BLENDING IN: A GUIDE
You walk through the door after thinking about your objective. Breathe calmly and convince yourself you are supposed to be there.
Blending in is seen as a very difficult thing to do, but in reality it really isn’t that hard if you follow a few basic rules.
As somebody who used to do Urban Exploration, I was pretty experienced when it came to wearing the right clothes to blend in, or knowing the lingo to distract or impress anyone that may get in my way. In this guide I will discuss some situations and articles of clothing that will work wonders, referencing from my own experience and the amazingly in depth book by Ninjalicious – “Access All Areas – a user’s guide to the art of urban exploration”.
Of course the art of blending in requires you to have a motive. This guide will cover blending into
- Office buildings
- University campuses
Office buildings and complexes
The first thing people will notice about you is the clothes you have on. Let’s say you are getting into an office. Immediately you think of suits, briefcases and shiny shoes. Sure this can work, but ever thought of something alternative but just as good?
Couriers who deliver packages around Cities are usually overlooked when it comes to security. Many days were spent in my Dad’s office and seeing these people who had a simple shirt, ID badge, cap and shorts get into almost any part of the building complex.
Let’s take a look at what they wear:
- The bag: Courier bags are easily available. The plainer the better. Anything distinguishing can make you easily identifiable.
- Baseball cap: Disguises your face from cameras and almost every courier wears one to stop the wind from fucking their hair up. Maybe a logo on the cap? Check eBay or the internet for such an article of clothing.
- Shorts: Stops the bottom of your trousers getting chewed up in the bike cogs. You don’t need a bike as you can just say you left it outside the office.
- Shirt: Semi-smart, natural colour.
- Jumper: If it’s cold outside and maybe have a logo on?
- Form of ID: The hardest part, but the most convincing. It may be possible to forge one through a contact that has an I.D printer, or find a fake one online. Of course, having something to display the I.D card in will help. Clip it to your top pocket or trouser pocket, casually hanging down.
- Package: Get a box, wrap it up in DHL, FedEx or whatever other packaging you can get that goes with your choice of outfit.
- Receipt: Something for the “person” to sign to say they received the package.
– The mindset.
More importantly than the look, you need the mindset. The number 1 rule about blending in is to convince yourself you belong in the target building/place. Repeat phrases like
“I belong here”, “I recognize this place” and “What reasons are there for me to not be here?”
Keep your eyes open and notice things. The way people walk, the way they compose themselves and the general feel of the place.
In an office, people will be quiet, respectable and usually well mannered. If you choose to go as a Courier then keep your eye on the goal, but make sure to have done your research. Why are you there? Who do you need to see? Do you have any names? Numbers?
Once you have entered the premises, approach the receptionist and ask for the floor you wish to go up to and the name of the person you are to deliver to. if it is possible, then bypass the reception completely, head to the lift with your parcel in hand, but make your way to the target, whatever that may be.
My favourite example of this is in the movie “Slackers” where 2 friends enter an office and impersonate the person they don’t like, ruin his future chances of working at the company and leave.
We all know what business people wear. Don’t forget the briefcase!
Learn the names of the CEO, Boss and high ranking people of the company as well as the person you are here to see if at all stopped and questioned.
Distinguishing features should be kept to a minimum. Tattoos covered up, very little or no facial hair (if things get bad then you can always shave it off in the bathroom and look a bit different!), neat and normal hair (no mohawks here), no religious wear or overt jewellery either. You just want to blend in, because you either work here or are visiting a colleague.
– The mindset.
You’re visiting a colleague, friend or business acquaintance. What is so strange about that? Keep calm and if need be, appear to rush. It is preferable to stay calm though, and if you don’t need to deal with a receptionist, then you are home free!
Everyone likes a good party! House parties are a good place to steal pretty much anything from virginities to iPods and laptops…or even booze if you are underage. Most parties don’t have a security detail on them, as they are just thrown at the weekend when the teens have a free house.
The house party with no security
What kind of party is it? More than likely one with teenagers who are desperate to get some pussy and drunk. Clothing should be smart-casual and pretty up to date. Remember, blend in! Chances are it will be a tight knit group of people, so bring a female (or male, if you’re female) along with you to seem less threatening, and if you know any names of the people at the party, mention them to add legitimacy. Maybe take a couple of beers and the party hosts will be pretty laid back about letting you come in.
