shouldn't have been punished for her behavior.

But you see, in a way he really was at least partially responsible because you knew already, probably from previous experience, that if you invited him he would either not come at all or he would bring her with him.  So you actually did have good reason not to invite him, even though he wasn't the one you really were concerned about. 

ETA:  However, I do think it was nice of you to apologize.  I'm curious though.  How did he respond to your telling him you really really didn't want his mother there?

And, and he was a real bully to me when we were children. But I try not to hold adults responsible for how they acted as children.

He did reply to my email and said he understood, and never addressed the portion about his mother's behavior. On that side of the family, the attitude has always been "We're faaaaamily. You are always forgiven for treating someone poorly, because you're family and they have to take it." But generally, I was the doormat/scapegoat and this cousin, his mother, my mother and another cousin were the aggressors. They're not pleased about the fact that I won't allow them to treat me awfully any longer.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Phoebe on September 11, 2013, 06:55:31 PM
Before we go nuts on this kind of speculation I think we should wait for an update from lellah.  I refuse to believe that nothing can be done about someone like this.

Oh, you definitely *can* do something about people like this.

The problem is that quite often people don't really want to. The other problem is that when you stand up to someone who is used to treating people badly and getting away with it, there can be unpleasant consequences that you have to accept as part of the price of doing so.


And it wouldn't be OP, but her parents who would suffer the brunt of the consequences.

My feeling is that if the OP's parents knew about this guy's behavior and how he was treating their daughter over the years yet kept inviting him over anyway, then that's just tough beans if they get the brunt of the consequences.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: cicero on September 12, 2013, 01:24:00 AM
I think if you want to exclude him, you need to own it.

you need to go directly to the woman and, in person, say, "I want to invite you to this party, because you know how very much we love you. But I specifically am not going to invite your husband. I wanted to explain to you why, so you will understand. He stares at my boobs; he makes creepy, lewd comments with a tone of voice that gives me the willies and then says, 'what? i just said something ordinary!' if you challenge him. Basically, he sexually harasses every woman he comes into contact with, even if they're 15 years old. I would be a really bad hostess if I subjected my friends and relatives to this. I just can't--I've never felt safe around him, ever. Other friends and relatives have expressed this to me as well.
   Now that this is my event, I will not do that to my guests. You may not bring your husband. However, you know how very much I love you, and I would really like for you to come.
    I understand how unusual this is, however, and I know that it must strike at your sense of loyalty. I am truly sorry if this hurts you. I will certainly understand if you decide not to come. But I'd be greatly grateful if you would be able to attend."
I agree with toots that you need to own this.

You're getting married, you're a grown up, you need to take charge.

though i *understand* the suggestions to make a girls-only event, I don't *like it* - basically, it's enabling this creep to continue doing what he wants, and it's continuing the line of "oh that's just the way he is".  it's saying "well, we can't not invite him so we'll just have this girls-only thing so he won't expect to be invited".
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Danika on September 12, 2013, 02:21:00 AM
I think if you want to exclude him, you need to own it.

you need to go directly to the woman and, in person, say, "I want to invite you to this party, because you know how very much we love you. But I specifically am not going to invite your husband. I wanted to explain to you why, so you will understand. He stares at my boobs; he makes creepy, lewd comments with a tone of voice that gives me the willies and then says, 'what? i just said something ordinary!' if you challenge him. Basically, he sexually harasses every woman he comes into contact with, even if they're 15 years old. I would be a really bad hostess if I subjected my friends and relatives to this. I just can't--I've never felt safe around him, ever. Other friends and relatives have expressed this to me as well.
   Now that this is my event, I will not do that to my guests. You may not bring your husband. However, you know how very much I love you, and I would really like for you to come.
    I understand how unusual this is, however, and I know that it must strike at your sense of loyalty. I am truly sorry if this hurts you. I will certainly understand if you decide not to come. But I'd be greatly grateful if you would be able to attend."
I agree with toots that you need to own this.

You're getting married, you're a grown up, you need to take charge.

though i *understand* the suggestions to make a girls-only event, I don't *like it* - basically, it's enabling this creep to continue doing what he wants, and it's continuing the line of "oh that's just the way he is".  it's saying "well, we can't not invite him so we'll just have this girls-only thing so he won't expect to be invited".

