They call themselves Zhai NV or Zhai Nan, translating to “girl/guy who stays at home.
In a country that’s in a constant state of change, the comfort of home promises an escape from uncertainty, pressure and the personal need to project. It is in the quiet and control of home that their interior would can flourish, where fantasy can be indulged with little interruption. If nothing else, it’s a space where those small moments of stress- the rude clerk, the cab driver who takes the longest route- evaporate in a familiar setting.
They’re not sure how long they can maintain this lifestyle. But, at least for now, they can sit for hours wrapped in the warm glow of living room and bedroom screens, leaving only when they must and most often just for food, work or class.
A few weeks back, with the help of my research assistant, I met five self-described Zhai NV and Zhai Nan in the corners of Douban, QQ and Sina Weibo to get a small window into their world.
The result is a small collection of interviews, along with photos I found tagged on Sina Weibo by other self-described Zhai NV and Zhai Nan.
Here’s what I found…