How the toilet became the “life refuge” for contemporary people

The World Toilet Organization has released a set of statistics that each person has to go to the toilet about 2500 times a year, and a person spends an average of 3 years in the toilet in his lifetime.

Is it convenient for such a long time? The answer is obviously no. I chatted with my friends. Everyone’s answers are diverse and show great power. Some say it is to smoke a cigarette and relax, or just to go. Make up the toilet and so on.

The typical answer is that going to the toilet is just to get a little buffer, so as to avoid the pressure of family and even work, and enjoy a moment of peace.

A lot of recent discussions on toilets and paid shit on social media seem to confirm this phenomenon. Toilets, as public facilities in the family and society, have become personal "life refuges."

There is also a car cab in a similar environment. Earlier on the Internet, there was a saying that middle-aged people would not go upstairs to go home immediately after driving home, but would stay quietly in the cab for a while, or Smoking a cigarette, or in a daze, enjoy a short personal time.

This joke received a considerable degree of response, and many people said it was poked, and the widespread spread of the joke is also evidence.

Somewhat peculiar is that the dirty toilets and the cramped car cabs are not comfortable, but they have become a refuge for contemporary people. Why?

The toilet is a personal space that has a legitimate reason to be isolated from the outside world

We might as well think about how many places in our lives that can serve as "life refuges", probably not many. The toilet is one of the most common buildings in life, and its functionality is exactly the same as that of life refuges. Corresponding.

Nowadays, the toilet is not only a place for people to carry out physical excretion, but also has a series of functions such as self-organizing, thinking, and self-emptying. It is one of the few spaces that have a legitimate reason to be isolated from the outside world.

The expansion of the function of the toilet building is an interesting branch in the development of contemporary life. It is closely related to social development, the shrinking of self-space, and the transformation of toilets by technology.

The reason why people are willing to tolerate unpleasant smells and unclean environments, but also to escape into the toilet to enjoy a moment of peace, is the shrinking of self-space. The rapid development and expansion of modern industry and urban tides have caused a surge in population and building density.

▲The "Handshake Building" is the product of the surge in building density. Picture from: Sohu Technology

The distance between people has been greatly shortened from the vast land with sparsely populated high-rise buildings, especially in first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Not only is there an influx of people, the price of construction land is also increasing. Very nervous.

The end result is that people have to face an increasingly dense public space, especially office workers in high-rise buildings, and the toilet is a rare individual who has a legitimate reason to isolate the outside world and temporarily escape the pressure of the workplace. space.

In the " Internet Toileting Report " released by in August this year, it was mentioned that 33% of interconnected people use toileting as a decompression method, and the time to go to the toilet is often related to the amount of pressure. The longer.

At the same time, the process of urbanization has also affected the emotional connection space of contemporary Chinese.

The writer Jane Jacobs discussed the relationship between community environment and social issues in "Death and Life in American Big Cities."

She believes that the reason for the decrease in the crime rate in American communities is not the increase in the number of police, but the suppression of crime rates by a series of close-knit community environments such as street shops and residents. Residents’ feelings towards the community will make them feel responsible and mutual To prevent crime from occurring.

As a public space, communities often appear in the form of clan relations in the country, such as villages and ancestral halls. In the tide of urbanization and industrial construction, large numbers of people migrate, and people enter denser residential areas, but these residential areas are often lacking. In public activity spaces like parks, the connection between people is further weakening.

At this time, the emotional communication space is reduced and emotions cannot be exported outwardly. When the establishment of a new emotional communication space takes a certain time to build, emotions are often only internalized, and therefore people once again enter the emotional personal space—— Use the toilet to sort out your emotions.

It is also mentioned in the "Internet People Going to the Toilet Report" that being in a daze and crying are things Internet people often do in the toilet.

The toilet plays a role in maintaining personal dignity in this process. The social environment requires individuals to be decent and correct. If negative emotions and loud noises are shown in public spaces, people will often think that this is What is very shameful is an injury to personal dignity.

Of course, technology, as a changer of modern life, has also played a significant role in the process of the toilet becoming a refuge for personal life.

In 1964, a large number of foreign tourists entered during the Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan, and the demand for hotel housing surged. In order to meet the demand of tourists, the New Otani Hotel in Tokyo needed to speed up the construction period. However, due to the traditional technical limitations at that time, it was almost impossible to complete the construction just before the Olympic Games .

This is the Japanese bathroom brand TOTO launched an epoch-making invention-Unit Bath. The bathroom facilities in the toilet were assembled in advance, and the integrated design was adopted to accelerate the assembly speed, and finally caught up with the Olympic Games.

The basic components of the overall bathroom are toilets, washbasins, shower heads, and mirrors. Most hotels, apartments, and homes are installed in this model. The functionality of the toilet has also expanded. Women often go to the toilet to make up. It is also common to adjust emotions during this period.

As a public space in the architectural sense, it is a family’s public space for the family, and a public space for everyone in terms of social public toilets, but it is a private space for individuals, whether it is physiological excretion. , Makeup, emotional management, avoiding work pressure, etc., all show the personal value of architecture.

