Once a month I get together with my friend Mya. We’re not really that close, and most of the time, I end up hurling a string of profanities at her before our time together is up. She’s usually very good-natured and forgiving about my tantrums, and speaks to me in a quiet, soothing voice, reminiscent of the old woman in “Fried Green Tomatoes.”

At the end of our visit though, Mya and I always end up on good terms. We say our usual good-byes, usually I tell a joke that is certain to make her chuckle. We hug, then I’m on my way, until I call again four weeks later, and the whole process repeats itself. It might seem as if Mya and I have a rather strange relationship, but in reality, we don’t — we actually have a great deal of mutual respect and trust.

Mya is my Waxing Woman, my savior, my knight in shining armor — sort of. When we get together once a month, she pours hot wax all over my body and rips my hair out by its roots leaving me in incredible, writhing pain. Sometimes I’m unable to walk normally for a week. Mya knows things about my body that no one else does. She is constantly testing my flexibility, bringing it to another level, by saying things like “lif leg higha,” or “moo hips up.”

She also knows everything about my life.

There exists an odd relationship between a woman, and those people who help her achieve a heightened level of beauty. The manicurist, the hairdresser, the waxer — each plays the role of the confidant, the neutral party. When the going gets tough, some say the tough get going — I get my eyebrows waxed. I’m not sure exactly why I confide in Mya. Perhaps I’m trying to ease the tension as I lie, nearly naked, on a narrow bed, in a small white room, covered in rough tissue paper which echoes every move I make with an unusually loud, even piercing, crinkle. Or perhaps it’s the fact that I feel the need to compensate Mya (with something other than a tip) for having to do her job. Frankly, I’m not really sure that I would like to remove the body hair of fat, rich, 47 year-old, perspiring women on a daily basis.

Which brings me to this week’s topic — Body Hair. I’m really concerned, not only about my own body hair, but also the body hair of others. Namely, the removal of it, and the necessity for this removal. I’m not concerned about the body hair of one sex, I’m worried about both female body hair and male body hair.

Body hair is a rather sticky topic. Its only use is really keeping people warm in the winter; otherwise, it usually makes them slightly uncomfortable and it can often be embarrassing. “You have a uni-brow,” and “what’s that hair doing on your lip?” are not usually ideal conversation starters.

By society’s general standards, men are supposed to have body hair. Leg hair is manly, chest hair is manly, but manliness can apparently only be expressed on one side of the body, because according to my sources, ass hair and back hair are unacceptable.

Understandably so. Ass hair is not pretty. In fact, it’s funny looking. But ass hair raises an interesting quandary. If ass hair must indeed be taken care of, how is this removal supposed to take place? I would imagine that shaving one’s ass is logistically impossible. So what’s a guy to do? Where is he to turn? Asking his girlfriend might terminate the relationship, asking a relative, such as his mom, would categorize him as “an abnormally peculiar freak of a man” and asking friends, that’s out of the question! When was the last time you got together with your buddies to kick back a coupla beers, watch the game, and pluck hairs from your ass?

As one girl put it, “I think it should be a prime objective of the genome project to work something out where ass hair and back hair are just eliminated.”

When in doubt, take it to the pros. Take it to science. Go genome. Yah project.

As far as most girls are concerned, hair removal for men is acceptable, as long as it is never mentioned. We prefer to believe that you were born without chest hair, silky smooth, and sexy sexy sexy. I briefly dated a boy who revealed to me that he Naired his chest hair. All I could picture was a 6-foot, well-built man, walking into the drug store and picking up a pink Sally Hansen Hair Cream Remover (with moisturizer), bringing it home, and spreading the pink cream all over his chest, then waiting fifteen minutes before removing it while reading Glamour Magazine. As soon as stuble began to appear, we broke up. I couldn’t bear to actually witness my pink cream nightmare.

The big hair-raiser (I’m really sorry) was no doubt pubic hair. The general consensus among both males and females was that body hair is not about style, or panache, but rather hygiene, and thus, the rule of thumb, is: KEEP IT ORGANIZED. Pubic hair is like a Filofax; it’s no good when little pieces of paper are sticking out of your Filofax, it makes it difficult to fit into your purse. Same goes for pubic hair. Capiche?

For guys, this translates into trimming. I didn’t want to be the one to say it, but I just did. I put it out there. Warning: an unkempt crotch may hinder optimal performance in the region.

For girls, although organization is key, the pubic hair question seems to be as complicated as the Genome Project. There are just so many options.

Recently I’ve noticed an explosion in the woman’s pubic hair trend. It ranges from the simple to the intricate. I read in a magazine that the newest New York trend is a complete (Brazilian) waxing of the pubic hair and the application of RHINESTONES in a variety of designs. WHO WANTS RHINESTONES ON THEIR VAGINA? This is clear evidence that people who live in New York have far too much money to be rational, normal people. Additionally, taking it all off, is tres en vogue, as is the pubic hair shaping option.

One hopeless romantic confessed to me that his fantasy is pubic hair in the shape of a heart.

Another boy said that Mickey Mouse would be “hot.”

Ummm. That’s dirty. Is that why they have old people in Disney commercials these days?

As far as total removal, I was informed that this question is completely reliant upon the vagina. (I kid you not). Some people can pull it off, others just can’t. “You gotta have the right type. It’s gotta be a really, really nice vagina.”

WHERE am I to go to find out whether I qualify? Do you know any vagina appraisers?

Other guys were completely opposed to the idea.

Disgusted, Rolo, the biggest pimp I know revealed with a shrug, “It’s just gross. It would be like hooking up with a twelve year old. And that’s just wrong.”

What can I say, Rolo knows. Let’s try and keep it out of middle school.

Of course, where women were concerned, men were very picky as to their body hair standards. They apparently tolerate very little other than a clean smooth shave every time, although they did sympathize with those who waxed. The look of pain that crossed their faces when I described the process was priceless.

One purist insisted, “Girls should not have hair below their eyebrows.”

I don’t think guys should get action below their pants. Haha. Now we’re even.

Moving along, I tried to seek out men who may be a little more lenient with the body hair issue. I turned my attention to leg hair. I for one, hate shaving my legs more than anything, and although I’m a razor whore in the summer, during the winter months, I do as the bears do, and put it into hibernation. Thus, I asked, during the winter months, are men willing to be forgiving with legs a little less smooth than butta?

“Not shaving her legs in the winter? I guess it’s ok if she’s wearing pants and standing at least ten feet away from me.”

Woah champ, that’s where she will be if you keep making comments like that. I’m not saying do a 180 and go Gloria Steinem, bring in the armpit hair, lose the deodorant, burn the bra. I’m just ask
ing for a little compassion, a little humanity perhaps. Body hair removal is among the most irritating things about being a woman. And sure, some of you out there might say, hey, don’t conform to society’s standards, go out there and “make a statement.” Give it to ’em good, give it to ’em hairy. But that’s just stupid. What’s going to happen to Operation GLWC2 if my legs look like Pete Sampras’? I’ll definitely spark conversation, but forget getting laid.

What’s the final consensus?

Keep it clean, keep it neat, keep it real.

I’m sending Mya a copy of this article. She’ll be proud.

Natalie Krinsky will never end her column with something as mundane as “I am a sophomore in Timothy Dwight College.”