For me dating just means I like a girl ever-so-slightly, and hopefully she likes me at least ever-so-slightly. The dating is to grow our feelings toward each other, and kind of test our compatibility, but most of all, just have fun.
I never do that kind of build a crush on someone and then ask them on a date. That never worked for me, and it makes it nerve-wracking to simply go up to the person and ask them out.
So I just casually ask people out on a date, and the date itself is kind of a casual affair, not some super romantic courtship thing. I save those moves for later, and only if these casual kind of dates go well.
The second option. I think its awkward trying to get to know eachother after you've both already expressed romantic interest. It puts so much pressure on your shoulders.
I want to see that we can get along and have fun together as friends before taking it to the next level. Less stress and anxiety. Plus, i find it easier to love someone who is familar to me--someone that i know well.
Its an inconvenience. I have only been out with over 2 women in my life, in reality i have had thousands of dates but only with the same person. I view beginning dates as just simply getting to know the person.
I've done both. I got to know my boyfriend very well before we went on a date, because he was actually still in a previous relationship when we met. I've also dated people before I got to know them, and they never worked out.