1 : Synonymous with the more commonly used term burn-out. At its' peak existence a male ginker was marked by overgrown hair center-parted and feathered back by long-handled "unbreakable" plastic comb traditionally stored in back pocket of his weathered jeans (Red-Tag Levis or Lee) for quick access. Firmly secured within the other back pocket was an oversized leather wallet (at times with Harley Davidson patch sewn on the front) by a metal chain latched to a belt loop.
Atop a Ginker wore a concert shirt, or a stained white thermal during the winter months, covered by an unbuttoned long-sleeved flannel shirt with a pack of Marlboro (regular "Reds") stuffed into the front chest pocket. Light brown leather suede construction boots (infamously termed "Ginker boots") protected his feet in all seasons. Oddly enough, these boots were very tattered, but never bad enough to require a brand new pair...as one has never observed a ginker in a new pair of boots. Less frequently, a Ginker wore the raised-seam leather suede flats, a.k.a. 'desert boot' or the G.A.S.S. version for women, typically during the summer months. A frayed Levi's denim jacket completed the ensemble adorned with a cutout of his favorite concert shirt (i.e. Blackfoot, Led Zeppelin) sewn to the back panel by his abusive mother with a Marlboro Red clenched between her (cigarette induced) wrinkled lips with squinting eyes due to the rising smoke.
The female Ginker attire included many of the same garments as a male Ginker; however, discernable female Ginker attire was evident with tightly worn denim jeans accentuating curves and knee-high leather fringed moccasin boots typically worn over the jean and tied with a leather lace in the front or back of the boot. True to all women's fashions, a matching fringed long-strapped leather pocketbook completed her ensemble, albeit at times in a mismatched black. A Ginker girl commonly possessed a morally casual attitude and would typically demonstrate outlandish public displays of affection by over-affectionately tongue kissing her boyfriend anywhere at any time (hallways, lunchroom, parking lot, etc.). The female Ginker typically fell into two distinct categories: the "Hot Ginker Girl" (HGG) or the "Less Physically Appealing" (LPA) Ginker. The aforementioned HGG was soft-spoken appearing too cool for the room (although later research indicated insecurities in personality) and would only date alpha male Ginkers. The latter variety, LPA, was marginally overweight at best, bared facial acne, and was typically marked by frizzy peroxide blonde hair with black/brown roots. Adding insult to injury, an LPA’s lack of good looks was further undermined by a loud and vulgar raspy laugh catalyzed by her two pack a day Marlboro Red smoking addiction. Inclined to possess yet greater laxed inhibitions than her far superior looking counterpart (HGG), the LPA would excessively drink at a parties (i.e. hanging with other Ginkers in the woods ...see "Ginker hole" –dual meaning) and let "whatever might happen happen".
Ginkers, male and female alike, could easily be found congregated on the fringe of the school property line smoking Marlboro cigarettes (the 'cooler than thou' Ginkers smoked the menthol version). They were drawn by the unmistakable Ginker call; the sound of smacking the top of a new cigarette box in the palm of their hand, far louder than necessary and well exceeding the five-tap maximum needed to properly "pack" a cigarette (Cigarette Aficionado, Oct 1998). Ginkers could also commonly be seen detained after school or in wood shop/automotive class as well as the Mall and Movie City 5 (this is a regional term), but felt most at home in "the woods".
“Ginker” first appeared in English in the early 1970s as “Gink” referring to any member of the Ginkovitz family of East Brunswick, NJ and later the term evolved to its present form of “Ginker”.
In 1955, two elder Ginkovitz brothers emigrated from Murmansk, Russia to East Brunswick, NJ with their wives finding blue-collar work as local handy men and construction laborers. Combined, the Ginkovitz brothers fathered five sons and two daughters within the first five years of arriving in the states.
During the middle and high school years (early to mid 1970s), the Ginkovitz siblings worked after school at their fathers’ struggling construction business most often going directly from school to the job site. For this reason and general lack of funds for more appropriate attire, the Ginkovitz siblings frequently wore their work clothes to school (construction boots, weathered or torn jeans, thermal undershirt and flannel shirt). Economic strains mixed with traditional strict Russian values brought difficult abusive living conditions within both Ginkovitz homes for wives and children at the hands of their alcoholic fathers. The Ginkovitz boys and girls (nicknamed Ginks by their schoolmates) frequently vented their anger and frustrations at school often upon more privileged students, thus developing a rebellious reputation equally upheld by each Gink.
