Dressed in a three-piece suit and bowtie with a moustache double the width of his face, you might think you’ve stepped back in time when you meet Nic Sorrenson.
His 33cm English moustache is a not only a fashion statement but a commitment to his mental health.
Three and half years ago Nic was going through a marriage break up and other issues all compounded to the point where he was feeling suicidal.
He got in touch with the team at Movember and they suggested he grow the mo.
“They pretty much told me to start growing my moustache and don't stop growing it until you feel better. And that has been three years now.
“I'm thankful for that because if I didn't, I don't know where I would have been.”
As the 35-year-old chats excitedly about his mo you wouldn’t think depression and anxiety are part of his daily life.
“I use it as a daily reminder to never get as low as I did and every day it gets longer, it's a symbol for me that things are going to get better, it's just a matter of time.”
He uses his ‘stache as a talking point to share his story and the Movember cause, which is to raise money and awareness for men’s mental health, suicide prevention and prostate and testicular cancer.
“It encompasses all three major men's health problems that men generally don't talk about.
“It's always been a taboo subject for men's health even today, where everyone clams up.
“It's the same with depression and anxiety, guys generally don't talk about their feelings because they're considered as soft or being a girl’s blouse and that's one of the reasons why it gets swept under the rug.”
In the year to June 30, 654 people in New Zealand died by suicide; 471 of those were male according to the provisional suicide rate released by the Chief Coroner.
While there is a serious reason Nic grows his moustache he also has a lot of fun with it and enters beard and moustache competitions.
He is the 2019 national champion for the best moustache in the New Zealand Beard and Moustache Competition.
Nic was looking forward to competing in the world champs in Auckland next year until they were delayed by COVID-19.
They have been put back a year or two but Nic says it gives him more time to grow and perfect his mo.
The facial hair enthusiast describes the competitions as similar to a beauty pageant where contestants have to strut their stuff on stage and answer personality questions as well as generic ones like: ‘what would you do with world peace?’
“You’ve got to add a bit of humour, you've got to have a little bit of pizzazz, the way you present yourself on stage and then present yourself to the judges.”
He enjoys the fun and camaraderie the competitions bring as well as the ability to compare notes with other aficionados.
Nic’s usual English mo only takes about five minutes to style but he also experiments depending on his mood and will have it sticking straight up Salvador Dali style or in a loop on either side.
Caring for his ‘stache also requires a daily ritual of beard tonic and oil applied at night and one day a week he will leave it natural.
His advice for all those growing a mo this November is to persevere.
“You need to have patience when it comes to a moustache, you will get to that point where it gets irritating and you will want to cut it off, but you must persevere.”