For many years now (after an intervention by Wiffy and a friend that got rid of the centre parting) I have simply asked my UK barber for a number four back and sides and scissors on top. This does not translate. (The number four is a depth of cut on clippers, for those who don’t know)

For much of the rest of the world, the clipper depth is measured in millimetres, not in seemingly arbitrary units. So asking for a number four would get you pretty well a UK number one cut (which we used to call a skinhead!).

The units are only seemingly arbitrary, though: male (?) hair grows about 3mm a week, so a number one (3mm) is one week’s growth, number two (6mm) two weeks’, etc.

So my number four is a 12mm clipper cut here in HK or “Sap Yi Ho Mai”

This remarkable knowledge and facility in Cantonese still didn’t save my pate as the barber started the (correct depth) clipper cut on the front top of my head. After a “whoops” moment, he looked at me and I signed to clear the rest of my head. Wiffy couldn’t decide whether I had just come out of prison or the army. It is growing back slowly.