When I began dating, the universe neglected to provide me with step-by-step instructions — only a vague sort of stage directions. He is here, you are there, hold hands, kiss, cut, thank you everyone, now we are done. The film director might have gone home, but I was still there, baffled.
So what happens next? After the kissing and the sex? How do I handle it? More specifically, how do I handle Matt?
We met at a frat party, and I liked him a lot. Then he fell off the face of the earth. Was it something I said? Was he messing with my head? Was he lying dead in a ditch? Girlfriends were no help — they were dealing with pretty much the same garbage. Books on dating were confusing and self-contradictory. Besides, there was no way I was going to subscribe to the idea of interplanetary courtship.
But then, into my hands fell the ultimate dating manual. It was a textbook on information systems security.
I was supposed to have been studying for midterms. Instead, I was glued to this book that was expertly dealing with all my dating problems. In plain language, information systems security is about protecting computers from bad people and bad things. That bad people would want to do bad stuff to your computers was a given with the authors. I liked them instantly. A fine, paranoid bunch. And they hadn’t even met Matt. Boy, I had a lot to learn.
With bated breath, I read that risk was a likelihood that something nasty would happen to an asset on the system. I had an asset: me. I was my own best asset.
But I had a gaping security hole: my self-esteem. To patch it up, I had to get a career, sort things out with my parents, and make friends with the girl I saw in the mirror every day. Since I correctly suspected it would take me all of the next decade to do, I had to build up some walls in the meantime. Now that I knew what was up, I looked for specifics.
Matt? What do I do about bloody Matt?