Ask An Editor: Valentine’s Day Dilemma

Q: I don’t know what to get my girlfriend for Valentine’s Day. Got any tips?

A: Shopping for significant others can be tricky. Here are a few options to (hopefully) win her heart:

1. Just ask
Asking is the easiest way to find out what she wants. You may feel awkward by being so direct, but she will probably appreciate that you really want to buy something she would love.

2. Stick with the obvious
If you have been together for a while, you probably know her favorite stores and restaurants. Gift cards to these places are great, especially for college students. If her favorite band is coming to town, try to score some tickets. Favorite lotion? There’s a Bath & Body Works coupon for that.

3. Listen and observe
When you are with her, be attentive to what she says and does. If she mentions she lost her makeup blender, go to a cosmetics store and pick one up. She will be excited about the sponge, but more excited you listened. If she looks at something in a store for more than three seconds and touches it, there’s a good chance she wants it. She will be impressed you noticed. Oh, stalk Pinterest too.

4. Pick some flowers
Flowers are simple and classic. Buy a dozen of her favorites. If you don’t know her favorite flower, pick some that are her favorite color. And when in complete doubt, you can almost never go wrong with roses.

5. Do something unexpected
Okay, don’t go crazy and rent a yacht or something (unless you have the means to do so), but doing something unexpected can be really neat. Go outside the norm. Handwrite a letter. Write her a song. Put together a photo collage for her wall. Paint or build something for her. Use your strengths and wit to do something cool – something she will cherish.

I hope you find the perfect gift.

– TNJN Editor


Have a question you’d like answered? Email your question to and an editor will respond promptly.

Diversity Week forum discusses interracial dating, marriage

Panelists discuss interracial dating and marriage.
Panelists talk about interracial dating and marriage.

The University of Tennessee’s College of Communications and Information Diversity and Inclusion Week discussed diversity in dating and marriage, Tuesday, Sept. 23.

UT students Kathleen Duff and Brittany Singh moderated the discussion between panelists Gabrielle LeFlore and Evelyn Morales, both UT students, and husband and wife Will McDaniels, an administrative support assistant from UTCCI, and Jodi Rightler-McDaniels, director of General Studies at South College.

Questions touched on diversity between dating and marriage, tradition, and culture.

LeFlore, who considers herself of  “multicultural background” and is engaged to a white UT student, said that she wouldn’t be here if her grandparents didn’t “cross the lines.”

Gabrielle LeFlore discussing interracial dating during Diversity Week.
Gabrielle LeFlore discussing interracial dating during Diversity Week.

Further, McDaniels and Rightler-McDaniels, who have been married for ten years, said that waiters continually ask if they will be needing “one check or two” while dining out at restaurants.

“Race plays a part in everything,” Rightler-McDaniels said, “but when you are with someone who is of a different race, you can start to notice the subtle messages of racism.”

The panel also commented on interracial relationships and if they’re becoming more accepted.

“People being more open in public with their relationship makes me feel that some things have changed,” said Morales.

In contrast, Rightler-McDaniels said that it is important not to confuse “accepting” with “tolerating,” and that it’s the individual’s choice to be accepted.

“At school, ask someone who is blind about their aspect on life versus yours and see what they have to go through, because we will never know,” said Singh.

Diversity Week concludes Thursday, Sept. 25.

Share This Link on Facebook

Share This on Twitter

Edited by Ryan McGill