flat-top adj : having a flat or flattened upper surface [syn: flat-topped]flattop
1 a closely cropped haircut; usually for men [syn: crew cut]
2 a large warship that carries planes and has a long flat deck for take-offs and landings [syn: aircraft carrier, carrier, attack aircraft carrier]
- 1959 Jerry Keller - Here Comes Summer (lyrics)
- Well school's not so bad but the summer's better / Gives me more time to see my girl / Walk through the park beneath the shiny moon / Oh when we kiss she makes my flat top curl
A flattop is a type of very short hairstyle similar to the crew cut, with the exception that the hair on the top of the head is styled to deliberately stand up (typically no more than an inch or two) and is cut to be flat, resulting in a haircut that is square in shape. It is most often worn by men and boys, particularly those in the military and law enforcement in the United States.
Because of the relative difficulty of achieving a flat surface, flattops are usually cut by licensed barbers but some cosmetologists also have the skills to cut the style. The haircut is usually done with electric clippers to cut the side and back hair to or near the scalp, and then more intricate cutting is done on the top hair to achieve a level plane. When cutting a new flattop, the top hair is usually cut to about an inch long, then blow-dried to stand up straight, and then finally cut with clippers and scissors to achieve the final look. Typically, "butch wax" is used to stiffen the front of the flattop.
Because the shape of a flattop is, by definition, not compatible with the round shape of a human head, there is often a spot on the very center of the top that is buzzed shorter to achieve a flat surface, almost to the point of being shaved. This area is called the "landing strip," because this area of the head with shorter hair resembles a grassless aviation landing area.
Because the haircut is so short and quickly grows out of its precisely-cut shape, maintenance haircuts are required every few weeks, though some flattop wearers get haircuts as often as once a week.
Types of flattopsThe flattop haircut was most prominent in America in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In recent years, flattops have enjoyed a revival. The haircut became popular among British youth, including some women, in the 1980s on the back of a revival of Rockabilly music in the first half of that decade.
There are several varieties of flattops. One of the longest types, the "Flattop DA" (Duck's Ass) was popular in the 1950s and 1960s and featured the hair of the sides of the head being longer and combed back. A similar hairstyle is the Japanese Punch perm, which is favored by old-school members of the yakuza (Japanese mafia). At the other end of the spectrum is the horseshoe flattop, in which all of the hair on the sides and back are completely shaved to the skin (called "whitewalls"), as is the "landing strip" on the top, leaving only a U-shaped ring of hair on the top of the head. The horseshoe flattop is related to the high and tight and is particularly popular with United States Marines and Army Rangers.
- See also: Hi-top fade
Famous flattop wearers
- Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)
- NBA Basketballer Patrick Ewing (New York Knicks)
- One of the most famous flattops was the one worn by Johnny Unitas, the popular NFL football quarterback of the 1950s and 1960s, and the Super Bowl III matchup between Unitas and long-haired New York Jets QB Joe Namath is seen as one of the most pivotal games in NFL history.
- Fellow Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long was also noted for his flattop in the 1980s, and still maintains the hairstyle today.
- National Basketball Association players Chris Mullin, Eric Montross, and Greg Ostertag were known for their trademark horseshoe flattops.
- Major League Baseball player Roger Maris, who broke Babe Ruth's single season home run record in 1961 while playing outfield for the New York Yankees
- Steve Timmons, a men's Olympic volleyball player from the 1980's and 1990's sported a stylized flattop, which subsequently became the trademark logo for his clothing and sportswear line Redsand.
- Professional wrestler Sting wore a bleached blonde flattop for around a decade in the NWA/WCW promotion.
- Comedian Drew Carey famously had a flattop throughout his hit sitcom, The Drew Carey Show.
- Famed Apollo Flight Director Gene Kranz wore a flattop (in addition to his trademark white vests) that, despite his years in the U.S. Air Force, caused him to be mistaken for a U.S. Marine.
- Dennis Danell , guitarist for Social Distortion briefly had a flat top in the 1980s
- Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) has worn a flattop since the early 1990s and used his haircut as a theme in his 2006 campaign as a symbolic appeal to the "everyman" voter.
- English pop mogul and TV personality Simon Cowell usually has a flat top on his bonce.
- Jim Carrey has the kind of flattop in 2000s movie Me, Myself & Irene.
- A few female celebrities, including performer Grace Jones and lesbian folksinger Phranc have also worn flattops.
- The video game character Guile from the Street Fighter series wears an "over the top" flattop.
- Video game character Duke Nukem.
- Jermaine Jackson (of The Jackson 5) sported a flattop during the controversial UK Celebrity Big Brother that aired in January 2007.
- Indonesian comedian Tukul Arwana, who became famous after he presented his 4 Mata talkshow.
- Boxing Referee/Legend Tony Weeks.
- Flattop Jones, a character in the Dick Tracy comic strip.
- Portland, Oregon retailer Tom Peterson uses his flattop as a kind of an advertising "trademark," and has had promotions in which customers could get free flattop haircuts.
- Saturday Night Live star Terry Sweeney.
- Christopher Reid a.k.a. "Kid" from the hip hop and comedy duo Kid 'n Play
- J. Jonah Jameson comic book character in the Spiderman serial.
flattop in Swedish: Helikopterplatta (frisyr)
flattop in Chinese: 平頭