– The mindset.
You know nobody, but to everyone, you know them all. Act confident, don’t get stupidly drunk and try not to attract attention to yourself.
The house party with security (referenced from Ninjalicious)
This could be either a wedding reception, upmarket gallery opening or a gathering of people with expensive cheese and wine. Whatever the occasion, know that you’re able to get in by following the following…
Dress sharply, not neglecting to shine your shoes. There are several ways to get into this establishment, and as a kitchen worker, there is a huge entrance just waiting to be exploited!
The brazen front door approach
Find a spot you can study the entry requirements from. Either in a car or across the street, but don’t get spotted. Maybe talk on a cell phone or have a smoke. If it is possible, arrive as a couple as you will seem less threatening, and eye candy impresses the bouncers. If you are flying solo, time your entrance with a group of other people who are of mixed company.
The brazen approach is to walk steadily to the entrance, with no intention of stopping and confidently say “hello again”, almost convincing yourself you were in there until you had to leave for some reason.
The smoker entrance
Keep your suit on and your shoes shiny. Make your way to where people are conglomerating to spark up, and either make small talk to get a light, or light up with your own fire source. If you have to get through security then you can either say you left something in your car, or move onto the next option.
I have worked in kitchens for 6 years now, and they are the worst place for security. As someone who works for a top British Government sector, the security is shocking.
You can either keep your suit on and walk through the kitchen, as the doors are always open due to the heat in that part of the building, or you can buy some Chef whites to blend in. Either way, not many people will bat an eyelid as they are too pissed off with the hours they are working, or concentrating too much on getting the canapes perfect. The doors are usually located at the back of the establishment, and there is always some Chef there who is having a cigarette or taking out the trash.
– The mindset.
Always convince yourself you are a legitimate guest. You are supposed to be there, after all, aren’t you? Being caught is slim, due to either the numbers of people or your skill. There are numerous ways to get in, and this is not an exhaustive list.
If you’re caught then stay calm. Unless you are trying to get into the Oscars, there is not a lot the security detail can do. If the party is a single event in one establishment, then apologise, be sincere and say the “gentleman on the door did not mention it was invite only”. By coming across as respectful, you will get a lot further and avoid a scene.
If the party is within a hotel complex and among other parties, just apologise and say you got the wrong venue. Regardless of whether they believe you or not, there isn’t a lot they can do.
Universities are havens of women, expensive books/items, good parties (see previous walkthrough), cheap booze and good vibes (mostly).
Anything goes at University. You get the girls who wear almost nothing to the guys who wear huge parka coats and have gigantic bags. Pick something mid-range. A hoodie, slack jeans, sneakers and either a courier bag or backpack. I would suggest an iPod or MP3 player but you need to keep your wits about you as campuses are crawling with CCTV and sometimes the odd undercover cop as you are not alone if you wish to infiltrate this “higher rung” of society. In your bag, carry some food, a drink, wallet (minus ID cards, as if you are stopped you can say you left it in your car/halls/at home), a book (which we will get onto in the next section) and some paper/pens. In short, blend in with the rest of the Students. Keep facial hair to a minimum and the hoodie can be useful if you need to cover your head. Maybe take a spare change of clothes in case you feel the need to “change identity”.
– The mindset.
Pick a subject you like. Think far, far back into your school years and remember a bit of Pythagoras, or a bit of work by Shakespeare, or maybe the Treaty of Versailles. If you are stopped then at least you have a reason and interest to be there. Keep a book on this subject in your bag to add legitimacy. Remember, you are a student after all. Wherever your target it, it is quite easy to get there unless you are going into restricted areas.
– Different looks which aren’t that of a Student.
The cleaner look
If you have balls, you can try this approach. Most Universities employ cleaners from a private company and they are all dressed the same. This is not recommended. if you can pull it off, then Kudos!
The window cleaner
Not many Universities have window cleaners. It is possible that if you are convincing enough, you could get away with this route. However it is not recommended either.
