Jason Segal, Naim Attallah, Patti Boulaye

The Weekly News
Jason Segel, Naim Attallah, Patti Boulaye
2009-08-08 3:22

The prettiest girls can’t always meet the right guy. Just ask Uma Thurman or Emma Watson. They both insist that being beautiful and famous makes it tough to get a date.

There’s a mathematical reason for this. The Hungarian genius John von Neumann explained it with a snappy equation: p* = 1 – (b/a) to the power of 1/(n-1).

The weird thing is, I’ve always understood this. Maybe it’s something to do with having Hungarian parents. I can’t do the maths, but I instinctively knew that most guys are scared of asking pretty girls for a date… because no man likes to feel humiliated. It’s safer, the guys calculate, to go for plain Janes, who are less likely to tell them to get lost.

And if the girl is really gorgeous, then just about every eligible male in a five mile radius will be too intimidated to come over and buy her a drink.

I worked this out in my teens, and vowed I would never be afraid of approaching anybody. Rejection is all in the mind — nobody can make you feel humiliated if you respect yourself. A pretty girl might say No… but if I didn’t give her the chance to say Yes, the result was just the same.

So when I first set eyes on the prettiest girl in Tel Aviv, I focused all my thoughts on the power of the positive, took a deep breath, and asked her out. That was back in the Sixties… and Hanna and I became companions for life.

Hanna always says I have chutzpah. That means loads of confidence, sheer cheek, a lucky streak and a winning smile… there should be a word for it in every language, but we just call it chutzpah. And as I get older, I trust to mine more and more.

So when we were walking through London after a fabulous veggie meal the other evening, and my daughter Natalie spotted a Hollywood star through the open windows of a noisy bar, I didn’t hesitate. Many people might be afraid of getting the brush-off from a megastar in front of their family, but rejection is all in the mind.

I strode into the bar, shook hands warmly and said, “Hi, I’m Uri Geller, and I want to tell you I love your movies!”

There was the best kind of reaction — a stunned silence, and then shouts for spoons, and I spent the next 20 minutes bending metal and discussing the paranormal.

All this story needs to make it complete is a sizzling surprise for the identity of this Hollywood star. A girl like Sienna Miller, or Scarlett Johansson…

In fact, it was Jason Segel, star of the brilliant comedies Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Knocked Up. I’m sure he doesn’t need advice on how to date pretty girls — but in case he ever wants tips, he’s got my mobile number.

Whenever I visit one of Google’s offices worldwide, I’m always amazed by the low-key energy of the place. Former Phenomenon contestant Eran Raven, who has an IQ that’s off the scale, is putting his formidable mindpower to work for the company, and invited me to take a tour of the London offices.

“Everybody is in surfing shirts and sneakers,” I pointed out, in their stylish cafeteria, where all the food is free. “This is the biggest brand on the internet — at what point do you have to start wearing suits?”

Eran’s colleagues all burst out laughing. A young woman told me: “When Sergey Brin, one of the two founders, dropped by, he was wearing a T-shirt and no watch. He’s a multi-billionaire, and he could buy a diamond watch for every day of the year… but of course he’s way too smart for that.”

Sergey Brin was born in Moscow. I’ve met other Russian billionaires who are too stylish to flaunt their wealth. That reveals more than brains — it shows wisdom.

My dear friend Remy Blumenfeld, whose mother is the sculptor Helaine Blumenfeld and whose grandfather Erwin created the photographic style that made Vogue magazine famous, has revealed another famous relative — his father Yorick, a remarkable writer.

Yorick Blumenfeld

Yorick’s book The Waters Of Forgetfulness is published this summer. The publishing magnate Naim Attallah invited us to the launch at the Sir John Soanes Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. The house is breathtaking, perfectly preserved from its Napoleonic heyday, and filled with astonishing artworks and furniture.

The publishing magnate Naim Attallah

“This is the perfect setting,” I told Remy. “Dazzling, and fascinating, and constantly surprising… very much like your family!”

It’s always a delight to welcome Patti Boulaye to our home. Her tireless work to set up HIV clinics in Nigeria, where she was born, made me aware of the crisis facing millions of African children with Aids.

When she dropped by this week, I told her about my determination to help Zambia’s former president Kenneth Kaunda, who lost his own son to Aids and who is helping to smash the taboos around the disease.

Patti and I are working on an exciting project, which draws its inspiration from her first loves, dance and music. I can’t say any more at the moment… but I promise that Weekly News readers will be the first to know.


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