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