The nail that sticks up will be hammered down...
— Japanese proverb
— Japanese proverb
I seem to have touched off a minor firestorm by mentioning the piece in Gabe Suarez' newsletter a couple of days ago. The piece on stealth living caught my attention because when I was traveling extensively in the Third World, I considered stealth living a fundamental survival skill. It wasn't that I slavish imitated the dress and mores of wherever I was...rather I focused on being invisible. I spent time observing people and making note of what stood out to me. Then I consciously tried to eliminate those "flags."
When I'm out of the country, I still aim for that goal. When I was in Milan on business, for example, I wore conservative Italian business wear, mid-line, nothing flashy. I stepped into a conference room and all the men were dressed pretty close to how I was...perfect.
I don't apply the same rigorous standards here at home, although when I travel to someplace I haven't been, my goal is to be nondescript. If I've been there, I generally know how the "natives" dress and pack accordingly. The first time I took my Sweetie to NYC, where I used to live, she admonished me, "You could have given me a heads-up that the only acceptable color here is black." I, in black slacks and a leather jacket like every other New Yorker, apologized profusely.
I've talked and written about how my goal in concealed carry is to have nothing on me that stands out. I don't buy into everything Suarez said, but it made me think. My car doesn't have stickers on it by design — I carry guns — (although I may have to put a Fred sticker on it just to fly the flag). I do occasionally wear t-shirts with gun logos, but so does the woman at the local bakery...post-modern ironism is a wonderful thing!
I realize I'm in sort of a differet situation...as a "professional communicator," I'm not looking for my voice. Reminds me of a friend of mine who was a big proponent of dance, an enthsiasm that I as a middle-aged white guy with two left feet, did not share. "But don't you want to express yourself?" she blurted one day. I replied that I was paid to express myself, thus rendering dance to an affectation. I'm a proud member of SASS, USPSA, IDPA, the NRA and several other organizations, but I usually put the stickers on my computer instead of my car.
This goes against my other inclination to highly visible as a gun owner and shooter. I do interviews and give talks on gun rights and the shooting sports, occasionally teach and work with new people at the range, but when it comes to my home and family, less visible is better...much better!