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Think You'll Marry After 40? Dream on!

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Good news, single women over 40!

Your chances of getting married have been promoted from less than the chance of being harmed by terrorists to less than the chance of becoming Secretary of State or Speaker of the House.

They may even be greater than being on a plane that hits a cluster of birds and plunges into the Hudson River and being rescued while waiting on the wings.

So don't give up hope.

Of course thanks to prenuptials, marriage no longer represents the economic security it once did. (Until the second wife, that is.)

Thanks to "and-baby-makes-two" parenting, a mother without a marriage is less the social pariah as a fish without a bicycle to quote Gloria Steinem.

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But for millions of women raised on Bride magazine and Barbie brides whose brains' still hold the concept of "old maid" (as do their dads')-descent into the won't marry demographic is deflating.

The guy who comes over to your table at Starbucks...wants to borrow your chair.

The guy hovering around your cube at work ...wants to sell you kitchen remodeling.

The guy at the gym who says, "Would you like to go out sometime?" is talking into his cell.

That's before we get to the store clerk who calls you Ma'am instead of "Miss"-meaning respect not disrespect, of course. Right.

Will life end up cats and quilted bathrobes? An alphabetized spice rack and vacations with girl friends?

Will life be like the fortune teller who tells her customer, "You will be unknown and penniless until you are 40."

"And then?" asks the customer.

"And then you'll be used to it."

Of course thanks to celebrity marriages-Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller and Joe DiMaggio; Jane Fonda and Roger Vadim, Tom Hayden and Ted Turner; Mia Farrow and Frank Sinatra and André Previn-floating down the aisle has always held a lot of Cinderella dust for women. Think "Officer and a Gentleman."

But sometime after the devolution of Princess Di's fantasy life, celebrity marriages went downhill too.

Who can forget the train wrecks of Cher and Gregg Allman; Madonna and Sean Penn; Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett; Debra Winger and Timothy Hutton; Lisa Marie Presley and Michael Jackson and Pam Anderson and Kid Rock? Ouch.

They even made "perpetual bridesmaid" women like Goldie Hawn, waiting for Kurt Russell, and the late Farrah Fawcett waiting for Ryan O'Neil look good.

And speaking of waiting at the altar, who expected the "man" of Sheryl Crow's dreams to be an adopted baby boy after the Lance Armstrong saga?

Of course there are many reasons for the husband drought for women over 40-from men who are not interested in marriage "yet" to men who are not interested in marriage "anymore" and of course men who are not interested in women to begin with.

But the biggest reason for the husband shortage is probably that men won't date and marry their age.

No, not only will men of 40 not date 40 when they can date 35, 33, 30, 28, 25, 23, 20-do we need to continue?-in the history of the world no man has even said, "All the good women are taken."

Nor in the history of the world has a woman ever walked up to a cute man alone at a table at Starbucks and said, "Can I borrow your chair?"

Martha Rosenberg is a columnist and cartoonist, who writes about public health

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