And, having a girls-only event would be allowing him to control you. His sleaziness would be inadvertently dictating what kind of engagement party you wanted to have. And that excludes your fiance. Doesn't fiance have a right to have an engagement party? Finally, it only delays the inevitable. Come time to send out the wedding invitations, you'd still have to find a way to exclude Hector.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: cicero on September 12, 2013, 02:44:51 AM
I think if you want to exclude him, you need to own it.

you need to go directly to the woman and, in person, say, "I want to invite you to this party, because you know how very much we love you. But I specifically am not going to invite your husband. I wanted to explain to you why, so you will understand. He stares at my boobs; he makes creepy, lewd comments with a tone of voice that gives me the willies and then says, 'what? i just said something ordinary!' if you challenge him. Basically, he sexually harasses every woman he comes into contact with, even if they're 15 years old. I would be a really bad hostess if I subjected my friends and relatives to this. I just can't--I've never felt safe around him, ever. Other friends and relatives have expressed this to me as well.
   Now that this is my event, I will not do that to my guests. You may not bring your husband. However, you know how very much I love you, and I would really like for you to come.
    I understand how unusual this is, however, and I know that it must strike at your sense of loyalty. I am truly sorry if this hurts you. I will certainly understand if you decide not to come. But I'd be greatly grateful if you would be able to attend."
I agree with toots that you need to own this.

You're getting married, you're a grown up, you need to take charge.

though i *understand* the suggestions to make a girls-only event, I don't *like it* - basically, it's enabling this creep to continue doing what he wants, and it's continuing the line of "oh that's just the way he is".  it's saying "well, we can't not invite him so we'll just have this girls-only thing so he won't expect to be invited".

And, having a girls-only event would be allowing him to control you. His sleaziness would be inadvertently dictating what kind of engagement party you wanted to have. And that excludes your fiance. Doesn't fiance have a right to have an engagement party? Finally, it only delays the inevitable. Come time to send out the wedding invitations, you'd still have to find a way to exclude Hector.
exactly. the OP can't forget that the engagement party is but one in a series of lifetime events that Hector will expect to be/family will expect Hector to be invited to.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Pen^2 on September 12, 2013, 03:39:03 AM
POD the above sentiments.

It doesn't have to be a big production of not inviting him or anything, but yes, it needs to be not skirted around. Because there are going to be many other events (birthdays etc.) in the future as well, and they can't all be ladies only or whatever. It's impractical. There'll be a point where it's going to have to just be a straightforward case of not inviting the guy. Fortunately, once the case is made clear, then it doesn't have to be done again, and any pressuring by parents or whomever can be met with insistent bean-dipping and other strategies.

I know this hasn't been raised, but I just want to say that not wanting a sleazebag who makes you feel uncomfortable is not a SS thing to do at all. I think a lot of people fear that being insistent upon anything wedding-related makes them a bridezilla or a special snowflake automatically, but that isn't true when it's something this obviously reasonable. It's pretty clear cut here: inviting the guy will be unfair to the guests and the hosts. The guests either get leered at or are treated to the knowledge that their loved ones are being leered at (I'm assuming this guy only leers at women, so the lucky men get to watch/find out about it later), and the hosts have to own the knowledge that they created the opportunity for that to happen. I don't think I'd be able to go through with inviting any young ladies knowing that I was allowing that guy to be there and be slimy at them. That just isn't fair on the guests. So I feel it's best to start the not inviting thing now for the sake of all the other guests. It takes a big spine, though, and it makes you feel very uncomfortable, but the event and everything thereafter will be much more pleasant (at least it was in my experience).

Surround yourself whenever possible with people who love you and treat you like a person instead of an object or a pawn piece, and don't make or accept excuses for those who behave otherwise. I know my husband has become a lot happier since I started practicing this, and I hope the OP's fiance is the same way.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: aussie_chick on September 12, 2013, 04:22:15 AM
POD to the 'own it' posters.
Also I think owning it now is far easier than owning it at the time of the wedding. Forgive my lack of wedding etiquette knowledge (unmarried woman here!) but if you invite someone to the engagement party, aren't you suggesting an invite to the wedding will also be forthcoming? Therefore better to stamp out any invitation to this horrible man now than having to go through all of this again when the wedding happens.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Venus193 on September 12, 2013, 06:41:59 AM
POD to the 'own it' posters.
Also I think owning it now is far easier than owning it at the time of the wedding. Forgive my lack of wedding etiquette knowledge (unmarried woman here!) but if you invite someone to the engagement party, aren't you suggesting an invite to the wedding will also be forthcoming? Therefore better to stamp out any invitation to this horrible man now than having to go through all of this again when the wedding happens.

Absolutely.  This is the time to take a stand on this.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: doodlemor on September 12, 2013, 11:12:17 PM
Coming in late to this one, but I have been thoughtfully following it.

The more I read here, the more that I concur with those who say to "own it," and to have a conversation with Hortense.  This is absolutely the time to cut this creepy guy from your life.  If Hortense decides to be affronted, then she will just be hurting herself and limiting her social life.

Years ago when I was young and na´ve there were two different men we knew who wanted to hug me against their chests.  This never happened when my DH was around, of course.  I still feel annoyed and taken advantage of, that they each managed to do this several times for whatever cheap thrill it gave them. 

