In the author's defense, she is referring to outings akin to that a straight man would arrange with a woman in whom he has a romantic interest, not just "hanging out." I disagree with the author that merely having dinner at a restaurant with cloth napkins qualifies; I have such dinners with male friends on a semi-regular basis. Regarding her other examples, I think she has a point. When was the last time you cooked dinner at home or caught the latest Meg Ryan flick with a guy friend?
I think it depends on the relationship with your friend. I have friends in Argentina that I have know since I was in preschool that have cooked for me when I went over to their houses, and it is perfectly ok (and delicious.), because the relationship is so intimate. Whereas with some friends which are either newly formed friendships or wholly American in thinking (and you know what I mean.), then yes an at-home dinner cooked by one for the other is quite rare, and perhaps not a wise choice. I have seen art / foreign films with male friends, some were romantic films in nature, but yeah I see your point: who watches Meg Ryan films anyways? Jon.