They're indulgent, slightly trashy, arguably juvenile and the very picture of summertime bliss.
Yes, hot dogs.
And yes, those Instagram snaps of bare, tanned, disembodied legs on the beach.
And not only are they both experiencing a cultural apotheosis, they look damn similar.
Thankfully, French Canadian food blogger Alexis Brault has put together a tumblr called Hot-Dog Legs, which has undoubtedly occupied many lunch hours today as people tried to gauge the proportion of the little brown sticks gleefully poking out from the bottoms of photo frames.
He explained the creative process behind the tumblr in an interview with Mashable: "I thought it would be a great content idea [for Bob le Chef, his own blog]," he said. "Then I thought, 'Why not make it look as if it was a trend that already existed on the Internet that I picked up?' So I created the Tumblr from a couple pics of real legs I found on the net and added my own that I made with actual sausages."
Some are obviously pictures of hot dogs – legs just do not bend that way. And the reverse is also true: In one photo, a particularly pale set of legs is a dead giveaway.
Sometimes, though, the similarities are uncanny. Hot dogs, apparently, have little white flecks of fat that look remarkably like the little follicle divots left behind when a woman waxes her legs. But fear not – just when things get too discombobulating, a partial foot sticks out from under one of the pairs of hot-dog legs, and the troubled observer is flooded with relief. Finally, a welcome answer in a deeply agnostic Internet void.
Buzzfeed called it the "best Tumblr of the summer," and the world of social media erupted in laughter – at itself. Like so much of the content we share with each other, pictures of sunny, sleek legs can inspire (and are the product of) a collective aching self-awareness.
It doesn't matter if you're passively watching or posing and posting, whether you add a tongue-in-cheek hashtag, roll your eyes cynically at the superficiality or feel silent pangs of jealousy: "Hot-dog legs" is brilliant because it diffuses the subtle seriousness of our affinity for autobiography. It's helped remind us that our lives, with their simple pleasures and "glamorous" moments, are really just weird and hilarious, after all.