Here’s an exercise which is very easy and can be done with very little preparation or formality. It will give you "flight hours" if you are new, and it will give you good feedback regarding your presentation and ability to blend in everyday circumstances.
You can either do this prior to DLV, or in your free time at DLV with one or more partners.
- Pick an observer. Somebody who will follow you, critique you, and observe any reactions of the general public. Your observer should be dressed in a very inconspicuous manner. You do not want your observer to attract attention.
- Pick a place, such as a shopping mall, well-traveled urban street, etc., any place where the general public appears.
- Both you and your observer should be awake, alert, and yes, sober. Yes, it’s common to have a few drinks to take the edge off of one of those early public encounters, but this is one situation where you will want to be as close to reality as possible.
- Perform a "control observation", in your normal (usually boymode) mode. This is to acquaint you and your observer with how much attention from the public is normal for that time, place, and set of circumstances.
Be sure to wear nothing or carry nothing that would draw attention. For example, t-shirts with messages on them will draw attention, so will large packages or packages with logos or brand names prominently displayed.
Traverse the area for at least 20-30 minutes or so. Observe others but do not stare or actively pursue eye contact.
Have your observer follow you at about 30 paces (100′ or so) behind.
Pay attention to how many people look your way, make or attempt to make eye contact, follow you with their eyes, etc. to get a feel on how much attention and eye contact is normal for those circumstances.
Have your observer note the degree of attention (or lack of same) which you receive from the others in the area.
While you are on your control observation, make note of the way the others of your age, height, and size are dressed. Observe the shoes worn by those of your approximate age, height, and size. Use these
observations to select your outfit for the next step. Also note the typical amount and style of makeup worn by others of your age group.
- Select your outfit. Choose nothing that is brightly colored, very close fitting, or would tend to attract attention by itself. Be sure your outfit is within the bounds of what you observed others of your age, height, and size to be wearing. In particular, avoid tops or t-shirts which have attention-getting graphics or slogans.
Now for the actual exercise.
While it might be tempting to have your observer use a small video camera to record this part, it’s recommended to not do it. You want your observer to concentrate on you, your surroundings, and those around you, and not to be distracted by making movies on location. (She don’t know what it means …)
Once again, traverse the area for 20-30 minutes or so. Do not stare at anyone or attempt to make eye contact. Have your observer again follow behind you and note the amount of attention (or lack of attention) you receive.
Have your observer watch both you and the others. Your observer should be looking for both general attention and any specific reactions.
It’s very important to have your observer be aware of the way you walk, the gestures you perform, the actions you take, etc. This is particularly important if the classical double-take is observed. You
want to be able to be aware of what motion or gesture, if any, elicited the double-take.
Immediately after this observation, sit down with your observer and have a de-briefing session while things are fresh in both of your minds.