Not that long ago, the term "banker" was glib shorthand for many women's ideal man – a cash-laden, risk-taker who knew how to live. Then it turned out that although City boy knew the difference between a jeroboam and a nebuchadnezzar, he wasn't too hot on keeping the economy afloat. Where we may once have secretly admired a refined 21st-century brand of machismo – animal instinct without rough edges – we're now inclined to see them as a bunch of incompetent prats.
So if this lot have crashed out of the chart of desirable male stereotypes, who are their replacements? Sensitive arty types who are above all this credit crunch stuff? Boys in bands who think Nasdaq is a Japanese streetwear label?
Wrong. Ladies and gentlemen, I have found the poster boy for masculinity version 2009, and his name is Jason Statham (below). Yes, the Jason Statham of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels fame who dated Kelly Brook and now makes a living jumping over/rolling under large inanimate objects in Hollywood action flicks.
Last weekend, I had the unlikely and rather surreal pleasure of attending Mr Statham's birthday party at London's Planet Hollywood (it felt more like Planet EastEnders based on the attendees, and it wasn't actually his birthday, incidentally, but such are celeb events).
In the brief moments that a female friend and I were shoulder to muscular shoulder with "The Stath", we found ourselves reduced to a mixture of coy blushes and out-and-out lechery. When did this appreciation of good old-fashioned brawn kick in?
I get the impression that women's ideals when it comes to the perfect mate have shifted recently. As a simpler way of life begins to feel more like a necessity than a romantic dream, it figures that we should prioritise primitive skills (and physical evidence of them) in potential partners – hunting, gathering, re-wiring the house, etc.
Two friends of mine, both leggy blonde alpha-females and exactly the kind of girls one would have expected to be shacked up with high-flying suits, are going out with a farmer and a fisherman respectively. "The moment I ate the fresh mackerel he'd caught for me I fell in love," sighed one, eliciting a collective swoon from the assembled company.
Of course, I have no idea whether Jason Statham could actually catch a fish, but he looks like he could, and that's all you need as a basis for a shallow fantasy. From now on then, women of Britain, you know what to do. Stop wasting your time propping up the bar at The Dorchester trying to find Mr Right, and start wasting it at shops that sell fishing tackle instead.