This article originally appeared on VICE Australia.
In ancient India, the architects of the Sanskrit language came up with almost 100 different words to describe various states of romance, affection and desire. The sexed-up ancient Greeks had a catalogue of at least six concepts to choose from, and the Arabs defined different forms of love through a spectrum of eleven stages.
Yet the emotionally-stunted Anglophone tradition has left us with just one catch-all term—"love"—to describe our feelings toward our mother, paramour, and cat. The following concepts from other cultural traditions may come in handy next time emojis fail you.
"Shringara" – rapture and beauty
Though not averse to some casual hanky-panky, Hindu philosophers also recognised that sex without intimacy could leave you feeling hollow (hello, Sunday morning) and so developed a vocabulary of terms for the different romantic feelings that could enrich physical union. Among these, "Shringara" suggests the enjoyment of a partner in a warm and fuzzy, long-walks-on-the-beach type atmosphere—one created through attention to charming manners, stylish dress, artistic settings, beauty and good behaviour.