IT HAPPENS AROUND AGE 40, GIVE or take a few years.You walk into a club where you used to go on dates or looking for dates, where you used to feel comfortable flirting or dancing or having a cocktail, and, suddenly, you see the obvious-you could have given birth to these kids. If you’ve never been married, or if you’re divorced and single again, there is a dating life after Nostromo, the 8.0, and Studebaker’s-and it’s not at Arthur’s.

But when you’re 40, and you’re not living happily ever after with Major Nelson or Darin Stevens, the game can get old.

“It’s hard, especially for women,” says Crosskno, a human resources manager who has been with EDS for 16 years and has never been married or had children (“much to my mother’s dismay”). ” This is what we have to deal with just for being single, for taking a different road in life.

Echoing Kim Crosskno, he says, “the timing was never right to get married.” In the 70s and early ’80s, love-and sex-were in the air, Albright says.

The club scene in Dallas was at its height, and dating was an endless walk through a candy store.

When she did, going all Out with the fries and the large drink, he swallowed hard and said he wouldn’t be eating. “We can laugh about it now,” says Kim Crosskno, 40, who tried the same dating service as Stephanie, who has since moved to Australia.

“The whole video dating experience was really humiliating,” she says, like living in a game of Mystery Date and getting stuck too often with the Dud.Children of the ’60s should be able to remember the game-and probably even sing part of the jingle, “.. There was the Dream, dressed in a white dinner jacket, and the Dud, in his unmatched plaids, horned-rim glasses, and white crew socks.In between episodes of “I Dream of Jeannie” and “Bewitched,” which taught us that magic and trickery were required to get a man to marry, we learned through commercials for “Mystery Date” that dating was a game of chance.Working the numbers through your mind, you realize that you are 15 or 20 years older than that cute guy or girl across the bar. e;rplace now, and you have entered the Twilight Zone of Dating. Like the sweet couple in Beetlejuice, forever doomed to the same old haunts, all you need is a guide to the other side to find your way.And here it is-a glossary of advice to the date-worn from survivors and experts in the trenches.Using his own anecdotal evidence, Albright maintains that the growing number of never-marrieds is a Yuppie phenomenon and a sign of the times.