Such a rule did not hold in my time, at least not among the people I knew. The only women any of us ever saw were women that were dating our friends.
And while everyone makes mistakes, some mistakes have consequences and ramifications that can follow us for the rest of our lives.
Granted, God doesn’t hold our past mistakes against us if we come to him in true repentance, but those mistakes can still have consequences that may negatively affect our future relationships, particularly in a marriage.
Since lower-class families did not have the resources to entertain potential suitors in their home, many couples began leaving the house to spend time together.
Thus, the phrase "going out on a date" became popularized.
(Of course, I go back a long way, to a time when there were streetcars going up and down Broadway.
I could buy a milkshake for a All the telephones were black.) It was common, around that time, for men and women to meet at parties or at dances.
The two would spend time together, usually with the supervision of her parents so that they may get to know each other on an intellectual and emotional level.
The couple was rarely left alone, making sexual intimacy (and physical contact in general) nearly impossible.
Ultimately, that is what the dating process is for – to decide, based on what you have learned, whether or not to marry that person.