The Gray Man
You will hear the team here at ASP talking about blending in to your surroundings, but what does that mean? The catch phrase that most everyone is using these days is “be the Gray Man”, so in this piece we will discuss what it takes to become the Gray Man. Remember the term Gray Man not only refers to men, but also women and children. You should teach your family members these techniques as well.
You might be thinking to yourself I can’t do this, and you are correct there are people out there who think becoming the Gray Man is very difficult, but we still want you to work on it. Think about people you know who automatically stand out because they are tall, short, fat, skinny, ugly, hot, or anything else for that matter. Why do these people stand out? They stand out because they have triggered some sort of stimuli in your brain. Something in your brain made that person stand out. It might be you think that person is a threat, a potential friend, you might want to get them in your bed, or because of your training you think that person doesn’t fit in to your current environment.
In order for you to accomplish being the Gray Man, being able to move through a bad neighborhood or any other scenario where you need to be invisible. You need to become the person that does not trigger that stimulus in other individuals that would draw attention to yourself. That is what we call the Gray Man. We want you to be invisible in order to move freely around your environment in order to complete whatever task might be ahead of you. Remember it’s not that you don’t interact with people, it’s the art of walking through a crowd, and taking all the notes you need without anyone remembering you were there. Be un-memorable, be the Gray Man.
One of the main themes you will see in the material here at ASP is that we are big proponents of situational awareness, no matter what you are doing or where you are at you should always be aware of your surroundings. Being aware means to be in a condition of heightened readiness, this heightened readiness will increase your reaction time if a dangerous situation arises. Even these split seconds can be the difference between life and death. You might remember that from the Situational Awareness Course. If you haven’t taken it, you should check it out in our course catalog along with our other courses designed by ASP.
Learning your environment is another important part about becoming the Gray Man. You will want to understand your environment’s normal conditions, so that way when something is out place you will recognize it. If you are new to an area rely on locals, as they are familiar with what is normal and what is not. Look at what they are wearing, how they are behaving, and their mannerisms. This will help you blend in, and this is one of the elements of being the Gray Man.
Once you are comfortable in your environment avoid being that load boisterous individual we all know and have seen throughout our lives. The Gray Man does not draw attention to him/her self. The Gray man goes about his business unnoticed. There are times in our lives we want to be noticed and others when we do not. Think about when you’re making a first impression. First impressions are ever lasting, right? So now we don’t want you to make any impression, don’t stand out, and don’t draw attention to yourself. Now lets talk about looking the part.
Think about the clothes you will want wear so you can look the part; wear conservative clothing blending in to the environment; do not wear identifiable items such as branded baseball caps, avoid logos on any article of clothing, remember you do not want to draw attention to yourself. Imagine you are wearing your favorite baseball teams ball cap and someone notices and approaches you when you were not in the mood for talking. Remember you want to wear clothes that no one will take note of. You not only want to blend in, you want wear things that no one notices. You want someone to say, “Yeah I don’t know what color he was wearing, what he looked like, or what he was doing” that is the Gray Man.
This applies to the entire Unites Sates of America, each region of the U.S. has its own styles and standards of dress. Think about the different friends you have and the different styles of dress each one has. In a place like Tennessee, it might be perfectly acceptable to go out of the house wearing camouflage clothing, but that would standout in Miami, San Antonio, or any other city not located in or around Tennessee. This is true in reverse, you would stand out in Nashville if you were wearing the art deco colors that would be normal in Miami. So blend in to your surroundings, dress like a local, and just be average and ordinary.
Remember in a bug out situation leaving any impression can cost you your life. Not all impressions are made with sight, in fact our strongest sense is our sense of smell. This is another important element of becoming the Gray Man. Smell is one of the senses most linked to your base memory. Think of a time when you were out somewhere not noticing any of the smells around you, then all of a sudden you get a whiff of perfume and immediately remember your high school sweetheart. This is a smell you haven’t smelled in decades, but this one whiff brought you back to a relationship long forgotten. So, as the Gray Man you should not have any memorable smell.
You must be aware of all the smells around you. Smells such as food, soap, or gun oil could alert someone to something that you have and they want. Always be aware of what you are wearing that could cause a connection to some kind of unwanted desire. This is especially true for our female preppers. The last thing you want is to draw attention to yourself because you are wearing the latest Chanel perfume. In a survival environment there will be very few gentleman around and those in power or those who perceive someone else has something they want will go after it without thinking. Women should always be aware of innuendo, movements, or physical contact. These things may put you in a situation that you were not prepared for. Remember you want to be the Gray Man as well and have people ignore you and pass by you without noticing you.
Now lets take a look at your mannerisms and other tells that might make you stand out when you are trying to move around unnoticed. Have you ever been in a situation when you watching a group of people and one of them looked away or up in a direction no one else is looking? Then you looked that direction. That’s because people naturally take notice of what others noticed. So as your trying move thru a place undetected be aware of how you are doing it. We want you to be switched on and aware of your surroundings. We just don’t want you to stand out doing it.
You know how your father always said to look a person in their eyes, well the Gray Man does not make eye contact. So this is another habit we want you to break, trying moving around keeping your eyes averted, so as not to draw attention to yourself. They say the eyes are the doorway to the soul, well in this scenario we want to keep that door closed! Make sure you do not make meaningful eye contact and this will help you move about unnoticed.
After reading this article we want you to go out and observe how people naturally react to different situations and start getting a feel how you react to what others are noticing. Then go out and practice noticing the same things without changing your mannerisms. Remember human beings are naturally curious, if they see someone paying attention to something they will want to know what is going on. This is a hard habit to break, but one you need to break. This will help you in not leaving an impression, going unnoticed, and being the Gray Man.
All this being said in a bug out or disaster scenario what might be perfectly normal for your surroundings still might get you noticed. To improve your gray man abilities, observe the way people dress and act as you go about your day – what stands out, what makes various people noticeable? This can help you hone in on the objects and behaviors that draw attention. Always maintain your security and situational awareness, as the Gray Man goes unnoticed, but not unprepared.