I still have great regrets that I didn't call these guys out on their behavior.  They knew exactly what they were doing, as does Horace.  You have a chance to stop some of his nonsense, and I suspect that you will regret this in later years if you don't.  If you are disgusted with him now, and I love your picture of showering with a wire brush, just think how angry you would be down the line when he says suggestive things to your teenage daughter.


PS We gave the cut direct to one of the chest hugger guys.  My mother was married to the second one, so that made the problem more difficult.  Fortunately, they moved out of state and we only saw them several times a year, and my children were always included in those visits.  That made it hard for the old goat to get me alone, and I was on my alert by then, too.  I never told my mother, because I felt that it would really hurt her feelings, and that if she confronted him he would accuse me of misinterpreting a kind gesture.  Sound familiar?
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Venus193 on September 13, 2013, 06:21:27 AM
People like Horace get away with this sort of thing because their wives and other relatives go into denial.  They can't handle the truth.  Either it frightens them too much or they fear the wrath of public opinion.

That's when somebody has to get a spine and dump the cold water on them.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: barefoot_girl on September 15, 2013, 09:51:51 AM
Why doesn't Hortense rein in Hector? She presumably knows what a perve her husband is, why isn't SHE keeping an eye on him at parties and making sure he doesn't harrass women?
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Shoo on September 15, 2013, 11:03:02 AM
My feeling is that if the OP's parents knew about this guy's behavior and how he was treating their daughter over the years yet kept inviting him over anyway, then that's just tough beans if they get the brunt of the consequences.

I agree.  They have enabled Hector, so why shouldn't they feel the consequences of doing that? 
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: sammycat on September 15, 2013, 10:48:36 PM
Why doesn't Hortense rein in Hector? She presumably knows what a perve her husband is, why isn't SHE keeping an eye on him at parties and making sure he doesn't harrass women?

Good point. 

Hortense may well be a lovely person but she is also enabling Hector in his perverted and anti-social behaviour. If she's going to stand by while he harasses people then I have little sympathy for her when there are consequences to that, eg. social invitations drying up.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Shoo on September 16, 2013, 02:26:52 PM
Why doesn't Hortense rein in Hector? She presumably knows what a perve her husband is, why isn't SHE keeping an eye on him at parties and making sure he doesn't harrass women?

Good point. 

Hortense may well be a lovely person but she is also enabling Hector in his perverted and anti-social behaviour. If she's going to stand by while he harasses people then I have little sympathy for her when there are consequences to that, eg. social invitations drying up.

Yes, absolutely agree with this.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: weeblewobble on September 20, 2013, 05:31:49 PM
This hits very close to home for me.

I was assaulted two years ago. When DH and I told my parents we were engaged some time later, they insisted that I invite the responsible parties to the wedding. That was, I'm sure you'll understand, not at all negotiable. But, from their point of view, it would look bad (small town and all) if these people weren't there due to the close family relationship they had.

This was one of the last few straws that lead to a cut. To say the process was unpleasant would be a horrendous understatement. I had counselling for almost a year.

I understand how sticky and tense this situation must feel, and how it can be awful to accept that maybe, no matter what you do, someone will be upset. If that is how it turns out, then please just remember: this is your engagement. Of all the events in life, this is one of the few where you don't have to feel guilty about not doing something that makes you understandably uncomfortable.

Hortense understands how her husband is. Depending on how close you are to her, could you ask her in person if she'd be offended or unable to attend if you didn't invite lecherous Hector as well as her? If she was fine with it, then you'd make your parents and yourself happy.

If your relationship isn't one where this would be feasible, then don't invite them. Part of being a unit with someone else is taking what comes with it. "For better or worse" and all that, if you like. I'm sure Hortense is lovely, but you won't be able to relax during your own celebration if Hector comes along and leers or makes sexual passes at children.

Moreover: the whole point of being a good hostess is doing what is best for your guests. Inviting Hector hardly fits the bill here. It would be a far better thing, hostess-wise, to not invite someone who will upset half the guests and make disgusting, sexual comments at young girls who should never, ever be subjected to such a thing. Allowing this would not be the mark of a good hostess at all.

If somehow not inviting the couple isn't possible either, then you might have to scale back the event, sadly. Unless you feel that having Hector harass your guests is a better option, which I don't.

Pen, I'm so sorry this happened to you.  Nothing you post about your parents surprises me anymore, unfortunately.  I'm sorry to delve into past trauma, but would it be OK if I asked:

1) Did you end up inviting the responsible parties to the wedding? (Did they attend?)

