New emoji let you love the one you’re with! (All images courtesy of Emojipedia)

Last week, 217 new emoji were approved and announced, due to debut on devices in 2021. Emoji 13.1 is in the ether, and the ever-vigilant Emojipedia has released a sample image set so we can check ’em out.

All the newness coming to devices in 2021.

The collection largely emphasizes a wide range of mixed-race couples options, so that everyone can find their romantic pairings particular combination of sexuality and skin tone represented. Outside of the doubles, there’s a wider array of beard and hair length options and just a few emoticons, including pinwheel eyes, head in the clouds, and hearts alternately on fire or bandaged up as if on the mend (really just opposite ends of the same spectrum, let’s be honest).

Based on this reveal, I’m prepared to make some predictions for the next set of emoji — I expect we’ll see a “man bun” option in 2021. While we’ve rightly accessed a broad range of representative images that factor in race and gender, we are still woefully limiting our vision of contemporary romance to coupledom. Hopefully, 2021 will bring polyamory emoji, including an “ethically non-monogamous” emoji that will feature a dude using dating apps to engage four women behind his wife’s back based on vague linguistic hand-waving and her indifference as long as he pays the bills. There’s going to be a lot going on in that emoji.

Appreciate the effort, but a whirly eyes emoji doesn’t begin to cover it, guys.

Obviously, the major oversight in this emoji drop is the icon we are all crying out for to represent 2020 in its fullest expression: the flaming dumpster emoji. If not now, when? I predict it will catch on faster than the wildfires devastating the West Coast or the virus tearing through our vulnerable populations, unchecked through disinformation and toxic individualism. Where are the emoji to express my feelings about this? Because ::facepalm:: just isn’t covering the full extent of existential despair at this point. Come on, emoji scientists! Get with the times!

Sarah Rose Sharp is a Detroit-based writer, activist, and multimedia artist. She has shown work in New York, Seattle, Columbus and Toledo, OH, and Detroit —...