Written by Stephanie Kleanthous

Illustration by Laura Buckell

It says it in the name

I must be hospitable

Stuck in this game

And it’s fucking abysmal

On minimum wage

The tips are critical

The floor is my stage

My apron: pitiful

‘We come here for the girls’, he says

Ogles me and signals

I take his order, enraged

With no place to get political

He wants me to engage

But he makes this job dismal.

Am I expected to rejoice

When told ‘good girl’ explicitly?

‘Does your number come with the bill’, he toys

I laugh at his delivery

I pretend he’s just noise

And continue my complicity

I must maintain my poise

Ignoring this toxicity

I’m left with the choice:

A tip or my dignity

Silence my voice

Or call out his bigotry

But the words my mouth enjoys

Don’t pay the bills sufficiently.

Stephanie has recently completed an English degree and is now focusing on reciting spoken word over tracks she co-produces. She enjoys writing scripts and short stories as well as discussing issues related to mental health, underrepresented voices and feminism.

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