Local hipster, Forrest Woods, has been uncharacteristically absent this #NoShaveNovember, to the apparent dismay of his Instagram followers, one of whom reported him missing over the weekend. The search didn’t last long. Police found Woods alive and well in his apartment. “Waste of time. That’s the last time we search somebody reported missing by a Twitter follower,” complained one officer.
“Instagram, not Twitter,” his partner corrected, then added, “Boy probably just didn’t pay for his wifi this month.”
Woods disclosed to us by phone that his Instagram followers were probably concerned about his absence because of his dedicated participation in previous no-shave Novembers. “A lot of my followers only know about me because of prior years’ no-shave Novembers. I’m known to post every day to document the progress of my beard. People dig my facial hair, what can I say?” Woods explained.
So we asked him, “Why not this year?”
Woods sighed, an air of defeat in his breath, and swallowed back the tears as he confessed, “I burnt it off… my beard. I can’t show my face like this! Hairless…” This last word he uttered under his breath—a dirty word, in hipster terminology. “My beard is my most valuable asset, and now it’s gone, and who knows when it will grow back again… if ever!” Woods proceeded to lose his shit entirely as the true burden of his beardless-ness fully dawned on him. “My life is over,” he dramatically concluded, mid-interview.
“Not so fast,” we argued, “We still have more questions for you. For starters, how did you burn off your beard?” Predictably, Woods’ beard ignited after accidentally catching fire to his bow-tie whilst torching the unrefined organic cane sugar on his vegan crème brûlée. “Did your date call 911 when you went up in flames?” we asked.
We pointed out that Woods was making homemade crème brûlée, and wearing a bow-tie—rather unusual behavior for a man alone, staying in for the night. “Alone? I wouldn’t say I was alone. I mean, physically, maybe, but I was posting on insta the whole time… well, up until …the accident,” he choked back a sob. “I haven’t posted since I lost my beard. I haven’t known loneliness like this all my life. I had to disappear completely. Any account activity at all would warrant a demand for my customary morning selfie and a full-blown investigation from my fans. What would I tell them?!”
“Have you considered telling them what actually happened?” we suggested. “…#ForrestFire?”
“Not an option,” Woods asserted, resolutely.
“Suit yourself. But if you insist on disappearing, how have you been occupying all your time?”
“Mostly, I’ve just been altering old pictures enough to pass for new ones, so I can resume my online presence while I wait for my follicles to heal. I’ve also been massaging the affected area with coffee grounds and avocado oil to try to stimulate new growth.”
“Have you tried Rogaine? I hear it works wonders on premature baldness.”
“This isn’t baldness, it’s a burn…” Yes, Woods—a burn it was, indeed. Woods’ was becoming audibly frustrated with us, at this point, likely beginning to suspect we weren’t local officers following up to collect his statement for the police report, so without any further ado, we prompted Woods with our final inquiry: “We can’t help but wonder why your Instagram followers were the first to notice your disappearance. Typically, missing persons are reported by someone they’re physically close with… a coworker, friends, family, a neighbor…”
Woods paused to ponder this before responding, “I suppose I don’t see people in person frequently enough for them to notice. I live alone and work from home as a freelance writer and photographer. Rarely do my clients meet with me in person. And my family lives out of state. So, naturally…” Woods trailed off.
“We see. Perhaps you should consider having more of a physical presence in your own community, instead of confining your social life to social media,” we suggested, then added, “you know, so next time you go missing, you do it properly.”
“But I was never missing…” Woods argued.
“And if you do decide to go missing again, make sure it’s for a better reason than burning off your beard. Surely you have more to offer your followers than just your facial hair. If they can’t accept your naked face, they don’t deserve to see your photos in their feed. Find yourself some real friends who value you as a person and not just a vehicle for your beard. You should never be so ashamed of your face you refuse to show it.”