x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

This season, the man in red deserves a make-over

Most of us have grown up with Santa's familiar look, but the truth is not so jolly. The man from the North Pole needs a fashion overhaul.

Let's face it: it is time for Santa Claus to try something new. Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP
Let's face it: it is time for Santa Claus to try something new. Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP

Many might object to today's subject: it takes issue with one of the greatest symbols of the past 200 years. Santa! That's right. The man, the myth, the legend.

Let's be honest: St Nicholas has been riding on his achievements for far too long. It's time to shake things up and bring a new approach to the old style. It's time to welcome modernity and kick out tradition. This moment is about speaking the truth and dispensing with the lies.

And the truth is that Santa needs a makeover.

We have all grown up with the red-suited fat man, but the truth is not so jolly. The hairy guy needs to accept it's time for a change.

Personally, I blame Mrs Claus. A man who has been married for any length of time will come to rely on - even if he hasn't realised it - the careful guidance of a strong, honest woman. It is especially those married men who need to be reminded that the "same old, same old" can always use some tweaking. In Santa's case, there has been no effort to mix things up; no work to refine his in-your-face style.

The suit is too red and makes no attempt to hide his girth. When George Herman "Babe" Ruth was traded from the Boston Red Sox (I repeat, RED Sox) to the New York Yankees after the 1919 season, the owner of the Yankees, Jacob Rupert, quickly saw the need to make Ruth look not so large. Pinstripes were added to the Yankees uniform (so the legend goes) for the slendering effect it would have on the Bambino. Of course, the Babe still lived life to the fullest and even had a soft spot for children, much like Santa, but at least those around the Babe made an effort to make him look better, something Mrs Claus has failed to do. (All right, a confession: the story about Ruth and the pinstripes is not true, but it has - much like Santa - a mythical quality about it that demanded it be included for illustrative purposes.)

Santa's facial hair is also a problem. His eyebrows, I think, might be longer than Japan's former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, who seemed to take great pride in his eyebrows during his 2001 to 2006 reign. Santa needs to be told that some manscaping is allowed no matter your age. Even my father, who was born in 1938 and spent most of the 1970s turning up at his company's Christmas party wearing a Santa outfit (he really did look like the big man), has accepted - if not embraced - manscaping.

Santa's beard is also a problem. Beards should be maintained, cut, trimmed, combed, cleaned. Mrs Claus, however kind and sweet and in love with her husband she may be, needs to point out the obvious, even to her world-famous husband. None of us are too big that we cannot be told we need to improve ourselves constantly.

I guess you can't blame Santa too much, though. After all, when the people helping you are elves, he probably thinks he looks pretty good.

Michael Jabri-Pickett is the news editor at The National. Contact him at mjp@thenational.ae