Note, his haircut in that photo is sort of a hybrid flat. The short pomp front is arched across the forehead like some crew cuts while the flat plane extends quite far back on the crown with a visible landing strip.
The crew cut depicted on the most popular barber shop haircut chart of that era....
... is sort of opposite Unitas' flat with the short pomp front flattened across the front hairline and with the flat deck only at the front with the hair contoured over the crown.
You might be over-thinking this as far as having to wait to take time off to try a flat. Most co-workers will hardly notice the difference between your usual short crew cut and the flat top that is being considered. Will just look to many that your hair is slightly different and a little longer than usual when freshly cut, maybe because you went to a different barber. If you were going from a businessman's haircut to one of the extreme styles of flat we often see today, hn't beveled back/sides, shaved landing strip etc then that would be a different matter. The length of time to go back to the current short crew cut would depend on the length of the hair over the landing strip, which is dependent on head shape and frontal hairline, but even if shaved to the skin over the landing strip, would be no more than three weeks, since it is normally cut at 3/8" over the crown, that is assuming hair growth at the average rate of 1/8" per week. So assuming it is cut at maybe #2(1/4") over the crown, at which length a landing strip might show through, any shorter and a landing strip will show through, a week to go back to the usual short crew cut. Specifying a longer length at the landing strip may cause the barber to have to make the flat downward sloping if the length is not sufficient at the front hairline, all depends on the skull shape.
: I usually get my hair cut in a short crewcut
: (# 2 on the sides with a low taper all
: around, a #3 at the crown, lengthening to
: about 3/4" in front). I'm curious to
: try a flattop the next time I take some time
: off from my job at a (conservative) office.
: I'd want to try a flat that's short on top
: but without an excessively prominent landing
: strip, and with the sides at a similar
: length to how they're cut now, perhaps like
: the one on J Unitas shown at
: I was wondering how much time from the last
: haircut I would need to give my crewcut to
: grow out so it can be cut this way.
: Conversely, if I decide not to keep the
: flat, about how much time would need to pass
: before it can be buzzed back to the crew cut
: I have now (or something close to it
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