Native to East Brunswick, NJ, this term exemplified a specific look and lifestyle. Originating in the 1970's, the Ginker became iconic at East Brunswick High School (then known as HollyRock High). However, Ginkers could be found in abundance at East Brunswick Vocational & Technical School (aka Vo-Tech).
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.
"Look at all those ginkers cutting a butt by the fence...."
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