The maintenance guy
You guessed it. Most Universities have a dedicated maintenance team with embroidered jackets etc. You could try and be an “independent maintenance” guy, but with that comes the credential check-out, and that can cause all sorts of issues.
– In conclusion.
It is best just to dress as a Student, or maybe a businessman kind of angled-Student. If you dress formally then you may get a bit further in your quest, but the typical look is what will blend you in best, as there are literally thousands of people looking like you, passing by every minute, and nobody bats an eyelid. Take it from a Uni student!
Blending in requires patience if to be done correctly. Anything up to a week of observing the behaviour and mannerisms of people is what it can take. People behave different in Cities as opposed to Villages, or Offices as opposed to Universities. It is advised you research your target fully and extensively before embarking on this activity.
As I’m sure, many of you have read my text-file/guide on how to blend in. Well, this is the success-story of that.
It began yesterday. I’m currently sitting outside with the sun glaring on my laptop screen. FUCK OFF, SUN! Not a pair of tits of a female in sight. Pretty gash.
Anyway, I have been looking recently into Urbex. I used to love climbing through Storm Drains, up buildings and generally going where I shouldn’t be going. Alas I was younger then and so the law didn’t really take a firm stance on it, and now I am older so have to behave somewhat.
I decided to try and give my luck a go and after wandering into Town to do some bits, I went to the City Architect. Clearly labeled on the door and a hot Receptionist. I try and look respectable, but just go in anyway.
“Hello” she says. My mind races as I convince myself this question is legitimate.
“Hi there, I’m a Student from *university* and I am doing a module on the City, where I am primarily looking at drainage and sanitation systems, I wondered if you would know where I may be able to look at a map of the drains and sewage systems in the City?”
She looked at me for a second and muttered about somebody in the next room.
“I’ll just ask my colleague”, she said. “Wait here” and she trotted off.
I stood there and was trying desperately to think of the stuff I did learn in my brief piece of work Last year on the City history. Right then another female walked past in stockings and a short, plaid skirt. “I like this place!”, I thought.
A few minutes passed and the Receptionist returned
“We don’t really deal with the sub-terranian construction, but if you go to the Council offices on *so and so street* they can help you further”, I thanked her and headed there.
On the way I began to think just how easily people are when faced with an official-looking story. I had no ID, I looked like shit but got by on my suave talk.
Whilst walking to the Council offices I googled the history of my City to find a few notable names in case they asked me anything further. I could have also spoken to anyone in a local Museum. 3 minutes later and lots of faggot Student panhandlers after, I was there.
I headed straight to the desk and once again said the same story of “I’m a Student at…” and “I am studying…”, and the man behind the desk took my surname (not faked as that can just cause all sorts of hassle, but feel free if you have a good memory and no ID on you). He called a person who worked in the sanitation and drainage department and told me to take a seat. I helped myself to a free drink and waited for a minute, reaffirming to myself that this was all legit etc. You have to in these circumstances. One slip-up and fuck knows what they will do, not least in a big City.
An older man appeared from the door behind me and said my name. I greeted him and he asked specifically what I was looking for. I told him I was looking for information on Storm Drains, large sewers and other underground waterways from the 1800s to modern-day.
I didn’t expect much and wasn’t expecting a miracle, but he led me to his office in the depths of the Council offices, and we made small talk along the way. As I sat down in his workspace he pulled up maps of how the underground waterways have changed over time. I asked for a specific area “as I am giving a presentation on this” and would like to have a sample piece of map.
He began to show me all parts of the City and where the most obvious and lesser-known access points were. I maintained my persona of “Student” and before long I had him offer me maps that I could have. That was my main goal, as my memory is like a sieve.
We printed off a sample area of the City which showed 3 access points and he even told me about how to access high-profile people’s gardens through the underground tunnel network.
He handed me the map and gave me a drink as it was a blisteringly hot day. We said our goodbyes and I thanked him for his help. On the way home I dropped in at the Architects place and thanked the Receptionist for the pointer. Building bridges.
“If ever you want any more information or maps, feel free to come back at any time!” the guy at the Council said.
So, time to get exploring. Might have to wear some Hi-Viz or whatever to pass as an official “drain person”.
v 2.0 (9/4/2011)