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The reference to a “forked tongue” is a very old one and occurs in a number of cultures stretching over time as long ago as the sixteenth century and as recent as the nineteenth.

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Most scholars seem to agree that it first refers to the serpent in the Garden of Eden, who encourages Eve to pick and eat the apple in the Garden, deceiving Eve and destroying innocence.

The expression is also found in early 17th century English poetry and more famously attributed to indigenous Americans like the Iroquois and Creek.

All references boil down to one thing. You lied. You said one thing but did another or said one thing to me, but used a different story on the same subject to others.

You lied. You obfuscated. You deceived.

I point this out at this time because I find myself a little confused and a lot angry. I’m angry when I see grown men, with prestigious educations, explaining their bad behavior and/or language as “ a misunderstood joke”, misunderstood wording, or (worse) …they didn’t KNOW their behavior was unacceptable, but now that it has been clarified, they’re sorry and want to move on…

…and keep their jobs.

How is it that the vast majority of men we work with DO know it is unprofessional, unacceptable, and morally bankrupt to come on to women uninvited? The vast majority seem to understand that the work place is NO place to proposition women for sex, ask deeply personal questions, or put your hands on another person. Did these men get a memo the CEO’s, owners, mayors, governors, and presidents did not get?


Please don’t add injury to insult by mansplaining your unprofessional and unwanted behaviors. Reasonable people aren’t buying it. You’re speaking with forked tongue.

Your behaviors have been unacceptable for a very long time- this isn’t new. You’re not lacking information. You’re lacking impulse control and you have fallen under the spell of arrogance and power. “I think therefore I can” to paraphrase Descartes.

Your behavior threatens the woman’s job, her happiness in the workplace, her personal life, and her financial wellbeing. She may have to change her entire world to be rid of you while you simply move on to the next target in your sites.

If your behavior is proven and you’re outed, you should lose your job.

And to those of you giving snakes shelter- shame on you. Make a better choice. Make the choice to promote workplace atmospheres of safety, inclusiveness, and respect. If someone on your team can’t live up to that mission- do you really want them on your team?

Jenny Boone