Nouriel Roubini: ‘I Am Ugly, But I Have a Beautiful Mind’

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Photo: Patrick McMullan

"An economist is someone who knows 1,001 sexual positions but doesn't have a girlfriend," Nouriel Roubini quipped last night in his speech at Israeli charity the OR Movement's dinner to honor his work as an economist. But judging by the company kept throughout the night — we never saw him without a drink in hand, and at least two girls on his arm — this was false modesty.

"The recession has been great for me," Roubini, whose nickname of Dr. Doom belies the permanent grin on his face, told us when we caught up with him later, as a line of girls formed to be photographed next to him. "They love my beautiful mind," he confided. "I am ugly, but they're attracted to the brains. I'm a rock star among geeks, wonks, and nerds."

And like many rock stars, Roubini is notorious for his parties, which he holds in a vagina-walled downtown loft. "I have never been to any of his loft parties," bachelor Charlie Rose said when introducing the economist, "but I've met some of his 'friends,' and I'd like to." The crowd (silk and silicone for the girls, giant Rolexes for the guys) chuckled knowingly. "He knows a lot of foxes."

So, what makes his parties so great? we asked.

"Fun people and beautiful girls," Roubini said, grinning. "I look for ten girls to one guy." His friend Bill Clinton, he added, is a fan of this ratio.

But Dr. Doom's life is not all fun and games. He hasn't had a date, he said, since he became the official economist of the crash. "I spend 80 percent of my time traveling," he explained before swanning off into the crowd. "Maybe I'll find someone tonight. You never know — you have to be open."

Watching him work the room, or at least the perfume-scented sections of it, we asked Grammy-winning Israeli violinist Miri Ben-Ari, who knows Roubini well, if it was true he was really in a dating drought. She smiled knowingly.

"Don't believe everything he tells you," she said.