A former panel beater has given up his career in the motor trade – to become a NAIL technician.
Burly John Short, 39, says he wanted to redress gender stereotypes after he completed training to become the first male nail painter on his home island of Jersey.
Mr Shortt, who also worked as a car sprayer, said that the two jobs were surprisingly similar.
He said: “It is basically panel beating for fingernails.
“It’s a very similar process – removing the old paint, preparing the surface and applying layers of polish – just on a much smaller scale.
“It’s also a bit more intimate because you’re sitting down and holding hands with a woman for an hour or two.
“It took me a while to get used to chatting to somebody for that long, but I’m much more comfortable these days.”
Having worked in the motor trade for several years, as a panel beater and car parts supplier, Mr Shortt said he could not help but notice that his fiancée, Sinead Shortt (he took her surname by deed poll), seemed to be happier in her job – running a hair salon and nail bar – than he was in his.
He finally took the plunge to change careers in 2014, when he embarked on a training course to become a barber, earning distinctions along the way.
But while plying his new trade at Shortt Cut & Sinead’s Nails, the hairdresser’s and nail bar run by Miss Shortt, 45, he found he was increasingly intrigued by what was happening on the other side of the shop.
He added: “I started off by helping out Sinead, who has tendonitis in her hands, by removing polish on customers’ nails to save her a job.
“I picked it up very quickly and had a real knack for it. I was surprised how much I enjoyed painting nails – even more so than cutting hair.”
Having swapped careers for an industry that is traditionally dominated by woman, John said his friends were suprised by the decision.
He added: “To be honest, they were more concerned that I was going to be spending every day working with the missus.
“But I love it. I’ve never been happier.”
Miss Shortt, who has run her business for 11 years, said that while her partner might not look like a typical beautician, he had proved to be a natural talent.
She said: “John had a very fine pencil beard w hen I met him, which is hard to maintain, so I always thought he would be good at being a barber.
“He’s done so well and he’s great at nails – the customers really like him, too.”