Being The Grey Man

My apologies to the ladies out there, I mean no disrespect but focusing on the male terminology. But, “the grey woman” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. The term, “the grey man,” refers to blending in and not being noticeable.

I’m not talking about wearing camo out in the woods but rather fading into the crowd wherever you are. This concept applies to survivalism in that we usually strive for a high degree of OPSEC. This includes not calling attention to yourself by wearing fatigues, carrying large packs, and displaying several weapons as you pick up a few things at Walmart.

Instead, try to look like Joe Average. Avoid bright clothing or shirts with memorable phrases, no matter how funny they may be. Ball caps are fine but again, nothing odd or unusual.

Keep the overstuffed pack in your trunk and use a messenger bag for day-to-day carrying of essentials. Polo shirts are nice anytime of the year. Cargo pants are still relatively in style so you can probably get away with the fatigue pants as long as they don’t scream “wannabe commando.”

Bear in mind where you’re headed as you get dressed in the morning. Think about what folks around you will likely be wearing and mirror that image as best you can, at least within reason. If you’ll be doing business at the local courthouse, for God’s sake at least wear pants and a clean shirt.

Avoid giving the death stare to people you happen to meet during the day, unless of course they truly deserve it. You may think you’re projecting an air of confidence with a heaping spoonful of “Don’t mess with me” when, in actuality, you look like you just stepped out of the asylum. Don’t get me wrong, that can be fun to do sometimes but if you’re attempting to blend in, you’re failing miserably if people are pulling kids out of the store aisle you just entered.

By being the grey man, you’re in a much better position to observe your surroundings and practice great situational awareness. And, if comes down to it, you can fade away without being noticed.

Published by

Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

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