Rather not use a generic @gmail.com email address? You have options.
Custom Email Addresses
Google Apps is a wonderful service that allows you to use your own domain instead of Google’s (as well as a ton of other good stuff, like Google Docs, Google Calendar, etc.). This will allow you to use your own domain as your Google account ID. At $5 /month it’s pretty affordable too.
Or, you can simply set up email forwarding right from your domain registrar to your free Gmail address. In this scenario you’d receive emails via your desired address, but you’d still be sending emails from your Gmail address.
Not to worry…
Send Mail As If you’re using a custom email address in conjunction with your Gmail (for example, email@example.com sends mail to firstname.lastname@example.org), you may want to be able to send mail, from Gmail, as email@example.com. This is really easy. Go to Settings > Accounts and click Add an email address you own in the Send mail as area. Follow the instructions, and set whether or not Gmail uses this as the default sending address or not.
Sorry to bear bad news folks, but Google now requires SMTP info in order to “send as”, which means you need an email server. This is ultimately for the best, but it takes away a handy and cheap way to look like you have an email server. Oh well!
I recommend Google Apps as mentioned above, or Zoho if you absolutely must have a free solution.