The Gray Man Topic

Discussion in 'Preparedness' started by woodsranger, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. woodsranger

    woodsranger Solitude Seeker

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    Been noticing a few threads lately on "the gray man" philosophy, so it got me to pondering the matter.

    Will we soon get to the point where "gray" screams "TACTICAL!!" more than tactical itself does? Sort of like the way fanny packs worn in the front or photo vests now scream, "CARRYING!!".

    Or is it just that the people who know what to look for are the ones who are concerned with it, and your average clueless citizen neither notices these "tells" nor cares?

    Hmmmmmmm??

    Do we worry about nothing, perhaps, or see shadows where there are none?

    Just throwing it out there because, you know...I'm kinda bored today. o_O
     
  2. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter

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    This.

    And this.
     
  3. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Just think, the ‘average’ person is average. That means that at least half of the population is below average. So, if the average person doesn’t care about fanny packs or whatever, do you think the rest will notice if you are even there? I see lots of shoes with ORANGE stripes on them, and people wearing WHITE sneakers. Smart? Gray?

    No worries, just be you.
     
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  4. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    As I said before, the masses will notice. In crowds it’s easier to blend. So it works well in cities where no one gives a about what you are doing or who you are. Go out to the burbs and if the nosy neighbor doesn’t recognize you she has the police up your butt. Just learn to recognize and avoid trouble and you’ll be better off in a shtf situation. Don’t flaunt what you have etc etc. Even this won’t help you in shtf because if you’re living you obviously have something “I” could take for myself. Someone is going to take the chance you might have 50 boxes of wheaties stashed away. If bad people see you it doesn’t matter how gray you are you can become a target.
     
  5. gila_dog

    gila_dog Supporter Supporter

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    Gray isn't literally gray. It means blending in with your surroundings. Wearing camo when there are hunters everywhere won't draw as much attention to you as wearing a suit and tie will. But don't go downtown wearing camo. A fanny pack doesn't blend in anywhere, but a small computer bag is pretty common to see.
     
  6. woodsranger

    woodsranger Solitude Seeker

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    Exactly! Just like camouflage doesn't mean wearing multicam or woodland. It means blending in to your environment, be that environment the concrete canyons of an urban city, a coniferous forest, a desert, or a field of white snow.

    What does a hawk call a brown rabbit trying to hide in a field of white snow? Dinner!
     
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  7. Harper

    Harper Supporter Supporter

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    I think that a Gray Man would adapt and morph as necessary to blend into the background.
     
  8. krflol

    krflol Tracker

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    If "gray" screams anything, you're doing it wrong. As odd as the baseline may be, the closer you are to it the less you get noticed. True in the woods as in Walmart
     
  9. S.Decker

    S.Decker Supporter Supporter

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    Does that mean I have to grow a mullet, and walk around with my buttcleavage on display?:rolleyes:
     
  10. Soilman

    Soilman Scout

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    Gray Man to me, means being "non-descript". Not wearing anything that stands out, not doing anything to attract attention. Basically being as "unnoticeable" as possible.
     
  11. M.Hatfield

    M.Hatfield Midnight Joker #42 Lifetime Supporter

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    As much as I try, I cannot ever seem to blend in very well. If I am honest, I would struggle to put extra energy for even attempting it.

    That said, I certainly understand the merits of trying to blend in. :)
     
  12. S.Decker

    S.Decker Supporter Supporter

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    That's the way I see it, as well.
     
  13. insector

    insector Supporter Supporter

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    When people ignore you in town, I suppose that may be grey. In the woods it is a different game, no?

    I want to be noticed when I have something to say or need info that will not be volunteered without me getting some attention......... so in town I am old and grey (relatively speaking). But I can still get attention when I need it without resorting to violence................

    In the woods I leave ripples in the pond when I first enter. Cant be helped. But later I become forgotten, or invisible or both. I become part of the pattern of things...........where no human is allowed to stay for long.

    So I dont mind grey in the woods, but in town I like my odd individuality and become noticed when it is called for.............

    :dblthumb:
     
  14. DixiePreparedness

    DixiePreparedness Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass I

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    Those of us who have a “signature style” in our daily clothing and appearance are definitely missing the boat in your definition.

    Wide brim hats (not ballcaps), real shirts rather than t-shirts (including those t-shirts with collars and a small strip of buttons), and real shoes/boots rather than tenners or flippy-floppers.
    Add in MAN jeans without sissy stitching, a real belt, and a lack of floofy womens hairstyles (yes, I mean the “she-man bun”)..... and nowadays we pretty much “attract attention”.

