You walk into the pissoir needing to pee and notice that there are three urinals on the wall. For ease of identification (given that they are otherwise identical) let’s call the furthest from you ‘A’, the middle one ‘B’, and the closest to you ‘C’.
So far so good.
However, another man (I’m assuming that you are also a man, otherwise what are you doing in the pissoir) is standing at urinal ‘A’. While you are still in the doorway, he finishes his business and moves away to wash his hands at the basin opposite.
Now comes the tricky bit.
Which urinal do you use? If you walk past ‘C’ and ‘B’ to get to ‘A’, the other man will think that you probably have a urine-related fetish or that you are stalking him. ‘C’ is closest and you could carry it off, but only with a well-practised air of insouciance, or the other man will think you are making a point of deliberately using the urinal furthest from the one he used in which case you almost certainly have a urine-related fetish or you are stalking him.
No, the answer to this tricky point of urinal etiquette is clearly ‘B’. Having avoided the obvious blunder of choosing either ‘A’ or ‘C’ you have found the Goldilocks solution (assuming Goldilocks to have been a boy not a girl). You have hit the sweet spot, so to speak. Then it occurs to you – mid-stream – that if the other man has also considered the same dilemma, he will necessarily conclude that ‘B’ is an elaborate double-bluff and that you definitely have a urine-related fetish or that you are stalking him.
Now your cover is blown and you will have to shoot him.
And those my friends are the opening lines of my forthcoming, best-selling, block-busting, genre-defining, thriller: The Duchamp Dilemma.
Can I put you down for a copy?
Definitely! Incidentally, I was at the Catalyst Club in Brighton on Thursday and heard a presentation about Baroness Elsa Freytag-Loringhoven, a friend of Duchamp’s, who may have been the real inventor of conceptual art and the person behind the urinal. It was a lot more detailed and persuasive than this Guardian article: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/07/duchamp-elsa-freytag-loringhoven-urinal-sexual-politics-art