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Infiltration Forums > Rookie Forum > City Body Language(Viewed 5257 times)
Darnus   |  | 
City Body Language
< on 12/27/2018 5:51 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER ForumQuote
Hey all--

I am brand new here (I apologize if I'm doing anything wrong!) and I'm currently scouting a couple sites for a short trip. I'm very familiar with the body language and customs associated with NYC, but not really anywhere outside of NY State. I was wondering if anyone had observations regarding body language and/or customs in other places that can be used to help sell social engineering.

My observations regarding NYC are basically as follows:

  • FIRST: The distinction between 'tourists' and 'natives' is 95% arbitrary. Some people who live in Manhattan come off as 'tourists', while others who come in for the day from New Jersey or Connecticut come off as 'natives'. I'm making this distinction because what you appear to be affects how you're treated.
  • 'Natives' are typically left alone and ignored, given more expedient service and expected to know certain things. Tourists are accosted more often and service will vary based on how much money people expect to get from you, but people will generally be more willing to help you if you look lost or confused.
  • Natives don't typically look up
  • Natives walk quickly, cross the street aggressively (often making prolonged eye contact with oncoming drivers)
  • If you carry a bag you're [often] thought to be a tourist
  • Most natives maintain a kind of resting bitch-face or scowl; only tourists really smile at people on the street
  • If someone asks you for something on the street [panhandlers, etc], natives will typically ignore the person and give no response whatsoever while tourists will politely refuse or otherwise engage/recognize the person's existence
  • Sitting in an outdoor public area (even in the heart of midtown) is no guarantee someone won't ask you for money
  • Chit-chat is typically unexpected unless you're a regular somewhere
  • Natives are accepted to be somewhat economic in their speech, using as few words and/or syllables to convey as much as possible
  • A slight nod upwards before ordering/requesting something (esp at the beginning of an interaction) is common
  • People will (typically) leave you alone if you wear headphones
  • If people see you doing something odd, they will typically ignore you, especially if you appear to be a native
  • 95% of cars on the road are Uber/Lyft; these can be recognized by a 'T' at the beginning of the license plate
  • Yellow cabs are dying because of Uber and Lyft--they will typically be empty and stop to pick you up. You can also look up these companies and call for a pickup at a certain location--sometimes, they will be more accommodating due to the competition with Uber/Lyft
  • Natives typically prefer dark colors, (brown, black, gray, navy) and their overcoats and shoes typically show some distress/use. Tourists will wear brighter/more expensive clothing.

Sorry if this is overly long or somewhat inappropriate! I'm interested to see if anyone else has similar observations from other places!

mookster location:
Oxford, UK
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Re: City Body Language
<Reply # 1 on 12/27/2018 6:09 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER ForumQuote
I must come across as an NYC native then as most of the relevant stuff there is stuff that I do and/or get when I'm in the city!

[last edit 12/27/2018 6:09 PM by mookster - edited 1 times]

Gothic Ghoul location:
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Re: City Body Language
<Reply # 2 on 12/27/2018 9:30 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER ForumQuote
Another characteristic of the breed is putting mustard on pretzels.


"How is stuff coming out of my mouth when I'm tying words, posting those words, and it appears on your computer screen...?" - ATU
"I can look like a complete idiot like in that photo and still get more women than you." - NoPower
This member has been banned. See the banlist for more information.
Mission Control
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Re: City Body Language
<Reply # 3 on 12/27/2018 10:32 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER ForumQuote
Posted by Darnus

I was wondering if anyone had observations regarding body language and/or customs in other places that can be used to help sell social engineering.

Sell? I find that honesty works best.
Don't get too cleaver for your own good.

Never wear earbuds etc when street walking...
what you don't hear can hurt you.

The reason people make eye contact with drivers is to know they are seen.
Make it personal...

Just when I thought I was out... they pulled me back in.
becckeez location:
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Re: City Body Language
<Reply # 4 on 12/27/2018 11:17 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER ForumQuote
Fascinating stuff.

I grew up in BAMA (Boston-Atlanta Metropolitan Axis), but have spent the last 5 years out in rural Alaska.

So, while I can't give you recent pointers on any major city , I do have some tips if you ever visit a Inuit/Inupiat Whaling Community.