    This is why my fixed blade, pocket clip folder, and open carried pistol are NOT a big deal for me. I am attracting attention anyway.
    (Or not, since OC and knives are a more common sight here than not seeing them)

    “Gray man” is a term that is older than many forum members here.
    It just simply means, as it always has, that you don’t call any more attention to yourself than you need to.
    Examples of failing at this would be open carry of an AR pistol in walmart, or advertising your “wealth” in poor company by your appearance.
    Which in a SHTF scenario could mean your nice and clean clothing where everyone else is a bit ragged and dirty.

    Or like a “new concealed carrier” who constantly “checks his weapon”.... no matter how nonchalant or un-obvious he tries to be about it, the pats and clothing tugs WILL be noticed.


    I remember in the early 80’s, when I was working as a “(redacted)”...... a guy told me flat out he was not going to deal with me or trust me because I “looked too clean”.

    My “outfit” was the same as almost everyone else, but not as “worn” or “broken in” on me as some other clothing would have been.
    And I was also told my hair style and mustache style was a giveaway as well.
    To be honest, it was a different “style” than I usually wore, and I wasn’t real comfortable with it.
    That discomfort hung on me like a neon sign that screamed “something is not right”.... or military.... or “cop”.

    Put me in most modern “styles” of dress, and I would likely stick out like a sore thumb even in a crowd of similarly dressed people.
    Just due to discomfort and unfamiliarity.

    My point is.... you gotta be comfortable in the clothes you are wearing, even when that is different or out of style. Or when it means you can’t use a new “costume”.
    Your “clean” will give you away every time.

    I don’t subscribe to the latter of the “grey man law”.
    In the jungle, you are either prey or a predator.
    I would rather remove all doubt as to my status as APEX PREDATOR when dealing with two legged animals.

    My public message to the lesser of our society is dirt simple.....
    “The cost of messing with me is highly likely going to be steeper than what you wish to pay”.

    ..... and I like it that way.
     
  15. woodsranger

    woodsranger Solitude Seeker

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    Yep. If you can't be gray, be blaze orange!
     
  16. Cascadian

    Cascadian Guide

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    I'm just way too handsome to blend in.
     
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  17. Akela

    Akela Scout

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    What's average in one place isn't average everywhere else, so Gray here isn't Gray there.
    If I accumulated all the possible "outfits" to appear to be average and Gray everywhere, I couldn't pack it all with me in a SHTF situation anyway. :D
     
  18. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Shades of gray... :9:
     
  19. DixiePreparedness

    DixiePreparedness Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass I

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    At least 50 of them in the U.S. for sure.
    (see what I did there ???)
     
  20. OutdoorsFamilyMan

    OutdoorsFamilyMan Supporter Supporter

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    Fortunately camo patterns blend in either environment
     
  21. Akela

    Akela Scout

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    Or is it 256 Shades of Gray on the Grayscale? ;)
     
  22. MT_Fin

    MT_Fin Axe'aholic Hobbyist Supporter

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    Interesting topic..... For me, I just wear what I want and go on about my life. Some times that even includes a ball cap, tshirt, and non-real shoes....gasp.
     
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  23. Mfraser161

    Mfraser161 Scout

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    If you want to be “gray” then you need to learn what it is the people who know what to look for are looking for.
    Your clothes and your appearance can’t hide your body language and behaviour.
    Get a book called “Left of Bang” and learn what the “man” looks for. Bad guys know what to look for as well.
    Being gray doesn’t stop at what you are wearing.
     
  24. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    these are shades of gray, but if you mean grey, we have to look again.

    [​IMG]
     
  25. Black5

    Black5 Supporter Supporter

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    My boss told me this week that I had "RBF", a term I was unfamiliar with. (Look it up.)

    Her point was that my general demeanor, facial expression, and body language made me less approachable. And it was important for me to try to appear more pleasant since I was working with traumatized kids.

    The reason I bring this up is to verify that clothing by itself does not necessarily create the gray man.
    I dress very professionally. Visitors often mistake me for one of the doctors. So clothing wise I definitely blend into my surroundings. But I guess I look like a shark in sheep's clothing to the patients who don't know me.

