The greatest urban survival skill anyone can learn is probably how to be a Gray Man.
To build this facade, no special tools or materials are required; all you need is some simple, old-fashioned common sense paired with instinct and creativity, and you can disappear in a sea of a million people.
Do you want to learn how to become a Gray Man?
In this article, we will teach you what you need to know, from how to learn the tricks and tips to becoming ‘invisible’, to why you should consider becoming a Gray Man in the first place.
So, no more time to waste. Let’s get into it.
What Is A ‘Gray Man’?
A Gray Man (or Gray Woman) is someone who can blend in with the background and is likely to go undetected, overlooked, or disregarded.
This is an ability that you can employ to shield yourself and to circulate freely in environments that might otherwise be challenging.
It is an urban survival and stealth technique that can be performed with or without extra accessories, and can work extremely well when executed without mistakes.
You may have already applied this ability in daily life. Think about the last time you went to the grocery store and spotted your ex in the aisle next to you; how did you act?
You turned your head, pretending to pick up some fruit, and remained stagnant until they left your trail of sight. Or, perhaps you slowly turned around and began moving in the opposite direction.
Either way, at that exact moment, you became a Gray Man.
Why Should I Become A Gray Man?
One of the most important survival skills that you should learn is how to, essentially, become invisible.
While learning combat, or learning how to use a gun may be helpful in situations in which you are forced into confrontation, the odds that these situations will arise on a daily basis are fairly slim.
It is essential to learn these skills, but ultimately, these situations are unlikely to occur the very second that you enter a public space.
And, what is the best way to avoid confrontation? To act as if you don’t even exist in the first place. You can’t fight with an invisible person.
Being a Gray Man may be the only factor that keeps you from having a target placed on your back in the midst of an urban crisis, or a state of emergency.
However, don’t continue reading this article thinking that this is an easy task, and that you can quickly learn how to perform it.
Being a Gray Man, and being able to discretely enter and exit settings undetected, is a statement that only a select few have perfected.
If you can master this skill yourself, you will be saving yourself a lot of trouble in the future.
How To Become A Gray Man
If you’re having trouble understanding the idea of the Gray Man, consider how you behave when you actually don’t want to be acknowledged.
Your natural reaction would be to keep quiet and act as if you are not truly there.
Being a Gray Man is an art, as they say. You pretend to be invisible while carefully observing your environment to enhance this performance, therefore everything is an illusion.
You must be believable and discrete while deflecting attention away from yourself.
If you make a mistake, you’ll go from being a Gray Man to someone who is acting strangely in front of others.
By becoming the latter, you will, undoubtedly, draw way more attention to yourself than you would have if you had just acted normally in the first place.
Below, we have listed 8 different factors that you will need to consider when becoming a Gray Man in public spaces.
Pay close attention to these aspects, and carefully think about how you can work them into your own life.
Changing Your Appearance
Being overlooked is the secret to becoming invisible. Blending in with the crowd is, perhaps, the greatest method to go unnoticed.
You should dress like a typical member of society to fit in with the crowd. This can vary depending on where you are in the world, or even in various parts of your own country.
For instance, the attire you choose to wear to church will differ from the attire you choose to wear to work, or going to a club.
Your best bet is to stick with neutral colors, such as gray (of course), beige, and/or olive green, e.g., camouflage.
Bold colors, on the other hand, will make it impossible for anyone to hide, while tactical hues will also stand out, and may even make you appear threatening.
A casual plain t-shirt and a pair of jeans may be enough to help you blend into the crowd.
Avoid wearing hats, or any type of jewelry, as this will definitely draw attention to you, even if you think you are being subtle.
Additionally, your weight and height will come into play. There isn’t much you can do if you are 6’’0 or over, as this will typically attract attention no matter where you are.
If you are clearly overweight or underweight, this will also draw attention to yourself.
The key here, in a nutshell, is that you need to appear ordinary. If there is anything extraordinary about your appearance, you will attract attention, even if you think you’re not.
There should be nothing about your appearance that stands out from a regular crowd.
Working On Your Speed/Movement
One of the most crucial elements of your Gray Man strategies is the way that you move, and the speed in which you move.
In dangerous situations, you will need to pay great attention to, and emulate, the movements and gestures that are being made by a crowd, as well as their speech patterns, volume, and speed.
By matching their energy, you will be able to remain undetected by the public.
Learning to match your movement to the baseline is one of the most important aspects of stealth. Even though you want to attempt to get to the front of the group when there is a crowd, resist the urge.
Remind yourself frequently that you should blend in rather than speed through and attract notice.
However, you don’t want to walk too slowly, as this will also cause you to stand out from the crowd.
Make sure you are walking with purpose, as slouching or moving too sluggishly will also cause people to look at you. Take notice of those around you, and mimic.
Simply blending in with the throng by moving at their pace and in step with them is your best option. You need to act as if you belong where you are, even if you don’t.
We will touch upon speech, specifically, later on in this guide, but for now, we will discuss the noises that you make that you probably don’t even realize you are making on a daily basis.