2) Did your parents acknowledge the assault at all or was it a case of the "yeah, buts" as in, "Yeah, they hurt you horribly, but they have to be included in one of the most important days of your life because we'll be embarrassed otherwise."
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Pen^2 on September 26, 2013, 01:07:55 PM
Pen, I'm so sorry this happened to you.  Nothing you post about your parents surprises me anymore, unfortunately.  I'm sorry to delve into past trauma, but would it be OK if I asked:

1) Did you end up inviting the responsible parties to the wedding? (Did they attend?)

2) Did your parents acknowledge the assault at all or was it a case of the "yeah, buts" as in, "Yeah, they hurt you horribly, but they have to be included in one of the most important days of your life because we'll be embarrassed otherwise."

Sorry for the late reply. And it's fine to ask. In response:

1) No. As I said, it was not up for negotiation. I am not ever again willingly spending time with someone who assaulted me and showed no remorse or gave any indication that it wouldn't happen again. We had a registry office thing, so the time and date were not made publicly available and they had security who were very helpful when we explained things to them anyway as a precaution. If unwanted people had shown up unexpectedly, there or anywhere else, we would have called the police. If someone knows you don't want anything to do with them and they actually want to change that, they don't do it by showing up uninvited and imposing themselves upon you. I'd assume the worst for safety's sake, if nothing else.

2) I was told twice, "Get over it." Once I was told, "Sweep it under the rug." I received a very unpleasant email which explained why, "Family comes first," means that despite what I did to the attacker (how dare I make someone attack me and then call the police!), I need to still do what they want because what the family wants trumps my silly notions of safety. There was never even a, "They hurt you but <justification>" because they never even mentioned that I was hurt at all, even when I first spoke to them about it. I recall, not an hour after the attack, being curled up in the foetal position crying on the floor while my father berated me for having the audacity to be upset. Not once did they ask if I was alright, or how I was doing, or anything. What my parents did hurt me a great deal more than anything else. I don't think they even realise that, even though myself and several other people made it very clear to them. Nothing was acknowledged and nothing was apologised for, unless you count the, "I'm sorry you're so stupid," I got at one point.

Safety is not something that should ever be compromised on, no matter what. There are no excuses. Not acknowledging Hector's horrendous behaviour is a disgustingly low thing to do. He's not attacking anyone (that we know of) but hitting on children is in the same category of inhuman and intolerable. I'm interested in how the OP ended up handling this. Anything worth updating, OP?
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: cicero on September 27, 2013, 07:35:01 AM
Pen, I'm so sorry this happened to you.  Nothing you post about your parents surprises me anymore, unfortunately.  I'm sorry to delve into past trauma, but would it be OK if I asked:

1) Did you end up inviting the responsible parties to the wedding? (Did they attend?)

2) Did your parents acknowledge the assault at all or was it a case of the "yeah, buts" as in, "Yeah, they hurt you horribly, but they have to be included in one of the most important days of your life because we'll be embarrassed otherwise."

Sorry for the late reply. And it's fine to ask. In response:

1) No. As I said, it was not up for negotiation. I am not ever again willingly spending time with someone who assaulted me and showed no remorse or gave any indication that it wouldn't happen again. We had a registry office thing, so the time and date were not made publicly available and they had security who were very helpful when we explained things to them anyway as a precaution. If unwanted people had shown up unexpectedly, there or anywhere else, we would have called the police. If someone knows you don't want anything to do with them and they actually want to change that, they don't do it by showing up uninvited and imposing themselves upon you. I'd assume the worst for safety's sake, if nothing else.

2) I was told twice, "Get over it." Once I was told, "Sweep it under the rug." I received a very unpleasant email which explained why, "Family comes first," means that despite what I did to the attacker (how dare I make someone attack me and then call the police!), I need to still do what they want because what the family wants trumps my silly notions of safety. There was never even a, "They hurt you but <justification>" because they never even mentioned that I was hurt at all, even when I first spoke to them about it. I recall, not an hour after the attack, being curled up in the foetal position crying on the floor while my father berated me for having the audacity to be upset. Not once did they ask if I was alright, or how I was doing, or anything. What my parents did hurt me a great deal more than anything else. I don't think they even realise that, even though myself and several other people made it very clear to them. Nothing was acknowledged and nothing was apologised for, unless you count the, "I'm sorry you're so stupid," I got at one point.

Safety is not something that should ever be compromised on, no matter what. There are no excuses. Not acknowledging Hector's horrendous behaviour is a disgustingly low thing to do. He's not attacking anyone (that we know of) but hitting on children is in the same category of inhuman and intolerable. I'm interested in how the OP ended up handling this. Anything worth updating, OP?
Pen - I am so sorry for what happened to you- the terrible assault and the horrible way you were treated by your family - that is on inexcusable.
Title: Re: Do I have to invite _him_?
Post by: Venus193 on September 27, 2013, 07:44:26 AM
This is inexcusable.  I would definitely disown relatives who had so little respect for me.