Regarding C.B.’s article on moving females, I have a few suggestions. I have long, thick hair that goes to my waist and for many years had the constant frustration of trying to figure out what to do with it when I was getting dirty (hunting, butchering, cleaning the barn, ect.). Tucking it into a hat never worked for more than 20 minutes at a time. First, the cap or cowboy hat or what ever was in constant danger of being knocked off my head because of the extra mass under it or blown off by our wonderful winds in this part of the country because healthy hair is smooth and the hat had no grip.
I would like to gently suggest that hey either cut their hair or learn to braid and twist it up. It takes me less than five minutes to tuck my hair into a french braid each morning. In another few seconds, I can have a low, flat bun on the top of my head. Low and Flat are the key words. Top is the key location. Without securing the hair properly, the females in your party are going to be one stumble or wind gust away from ruining their disguise.
As a last thought, it helps to get your ladies used to wearing a hat outside at all times. I can always tell when someone is new to a cap. – K.B.
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“Have the girls tuck their hair under a hat”. Seriously? Cut the hair off. It’ll grow back. Don’t have good scissors? I’ll bet you have a sharp knife and frankly that will be better anyway. You’re not styling the hair you want it to look kind of “raw”. Cut it short like a boys cut but keep the bangs if you can. Also leave the hair a bit longer in front of the ear to hang down to give the impression of side burns. You are not trying for the illusion of a man you are shooting for “young man or older boy”. If you are talking about an elderly woman then you can shoot for elderly man but that might be a different article.
Okay, baggy clothes is fine butshould take the advice a bit further. The illusion of male/female is more about contrast. A females shape still needs to be re-sculpted, even under baggy clothes. Strapping the breasts down as much as possible is obvious. But what will aid the illusion a lot is thickening the waist. It is not so much the larger chest/hips on women that give away their shape but the difference in waist to hips/breasts. If you thicken the waist you help this difference fade. Just tape extra clothing or other padding right around the waist to thicken that area. A small bundle of socks in the groin is also something to consider. Don’t overdo it and make sure that it is not going to slip or fall out.
Dirt and or grease on the face? Yes, but where on the face can make a huge difference. Use the darker grease to make the eyebrows look thicker and less arched. If the women in the group have an eyebrow pencil and or eyelash thickener they can use that on the fine hairs around their eyebrows and in front of their ears to give the appearance of sideburns and masculine eyebrows. I would *not* try for a makeup beard or stubble. Unless you are a pro it will look fake and put you at higher risk. Think of a 14 or 15 year old boy with the beginning of masculine facial hair. Also, when putting grease/dirt on the face put a darker amount on the neck behind the jaw line. This will make the jaw line look more prominent which is also a more masculine feature.
Of course, clean off all nail polish, makeup and/or jewelry (in a SHTF scenario I would hope you are not wearing jewelry in any case). But pay some attention to hands. Get the nail polish off then cut the nails short – shorter then the female in question is comfortable with (probably right down to the quick). If you can get her to chew the nails a bit to make then jagged that would help as well. Then take a light coating of grease and rub it into the nails and cuticles and then have them drive their hands straight down into the dirt. Then wipe the hands with a towel or rinse lightly with water but no soap. The idea is to get the nails looking dirty as if they have not been cleaned thoroughly in a long period of time. Hands are a dead give away. If you have time it would be good to scuff the hands up as much as possible even callousing them (if they are not already- obviously for some women reading this their hands are plenty tough and dirty already). As it is you should avoid having women shake hands with anyone whom you are trying to fool. Most of the time a woman’s hand is too small to really fool anyone if they are gripping it. But if they are dirty and you are shooting for the young boy look you might fool a casual glance.
Feet – if you are driving in a car this might be less of an issue but having everyone get out of a car is not an unusual request. Women’s feet are usually much smaller then men’s so have the women wear shoes that are a size or two too large. Have them wear multiple pairs of socks. so that they don’t look like they are not filling in the shoe and have them practice walking so that they don’t stumble. And speaking of walking the easiest way to get a woman to walk like a man is to tell them to lengthen their stride a bit more then is comfortable and then walk “heel-toe”. Drive the heel into the ground then roll onto the toe and repeat. Arm movement is tricky so just have them put their hands in their pocket or hoody while walking to avoid the hassle.
Which bring us to behavior. Women often have unconscious movements that are very feminine – brushing hair out of their face in a feminine manner, touching their hand to their throat or upper chest, playing with earring or necklaces (even if they are not there). Just avoid the whole problem. Tell the woman trying to pass to keep her hands in her pockets or the front of her hoody as much as possible. Keep eyes downcast but not submissively – with a surly attitude. This also bring up the action of the men in the group. They need to try to forget that they are traveling with women. The women should have male names to respond to. The men should think about what their relationship is to the woman (are they fathers, brothers, uncles etc.) then try to think of them as that role. So if I am your dad I might issue you orders like a father might to a son, if they are little brothers then teasing or taunting might be appropriate.
Finally, and this one will expose you every time – smell. I have a 14 year old boy – and anyone else who does will tell you that they are often quite stinky. Make sure that the women are not wearing perfume and that any linger smell has been taken off by soap and water (non fragrant soap of course). Then have them don a dirty t-shirt from a male. This may get the biggest “ewwws” from the subject in question but that is why it works. A person who smells like a boy or man will really throw off someone who is close enough to get a whiff. The natural impulse will be to pull back (which you want) and to assume that this must be a stinky teenage boy (which you also want). If nothing else it will make any pat down or close inspection be that much quicker and cursory