“Well, everyone’s face is round right, like ice cream, so naturally if you make a fist and put it under another person’s head, then you make an ice cream cone. Same goes for hot dog and corn dog. If you point your index finger and put it under someone’s chin then it’s a corn dog, and if you put both of your arms on either side of their head then it’s a hot dog. I guess those don’t really make sense since most heads aren’t shaped like wieners but whatever. I don’t really know where these came from either; a friend did it to me once and it was really funny. I guess people do it to other people because it’s really random and makes them laugh, so if someone doesn’t look like they are having fun you ice cream them?”
The ice cream performs a socializing function amongst friends during the formative years. Ice cream is something that most children enjoy, a reward for their good behavior, and this would translate to childrens’ development of this action. They enjoy eating ice cream, and so the ice cream action would evoke a similarly happy response. It is simple and easy to perform, while being effective at cheering others up, and this could be the reason why it is spread as folklore.
It is also an indicator of being part of a select group, another social function. Most people will probably only ice cream their friends, and thus it is more or less confined to that group. However, encountering another person who understands this action creates an instant familiarity; in fact it might even be reciprocated as “shit on a stick,” another variation of the ice cream.