I recently moved to Miami (like twelve days ago) and have had pretty mild culture shock. It’s a different world down here. If you’ve ever been in Miami more than a week, you’ll know this to be true. The weather, roads, drivers, laws, culture, gun laws, architecture, language, social life, social standards, food, flora and fauna, and just about everything else is completely different from what I’m used to.
Nobody has garages, all the houses are concrete, people are really superficial, appointments don’t mean anything, food is incredible, the roads are flawless and smooth (though Floridians claim they aren’t — they should check out the pothole action in the north), there are lizards everywhere, fruit trees are all over the place, nothing is centralized; there is a town center-type main strip thing in every big neighborhood (and there are a bunch of those), there is absolutely no concrete jungle here like you find in Chicago or New York, the women are beautiful, you could run into an Instagram model or a real model at the grocery store, the grocery is called Publix, not Pick N Save, and there are only three Whole Foods for all of South Florida. You could visit a new gun range/shop every week and not run out for a while, every car has tinted windows, and you can wear whatever you want and no one will look twice.
Anyway, I’m in a new environment and have to adapt to blend in to make my concealed carry valuable and keep myself from drawing attention — putting a target on my back. This might be a challenge because this is a very different place.
To blend in in public requires acting, looking, smelling, talking, and dressing like the average (maybe a little less flashy though…) person of the same demographic in that place. The most important thing is observation, collecting enough relevant data to take proper action.
LOOK: Hair isn’t a concern; my high skin fade fits in for Puerto Ricans everywhere, but I’m going to have the barber line up my beard instead of letting it get ratty. I’ll keep my nails clean and short like always. My tan isn’t robust and full, like a native Miamian, but that’ll improve with time. We’ll put smell in here too: Miami dudes go out and wear noticeable cologne. Doesn’t have to be overwhelming, like the rich Arab dudes, but I’ll have to smell nice and look my best whenever I leave the house. Have to go to Nordstrom and ask the scent girls for help.
DRESS: Wardrobe is going to be the biggest hurdle for me since I really love my skinny jeans, button-downs, and Chucks, but Miami doesn’t do that skater-chic, unfortunately. I also noticed that I don’t have shiny enough dress shoes, any loafers, or sunglasses. I’ve been keeping tabs on what people my age wear and where they wear it. Going to have to spend a little money on some new clothes to blend in a little better. I never change my watch, so that’ll remain the same.
BEHAVIOR: This is important, but only in the zoomed-out kind of way. I can still be myself and interact with people like I always have, but I’ve got to learn to cross the street, look at stuff at the store, check out, park, walk, wave, etc. like a Miami. Body language is important.
LANGUAGE: Speech is much different down here, depending on who’s talking. Lots of Cubans and hillbillies. My northern accent (also known as proper English) stands out. I need to brush up on my Spanish as well. I’m sure there is slang that I’m missing, but for the time being, putting a little Puerto Rican whine on should cover me.
PRACTICAL APPLICATION: All these things help me blend into the culture of the place. To retain the tactical advantage if, gods forbid, I ever have to defend myself or others from the perceived threat of great bodily injury or death. Also, this isn’t meant to be comprehensive, but a tool to get you thinking. Whether a weekend trip, or a move across the country, these are things to consider to keep yourself from becoming a target. The crime here in Miami is of a different type than I’m used to, so I won’t be taking any of my lazy days off of concealed carry. At least the revolver and a knife will be on me everywhere I go.