General starters...
  • Raise both your eyebrows at the same time to say yes.
  • Crinkle your nose to say no.
  • Try not to talk, outsiders talk too much, rely on body language.
  • Do not ask about hunting or fishing traditions, this is rude.
  • Do not ask about anyone's recent hunting or fishing trips, as this is rude and can also count as bad luck.
  • Locking your door is a sign to the village that you do not want visitors at your home. Leaving a door unlocked is the equivalent to leaving it wide open, expect visitors to walk right in.
  • First catch of any and all the different animals goes to an elder. People who debate this must be outsiders. Period.
  • Say thanks to your food before you eat it. It died for you.
  • Someone taking your things, drinking after you from the same cup, or "borrowing" your coat/hat/gloves is a sign of endearment, not thievery.
  • Booze is probably not allowed. Most people believe alcohol is satan's work and can call demons into your body if you drink it.
  • The supernatural is a thing. It's incredibly rude and naive to doubt this in public.

ian3 location:
Brooklyn, NY
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Re: City Body Language
<Reply # 5 on 12/29/2018 3:50 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER ForumQuote
As a native New Yorker, these are pretty accurate observations. Maybe a little bit presumptuous, but overall can't really fault any of them for being incorrect.

I'd say the attitude is more of a necessity of the NYC lifestyle. Things are in constant motion, stress is high, and time is short so you've gotta make the most of it. Something slows you down? Walk faster and/or you get out of my way because I don't have time for interruptions.

One adjustment to your list, taxi plates look like this:

426936.jpg (89 kb, 606x303)
click to view

Hawkwind location:
largo, Florida 33771...
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Re: City Body Language
<Reply # 6 on 12/29/2018 10:47 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER ForumQuote
Oh, gee whiz. Just be your self...

Darnus   |  | 
Re: City Body Language
<Reply # 7 on 12/30/2018 5:21 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER ForumQuote
@becckeez--what you're listing is super interesting! I don't know that I'll have the chance to visit such a community any time soon, but these are super cool!

@ian3--thank you! I'm definitely generalizing a lot. My line with the plates was that all cabs use the same plate scheme, from yellow cabs to ubers/lyfts but you're right that it's easier to recognize them by the 'T&LC' at the bottom of the plate (which stands for Taxi and Limousine Commission).

I'd be interested to know if anyone has observations on interpersonal manners, accents, etc. I know the typical New York accent is basically dead, but I've been told that accents are still super distinct (and that I just don't have any ear for them!)

WEKurtz location:
Western MA
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Re: City Body Language
<Reply # 8 on 12/30/2018 12:54 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER ForumQuote
If you have to put mustard on your Knish put it on the inside, not the outside.

mookster location:
Oxford, UK
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Re: City Body Language
<Reply # 9 on 12/30/2018 1:32 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER ForumQuote
Posted by Darnus

I'd be interested to know if anyone has observations on interpersonal manners, accents, etc. I know the typical New York accent is basically dead, but I've been told that accents are still super distinct (and that I just don't have any ear for them!)

I'm amazed at how taken aback people can still be when I start talking to them in a British accent, especially somewhere like NYC. I have found it sometimes helps a lot in some places ha!

When I'm out of a big city like NYC it really catches people off guard sometimes as they don't expect anyone 'foreign' to be visiting...I've had so many 'I love your accent' comments from people out in the sticks it never gets old.

redhothawks location:
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Re: City Body Language
<Reply # 10 on 1/1/2019 2:44 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER ForumQuote
I live in Chicago, and the locations in the city do have their own feeling/vibe/style to them. I'm guessing it's similar that NYC has it's own feeling and same with other cities and so on. It's a pretty cool thing to happen

Dee Ashley location:
DFW, Texas
 |  |  | My Flickr
Re: City Body Language
<Reply # 11 on 2/28/2019 11:03 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER ForumQuote
Ha, these are awesome, thanks for sharing!

Maybe I can come up with a few for Texas later. There's bound to be some interesting quirks wrapped up in that stereotype somewhere.

I wandered till the stars went dim.
shadeblanco location:
Southern West Virginia/Western North Carolina
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Re: City Body Language
<Reply # 12 on 2/28/2019 11:32 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER ForumQuote
I can't say anything about cities, but if you catch yourself out in rural America, then I can tell you how to get by nice and easy.

