"Rumour has it" that the reason there's no strictly kosher coffee shoppe in West Rogers Park or Skokie is the RABBIS are afraid men and women might actually go out on DATES if one were to open.
Men and women DATING.
It's almost as though orthodox singles must flee to Lakeview just to speak to observant members of the opposite sex. The community celebrates every engagement and wedding, but does it actively facilitate the means for men and women to meet? Women under 22 have their pick of yeshiva and college graduates. Men under 28 (?) who are top learners or financially successful can date any number of Bais Yaakov alumnae. But it seems men and women who don't fit those categories are left out. If I were wrong, there wouldn't be a shidduch crisis across America, and dating in Chicago would be just fine! Just one sign of the grave situation: at one time in 2006 or 2007--and I'm not sure this is still true--there was a $2000 reward for arranging the engagement of any Chicago woman over age 22.
When I was married, we wanted to help singles overcome the obstacles that exist in dating. I recall talking to a strongly observant friend of mine--now happily married for five years--who suffered the label of being "the diet Coke of frum"* despite his commitment to yiddishkeit. Why put up with that type of abuse? He found someone who cared more about who he was than about how shtarck (observant) he was.
Shidduchim are everyone's responsibility. Everyone should be working on a regular basis to match singles who may not fit the mold.
*Like "the diet Coke of evil--not evil enough," only worse.