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...."
A low life burn out. Normally seen driving an old Camaro/Firebird covered in primer spots and Led Zepplin booming from the stereo. A chain wallet and a jean jacket is always part of the ginker look. This term may have originated in East Brunswick New Jersey in the 70s.
Wow, that ginker sure has a nice car!
Main Entry: gin·kermore...
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 ...
While the past entries have shed more than an accurate light on the central, Jersey archetype that was Ginker, few have paid much attention to the current status of the semi-retired people who once roamed so freely. In recent months, while compiling information for an upcoming documentary, ("Ginkers"), I have found that indeed, many still exist. Although many of the once famous Ginker lairs have become strip malls, (Movie City 5) and the Brunswick Square Mall no longer houses an arcade, the lingering cigarette smoke and barely visible tire tracks have led us to some interesting discoveries. Though a scattered bunch, most Ginkers are still un-reformed. Of the representative sample we have interviewed, several are employed in the auto industry, doing well and still adhering to the Ginker culture. Two of the male Ginkers still owned and wore Iron Maiden tees, black denim, and even had the landscaper length hair that was epitome of Ginker rebellion in the middle 1980s. Of the females we found, many recalled with fervor the "Gate" behind East Brunswick High, and the "Path" on the way to Hammarskjold JHS. In addition, while still shunned by society, all of the Ginkers we interviewed were both highly successful and happy that their unique breed has endured.
Being the younger brother of a Ginker, I remember Friday nights at the Brunswick Sq. Mall and the sight of the Ginker Pack, a fearsome circle housing several men with leather vests, chain wallets, and rock tees, drinking Orange Julius and nodding defiantly to one another.
same as above, but is DEFINITELY a cigarette smoker
i am going to have a smoke behind the gym with the ginkers
Always wears black, never ever wears shorts. (no matter how hot is out).
It's so f*ckin hot out and that ginker is wearing black pants!!
A Greaser "wanna be". The closest thing to a gang in East Brunswick NJ in 1970's. Ginkers travel in groups and socialize only among themselves, except to to sell drugs. There only predators Police and Jocks. The term gained strength from 1978, during a period of Freak, Jock supremacy. You will spot the Ginker by his Jean Jacket with the sleeves cut off, not to be confused with the freak with the Jean Jacket combined with Hooded Sweat Shirt. This term grew out of the Bicentennial Park area of East Brunswick NJ and may have roots in the Churchill, Hammarskjold Junior High School students blending into EBHS .
The road to Ginkerdom leads to Law Enforcement.
Ginkers: Fonzy wanna be. "John Milner" in "American Graffiti"