Carrying yourself in the rural South-East:

1. Carry yourself loosely. Walk slow; don't rush to much of anything that isn't life threatening. The stiffer and quicker you move the more suspicious you come off as.

2. Don't lie about who ya know or try to name drop. More likely than not, it won't work unless you truly know someone on a personal level.

3. Confront someone right off, but be cordial. Chances are if someone is looking for you and you keep lurking around, it'll only hurt your case and whatever lie you're about to tell.

4. Don't fake your accent. We can tell, and to be honest, it's pretty insulting.

5. Expect chit chat and be prepared to make small-talk. The better you are at it the further it'll take you.

6. Stay true to what you say. If a security guard/cop lets you out a place without any trouble and tells you to not come back, then don't. Chances are the same person will show up the next time and if they remember you it won't be pretty.

7. If someone offers you something, don't feel bad about taking. They'll probably keep offering it til you take it. My great grandma was notorious for this. You couldv'e just had a nine course meal, and she wouldn't stop asking if you wanted something to eat until you had a full plate in front of you.

Just a college kid with a film camera
Radio2600 location:
On the Road to Wellville
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Re: City Body Language
<Reply # 13 on 3/10/2019 3:47 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER ForumQuote
I grew up in NYC.

The city is MUCH safer now than at any time in the past.

If you're from out of state, here are some helpful hints.

1. If you get busted by the cops for something not serious, talk like you're from Arkansas and say by-golly a lot. Serious;y, I got pulled over for driving my pickup truck on the Sagtikos Parkway (illegal) and that and my Iowa driver's license was enough for the NY State Trooper to declare me a "stupid hick" and let me go.

2. When you walk down the street, walk near the curb. That way you can see if someone is sneaking up behind you using the store windows as a mirror.

3. Don't go places where you stick out like a sore thumb. Unless you have a beard and are wearing a fedora, stay out of South Williamsburg, Crown Heights, Boro Park and Midwood. There's nothing to explore there anyway.

4. You want to go to the beach, go to Rockaway Beach. Don't go to Coney Island. Never go to Coney Island on a weekend. If you've already made the mistake of going to Coney Island, go a little to the East on the same beach and you're in Brighton Beach which is much less crowded.

If you're in Brighton Beach and you hear words that sound like PEEZ-DA, BLEE-YAT or SOO-KA; it's cause for concern and maybe you should go elsewhere. If you hear O-DEEN HUY PEEZDA it's time to run.

5. Get out there and have some fun. The worst thing that can happen is either you go to jail or get killed.

Note on the above video. DiFara hits you up $5a slice for pizza. They charge that much to pay off all the fines they keep racking for health code violations.


1. Never talk about agriculture in cities. Never talk about agriculture in rural areas unless you know what you're talking about. Drugstore cowboys stick out like sore thumbs.

2. What the driver's manual says about 4-way stops does not necessarily hold true at 4-way stops in Iowa.

3. In small towns, everyone knows everyone and everyone's business. No matter how long you live in a small town, unless you were born and raised there, you will always be considered a FEREIGNER.

4. Every town has a morning coffee meet-up. If you ask questions, they will generally answer them politely and honestly. Don't sit with them unless you're invited to sit with them. If you are invited to sit with them, it should be regarded as a great honor.

5. Not all towns have police departments. Iowa has ridiculously low speeding fines and small town speed traps are rare. They only set up speed traps if people complain about cars sailing through town at high speeds.

6. Never speed in Windsor Heights (suburb of Des Moines). That's the BIG exception to #5.

7. Never make a U-turn on Main Street in a small town. You may not get a ticket, but will get you branded as a BARBARIAN by all that witness the misdeed.

8. When you encounter a car going the other way on a rural road, always wave. Most people wave by holding the steering wheel at the 12 o'clock position and raise their index finger straight vertical.

9. If you find yourself in a small town and there's some type of fundraiser (fish fry, pancake breakfast, etc.) in progress, try to attend if possible. You gain social credit for this.

10. It's illegal to park on a gravel road. You may not get a ticket for it, but it draws a lot of attention to you.

Good luck and good bowling!

