Friday, September 12, 2014

Notes on Preparing to Be the "Gray Woman"

The "Gray Woman" is the woman who came in, did what she needed, and went home.  No one noticed her, and certainly no one knows where she is, or where she lives.  In emergencies, being the Gray Woman benefits you, and your family.

                 There are many times in life, and most especially in local emergencies in which being unnoticed is very desirable.  This can be difficult especially for women, because so much of our time and our socialization as a collective sex, is spent on looking good enough to be noticed or even hired, and like it or not, how we look factors into whether we are remembered long enough to be hired for the jobs we would like to have.  It is decidedly switching gears for us to be considering dolling up to be nearly invisible.  Why would I want to be nearly invisible ?  Well, one of the examples I most often give, is illustrated best during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  In my region, electricity was out for everyone for two weeks.  This meant to those in rural areas, water could not be pumped either. Essential infrastructure was damaged enough or flooded sufficiently that restoration would require rebuilding, in advance of simple restoration.   We were fine as we had made provisions, but we had a pre-existing appointment in one of the cities within a days drive, in a suburban area.  We also read that our power company would be giving out packages of bottled water, and dry ice at a location just a block from our appointment.  We didn't have to have this, but I will take a package of 48 bottled Deer Park waters, and an insulated package of dry ice, if you wish to give this to me.   We arrived in our truck with a couple of family members.   Of course, our power company had not anticipated how many soccer moms with kids would appear for the limited supply of water and dry ice.  We were early enough to be fairly lucky, but just after us, the supplies were quickly gone.  We left to see women in that years new Land Rover fighting with women from the large subdivisions in western Richmond in Mercedes SUVs.    Not looking distinctive or being recognized by anyone allowed us to get in, get out, and not be pursued by anyone looking for bottled water when the Super Wal-Mart was completely out.  It was shocking to see how otherwise civilized soccer moms became desperate within only a two week period of a disruption of supplies.  Hurricane Katrina was an entirely anticipated event in this area.  Plenty of time existed to prepare well, and yet even the wealthiest people of the region, for some reason declined to do so.

Plain jeans may be appropriate if this is what women of your size and age are wearing in your area.  Wearing riding chaps however, would be unwise in most places, because it tells them you have horses, and that you might be wealthy, if you are not renting those horses.  Remember that everything from your shoes to your bag give some information about you.

               In emergencies, it makes sense to blend in.  Wear plain shoes, boots or sneakers that allow you to run, if needed.  Lock up your purse, and place a wallet in your pocket.  Wear plain jeans or plain sweats depending upon the time of year.  Look non-descript and indistinctive.  If your hair is long, tie it up. Skip the make up.  You might wish to use a ballcap, but find one which advertises absolutely nothing.  During an emergency is not the time to advertise the NRA, even if you are a life member.  If you carry a concealed weapon, then make sure it is concealed. You don't wish to be targeted during looting by someone who wants a weapon and doesn't qualify normally. Keep in mind that the trend will likely be that weapons may be becoming harder to obtain, especially for those with a domestic dispute or two, or anger or road rage issues.  They might be angry enough to want to take yours !  Dress in a seasonally appropriate fashion.  This means that if its Summer, and you have a lot of clothing on, you may be noticed more that if you are seasonally appropriately dressed, but dressed down.  On the other hand, a woman dressed in total camouflage might not play well either.   At the gun show, I could dress in camouflage and no one would care.  During hunting season in a rural area, it might fly.  If I stop at an upscale mall, it might attract some undesirable attention.  Dressing in camouflage while flying through a Connecticut airport is probably not too smart.  Just consider carefully how you are dressed.  You want to go in, complete your mission of getting batteries, food, picking up your child, or getting snow tires.   You don't want to attract the attention of police, store security, looters, robbers, or the men who come and go at the liquor store.
               Good luck out there.