My mother, Gail Lee Martin, wanted to name me after Ginger Rogers but finally went with a more conservative name, Virginia. They had a family friend named Virginia.
Then they called me Ginger all my life anyway. It’s a fun nickname to have, but I found out it means different things to different people. When I lived in Australia, I found that Ginger was usually a nickname for a red-headed man.
When I first meet people now when they hear the name “Ginger,” they often say “I used to have a cat named Ginger.” Sometimes it’s a dog, or a horse, but it seems to be a common pet name.
Here are all the things that Ginger brings to mind. When I asked my friends, 42% said it makes them think of someone with red hair. 38% said it made them think of Ginger Rogers dancing with Fred Astaire. In the younger crowd, 19% associated it with Ginger on Gilligan’s Island television series.
Reasons to love being a GINGER
Ginger sounds perky and youthful and spicy. One lady couldn’t remember my name on our second meeting. “It’s something spicy, isn’t it? Like nutmeg.” Close, but not quite.
When I was a library director, I used my given name, Virginia, as “Ginger” just sounded more like a fan dancer than a librarian. As a writer, I use my official name also, but my friends still call me Ginger.
Ginger Is a Flower
Ginger Is a Popular Pet Name
Ginger is a color description for cats, meaning one with reddish-gold fur. The name is also popular as a pet name to mean energetic and peppy. On a list of popular dog names in the U.S., Ginger ranked #24. For cats, the name Ginger ranked #28 on the Australian list. People name their horses Ginger too.
There’s a Ginger Beer
It’s not alcoholic, it is more an offbeat soft drink like root beer is. Anyway, we discovered it last summer when a friend showed us how to make a Moscow Mule. It requires ginger beer, lime juice, and vodka.
You drink it in special copper cups with lots of ice.
Even More Ginger Things
gingerbread architectural details on Victorian houses
candied ginger root
ginger, the cooking spice