What Got me thinking about this was some things I’ve seen recently. While practicing my situational awareness out and at work I’ve noticed a lot of people recently that stand out. Some call what I’ve seen mall ninjas but they definitely stand out. Looking at them I could tell that they probably watch too much Doomsday Preppers. The clothes they were wearing scream survivalist and in some situations I feel that would be a hindrance. Not always though, going to the range, a prepper convention but not the grocery store. So lets get down to what is a gray man and how to be unnoticed.
What is a Gray Man
No Websters definition for this term, which is probably a good thing. The basic idea is to become invisible in a crowd. For people’s eyes to slip right over you. In a crowd there are people whom stand out. Your eyes are drawn to them, the further from what is considered normal, the more noticeable they become. The gray man blends right in a crowd. Some people you will will remember from a crowd, they stand out so much, the gray man will never be remembered. Nothing about the gray man is noticeable from their attire to their manner of speech. The goal is to not draw attention to oneself.
How To be A Gray Man
The internet is full of gray man theories and strategies. I tend to get right down to business though and I’ll give you my thoughts on how to become a gray man. In some situation standing out in a crowd is a great thing. You can attract that eye of a someone or get a promotion. Standing out however also draws unwanted attention. Wearing an expensive suit and a Rolex makes you a good target of a criminal. Flashy colors, political slogans and tattoos all add to making you stand out. There are times when not standing out would be best. The best thing in my opinion to blend in is jeans and plain t shirts in darker colors, think gray, black, brown, dark green etc. A beat up pair of athletic shoes works well for shoes. Hats, ball caps, that are plain can be good, especially if you have a noticeable haircut. Before I would have suggested not to wear a paracord bracelet when trying to go unnoticed, now though they are so popular they won’t be noticed. Sunglasses stick out to me, they scream I don’t to be noticed which makes me notice them even more. Avoid anything garish for jewelry if anything is even worn. Big skull rings, giant gold necklaces and shinny watches are a no go. Add to that list chain wallets. I used to wear them for practical reasons, I’m very forgetful and lose things easy, but stopped wearing them for a million reasons. For facial hair clean shaved, trimmed beard or goatee work well. If you have a huge goatee like Scott Ian from Anthrax you will be noticed. Being aware of what your doing and whats considered normal there goes a long way. If you wear a three piece business suit to a metal concert you will stand out if you wear a ripped up jean jacket covered in patches and buttons and a spiked mowhawk to a church you be noticed. Not saying I feel it should be that way but thats just society.
Why to be a Gray Man
There are many reasons to go around unnoticed in a crowd. The Ninja were attributed with the ability to become invisible, this rumor is mostly false, they developed great skills in camouflage and blending into crowds. If you dig into the ninja history you will find out that they had to develop their gray man skills because of religious persecution from the ruling class at the time. The modern reasons to avoid drawing attention to yourself mainly comes from not becoming a target. They best way to avoid a mugging is not be a prime target. If you do not look like an easy target with a good payoff your chances of being robbed go down. Another reason is during a disaster you do not want everyone to know you are a prepper/ survivalist. If you are under the idea that you don’t care who knows and you will just shoot anyone that shows up is plain idiotic. For one they are come with a bigger force than you can handle. Secondly, personally, I would rather avoid ever having to shoot anyone if given a choice. If I can avoid that by giving off the impression that I do not have anything worth taking so the scum can go after the low hanging fruit as it were, then I’ll be happier.
But Gray is Boring!
I know many are thinking that living life like this is very bland and, frankly, gray itself. I agree with that completely and still feel that at time it is beneficial. I feel that there are times and places to be a gray man and times not to be. Going on a date would probably not be the best, if your date forgets you it’s kinda pointless. Also if your boss forget you is could be bad, or not depending on what you want. I like what firearms instructor Frank Sharpe Jr. says: “Don’t go to stupid places with stupid people and do stupid things” which is great advise. Sometimes life will choose otherwise for you though and in those times being a gray man will greatly help. If you have to go to a rough area not being noticed could help you avoid a conflict. I’m sure walking around after a disaster in full camo like a mall ninja will be a bad idea for you. So yes it is a little boring not to be able to fully express your personal taste and style. You know what is not boring though, being alive, so I will be OK with a little boring. A really good resource I found on the topic is at the Zombie Squad Forums Here.
What are your thoughts on being a gray man? How do you avoid standing out? Let me know in the comments!
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