To be honest with you right from the start, I wasn’t actually eating in the Panera Bread restaurant when the following story took place. I had no plans to eat, either. I wasn’t even going to order a coffee. My objective was to discretely walk into this place, discretely walk to the back and discretely enter the men’s bathroom where I would relieve myself at the porcelain urinal, wash my hands with some antibacterial soap and then get the hell out of there before any Panera Bread employees caught onto the fact that I was just using them for their bathroom and had no plans of patronizing their establishment.
See, I had just been at the Visionworks located in the very same plaza—only a couple doors down—to deal with some eyeglass issues I won’t go into right now, both because it’s personal business and also because it would bore you to death. Visionworks, as far as I was aware, did not have a public bathroom, so I had to walk across the plaza to the Panera Bread that I knew wouldn’t let me down with their more-than-adequate facilities.
Could I have waited until I got home?
Possibly, but see, I’d had a bad experience only two weeks ago, where I was driving on the Cape Cod highway and had to piss so bad that I had no choice but to pull off at the nearest exit, go about 80mph down a Barnstable side-street, find a random hiking trail and then relieve myself as soon I got far enough down the trail where I knew I was alone. Nature fought back, though. Only hours later, I broke out in one of the fiercest cases of poison ivy I had ever experienced in my life. All over my ankle. Itchy as anything. It was very frightening.
After that episode, I made a covenant with myself to never “wait until I get home” ever again. When in doubt, shake it out at the nearest restroom. Even if it’s a few drops. Because you never know when the call of nature may hit you, out of nowhere, like a bolt of lightning, and, damn, you do NOT want to pull off into the nearest wooded area and then find yourself dealing with a raging case of the ivy, whether it be of the poison, oak or, perhaps even sumac variety.
Anyway, this is all a long way of saying that, yes, maybe I could have waited until I got home to take my leak. But I wasn’t going to take that chance. And, honestly, I’m glad I didn’t, because the following event wouldn’t have happened.
Picture this, now…
As I walk into the Panera Bread restaurant, I notice on my immediate left, through the glass of the entrance, that there is a large group of teenage girls sitting at a table eating lunch…or dinner…or I guess it could have even been “linner”, if you want to be technical. By the way, not to go off on a tangent or anything, but I have noticed a trend over the past five or ten years that teenage girls congregate in the Panera Bread after school and eat food with each other. Is this the cool thing to do? Has Panera Bread become what “The Max” was in Saved By the Bell? Just wanted to throw those questions out there. You can ponder them later. For now, stay with me here on this story I’m about to tell you.
So I’m walking into the Panera. And the entrance consists of one of those vestibules. You know, you walk through one door, there is about five or six feet of space, and then you walk through another door into the actual restaurant. I’m making this clear because there is a moment of time when I can see in my periphery these girls and they are studying me as I walk into the entrance via the vestibule. And when I say periphery, I mean periphery, I wasn’t *looking* at these girls, I swear, because I’m not a creep—let’s make that clear from the outset, ok, guys?
As soon as I walk through that second glass door and step into the main restaurant, I hear one of the girls shout…
And then I hear some giggles and possibly some O…M…G’s. I can see all their heads turn in my periphery, but I don’t acknowledge them and I proceed to the back of the restaurant where the restroom is….
Now, to be completely honest and maybe I’m a moron, but I didn’t realize what DILF even meant, at least not right away. As I unzipped my fly at the urinal and proceeded to do what nature calls us to do, I assumed that “DILF” was some sort of negative comment. I began grumbling to myself while I took my hot leak:
Don’t con-den-scend me, man…. I don’t take shit from no one, man….
The word “DILF” kept echoing in my mind. I am admittedly a neurotically insecure individual by nature, so I thought it must have been a new word that the Gen Z adolescents invented for the word “DORK” or something along those lines. You know, like how they came up with ‘Sus’ (meaning suspect and/or suspicious) or ‘Sketch’ (meaning sketchaaaaaaaaay). Those latter slang words I did know, but DILF? It must have been code for something…something…
Yes, this is when it all hit me. I, of course, was familiar with the acronym “MILF”, but I don’t think I had even heard that word used since around the time I first saw the American Pie movies where Stifler’s mom was considered a “mother…I’d…like [to]….era-era…reeeeemiiiiiiiix.” DILF was just like MILF only referring to a hot, older man, usually one with kids, but sometimes, according to Urban Dictionary, it’s just used to refer to a hot older man, period.
Oh my God, I thought to myself as I finished up my business at the urinal. Those girls just called me a DAD…I…WOULD…LIKE [to]…fre-fre-freeeeeeeeeeeeeee (air horn), radio edit ft. Pit Bull and Nicki Minaj.
