When I was younger ( actually, like 3 years back only ), I never understood dating... literally.
I supposedly did things that were dating, but I never thought they were dating.
I got into a lot of relationships and hung out on a lot of things that would be considered dating... but... I never knew it was dating. I thought it was just "showing them I liked them" or "showing them new things".
For people, dating is a way to find out a suitable mate.
You can't just grab someone, call them a mate, and just hope for the best. ( Trust me, I would know. )
Or for some others, it's to get into bed with them. (And no, men aren't the only ones)
... For the first 2 years of Abu and I's relationship, I never knew taking her out to see a movie or having dinner was considered "a date". By the 3rd year, she started calling them "dates" more often... >_>;; so... er... I guess I was so stupid to not think of them as dates.
I thought we were hanging out and having a fun time.
Afterall, I wasn't trying to make her my mate, I knew she was already.
From this, you can see that dating doesn't need to be used for finding a mate.
It could just be something for someone to keep you company.
Afterall, we humans become deranged if we're lonely.