Surrounded by Richard

The story of one man's survival in an all-female class


photo by Katie Golden

Richard Jensen is a man of many talents, especially eating applesauce.

Carly DeArmit, Copy Editor

***The following article was composed in response to Uproar Staffer Richard Jensen’s April 29th piece, “Surrounded by Females”

On the first day of school, I walked into my fourth period Journalism class in search of the most comfortable swivel chair I could call home for the coming 180 days. The room was every senior’s dream, as the overhead lights were mute, and the only thing illuminating the rows of iMacs were softly lit lamps on either side of the room. The lamps created a peaceful and calming atmosphere in which I was eager to start working.

After scoping out the faces of the others who walked through the door, I noticed a vast majority of females before I saw two guys sitting on opposite ends of the rectangular shaped media room. Their faces showed pure terror, and they didn’t have to say it, but I knew they were thinking, “Oh my god, what did I just walk in to. Please let me be in the wrong class. Please!” I immediately felt sorry for them because whether or not they knew it, I knew that they would be in a for wild ride. A room composed of mostly females all too excited to see one another after summer break and talk about where they bought their swimsuits doesn’t really jive with the male population.

It was down to this one man — a man who would stand the test of an all-female class — and his name was Richard.”

I walked into fourth period on the second day of school, ready to soak up forty-two minutes in the swivel chair I had picked the day before and even more eager to see if the two males from yesterday were still there or if they found the counseling office right after yesterday’s class ended. To my surprise, I saw one boy sitting in the same spot from the day before, still looking terrified but a little more confident. As for the other boy, well, I’m pretty sure he found the counseling office before yesterday’s bell even rang for period 5/6. It was down to this one man — a man who would stand the test of an all-female class — and his name was Richard.

Actually, it wasn’t until October that I finally learned his name. I knew that he liked to eat most of his lunch during fourth period, as I could not only hear but also smell him snacking on everything from guacamole to yogurt to quinoa. I knew that Richard liked to do his calc homework fourth period when it was due period 7/8. And I knew that Richard was a swimmer, not only because he walked into class one day with bleach blonde hair but also because he wore his long black and gold swim jacket almost daily.

At first, the girls in the class and I kept to a subtle roar, wanting to respect Richard and the fact that he probably didn’t care to hear about where to buy specialty bras, but as the year went on, we all grew comfortable, maybe too comfortable in Richard’s eyes, as we complained about having to make gynecologist appointments and how men ruined World War II.

Early April was when the fourth period class in Room 254 finally heard Richard speak. While eating his quinoa, Richard dropped the Tupperware container, and soon the floor was filled with what was only moments ago Richard’s lunch. At first horrified to make even the slightest of peeps, Richard nervously addressed the class, “Uh, um, does anyone know where I can find a vacuum?” All heads turned as we saw the sole male survivor almost in tears, not because he no longer had a lunch to eat but because all eyes were now on him. Needless to say, the quinoa was cleaned up after a trip to the third floor bathroom for paper towels and a manhunt for a vacuum, and to our surprise, Richard returned the next day.

The past one hundred and sixty-something days of fourth period in Room 254 have been memorable ones. All of us girls have found a new brother in Richard Jensen, and although he may not be signed up for Journalism next year, I like to think that we all have learned some pretty valuable lessons.

For Richard, he now knows that there are a multitude of bras out there, the best times to schedule gynecologist appointments, and where to get the best makeup for the best price.

For us girls, well, Richard has taught us how to efficiently do our calc homework an hour before it’s due, how to clean up spilled quinoa like a boss, and most of all, how to stick it out when times are rough and when it seems like you’re all alone.

Whether or not Richard wanted to go unnoticed is irrelevant at this point because Richie, let me tell you, we’ve noticed you. And we just hope that if you ever need girl advice in the future, you can look back on your days in Room 254 and hopefully find not only a laugh, but also an answer.