The shallow end

I blame the parents.

We’ve known for some time that the past couple of generations of young people have been raised to be “soft.” They’ve been coddled, indulged, overprotected, and given stupid designer names by parents who grossly overestimate the importance and uniqueness of their own offspring. George Carlin called it the “Cult of the Child.”

At some point, parents stopped being parents and decided to be pals instead. The result is a whole lot of young people with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement. A lack of parental discipline combined with our overexposed celebrity culture has left a legacy of vanity and excessive self-admiration.

This is not just my subjective grumpy old man opinion. Thanks to Jean Twenge, a psychologist at San Diego State University, I have numbers to back me up.

Twenge, along with colleagues at the University of Michigan, University of Georgia, and the University of South Alabama, has been administering the Narcissistic Personality Inventory to college students since 1982. The results were summarized as follows in a March 19 Ventura County Star article by Beverly Kelley, Ph.D:

According to the study, narcissism…has climbed 30 percent among undergraduates during the past two decades. Last year, two out of three handed in above-average numbers for narcissism. The researchers contend that high-scoring collegians are incapable of empathy, turn aggressive when insulted and favor self-enhancement over making others look good. Furthermore, they are more likely to seek attention, public glory and material possessions.

I can put this even more succinctly. Two-thirds of our nation’s twentysomethings are self-absorbed assholes.

But our narcissistic youth face a major problem when it comes to finding love. How to sort through the riffraff of average-looking folks who value intelligence and personality in order to find other vain, appearance-obsessed people?

Enter, an Internet dating service that caters to “attractive, fit singles like you (who) deserve an above average dating pool.”

As a prospective member, you are asked to submit three photos of yourself (including one full body shot). Other club members then assign you a ranking based solely on your attractiveness. You must score at least 8 on a scale of 10 to be invited to join.

“People can say that the site is shallow, they can say it’s superficial, but I think we’re all a bit superficial when it comes to dating,” says Jason Pelligrino, the 33-year old co-creator of the site.

Pelligrino has a score of 8.2.

As for the beautiful couples who hook up on, one thing is for sure. They will deserve each other.

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