[last edit 3/10/2019 4:29 AM by Radio2600 - edited 1 times]

In order to use your head, you have to go out of your mind.
Radio2600 location:
On the Road to Wellville
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Re: City Body Language
<Reply # 14 on 3/10/2019 4:58 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER ForumQuote
Posted by Darnus
I know the typical New York accent is basically dead, but I've been told that accents are still super distinct (and that I just don't have any ear for them!)

In NY, you can determine how much of a NY accent someone has be having them say:

Thirty dirty birds, sitting on the curb on thirty third street.

I know people that have such thick, NY accents that they sound like Bugs Bunny.

I also know people that speak with a thick accent and malapropisms so they sound like Slip Mahoney.

In order to use your head, you have to go out of your mind.
Radio2600 location:
On the Road to Wellville
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Re: City Body Language
<Reply # 15 on 4/8/2019 3:03 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER ForumQuote
Don't forget the local pronunciations...

In NYC, Houston is pronounced "house-ton"

In Iowa, Nevada is pronounced "ne-VAY-da"

In Pennsylvania, Du Bois is pronounced "du bois" (not du bwah).

In Massachusetts, Berlin is pronounced "BERL-in".

In Iowa, Tripoli is pronounce "tri-POLE-ah"

In Iowa, Fort Dodge is pronounced "FO-dodge".

If you ever find yourself in Webster City, Iowa on a hot day, tell people "it's hotter than Fort Dodge." This will get you instant recognition as a local.

In the 1970s, there was a village idiot named Bender Brown that used that expression a lot and by using it, you're telling people you were around in the 1970s.

In order to use your head, you have to go out of your mind.
Skorpsy location:
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Re: City Body Language
<Reply # 16 on 5/11/2019 2:07 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER ForumQuote
Before moving to MI, I spent 10 years living in NY. Some of these regarding the city are pretty spot on.

Posted by Darnus

  • Most natives maintain a kind of resting bitch-face or scowl; only tourists really smile at people on the street

  • The scowl-It's our Magic Shield. It adds 10% to our defense, and protects us from unwanted conversation, questions, etc from strangers.

    Ear buds work similarly too, but ya still gotta have the resting bitch-face scowl. Many of us aren't actually listening to anything, we just wanna look like less of a dick for purposely ignoring you if you ask us something.

    [last edit 5/11/2019 2:08 AM by Skorpsy - edited 1 times]

    "My shadow's the only one that walks beside me."
    fruitbats location:
     |  | 
    Re: City Body Language
    <Reply # 17 on 11/6/2019 9:47 PM >
    Posted on Forum: UER ForumQuote
    Wow, the New York ones are super interesting because they're like the opposite of how to blend in for the south. Southern's tend to think people who act like that down here are kinda cold, but there's also a lot less people and more time to be friendly here.

    As far as Lower Alabama goes:
    1.) 99.9% of people here have a football preference and its a great way to distract them into a conversation.

    2.) Always smile! And don't forget to neighbor wave either. (Most) everyone is very friendly and they've kinda come to expect it from others.

    3.) Don't lie about going to church/which church you go to if asked. People around here use church attendance like a directory and they'll know you're lying.

    4.) If it looks like you're gonna be approached, just go ahead and walk to them, give them a winning smile, and say hello. Immediately less suspicious, and southern people (usually) love to chat, so it plays to their predispositions anyways.

    5.)Those "Southern Belle" and Guy Harvey T-shirts with a pair of jeans, and a baseball hat will really help you blend in and a camo jacket really sells the look.

    6.) Rock salt is real, and it is painful. Run away from any angry men with guns who haven't seen you yet. There is no talking to them, they're just gonna take advantage of a still target.

    7.) Racial differences are more distinct, and for some odd reason, people, especially older ones tend to almost self segregate and only have friends among their own race. If you've got a person of color with you, there is always going to be more trouble with the police. Alone, I could get away with anything, but people were always suspicious of an friend I had who just happened to be extremely tall and buff and also black. I'm not even trying to be political here, it literally just be like that.

    8.) Terms that red necks use:
    Roll Tide: can be used as an expression of happiness or just really enjoying Alabama football
    Yee Yee: Honestly I'm not red neck enough to understand this one but its yelled out of truck windows to other red necks a lot
    Ya'll: I know its already plural but I hear the phrase "all of yall" too along with just the regular usage
    Truck Meet: lets get drunk in a Winn Dixie parking lot on the tailgate with a bunch of other trucks. If they see you, they will not bother you. Maybe the only people in all of UE who could witness everything and not be a risk.