Perhaps your shoes squeak when you walk, or you wear a coat that making a crackling sound when you move.
Small sounds like these will draw attention to yourself, even if you have become used to those sounds yourself.
If you have a cellphone, your best option is to leave it on vibrate, or even on silent mode.
If someone calls you, and a loud ringtone begins to play, everybody within earshot will immediately turn their attention towards you.
Physical quietness makes it easier to walk about unobserved. This is particularly helpful when navigating in the dark, or during the nighttime, since limited vision heightens a person’s senses.
While you are alone, take note of the sounds that you make when you move.
It could be as simple as removing some loose change from your pockets to ensure that you don’t make a single sound when you move.
Changing Your Body Language
As we briefly touched upon in the previous point, body language can be a tricky factor to perfect in a situation in which you desire to remain incognito.
You don’t want to look too confident, but you don’t want to look unconfident, either.
You should walk with a straight back; not quite keeping your head held high, but not trying to cower away, either.
If you slip into either of these accumulations, other people will pick up on your energy.
It can be difficult to work out a happy medium in this category, but it is very important that you learn how to achieve it.
Changing Your Facial Expressions
You must have subtle, covert mannerisms in order to lay below the public radar.
Maintain a low amount of energy at all times, and refrain from making exaggerated motions or facial expressions.
Even if you have a dominant type-A personality, you need to come across as reserved and distant.
Utilize your peripheral vision as much as possible and try to avoid shifting your head side to side.
Avoid making eye contact with anyone in your path, and maintain a small forward inclination of the head, almost looking down.
Becoming Highly Perceptive Of Your Surroundings
We have briefly mentioned this throughout each of the previous sections, but in order to be a Gray Man, you need to be perceptive of your surroundings in order to truly blend in.
For example, if you are in a crowd, and everybody else seems to be rushing, follow their lead. If you slow down, you will seem suspicious.
If you speed up, however, in a quiet area, authorities may view you as a threat, as it will seem as if you’re trying to get away from something.
A new street is never traversed by the Gray Man without first being closely examined. Before proceeding along a new street or block, carefully study it and proceed with extra skepticism.
Again, slow down your pace to avoid drawing attention from nearby law enforcement or potentially hazardous individuals.
By scanning your surroundings before entering a new area, you can keep an eye out for anything (or anyone) that may blow your cover, including law enforcement.
Thoroughly observe your environment, but be sure to do so covertly!
People will notice and look where you are if you start turning to look at anything in your line of sight.
They will then turn to face you after looking in vain, and either wonder what you saw, or become irate at you for having them look.
In any case, being in this situation will mean that you have a better chance of being remembered.
Try to appear nonchalant while you take in your surroundings. You can do this by making good use of your side vision.
Make eye movements instead of head movements, and utilize reflecting objects such as glass windows or storefronts that are all around you.
A good tip is to wear sunglasses to cover your eyes, but make sure that they are normal-looking sunglasses: dark-colored and typically-shaped.
Hiding Your Scent
Even though most individuals probably wouldn’t consider this, it’s nonetheless vital to bear in mind. Since scent is one of our strongest senses, it is simple to recall smells.
Things as simple as laundry detergents, cologne, and perfume can leave a persistent, recognizable aroma that will attract the attention of others, even if subliminally.
Even the food and beverages you consumed earlier in the day could still be present on your breath and clothing.
Food odors and bonfire scents in a survival environment where limited food is available can alert outsiders that you have access to food.
Similarly, when it comes to bodily odor – or, rather, lack of body odor – you may be putting yourself at risk. Being very clean in a crisis circumstance makes you appear to have resources to spare.
On the flip side, however, you don’t want to smell too bad. Particularly bad smells are noticeable in public, especially if you find yourself in the midst of a large crowd, and lots of people are in close proximity to you.
Instead, you should try to maintain a neutral, natural aroma which will throw off anyone’s scent (no pun intended).
Living In Isolation
Avoiding speaking to anyone until absolutely necessary is one of the most important tenets of being a Gray Man.
Keep it brief and straightforward if you are in a situation where you must speak, but never strike up a discussion with someone you are not already friendly with.
Learning about your surroundings, as well as the local traditions and etiquette, is the greatest method to accomplish this.
For instance, it’s courteous to apologize or excuse yourself if you accidentally brush into someone in several southern regions of the United States.
If you act differently, you risk attracting attention, offending someone, and maybe starting a fight.
If you go into a store, use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when purchasing an item, but don’t engage in small talk.
In fact, small talk is something that may cause you to slip up and spoil your Gray Man facade, as this will reveal your inner character.
Whether you are hiding from an ex-girlfriend that you’ve spotted at the supermarket, or you’ve found yourself in the midst of a state of emergency, knowing how to become a Gray Man is an extremely helpful skill to gain.
Read through each of the points made above carefully, and figure out what you can change about your current appearance and mannerisms to become a Gray Man yourself. You never know when you will need to use this guise in public.
We hope that you found this article interesting and informative.