August 4, 2004 -- AH, the Gotti boys: those artfully arched eyebrows, deep tans and piercing blue contact lenses. But mostly, oh - that hair.
The well-gelled manes of the three Gotti Agnello brothers - "Dapper Don'' John Gotti's grandsons - are the main attraction in "Growing Up Gotti," A&E's new reality show, where next week's plot point revolves around ... hair gel.
And it's no surprise: The goo is the glue that holds their distinctly Long Island look together - that, and the souped-up BMW's, Nextel i860 cell phones, Diesel jeans and Nike Shox.
Gel alone can't be blamed for the gravity-defying "tape up" - a look that's part Wolverine, part spike, mostly attitude and utterly Gotti.
But not exclusively Gotti.
Turns out, a steady stream of locals converge daily on Roman's Barber Shop and wireless store in Westbury, to get the same look as Victoria Gotti's boys - John, 17; Frank, 14, and Carmine, 18.
Frank and Carm - all three stop in twice a week for touch-ups - were there yesterday, in fact, piling into the old-time barber chair as Roman Yusupov spritzed, cut, thinned and gelled.
"I invented it about four years ago," Yusupov said, modestly. "The boys like it. Shaving the back and front of the hair makes it clean-cut, gives it a spikier look."
"You go to a club on Long Island and everyone looks the same, everyone has the same hairstyle," said the barber's brother, Mike Yusubov, a.k.a. Dr. Wireless (he sells cellphones on the other side of the store).
Many contend it's John Gotti's grandsons who gave the look its cachet.
"Carmine was one of the first people to get the blowout spiked haircut," said Chris Stasi, 18, a longtime pal of Carm's. Stasi's hair was spikey, too, even after a hard day of construction work.
Hard to say what the Dapper Don, who had his locks styled at Vito's barbershop in Queens, might have made of all that gel - Ice Styling Glue, at $12 a bottle.
The cut itself also costs $12, but the Gotti boys typically pony up $20 tips. Yesterday, Frank arrived in a DKNY sleeveless shirt and white Reeboks, his thick mane of hair sticking up and over a white tennis band (he took it off for the cut).
It's an outfit his dapper grandfather - who had a hankering for silk ties, handmade shoes and Brioni suits - would have disdained.
Frank sat in the chair, puckered his lips and threw the mirror a kiss while Roman put the final touches on his hair.
"It's beautiful, the show," his barber said later. "It's funny. They grew up under my eyes. They first came here five years ago, and they come two or three times a week. They're good kids. They buy hair gel, they spend money."
Yes, but what about all the fighting?
"They're kids," he shrugged.
After Carmine had his tape up - no gel - he jammed a white Yankees baseball cap on his head and growled, "My hair's a mess."
Then he slunk out.