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The women at the back table of the Bottleneck bar on Granville Street are a cluster of long locks, funky accessories, a mix of tanned and fair, naturally athletic bodies and discreetly dabbed lip gloss.

The conversation about the impossibility of finding man-love in Lotus Land ricochets between raucous laughter and thoughtful reflection until the table goes silent and the subject finally sinks, like a stone thrown in an impossibly dark wishing well.“This is not a lighthearted issue,” says Jodi Derkson.

“There is a serious problem here.”PHOTOS: MORE SINGLES LOOKING FOR LOVEThis is Vancouver, the women explain, in conversational shorthand that speaks volumes about the city’s widely-perceived shortcomings for straight daters.

(Same-sex dating in Vancouver has its own set of opportunities and challenges that warrants a whole other article.)For many singles, the stepping stones to love’s distant shore are broken or missing — the appreciative or inviting smiles, casual conversations struck up on street corners, in bars, restaurants, grocery lineups and online dating offer only a small pool of confused and confusing possibilities.

And even though the total number of victims is small compared with other scams, in the last three years they lost more money looking for love online than to any other type of fraud. Your old-school gigolo or gold-digger usually could only drain a couple of people at a time.