I couldn't agree with you more! I am glad to know that your scenario was just hypothetical. Yes, because there are no implied "rules" for dating anymore--thanks to the feministic movement among other factors--dating has become more difficult. However, I once read a book called "I Kissed Dating Goodbye." It was one of the best books I had ever read and gave me insight into how some individuals view dating, especially when they are looking for a Godly spouse. It was written by a man who essentially quite dating. He just focused on God and his singleness until he discovered what he really wanted--both in life and in a future spouse. He figured if you don't know those two things then how can you focus on something as pivotal as finding God's spouse for you?
I wasn't saying whether it was okay or not to ask a guy where things are going. Like you said, there really are no set rules for dating. Thus, what is okay for one person may not be okay for another (and ultimately, it has to deal with a person's level of comfortability and assertiveness). Undoubtedly, we women typically want the man to take the lead. It shows leadership--a quality which is respected, admired and of course desired in a husband. However, I'm the type of person that I will eventually just tell someone the facts--which are that communicating via email only is never going to be able to tell you if you are compatible with a person or not. F2F is always best and if that is not possible sooner rather than later then talking on the phone or video chatting is an alternative to emailing.
Also, there is no "cookie-cutter" pattern to dating, committing and so on. It varies with the individuals and circumstances. It's also true that each person who is interested in a serious relationship should be mentally, spiritually, and emotionally ready to do so. The same applies to more than dating. A certain level of maturity is an obvious requirement for a successful relationship.
It's up to each individual to determine what kind of person he/she is seeking. Some want a strong, assertive person; others are fine with the more placid type. I'm wondering how two strongly assertive persons would settle their differences. It might take extra efforts to keep potentially heated discussions from leading to something worse.
The guys shouldn't continue hiding behind their computers waiting for the Good Lord to drop off the girl of their dreams right in front of them. And that's a prodding for the guys to get out there and meet the ladies with whom you've been communicating with for awhile. The only way to really get to know someone is to spend time with that person. In the beginning, everyone is on their best behavior. As time progresses and people drop their guard, you can see what they're really like. You won't learn all of that from emailing.