The toilet is the refuge of personal life in the modern sense, both in terms of space and emotional state.

The meaning of the toilet is getting more and more complicated

For individuals, the toilet is a refuge for life, but for enterprises and public institutions, its significance is more inclined to promote consumption, regulate corporate culture, and even present a more unique appearance.

The most typical commercial organization-shopping plaza, the public toilets built are more "luxury" than personal rooms and hotels. The "environmental toilet" in Guangzhou Taikoo Hui shopping plaza that has been on the hot search is one of them.

The toilets in TaiKoo Hui Shopping Mall are designed with a large number of arched grottoes, supplemented with green plants on the white walls, and there are a lot of green plants on the column in the middle of the toilet, presenting a scene of arched forest after another.

Through the special single-sided transparent glass beside the toilet, you can see a large number of green plants in the courtyard in the middle of the toilet, but you can't see the situation inside the toilet outside the toilet, which not only protects privacy but also helps to improve the mood when going to the toilet.

According to IDA&BILLY , the team undertaking the project, this design is to provide a clean, comfortable and natural environment.

Green plants can also purify the air and keep the temperature comfortable through photosynthesis. Moreover, it forms a set of water-saving faucets with waterless urinals, water-saving toilets, hand washing and hand drying faucets, etc. Resource and environmental protection system.

In the women's toilet, there are separate LED makeup mirrors and beauty makeup, USB charging plugs and other equipment, which is convenient for women to touch up makeup and take selfies.

The significance of this "luxury" toilet to TaiKoo Hui is to enhance its brand image and match its positioning as a high-end shopping mall. At the same time, the construction of toilets with Internet celebrity is also conducive to social media communication.

No, there are many users on Xiaohongshu who posted photos of themselves in the Taikoo Hui toilet, which has become a good place for selfies.

Similarly, there are "net celebrity toilets" all over the world. Like the transparent toilets in Japan that triggered a discussion on social media some time ago, they all enhance the brand image by building high-quality and environmentally friendly toilets. Of course, it may be a city or even a country. image of.

Another case is that retail consumer organizations such as McDonald's and Starbucks provide toilets to the public for free, and they do not set consumption limits. They can even be used as free rest places as long as they behave properly.

For retail-oriented commercial organizations, such operations will obviously increase the operating costs of institutions such as McDonald’s and Starbucks. Especially in first-tier cities, increasing the location of toilets often requires increasing rents and reducing the number of guests available. Seats for rest and consumption.

It may sound unreasonable, but behind this is McDonald’s and Starbucks’ desire to build themselves into a "third space". The provision of free toilets is convenient for consumers, even if consumers do not consume once, they only need to go there many times. After all, it will be, and even this can fix consumer habits.

Retaining consumers through high-quality services, allowing them to establish consumption habits, and even establishing a stable emotional connection with commercial organizations such as Starbucks and McDonald's, is their purpose.

The toilets provided for free during this period also had the meaning of promoting consumption.

For individuals, although the first two examples have the purpose of promoting consumption, most of them provide humanistic care through high-quality toilet services, which is relatively acceptable. However, the "paid shit caused by toilets between enterprises and employees" The "style confrontation is different.

Employees use toilets to relieve stress and enjoy a moment of isolation from the workplace. In order to avoid employee slack, companies choose to use software programs or stipulate the time for toilets, and build toilets farther from the workplace as a countermeasure.

▲ Kuaishou installed a timer in the toilet, triggering a dispute over whether the company should control the time for employees to go to the toilet

This one-size-fits-all solution is actually not suitable.

There is no corresponding quantitative data on how much efficiency can be improved in 5-10 minutes, and the actual effect is hard to say. Reducing the time of toileting, difficulty in toileting, and difficulty in releasing pressure will damage the status of employees and make it difficult to fully engage in work.

Charles Duhigg , author of "The Power of Habit: Why We Live This Way, Work That Way " once mentioned:

For knowledge workers, the most important factor to improve efficiency is to create an environment where they can think deeply.

For modern companies, "paid shit" does not exist in nature, because companies often use the actual output of their employees as a work measurement standard, which is closely related to salary performance, among which Internet companies are particularly important.

If an employee plays with his mobile phone in the toilet or stays for too long, because of lack of time, his work results are low, then his salary and position may be more difficult to guarantee.

Internet companies use signal jammers and toilet timers in toilets to limit the time employees spend in toilets. It is not so much to improve efficiency, but to accurately convey corporate culture and regulate corporate atmosphere.

It is compatible with corporate cultures such as "wolf culture" and "the company is my home" promoted by some companies. Kuaishou, who installed a toilet timer, was included in the Internet company after the CEO announced that the company had entered the "fighting mode to guard the future." In the scope of discussion of wolf culture, no matter how many benefits the company provides, there must be time to enjoy it.

By controlling the small matter of toilet time, Internet companies have created an atmosphere of intense competition from small to large, trying to use it to stimulate employees' emotions.

It's just that, under the high pressure environment, can employees really make more innovations and more valuable output? I am afraid it is not easy.

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