Listen, ladies. If you're looking for a Valentine to tie the knot, he's not going to be easy to find.

The Atlantic magazine, with the help of the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Planning Data Corp., offers these statistics:There are 3,138 counties in America. The male-female ratio for ages 18-44 is within 10 percentage points of absolute equality in almost all of them.

"A difference of a few percent may seem slight," the magazine reports in its February issue, "but it is in fact quite significant. Think of the situation as a game of musical chairs.

"Each marriage removes one man and one woman from the game. In a county where eligible men are 48 percent of the target age group, there are 13 single women for every 12 seats. Counting out gay and incarcerated men may remove another chair. All in all, then, there are no potential husbands in the target age group in such a county as for many as 15 percent of the women in the target age group."

One bit of advice: There are more counties with a surplus of men in the western two-thirds of the nation than in the eastern third.