    9.) Stay the Hell away from trailer parks. I do not care if the Taj Mahal of abandonments is right next door, trailer park people (while they can be good people) are a different breed, and unlike tailgaters, they'll either come bother you themselves or call the cops. Neither option is what you want.

    10.) There's no real foot traffic because everything is so spread apart you need a car, so most people who walk anywhere are (usually) poor or homeless. If you're gonna walk to your location, make sure your wardrobe reflects the usual demographic and its brightly colored or obviously nice.

    11.) If you park on the side of the road or look like you're in trouble, its almost certain someone will stop to try and help and check in on you, just to be nice. An excuse I like to use is that I've just called a tow truck/my boyfriend and now I'm just waiting for him, and they'll usually drive off.

    12.) In a lot of smaller communities, people know most of the cars that live on their road and they'll notice something uncharacteristically nice/oddly colored/new. If there's someone watching drive down a road, they're gonna be curious enough to wanna know where you went if you don't turn around and come back fairly quickly. They may even ask the neighbor who their visitor was, and if they figure out you're just poking around, going back will not be easy.

    13.) Gossip travels fast. If you've been exploring in a small town in a certain vehicle and have gotten caught, even if you weren't arrested, the whole dang community is gonna be side eyeing your ride. I have no idea how but old ladies stay knowing things like police business and the farmer who caught you on his property weeks ago and they'll talk endless crap about you if you get caught as an outsider "vandalizing/trespassing" and then you'll be infamous and that entire town is as good as closed for you (r.i.p. ever going back to Willsonville)

    A lot of this is generalization, and I'm totally not trying to be political with any of these observations. I'm not the smartest or the most experienced, but I have talked my way outta many a situation by talking like a country bumpkin, smiling, and acting extremely warm and open. Country people are usually really nice. and as long as you're nice and respectful back they'll leave you be without calling police.

    This member has been banned. See the banlist for more information.
    Mission Control
     |  |  | 
    Re: City Body Language
    <Reply # 18 on 11/6/2019 10:36 PM >
    Posted on Forum: UER ForumQuote
    Posted by fruitbats

    2.) Always smile! And don't forget to neighbor wave either. (Most) everyone is very friendly and they've kinda come to expect it from others.

    I never smile or laugh unless I'm happy or seriously screwing with someone.
    May work better for females but in general I've found a poker face works best.
    Smiling at a frowning cop doesn't work...
    Better to start with blank slate and first gauge who/what you're dealing with.
    I don't want or have to be everyone's friend...
    Avoid or minimize contact when needed ie people asking for anything.

    Make eye contact if appropriate especially when talking to people.
    Be wary of those that don't.

    Making general assumptions and arbitrary rules can end with less than optimum results.
    Be yourself and adapt as you learn... you learn by doing.
    These are fluid situations... go with your gut feeling, call 'em as you see 'em.

    Just when I thought I was out... they pulled me back in.
    Aran location:
    Grand Junction, CO
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    Re: City Body Language
    <Reply # 19 on 11/7/2019 3:12 AM >
    Posted on Forum: UER ForumQuote
    Quick guide for anyone who finds themselves in small town Wisconsin.


  • When trying to move past someone the proper response is "ope, lemme squeeze right past ya there."

  • "Ope" serves as an acknowledgement, exclamation of surprise, and a mild apology.

  • The Packers are the best, no matter how they're doing that season. Fuck da Bears.

  • Having Illinois license plates automatically marks you as a Fuckin Illinois Bastard and you will be considered personally responsible for all terrible drivers from Chicago.

  • Politics is never polite conversation, especially since Wisconsin is a swing state- and the party lines don't always follow the urban/rural divide here.

  • When you're a pedestrian, wave hello to passing drivers in small towns. If in larger towns, give them a nod at the very least. Ignoring them is suspicious.

  • The police are always bored. Act accordingly.

  • Anything less than a foot of snow and life will carry on as normal. It takes at least 18 inches to shut anything significant down. Keep that in mind when planning high risk explores.

    [last edit 11/7/2019 3:12 AM by Aran - edited 2 times]

    "Sorry, I didn't know I'm not supposed to be here," he said, knowing full well he wasn't supposed to be there.

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