Towels are a useful and necessary part of everyday life, performing absorbent functions like drying us off after a shower, mopping up spills, or acting as a little mat to lie on at the beach.
The towel is the undisputed hero of the linen cupboard — it's there when you need it the most and serves the household quietly and loyally.
But now the world has been forced to reconsider the humble towel's role in our lives after a New York "conceptual designer" turned a towel into something it was never meant to be.
Introducing, the Towelkini.
Designed by Aria McManus, the Towelkini claims to combine the functionality of a beach towel with the aesthetic of a bikini, all rolled into one.
Essentially, the garment is an extra large beach towel, with a few holes cut out for your legs and butt cheeks.
Like a beach-time snuggy, you could literally roll out of bed, or the bath tub, with your legs spread and slip straight into your beachwear.
Except this snuggy looks more like a backless hospital gown than anything else.
For just $NZD305, you too can own your very own Towelkini — which, by my calculations, will cost you a lot more than a pair of togs and a beach towel on their own.
The designer, McManus, said her Towelkini melds "the two essentials for all things beach".
"No need to carry a cumbersome towel or an easy to lose swimsuit — here they come as one, materialised as ideal," she wrote on her website.
The designer said her creation would "keep the baes at bay" and "have all your haters throw the towel in when they lay eyes on you in this".
Rather than racing to the online store Special Special to pick one up, the internet is totally confused about the alleged "swimsuit".
The obvious question is how would one swim in this Towelkini without drowning from the sheer weight of a soaking wet towel?
Also, once we emerge from the waves, with a heavy, sodden towel clinging to our bodies, what exactly should we dry ourselves with?
The designer claims her creation is "selectively airy in the back for that all around effect".
"Perfect for a lie down on the beach or a dip in the pool," she wrote.
McManus also said the Towelkini really put "the OW in towel" — but does that mean wearing this garment will hurt us? I don't like the sound of that one bit.
She then encouraged her fans to "follow suit, make this the one piece you get laid on the beach in".
People were quick to vent their confusion about the bizarre swimsuit.
"I don't get it. Why would you want to lie UNDER a towel and directly ON TOP OF the sand?" one person wrote.
"I must be missing something."
Another woman wrote the piece was "almost half decent and dare I say cute from the front".
"Then you see the back and you're reminded she cut holes in a towel."
In the midst of the total confusion sweeping the internet, Aria took to Instagram this week to thank everyone for their support and let them know she was "loving the parodies".
The trend even made it to television networks in the UK and the US, with talk-show hosts trying on their own interpretation of a Towelkini and giggling over the bizarre bikini.