When approaching this subject I am reminded of all the times I've met a RBS or TBS and their own views they have readily voiced about who is better than who. In crafting this post, I am tasked with explaining my own perception and what approach I would like to pass on to those who have yet to take part in this argument, or as I call it "The Beard Wars."
For those of you unfamiliar with these abbreviations. "RBS" denotes a "Real Bearded Santa" while "TBS" (or "DBS") denotes a "Traditional Bearded Santa" (or "Designer Bearded Santa"). "Real" because it is continually growing out of that Santa's chin, while "Traditional" and "Designer" because such hair pieces were used "traditionally" back in the day and the hair pieces now are specially "designed" for professional use.
Within the world of Santa representatives there are a few who like to cast stones at others simply because those others belong to one of the two groups I've mentioned.
My opinion of Santa beards has always been a firm one and it is this: If the beard does not meet certain requirements it cannot be considered a Santa beard.
Now you are asking yourselves "So, Stuart, what are your requirements?" And that brings me to the whole point of today's post.
Requirement #1 It must be a full beard
If any style of facial hair was acceptable for Santa Claus, there would be no point to this. Right off the bat we can establish that a full beard is a must. A goatee or other style of facial hair just doesn't ring the magic bell of Santa Claus. The beard must be full, start at the chin, and go all the way up near the ears. The mustache can be curled or blended, but there must be a hair above the lip and covering the chin up to the ears.
Requirement #2 There must needs be volume
There must be volume to the beard. It can't be a stringy-synthetic-carpet-looking traditional piece or scraggly whiskers that make a very thin veil-like effect. The beard must have volume to it. Whether this is fixed by styling, curling, or perhaps considering a different type of beard altogether, there must be volume in a beard.
Requirement #3 It must be white as the snow
We read in "A Visit From St. Nicholas" (also known as "The Night Before Christmas") that , "His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;" (emphasis added).
This is a much harder of a requirement to make if you have a good beard whether it's real or traditional. Yak sets yellow very easily and real beards can also become yellow or another color at the roots. It's so important to learn proper beard care to maintain that whiteness (thank heavens for blue shampoo!). If one was to smoke, that could also lead to yellowing around the mouth (as well as a not so pleasant smell for the children).
A beard that is rooted along the chin, has great volume (no matter the length of the beard, find a good volume for it), and is as white as the snow, is magical and one that Santa Claus would be proud to wear and maintain. Make yours that same caliber as well.
But that's not all. Even if you have a beard that meets the criteria, you have to continually work at it. This is so important when portraying Santa Claus. I've seen many awful traditional beards that are frizzy and unkept and real beards that are thin and scraggly, both these options don't do Santa Claus justice.
And then there are those who have better beards who simply neglect or refuse to learn more about maintaining them. They don't ship their pieces out to be restyled or they simply accept the fact that their curls are falling apart and everything looks messy. I beg you to NOT be one of those people. Learn how to whiten and maintain the whiteness of a yak set. If you have a human hair set, learn how to style and maintain or add volume to it. If you have a real beard, take care of what you have. If you have an awful traditional or real beard, get something better.
Remember, this isn't about YOU. Who cares if you can grow a beard or not? It's what in your heart that matters. If you want to be the BEST Santa Claus representative you possibly can be, you'll set any "beard growing" ego aside and make sure your beard is full and magical. Because that's just what proper Santa Claus representatives do.
I have no doubt you'll look better next season, that's a part of the wonderful yearly transformation. But if you can, get the best beard possible for the season closest to you with the budget you have. Never stop trying, never stop learning, never stop improving for the children.
When it comes to RBS v. TBS the whole argument for the sake of argument is incredibly ridiculous. Choose what works best for you to ensure you look like the best Santa you can be.
Yours as always,