shy woman looking at man

Are you too shy to talk to that guy? Don't doom yourself to failure -- take a chance and strike up a conversation.

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Although you may find it depressing that four out of five Americans feel women aren't treated with the same level of chivalry as they have been in the past, women are taking control whether men hold open doors or not [source: Harper]. In 2010, women made up half of the U.S. workforce -- a remarkable achievement because this is the very first time that's ever been the case. And nearly four in 10 working moms are the breadwinners for their families [source: Center for American Progress]. Women are even gaining ground in one of the most controversial areas of a relationship: control of the TV remote.

But what about the dating scene? Are we still to believe the adage that women are at home waiting for the phone to ring? Or is that changing, too?

"While traditional gender roles still lurk where women are expected to be less forward than men, many men often find it nerve-racking to be the ones who always have to do the approaching," says Dr. Kimberly McGann, assistant professor of sociology at Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y.

There are almost 97 million unmarried Americans -- and when we dig more deeply into those numbers, there are only 88 men for every 100 women [source: U.S. Census Bureau]. Regardless of age (and gender), the dating game can be tough. Although more than 900 dating services have sprung up in the U.S. (including Internet dating sites), dating is still a challenge. While dating difficulties may differ depending on your age, one thing doesn't: making a first impression. Hold your head high, take a deep breath and follow our tips for approaching that guy who caught your eye.