Queuing is a bit of a British past-time. We’re very good at it, just as we are at apologising when someone else stands on our toe. So when it comes to queuing anywhere other than Britain and I witness the unspoken laws of queuing being broken as a cheeky bastard pushes in I get some serious queueing anxiety. I feel what I can only describe to be an overwhelming sense of injustice.

I’m the person in the queue the day that Topshop opened on Queen Street 3 years ago, as per the picture below, getting cheers from my fellow 4am queuers for informing the pusher inners that they must have been confused when they mistook our spot in line at the front for the back.


Honestly, my Britishness about the social construct of queuing is perhaps ridiculous. But a part of me really appreciates a queue. I love that it creates a fair and controlled environment of order that would otherwise be a free for all for animals. Queuing just seems to me to be a universal language; you see a person waving and they’re probably saying hello; you see people in a line and you know to get to the back of it.

Of course, this isn’t often the case. Especially if you’re at Les Mills in Britomart on a Monday at 17:10. It’s here you’ll find a queue of pensive body pumpers who are all eagerly awaiting their favourite weekly class. This is a class that doesn’t start until 17:30, but if you want to be a part of the party who pump weights hard and fast for 55 minutes then you get your ass firmly placed in that queue by 17:10.

Because come 17:15 the bench against the wall to the studio is filled entirely with many a pert cheek of the well squatted derrière, and by 17:20 if yours isn’t one of them then you should really go home. Because that queue has probably crawled its way up the staircase towards the Gym’s exit by now, and that’s a sure enough sign that you’re gonna need to run passed the 100 people in front of you for your weights if you want to be in this class.

Unless, of course, your head is shoved so far up your ass that you coincidentally spot someone you ‘know’ at the front of the queue as you exit the changing rooms. There will be no queueing for these little Susans. Oh no. After spotting their ‘friend’ after they’ve given the unappealingly long queue the once over, they run enthusiastically towards them in their hot pants and crop tops while waving, hugging and shouting, “oh my god I haven’t seen you for like sooooo long, we like absolutely like totally must catch up!”

The culprit on the end of this tactic is like, “oh, hey, err, sorry who are you again?” and then the queue jumper says, “whaaaaat! You don’t remember? It’s me! Susan! I saw you sitting in Raw Power last week and we like totally connected over that eye contact we had?” Unaware of the scowls and with zero humility Susan then perches her ass down on the bench forcing everyone around her to part like Jesus parts the sea. She then starts yapping to the unsuspecting Nicole, or Sarah, or whatever her name was about her terrible day in the office.

Other sprightly little Susans sometimes don’t just exit the changing rooms in the wrong direction like the Susans before, these Susans form their own queue that runs parallel to the one that us dedicated queuers have been in for 20 minutes. Next minute, you’ve got an entire line of obnoxious little Susans tapping away at something unimportant on their phones pretending we’re not there. I just think, ‘Jesus Christ Susan get in the fucking queue. How the bloody hell do you even sleep at night?’

These arguments I have in my head start to make me shake on the inside and I build up a sweat as I realise I am deteriorating into flight mode because the chances of me taking on the role of Queue Bitch in a Les Mills gym are 100% zero. So I secretly take a visual shot of their faces should I not get a bar or a bench, which never happens, and I plot how I will find one of them amongst the 150 people in the studio and inherit their bar, bench, and weights when they’ve gone to get one last weight from the rack. And when they should question what I am doing standing in their space I will simply say, ‘what are you talking about? I put this bench here. Look, there’s my water.’ Then they’ll think they’ve gone mental.

I calm down with this unnecessary back up plan in place. It’s unnecessary because I always get a bench, I always get weights, and I set up right by the door in case of an emergency evacuation. I wouldn’t actually take Susan’s bench who has set up right in the centre and in the direct eye-line of the instructors. I wouldn’t fit in well in the midst of 150 body pumpers. That gives me more anxiety than the queuing. I think I’m slowly realising as I write this that perhaps Monday nights Body Pump class isn’t for me.




5 thoughts on “Very British Problems: Queuing with a Susan

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