You know what's important these days? Appearances. Reality is something you're stuck with: you're ugly, out of shape, and none too charismatic. But appearances—now there's something you can do something about! That's why selecting the right online avatar to represent yourself on Facebook is now the single most important choice that you will make in your life, according to some people willing to be quoted spouting bullshit theories about any old thing:

“In the age of spamming, the profile picture gives you credibility,” said Whitney Hess, a user-experience designer who often blogs about social media’s impact on the human experience on her blog, Pleasure and Pain, in a phone interview with The Observer last week. “It shows people that you’re real.”

You see, your own corporeal existence hardly qualifies you as "real" in our modern age. It's all about choosing between the drunk pic or the sexy pic or the I'm-so-mysterious pic.

The British edition of Cosmopolitan recently asked social psychologist Dr. Asi Sharabi to interpret a selection of Facebook profile pictures. In the article, he concluded that pouting “indicates someone who wishes to be acknowledged in a sexual way.” Your friend holding their cat in the photo? They’re “capable of caring and nurturing.” If you’re a woman and you post up a picture of yourself with a mysterious male friend who is not your boyfriend, you’re a gossip.

A picture of a monkey indicates you are a monkey. [NY Observer]