Wait, whaaaaaaaaaaaaat??? They actually saw me that way? As a friggin’ DILF??? Wow. Shit.
On one hand, being called a DILF made me feel rather old. I’m fully-aware, of course, that I’m well into my 30s (I mean really well into my 30s), but my mind usually has me convinced that I’m still about 16 years old. This was a strange and surreal moment where I saw myself as an outsider saw me (in this case, a teenage girl) and I had to face the harsh reality that I was no longer young. It’s hard to know for sure where that red line is that divides young from old, but at some point, I had crossed that line and being called a DILF made me realize, my God, I had apparently grown up and become an adult! I was no longer 16 years old. Holy shit!
On the other hand, however, being called a DILF admittedly made me feel very flattered. Is that weird? I don’t think so, because I’m pretty sure if a group of teenage boys called an older, insecure woman a MILF, she would most likely find it flattering as well. I’m just being honest, guys, who are you calling a creep?!
But, yes, I was flattered alright. In that very moment, Mr. Neurotically Insecure completely flickered away and was replaced by Mr. Ego on steroids:
Well, of course, they called you a DILF, Matt. After all, you’ve been working out diligently for the past two years—yes, you’ve been using 16oz water bottles as dumbbells, but nobody knows that, all they care about is the end results, which are the chiseled biceps they see when you point them to the gun show. You also grew out your hair, almost to the length of what people see on the cover of romance novels. It’s not just long, though. You’ve recently discovered that if you put an obscene amount of Aloe Vera in your hair, you can create the illusion of the “wet look”. I mean, look in the restroom mirror, for cry eye. You’re an Adonis!
Note: this is not actually me, but it’s an extremely accurate artist’s rendition of how I looked in Panera’s restroom mirror.
Let me tell you: I walked out of that Panera men’s restroom with my chin up ever-so-high and my chest poofed-out further than perhaps it’s ever been. My confidence was on an insufferably absurd level. I threw on a pair of sunglasses and walked through the Panera like I was Mr. Hollywood. Oh, and I walked with purpose, baby, like there was somewhere really important I had to get to. And, yes, as I approached the exit, I walked right past the same table of teenage girls and could see in my periphery (again, I never looked at them directly, guys, stop calling me a creep!), that all their heads were turning. They may have all ooo’d and awed at the DILF walking past them, but all I could make out with my ears before I exited the restaurant was that one of the girls said, “Wait, is that guy even old???”
Oh yes. What a cherry on top of this whole experience. To them, I was a DILF, but it was also questionable, based on a closer look at my fine self, whether I was even old enough to be considered a DILF. Put together, this was probably as good a compliment as I could have asked for. I was a DILF but not a really old-looking DILF. What a win-win.
Cut to me walking to my car in the parking lot and I had the giddy urge to start twirling around like Julie Andrews does at the beginning of The Sound of Music and announce to the people in the plaza that, “I’m a DILF, everyone!” I’m a DILF!!!!!!!” I, of course, restrained myself from doing this, but I did scream “I’m a DILF!” a couple of times while stopped at a red light or two during my 20-minute drive home (window was open).
The only downside to this whole experience is that I haven’t been able to stop looking at myself (naked) in the mirror ever since it happened. I also blow myself kisses and say, “You the DILF, Matt! You the DILF!” (You know, instead of “You the man!”). I’m serious. I’ve been looking at myself naked in the mirror for an unhealthy amount of time. An intervention may be necessary. In case there’s any confusion here, this is a cry for help.
Putting the newfound narcissism aside, however, I consider this to be a coming-of-age story about a man who still in his mind thinks he’s young and basically a teenager, but then discovers that he’s actually transitioned into adulthood, but, more importantly, DILF-hood. This could be a great movie called…um…called DILF, I suppose. If you’re in the picture business, contact me immediately.
Also, if you’re a modeling agent, this DILF is currently looking for representation. I would admittedly be a royal pain in the ass as a client and require keto-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free, nightshade-vegetable-free catering on set during any and all photo shoots, but I assure you that representing me would ultimately pay off in dividends!
MATT BURNS is the author of several novels, including Supermarket Zombies!, Weird Monster and Johnny Cruise. He’s also written numerous Kindle singles, including MY RAGING CASE OF BEASTIE FEVER, JUNGLE F’NG FEVER: MY 30-YEAR LOVE AFFAIR W/ GUNS N’ ROSES and I TURNED INTO A MISFIT! Check out these books (and many more) on his Amazon author page HERE.
Other trending articles by Matt Burns that may be of interest to you:
I Dream of Dream Machine (a memoir of the local video arcade)
NEVER FORGET the Fun-O-Rama (a traveling carnival memoir)
A Love Letter to the Emerald Square Mall (about the death of the shopping mall age)