“You would hide your bitten nails under the table” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Friday April 12, 2019
5 minutes
The Intellectual
Benny Anderson

You would hide your bitten nails under the table. That’s what you’d do. You should’ve sprung for a manicure. Can’t remember the last time you did that. One of those places called “Chic Nails” or something, with TVs on the wall and so many tiny bottles to choose from. Flushing forty bucks into the toilet, but whatever. Lots of guys like that. Groomed nails. Whatever. You look at your hands and you see your childhood, your bad haircut and your ill-fitting jeans, cuffs rolled up. You have child hands. Drove your mother crazy, how you bit your nails. She tried everything. Told you she’d give you a dollar for every week you went without biting. “It’s nasty, Viv,” she’d say. You’re nasty, Viv. Why’d you say yes to this date anyway? He probably likes fishing. He probably has a hairy neck. He probably has pepperoni nipples.

“All my friends are having babies” by Julia at the studio

Wednesday April 4, 2018
5 minutes
Overheard on the 99

All my friends are having babies and I am more concerned with how good my freaking nails look these days. It’s taken a long time to like my hands. How do you like a hand that squeezes too hard, that breaks the good mugs, that spends most of its time down the front of raggedy sweat pants? These hands have never housed nice nails. These nails have never looked this strong. Some days I couldn’t tell if it was blood underneath them or just ketchup chips. It’s all I can think about because it’s like they belong on someone else’s body. Someone else who, say, might be having a baby. I’m used to seeing chips and tears and skin peeling off where it shouldn’t. They were not the hands that held soft things and kept them soft. They didn’t know how to stay one colour when stepping out into the cold.

“I had to let her know” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday September 13, 2016
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

Marnie can’t stop biting her nails. She’s tried nail polish, hypnotherapy, herbal remedies, even putting rat poison on her fingertips (that resulted in an overnight stay at the hospital. She can’t stop biting her nails. She wakes up in the middle of the night, her hands in her mouth, and she screams. She’s with a client and the urge to bring fore-finger to mouth overwhelms her and she excuses herself to go to the bathroom and she nibbles and then cries. Marnie goes to therapy. The red headed therapist asks if she can remember when she first started. “I have no idea,” says Marnie.

“She said my mistakes made her feel confused” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday February 14, 2016
5 minutes
Dear Mr. You
Mary-Louise Parker

How to shake hands with the first ever Woman President
(who just happens to have long peach coloured fingernails and three very large rings on)

Shake her hand like she’s any other woman.
She is, in fact, an-other woman.
She too uses tampons.
She forgets to pluck a stray chin hair.
She sometimes smokes when she’s drunk.

She too wonders about frizz, and sexism, and avocado in smoothies.

Shake her hand like you mean it.
Like through your palms you’re able to transmit all of your heart’s yearnings.
Who knows?
Maybe you can.

Shake her hand and look her in the eye.
No one likes a watcher – you know the kinda person who looks at the hand their shaking.
There’s too much intimacy there,
Especially for a first meeting.

Shake her hand with power and attention to how her
particular hand wants to be shaken.
Don’t project your own desires on to her.
You’ll only learn her shake style a few shakes in.


“He leaned forward” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake on the porch

Sunday July 28, 2013 at Belly Acres
5 minutes
The Sun Also Rises
Ernest Hemingway

“He leaned forward and looked me in the eye. “If you want to roll with us,” he said, “you’re gonna have to prove yourself.” I was expecting it, I was waiting for it, actually. I already had ideas of what I’d offer to do… Strangle a cat or steal a watch or something. I didn’t expect…” Jorge paused and looked down at his hands. They were shaking. His nails were well bitten, his cuticles cracked and dry. Three of the knuckles on his right hand were bruised and bloody. “What happened?” I asked, gently. Talked to Jorge was like easing out a sliver. You couldn’t pull too fast or it would break and you’d really be up shit’s creek.

“A good vinegar is hard to find.” by Sasha at her desk

Friday, May 17, 2013
5 minutes
bon appetit magazine
February 2013 issue

“A good vinegar is actually very hard to find,” says Vera, applying face cream. “A good vinegar, in fact, is like a good man – from Italy!” She laughed her belly-laugh, like it was the funniest thing she’d ever said. I laughed too, because how could I not. Vera had lost about five inches. Osteoporosis. “Have I grown?” She’d ask, a sparkle in her eye, every Friday morning. I’d come over and I’d do her hair and nails. I’d stopped charging her three years ago. We were friends. She’d make tuna sandwiches with the crusts cut off, or egg salad with cut up sweet pickles, she’d brew a pot of strong tea, she’d dig some shortbreads out of the freezer… That was enough. Vera had been married three times and she wasn’t afraid to talk about it. She loved comparing one husband with the other, the first with the last, the second with the others. The one thing they had in common were that they were all Italian. Vera was not. Vera was vague about her own heritage. “I’m a mutt!” She’d say, winking. She was also vague about her age – “probably at least one hundred and seven,” she’d said, since the day I’d met her. She always went for a perm. And french tipped nails.