Material Maidel reports on a new trend in the New York Charedi world: the pre-date date.
A good (male) friend of hers
was telling me about some girl who was recently redd [suggested] to him who asked that they meet for a casual thirty-minute session before they set up their date. He thought this was crazy - doesn't the pre-date qualify as a date?...
Convo #2 was at the same event, albeit with a Boro Park Mamma (when she heard I was single she stuck to me like glue) who told me how she tells all her kids to meet before they date... Her take on this was that spending the mandatory 4 hours on a date (i never knew frum dates had specific schedules, but i should thank her for clearing it up for me) is a waste of time when often the couple knows within 20 minutes whether or not they are compatible (sometimes it feels like all I need is 10). So in a way, the pre-date date is a time-saver. It's also a money-saver considering how much some boys dish out on dates.
Of course the guy friend is right - a date is a date is a date (even when it's a "pre-date date"). But for those who do not buy into this semantically convoluted craziness, but would like to continue shidduch-dating, I have a solution.
On an early episode of the sitcom How I Met Your Mother (broadcast in the UK on E4), Barney suggests a dating 'Lemon law': If, within the first five minutes, you decide your blind date is a lemon, you can just get up and leave, citing the 'Lemon law', no hard feelings.
Or maybe - what this trend really seems to be suggesting - it would be better to allow young men and women to meet under more relaxed and natural circumstances (say, at a wedding or outside a shul?) and then let things evolve naturally, rather than keeping them rigidly seperate and then only allowing them to meet in the most artificial, and pressurised, conditions?