Main Entry: gin·ker
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.
Did you hear that there's a rumble tonight between the ginkers and the jocks?!?!
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!
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!!
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).more...
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 swagge...
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"