Jeremy Paxman has shaved his FILF-y beard 147 days after its debut on Newsnight and, in doing so, lost the admiration of at least a third of the population. As the news broke, hundreds of spoons clattered into cereal bowls and thousands of tongues were burnt by spluttered tea.
This morning's commute was accompanied by the wails of every hipster, male model and 20-something woman in the UK, resembling a pack of wolves fleeing the set of Twilight. Even the rain paused between 8:15am and 9:25am in brief reverence for the lost hair from Paxchin.
When it returned with a vengeance, the rain dribbled down beards across the land, masking the tears shed for a brother in arms ruthlessly vanquished by the cold cruelty of a Gillette ProFusion blade. Barbers from Aberdeen to Ashford wore black armbands and maintained a dignified silence in their fine establishments, where hot steaming towels and fine badger brushes merely bristled against the pain.
The only reason I can think of for Paxman's departure from the League of Wonderfully Hairy Gentlemen is the number 147. To us, it's just the number of days since Paxbeard made its first appearance from the steamy den of Paxman's bathroom. But it's also the maximum break in snooker, a model of Alfa Romeo and its binary form contains all the binary numbers in sequence. Needless to say, it's a pretty special number and I hope Paxman is secretly pleased that someone has figured this out. It would be the perfect time to stroke Paxbeard, but alas. You killed him.
The most hairy fact about this Tuesday Tragedy is Paxman's outlandish claim that "beards are so 2013". Sorry to correct you good sir, but beards have been famous and fantastic since the dawn of time (hello, Jesus? Noah? GOD?) and have forever been a distinguished feature of the human face (apart from a couple of decades at the start of the 20th Century where everyone lost their hairless minds).
It's only a day into London Collections: Men and I have never seen so many beards in my life. At the Thomas Pink presentation last night, 60% of the models were bearded and the hairy ones were throwing the most jazzy poses. It was a glorious celebration of all things hairy and beautiful, a jubilation Paxbeard has sadly excommunicated himself from.
The culling of Paxbeard has also lost Paxman the love of the Beard Liberation Front, who nominated him for their Beard of 2013 and tweeted that Paxman had bowed to "pognophobic pressures within the BBC". See, Paxman. You're weak. By killing Paxbeard you have not only lost yourself a beautiful chin of hair but also a little bit of your soul.
If this is a New Year phase I suggest Paxman gets over it pronto and returns to cultivating a Paxchin worthy of strokes and swoons. Otherwise, I fear Newsnight is sure to lose its under-40 audience. The knuckle tattoos just aren't going to do it. They're just, like, so 2013.
Until Paxbeard makes its triumphant return - hopefully in three days, leaping out from the seductive steam of the Paxbathroom growling "I'M ALIVE!" - I'm going on shave strike. No razor will grace my skin until Paxman puts down his. Paxbeard was the only hairy anchor of the BBC and, as the national broadcaster, shouldn't they represent and support the passions of its population?
I have confidence that, come the coldest chills of winter (so any day now), Paxbeard will return, or Paxchin is going to get mighty cold and retreat into Paxman's face for warmth, no doubt sparking a new cacophony of shrieking wolves, not in despair on the commute but in horror at 10:30pm every weeknight.