What Is an Intimate Secret?
Anyhow, he asks himself, what is an intimate secret? Is that where we hide what's most mysterious, most singular, most original about a human being? Are her intimate secrets what make Chantal the unique being he loves? No. What people keep secret is the most common, the most ordinary, the most prevalent thing, the same thing everybody has: the body and its needs, it maladies, its manias - constipation, for instance, or menstruation. We ashamedly conceal these intimate matters not because they are so personal but because, on the contrary, they are so lamentably impersonal. How can he resent Chantal, for belonging to her sex, for resembling other women, for wearing a brassiere and along with it the brassiere psychology? s if he didn't himself belong to some eternal masculine idiocy! They both of them got their start in that putterer's workshop where their eyes were botched with the disjointed action of the eyelid and where a reeking little factory was installed in their bellies. They both of them have bodies where their poor souls have almost no room. Shouldn't they forgive that in each other? Shouldn't they move beyond the little weaknesses they're hiding at the bottom of drawers? He was gripped by an enormous compassion, and to draw a final lune under that whole story, he decided to write her one last letter.
Milan Kundera, in 'Identity'