Illustration by Kalah Allen

I'm a dancer at one of the top-rated and reviewed strip clubs in the city. I work incredibly hard to look good and entertain the crowd, and I'm sick as shit of people coming in and sitting at the tables for hours, blatantly watching us attempt to entertain them and never tipping us. I'm not doing this for my health. In fact, I've had bursitis in my knee, rotator cuff syndrome, a concussion, and chronic back pain. My coworkers have broken ribs, gotten staph infections, laid down in broken glass, and been sexually assaulted, drugged, stalked, and harassed too many times to track. And I get it. We chose this work, and it's our job to be here, putting on a smile, and entertaining our audience. But there is no cover charge and the drinks are strong and dirt cheap, because the idea is you should be spending all that money you saved on covers and overpriced booze ON US. We are charged money by the club and staff for our shifts. So when people sit there and watch me do a full eight-minute stage set, complete with advanced, gravity-defying pole tricks, and never bother to tip, what they're saying is: "Your skill, strength, and talent are worth me leaving my house, driving out to a club, paying for drinks, and giving you my full attention for two songs, but they aren't worth A SINGLE FUCKING DOLLAR."—Anonymous