    I guess if you can't be gray, be blaze orange! ( Where have I read that before?:rolleyes:)
     
  26. Glenn Rowe

    Glenn Rowe . Supporter

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    +1
     
  27. Toddg

    Toddg Bushsquirrel Hobbyist Supporter

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    I generally only worry about being gray when traveling overseas. In the US I AM gray....just a normal schlub.
    Overseas I just want to fly under the radar, not look like a tourist and therefore a target (more of aggressive sales than attack) I just want to experience the place and meet the people I want to meet without attracting attention.
    It’s all about being “normal” no tactical gear, no hidden handcuff keys....just not dressing or acting like a visitor. Keep the maps out of site and be discreet with photos and at all times be humble and respectful
     
  28. Cascadian

    Cascadian Guide

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    Perception is tricky. These two greys are the same.

    (Close one eye and cover the fold with your thumb.)

    dfgb.PNG
     
  29. CamoDeafie82

    CamoDeafie82 Guide

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    Wearing "5.11" pants, with obvious tactical gun belt, tucked polo, a ball cap with US flag and tactical hiking shoes, while out and about, indeed does call some attention. Been seeing a LOT of that around here, although its as much a culture as the normal farmhands and ranchers I see around...

    Optical illusion pic here, it is actually black and white; but the colored grids fool us into seeing color 015-colour-grid-optical-illusion-2.jpg
     
  30. Cascadian

    Cascadian Guide

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    Oddly, to hide, you can use bright colors that stand out.

    large_PB280307.jpg
     
  31. Beach Hiker

    Beach Hiker LNR LB 42 Supporter

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    I think so.

    That's funny. I live in Europe, and most US travelers over a certain age scream "tourist". It's almost like they're wearing a costume. Maybe it's just part of the fun for them, but they certainly don't blend in in any way.
     
  32. DixiePreparedness

    DixiePreparedness Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass I

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    If you say the word “GULLIBLE” very slowly.... it sounds like “oranges”.
     
  33. 1911srule

    1911srule Guide

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    As I waited in my car the other day for an appointment. I observed the average American scurrying about faces stuck in I phones...oblivious. If you are healthy, not obese and aware of your surroundings. Then you are far from average. Very sad...Most wear clothing that look more like pajamas. Look at their footwear, sandal's / shower shoes more often than not. Too each their own but I couldn't even pretend to be in that crowd...My cars are far from status symbols, mechanically fine but not kind on the eyes. Embarrassing to drive but save me a fortune. I don't give any value to fitting in with any crowd. No group think here, screw 'em...I'd wear a MAGA hat if it weren't for the fact it'd just get me in trouble. Too many humans with rabies nowadays...
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  34. MAD Punty

    MAD Punty Supporter Supporter

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    Really, it's pretty simple. Let's say you walk into a corner store to buy a bottle of water. You grab your water from the refrigerator, pay for it, and leave.

    When you get to the parking lot, and I ask you "How many people were in there, what did they look like, and what were they wearing?", how much of that information did you retain? (I'm definitely not in the category of people that would retain it all).

    See, most people would be able to estimate how many people were in the store, but not know. Most people would be able to answer roughly a couple of descriptions, "A young blonde girl, an older gentleman playing Kino", maybe that sort of thing. Most people could see the same people an hour later in a different place and not even realize they are the same people.

    My point is, being a "gray man" isn't doing anything special. Being the gray man is actually the norm in everyday life for most of us. Therefore, all you have to do don't screw that up! Every day you encounter hundreds of people that barely noticed you and don't remember you.

    Other than that, you just take a few extra steps that makes you harder to remember in case someone does notice you...avoid logos, pictures and words on your clothing. Wear stuff that other people wear...khaki's, blue jeans, ball caps or whatever.

    Being gray will be easier for some than for others. If you're an attractive young woman...you will be noticed. Try to look unattractive. If you're a man with long flowing locks of hair....consider cutting your hair if you need to go gray, because people notice long hair, it draws attention. That sort of thing.

    But, on the whole...if you live in the city or suburbia, you're probably already a gray man every day. I wouldn't overthink it.

    Besides...if you're going to be hauling a tactical backpack of any kind...anything that doesn't look like a book or laptop bag, or 20 Liters or less, you're not going to be grey. It doesn't matter what you do. Your "gray man" outfit will probably be more noticeable than what you are wearing right now, as you read this.

    So, yes....you're probably already a gray man...all you have to do is not screw it up.
     
  35. Toddg

    Toddg Bushsquirrel Hobbyist Supporter

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    I like this a lot!
     
  36. bluecow

    bluecow Scout

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    JMHO gray is in the early stages of a new movement/ marketing gimmmick. before that it was survivalist and later tactical. In the next few years you will see "GRAY" hats, vests, knives, key rings.............. The bottom line is real simple. "when in Rome...", be nice, dont go looking for trouble, and mind your own damn business.
     
