My good friend Avital had this whole non-date Date thing all set straight.
See? Most of us are these gushy, dreamy-eyed girls, straight out of sem, living our life of shidduchim to lead up to the 'happily ever after' but no one really thinks about the reality of the situation and what exactly happens after the happily ever after (aka wedding-jk).
Then, we get older, and as we get older, we gain more life experience, more dating experience, we meet new people, are in different situations, different surroundings and we sort of land back into reality and learn that there IS something after happily ever after and that something is "REALITY". Life is not a dream, it doesn't just 'happen', we have to sometimes make things happen, everything takes effort and once we get to where we want to be, with that effort, we appreciate it much more, as we know how hard to worked towards our goal.
Point being-Avital had this mindset about dating. She decided that dates were fake. They are all happy, polite, well-mannered, well-dressed, put together, on-your-best-behavior, go somewhere nice and grown up for 3 hours meet n greet. After the first few dates she realized that if she was going to date seriously, for marriage, she needed to do some of the everyday little things that married people do regularly to see if the guy was suitable. After all, how many married husbands do you see running to the passenger door of the car to hold the door for their wives? How many couples randomly go out during the week for drinks at a hotel lounge, or pottery painting, bowling, to the botanical gardens or a movie?
So, Avital decided that when a boy came to town to date her, she would have a 'reality' date and do something realistically, she would be doing had she been married-with this potential guy. So, they would go on grocery errands, they would help out at soup kitchens, deliver meals to hospitals, etc. Whilst not the most romantic dates-it was the most real-life situation dates. And Avital must've been doing the right thing, cuz she got married to the next guy that she dated after this decision. They had the most non-romantic dates (then again, it depends how you feel about the term of romance), but it worked.
For all I know, he proposed to her in the produce aisle over a basket of tomatoes, but in reality, she sorta had a point. I'm not the type of girl who really cares, nor needs a guy to hold a door open for me. Is it polite? sure. Is it mentchlech to do on a date? yes. Still-do I need someone to do that? will I get upset if he doesn't? nopes, I don't mind opening my own car door, and doing things myself-after all, being single for all these years I got used to it. Ya, a gal likes to be treated with respect and as if a guy cares, but dessert, a horse & buggy ride, amusement park, etc-whilst being fun, you might not get that much conversation in, you might not see how someone behaves in a real-life situation and how they handle everyday small stuff that arise.
Would you be bold enough to suggest a non-date date on your next shidduch?