Reminiscing about our dating days, my husband and I have been debating the following: Should a boy ask a girl when he takes her out where she’d like to go? Or should he at least say, “I was thinking of going to ABC. Is that okay with you?”
My opinion is that, of course, it’s only mentchlech. My husband said that when he asked girls on dates where they’d like to go, they got all uncomfortable and said, “I don’t know. Whatever you want, etc.”
When we were dating, I remember being worried about this point, thinking that maybe he didn’t care about my opinion. We now laugh about it, and of course he cares about my opinion. It was simply that he did what he thought was most comfortable.
What do the panelists have to say about this?
Much akin to embarking on a Chol Hamoed day-trip, a healthy dose of ambivalence and deference are standard fare when it comes to deciding where to go for a date, even for the most seasoned of married couples. Accordingly, partaking in that slightly awkward conversation in the here and now is excellent practice for the future. Marriage demands mutual decision-making, from the smallest areas of life to the largest, and the better accustomed one is to that interchanging of ideas and opinions, the better suited they are to enhance their shalom bayis.
That said, for those in the early stages of dating, it is to be expected that one might not be quite comfortable enough yet to take that step with their counterpart. Which leads us to the following age-old dilemma. Some women expect the man they are dating to take initiative and shoulder the responsibility of determining where the dates will take place; others would like a man to show interest in what the woman would like to do; and still others want the best of both worlds (!). All the while, the men are left trying to succeed in what becomes a tedious balancing act wherein they must evince a noteworthy measure of bonhomie and a genuine interest in the wishes of the person they are dating, and at the same time, take upon themselves the machismo mantle of one who is capable of taking charge. To be sure, this is but one example of many, and there are no shortages of scenarios in which a man’s expectations and aspirations can be equally as challenging to decipher.
Consequently, what appears to be a rather simple question, on the face of it, is actually merely an overlay to a far greater topic which resides beneath the surface. Namely, the myriad complexities of the male-female dynamic. And indeed, it is a subject on which libraries full of books have been written, and for which there is not nearly space enough to comprehensively cover in this forum. As such, I would strongly recommend that each couple do their utmost to identify the path that is most apropos, given the personalities of both daters, and be mispallel that a happy medium can be unearthed. It is no easy task, but it can be achieved. In fact, to spend a lifetime with another human being, it must.
May the Machin Mitzaadei Gever confer clarity and contentment to all those who venture out on the road of shidduchim.