Self-Care Tips for Strippers

Stripping requires a positive attitude and a lot of antibacterial hand gel

Antonia Crane


Illustration by Amina Maya

On Tuesday, Josh, a sheepish thirtysomething guy in a red shirt leapt over a fence and sprinted across the parking lot without paying me. It wasn’t the money that was the most distressing thing. It was the saliva his tongue had left on my face.

Josh’s full set of braces and white leather Converse set him apart from the geriatric preppy golfers nursing $4 beers at the bar. I’d seen him before and remembered he had bought quite a few dances last time so I tried my luck again. After some small talk about his hotel job, I led Josh into the lap dance area, where he kept trying to shove his tongue in my mouth. He pushed my head toward him and covered both our faces with my hair, attempting to hide the forced macking session from the security cameras above us. “You like that, don’t you,” he asked.

I jerked my head away. Kissing was against the rules. I told him so.

“How do I know you don’t have a cold?” I asked. I turned around with my back to him for the duration of the song. He laughed and grabbed my ass so hard I had to pry his fingers loose like the sticky tendrils stuck to Sigourney Weaver’s face in the movie Aliens.

“I don’t,” he said quietly.

“Don’t what?” I said.

“I’m not sick,” he said.

I could tell right away, Josh was the type of guy looking to fuck up his orderly life by collecting a couple of sweet regrets in the form of gritty strippers and Jack shots ending in a pricey DUI. I felt sorry for him for a half-second and kissed him lightly on the side of his mouth to get him to stop pressing his wet lips to my face. That’s when he licked my cheek, from my chin up to my eyeball. I cringed.

Watch an advertisement for anything from Hot Pockets to toothpaste and you see a woman’s body sliced and diced, commodified, and unwrapped.

Stripping shares common ground with other service jobs I’ve done — like cleaning houses, waiting tables, and bartending, which involves catering to and cleaning up after drunk or needy people on the clock —…



Antonia Crane

Writer, SW Forever, Professor, Cat Lady, Screenwriter, Creative Nonfiction Grand Prize Winner for PRISM International Journal, 2018;