Study Guide

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Part 5, Chapter 10

By Milan Kundera

Part 5, Chapter 10

  • The narrator divides womanizers into two separate categories.
  • The first type of womanizer has a lyrical obsession and goes through women looking for "their own subjective and unchanging" ideal of a what a woman should be (5.10.1).
  • These men are endlessly disappointed, because an ideal is "by definition something that can never be found" (5.10.2).
  • The other type of womanizer has an obsession that is epic.
  • Everything interests him; so nothing disappoints him. Tomas belongs to this group. While the lyrical types pursue the same kind of woman all the time, the epic types are like curiosity collectors.
  • Two years into his window-washing career, Tomas was sent to the apartment of a peculiar woman. She was very tall, taller than he, and had a long nose, and looked like "an odd combination of giraffe, stork, and a sensitive young boy" (5.10.6).
  • Once Tomas goes inside, she tells him he can do anything he wants, and then offers him a glass of wine. He knows that she knows who he is, by reputation.
  • They flirt, which inevitably leads to touching. She doesn't resist until his hand gets to her groin.
  • Then he tells her that he has to get going to his next job.
  • She says that she'll order him back some time, since her husband is paying for it anyway.