Originally Posted by Judas Booth
In all seriousness, good luck. The one piece of advice to offer for the party is this: be cool. Be casual. Talk with her but don't monopolize her. If she gets into the conversation and monopolizes you, then fine...roll with it. Your goal at this party isn't to exchange life stories, it's to get a date set up.
Good advice right here. I know where you're coming from Upgrayedd, in fact you sound a lot like me when I was in my 20s. I was terrified - TERRIFIED - of dating. I pretty much considered the idea of asking a woman out as impossible, basically because I grew up believing that I was undesirable in a romantic/sexual context. It's not something you can dispel in one swoop, but your mindset does eventually change and only you can say when that time's come. The fact that you're sick of your shyness is a key thing, and a sign that you've already made that decision; I made the same decision, and it really did start to change my attitude to things. You keep thinking like that, and all it'll take is getting lucky with a woman or two (Whether it's this girl or someone else) and you'll find yourself wondering what you were worrying about this whole time.
As a few others have said, the important thing is not putting this girl on a pedestal that scares you and, more importantly, that you don't know she even deserves yet. We all have our flaws, and as much as we crush on a person until we get to know them better they have just as much potential to be apathetic, unreliable or all-round disappointing as anyone else. Now I'm not saying she is any of these things, or meaning to disrespect her; it's just that it's very, very easy to romanticize people unnecessarily before we actually get to know them, which may seem nice on paper but also entails a lot of vulnerability and fear that can lead you to be inert in a situation where positive action is vital. It's not cynicism, but a healthy guardedness that's the key. It makes the attraction something that you can act on yet not be that important if it doesn't pan out, and not LIFE AND DEATH ITSELF!!! It's not that you don't care; you care a lot, but at the same time you know that if it doesn't work then it's not necessarily your fault. You can say to yourself, "Fuck it, maybe she just doesn't know a good thing when she sees it - her loss!" Because you know what? If she turns you down or the dates go badly - fuck it, you're probably right.
hopefully that all made sense and I'm not just coming across as a total cynic. I guess I just recognize a lot of Old Me in what you've been saying, and I know a lot of my problems re: dating diminished massively when I stopped romanticizing and idealizing women when I hadn't even gotten to know them yet. Some really did turn out to be lovely, as I'm sure this girl is too, but sometimes a bit of guardedness takes away the fear of putting yourself forward.