With the fading look of black leather jacket and greased hair more relevant to the 1950’s rebel, other students from struggling, true blue-collar families began adopting the denim jacket, flannel, and construction boot style worn by the Gink clan. With each passing school year, more and more returning students arrived in Gink fashion. In 1979, the term ‘Ginker’ had evolved. The height of Ginker culture was reached in 1978-1989 where 42% of the student population at EBHS fit the Ginker stereotype transcending economic lines into middle and upper middle class students. Many students were also drawn to Ginker attire as a fight against the growing JAP (Jewish-American Princess) fashions that were becoming ever so popular for students from middle to upper class families. The Ginker fashion was also prominent in surrounding neighboring towns (Sayreville, Spotswood, and South River); however, the term Ginker was sparsely used.
Due to lack of interest in the traditional disciplines of school and near failing grades, each member of the Gink clan withdrew from EBHS and transferred to EB Vocational Technical Schools honing their skills in HVAC, auto mechanics, and cosmetology.
In 1972, the second eldest Gink, Rebecca, was impregnated by her true love, a musician schoolmate at EBVT. Ashamed of his daughter’s son born out of wedlock, Mr. Ginkovitz sent his heartbroken daughter and his illegitimate grandson, Edvar (nicknamed Eddie) to live with his cousin in Chicago. To further remove any shame to her father, Rebecca decided to change her last name and chose to use her mother's maiden name Vedderski. Frustrated and hurt by his emotionally removed mother and her fourth marriage to a continuing cycle of abusive husbands, young Eddie moved to Seattle with the flannel shirt and denim jeans his mother bought him, a guitar, $62, and a dream. Eddie soon dropped the “ski” from his last name after arriving to Seattle.
The standard garb has been well described in previous entries. In addition, the lifestyle of the Ginker and their actions were equally as important as their wear.
Leather wear during the winter, spring and fall season were as common as the Levi denim coat with the concert shirt pasted onto the rear panel. Leather jackets, of the motorcycle variety, were commonly worn, or draped over the right shoulder if not being "actively" worn. This is not to be mistaken with the normal over-the-shoulder coat carry; the specific carry of the leather coat was such, so that the collar of the coat rested on the shoulder with the right sleeve of the coat in front and the left sleeve of the coat to the rear as the jacket was effectively used as a blanket or shield on one side of the Ginker's body while walking.
In the 1980's, metallic concert pins were also added to denim jackets, usually depicting the following bands; Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, Judas Priest, Ozzy, Black Sabbath, Rush, The Who, Led Zepplin, Iron Maiden, etc... and were displayed as a badge of honor. The more pins, the higher in rank the ginker...
Alpha male ginkers also used a specific walk or swagger which signified their level of ginker knowledge. The ginker swagger was deliberate and specific. It was a slow paced walk which accentuated the body's natural movement; extreme leaning to the left-and-right while walking was performed with wide-swings of the arms to give a more "rough-and-tough" appearance. Generally, the walk was used as both a mating call, as well as a domination trait to other males, both ginker and non-ginker alike. The walk was intended to protect the Ginker from unwanted attacks based on intimidation.
Generally peaceful in nature, the appearance of the Ginker was generally enough to ward off unwanted attacks. However, from time-to-time, fights would occur between individuals within the Ginker sects.... it was fairly uncommon for interspecies altercations (i.e. Ginker vs. Football Player). Fighting was generally more for show rather than actual harm, and weapons were rarely, if ever displayed. The fight process involved a lot of hyping of the event, followed by a mad rush of the general student body population to a location usually on a football field or other large space. Fights were announced early on in the day, and ultimately only a few punches or brief scrappling was done before the "fight" would be broken up by an authority figure within a few seconds.
Female Ginkers tended to be more on the agressive side usually intimidating those in the J.A.P., Preppie or Athletic sectors. Intimidation tactics were often done in the girls bathroom in packs. Physical altercations with females were rare, but when they occurred they often were unannounced and tended to be a little less for show and with the intent to dissuade a non-ginker girl from showing interest in an Alpha ginker male or for making a comment about another Ginker (either male or female). Female ginkers were very territorial and were quick to make that known.
