1. Mitch4 nailed the shoe @1, but the joke works best if the reader is aware of the British usage of “flat” = “apartment”.
    P.S. I remember reading a children’s book by a British author in fourth or fifth grade: I had no idea what “flat” or “plasticine” were supposed to mean, and the dictionary I had at the time was no help, either.

  2. I dunno, maybe Kilby and I were slipping into non-essential explication; but I thought the thrust was more one of enjoying rolling around in the ¡ʎO

  3. This one’s cute. The cartoonist did a good job of getting the pun to work in comic form.

  4. Not just British usage. Plenty of use of the term ‘flat’ here in Chicago and other major cities.

  5. As in the old joke, “She insulted my apartment so I knocked her flat.”

  6. Good point, Folly. (And troublesome joke, Mark!)
    I think I hear it more commonly in descriptions of a building, like “The house was a typical six-flat.” More often that than anyone referring simply to one apartment as a flat, hence not so much “Why don’t you all just come by my flat Saturday evening before we go out?”.
    I’m curious whether “flat-mates” (or “flatmates”) is catching on in the U.S. It seems to fill a gap between “room-mate” and “house-mate” which start to feel bounded by technical correctness. That is, if you’re in a dorm and literally sharing a single room, or sharing a bedroom within a suite, then you are indeed literally room-mates; and when you move to a cooperative-housing situation with somewhere around six or a dozen people sharing a standalone house, you become “house-mates”. [Though maybe also within an institutional housing system that has named Houses.]
    Not that “roommate” and “housemate” are only used in that literal way. But I sense a reluctance, and think I see people roping-in “flat-mate” for the missing range.

  7. I have heard flat used here in the US – though I am guessing in movies and/or on TV as few people I know live in flats/apartments/rooming houses etc. – but I definitely know what they are. Flat mates I only have only heard on British, maybe Canadian, Australian, New Zealand TV or the like.

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