LATE BLOOMERS: Expect your boyfriend to propose...

LATE BLOOMERS: Expect your boyfriend to propose this Valentine's Day? Don't hold your breath. The U.S. Census Bureau's latest figures show 1993's median age for first marriages was the highest ever: 24.5 years for women and 26.5 years for men. Older men are better marriage prospects (see above). . . . "More couples are choosing to live together first," says North Hollywood marriage therapist Thomas Seibt, "and men are working longer to stabilize their careers."

SWEET IDEAS: North Hollywood candy confectioner Frank Sheftel has seen some, well, interesting Valentine's Day requests over the years. One man wanted a box of white chocolate dog bones--a gift, he said, from his dog to his girlfriend's dog. Singer Chaka Khan's beau asked for a 10-pound peanut butter chocolate sculpture of her. And then there was the special effects man. . . . "We did his face in chocolate, and we put it on the center of a heart," Sheftel said. "He came in with the mold."

PLASTIC KNIFE: Cost-cutting by powerful HMOs and managed health care plans has sliced into the earnings of many Valley plastic surgeons. . . . To ease the blow, some have turned their scalpels from calamity surgeries, like those for burn victims, to vanity surgeries, such as breast enhancements and tummy tucks. See Valley Business, Page 12.

DOWN HOME: Going down? January's $165,000 median sale price of a Valley house was the lowest since August, 1987. The figure follows last year's trend: Prices continue to slide as sales rise. The story is in Valley Business, Page 11.

STAGE FRIGHT: Robert Benedetti has the same old fears about a "Brave New World." . . . The former CalArts professor has returned to campus to direct Aldous Huxley's chilling prophecy on stage. Benedetti, who works in television, says he is more aware than ever of the dangers of an ultimate consumer society (F1).


Love and Marriage

The number of unmarried men per 100 unmarried women decreases with age: Age group: Unmarried men per 100 unmarried women 25-29: 127 30-34: 122 35-39: 116 Source: U.S. Census Bureau, March 1993 statistics

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