As stated earlier, Ginkers were highly sociable creatures, however, not boisterous. Greetings between ginkers was generally left to simple phrases such as "hey" "'sup?" or simple body gestures as a quick upward nod of the head with a raised eyebrow to acknowledge a fellow ginker. Ginkers congregated in packs and were seldom found in the open alone. Ginkers were generally found on Senior Row in the back of HollyRock High, on the side of the cafeteria, or in between building 7&8 at EBHS.
Cigarette smoking was nearly a required of all Ginkers... and it was a rarity to find one who didn't. There was a method to smoking which was different from the standard smoking ritual of other people. The cigarette was lit and generally "cupped" in the non-dominant hand using the thumb, first and second fingers. In this method, the tip of the cigarette faced inwards and not blatently outwards as normal smokers would hold the butt (i.e. holding the cigarette with the tip outwards between the first and second fingers in a "V" formation). The ginker would swiftly bring the cigarette up to the mouth, take a deep puff, briskly pull the cigarette out and down to the side of the body, and exhale. There was no other acceptable method. The only exception to this rule was for female ginkers who were allowed to smoke in any fashion they chose.
After school detention or suspension was a rite of passage, and most, if not the majority of true ginkers spent at least one sentence of detention or suspension. These were generally for minor infractions of school policy, usually smoking or using profanity in public areas.
During the ginker's Senior Year, sporting a loud muscle car was a determining factor in the ginker's overall status. Black or red Camaro's, Firebirds, Mustangs or Monte Carlo's were the norm, and glass-packed mufflers on large V-8 engines were a must. Well before "bling" was introduced in the late 1990's and 2000's... chrome accessories were added to these vehicles but not overdone, usually accentuating either the wheels, exhaust system or engine components. There was an actual passion for these muscle cars and great pride was displayed; parking of these vehicles was restricted to the "backing in" method only vs. "head on" parking most other students used... that is, the vehicle's nose pointed outwards from the spot.
Although drug and alcohol use was usually assumed to be the staple of the ginker society, this was a misconception as many non-ginkers used the same substances in equal or greater quantities... it was the ginker however, that was simply more visible, and therefore was assumed to be using illicit substances in vast quantities, regardless if true or not. Partying among ginkers was restricted in general to "ginker-only" sessions... you would not find those in non-ginker circles to be at a ginker party for the most part, and vice-versa.
There was no such thing as a "vegetarian" ginker, nor one who was a participant in after-school sports. School sporting events were reserved for social gatherings under the grandstands and on Senior Row while the rest of the crowds were watching the event.
While there were two Junior High Schools in East Brunswick, it is believed, although unconfirmed, that the vast majority of Ginker recruits hailed from Hammarskjold JHS.
Academically, ginkers, while appearing ambivalent to school, were often very good at the arts and in certain circumstances sciences. Seating in a classroom was often in the rear and to the left... which allowed the Ginker to remain out of the line-of-sight of the teacher so as not to get picked on for class contributions. Given the chance, a ginker would often suprise teachers with their actual grasp of complex concepts, although, it was not proper for a ginker to boast about academic achievement. It was proper however, for the ginker to possess a vast knowledge about heavy metal or hard rock bands, and to attend several concerts during their high-school years.
A common misconception was that ginkers were also "Dead-Heads." While some may have followed the Grateful Dead, the "Dead-Heads" were a different sub-group completely, and while those circles sometimes intersected, they were indeed two separate entities.
Common meeting places for Ginkers included the aforementioned Movie City 5, the Brunswick Squre Mall (often outside Macy's or in front of the mall), Vo-Tech sports fields, Seville Diner, Robert Frost Woods or private homes. It was not uncommon for Ginkers to associate with burnouts from surrounding towns such as South River (aka River Rats), Old Bridge and Spotswood, NJ, particularly females from those areas.
Despite the outward appearance of the ginker, it was uncommon for a ginker to experience legal troubles with local Law Enforcement. In general, the ginker didn't seek out criminal activity, rather, they were hedonistic rather than sociopathic in nature. Many ginkers have contributed to society in a variety of ways, and are current owners of lucrative companies, have gone on to pursue academic degrees and professional careers or have perfected trades which have yeilded a very comfortable living.
The road to Ginkerdom leads to Law Enforcement.