  37. Kennebago

    Kennebago Scout

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    I think the "how you carry yourself" thing is way more important than gear. And you need to understand your limits, too... I think most people can answer pretty accurately for themselves whether or not they can blend in in a given situation. Cold, that is, without prep.

    There are things you just can't fix and have to work around. In the Deep South if I want to blend in and just get from A to B... I don't open my mouth. I'm from the North, and there's no way to conceal that if I start talking. Usually people can't pin down exactly where unless I use certain phrases or words. I say "come on" like a New Yorker and it turns out that casually using words derived from Yiddish (like schmuck, yutz or schlep) mark you right away, so I try not to use them if I think I'm going to get damnyankeed for it. Which happens.
     
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  38. Cascadian

    Cascadian Guide

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    Yes, Yiddish with a Bronx accent is probably not good Southern camo.
     
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  39. MAD Punty

    MAD Punty Supporter Supporter

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    Too bad, Yiddish has some of the best words.

    I do know from when I was in SC for a time, that southerners can't really tell the difference between a "New Yahk" accent and a "Bahst'n" accent, so at least you can lie if someone asks.
     
  40. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    Same thing. Both are acceptable spelling. ;p I dont live in jolly good england. Since the idea of being grey/gray is actually a reference to the color since gray/gray is considered a drab color choice not making a statement. Whereas dressing in black or white or more flashy colors is. Why else would they choose the name of a color to represent the idea.
     
  41. Kennebago

    Kennebago Scout

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    Technically North Jersey Italian that's been transplanted up and down the coast (and sounds that way).

    But yeah man it turns heads if I let slip. I was told by a people in the Upper South that I have a pretty generic "not Southern" accent when I worked there, but it comes out on certain things.

    Edit: And I'm not even "real Italian"! My family is mostly Dutch. My wife isn't Italian either (she's Sicilian and insists it's different... SHE gets funny looks alright).
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  42. Wasp

    Wasp DOWN IN DIXIE Supporter

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    Agree. "Grey Man" is the new "Tactical", and its already been happening for several years.

    If you have to think about blending in...you're probably not going to. It has little to do with gear in either of those respects. Which is why I joked about the gray socks. People put way to much thought into it.
     
  43. DKR

    DKR Guide

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    [​IMG]

    I guess you can always pick up the book....
     
  44. Glenn Rowe

    Glenn Rowe . Supporter

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    +1

    "Gray Man-ness" is impacted/influenced by one's clothing, accessories, etc, but is even more influenced by one's behavior. Avoid wearing, carrying or doing (or not wearing/carrying/doing) anything that may cause you to stand out or be noticed, especially if it marks you as a target!

    Here's an idea. Go to the local mall or shopping center, or a busy pedestrian intersection. Spend an hour or so just people-watching. Pay attention to what catches your eye. Next step: pretend that you're seeking an easy victim. Does that change what you notice?
     
  45. dial1911

    dial1911 Supporter Supporter

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  46. Glenn Rowe

    Glenn Rowe . Supporter

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    Ah-hem! SOME Southerners can't, but it's certainly not a universal characteristic! :D

    My turn. I wonder if you have trouble telling the difference between a Georgia ( or Mississippi, or Tennessee) accent and a South Carolina accent.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  47. bosque bob

    bosque bob Guide

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    Wear that hat
     
  48. Kennebago

    Kennebago Scout

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    Alabama
    Tennessee / Kentucky is sort of distinctive. North Carolina has neat aspects too. Guess which syllable is stressed in "Greensboro"!

    Once you get into the Deep South it depends on what level of sosaiet-tay you're talking about. Or at least what level the speaker fancies they are.
     
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  49. Glenn Rowe

    Glenn Rowe . Supporter

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    Another "Ah-hem!":D

    I wuz born and raised in Dixie. I have lived in Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, south Georgia and northwest Florida, and I have relatives in South Louisiana. Sometimes I can even tell what part of Tennessee, Mississippi or Alabama somebody's from! :cool:

    There is a unique "Old Mobile" (Alabama) accent, and in New Orleans there are at least five different accents, along with the inevitable "blends."
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
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  50. MAD Punty

    MAD Punty Supporter Supporter

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    I lived in Florence for 2 years, so not me.

    I watch @ReallyBigMonkey1 videos and I know exactly where he's from. Can't say I'm much good at the other southern states, though...or even, say, Tennessee and North Carolina.
     
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