Maintaining your nether regions can be quite a hairy endeavor. With so many options and so many preferences, how is one to choose? For those of you unsure of how to style the hair down there, read on for pointers of pubic proportions.

Though there exist many variations in the world of pube control, there is one steadfast rule that applies to boys, girls and everyone in between: TRIM. I don’t care if you’re a hipster going for that old school bush, or if you’re craving a little ’stache, YOU MUST TRIM YOUR GARDEN. No one wants to deal with a jungle!

As a freshman, a male friend of mine earned himself the nicknames the “bush-whacker” and “machete” for his unintentionally frequent and unfortunate encounters with the underbrush. Rather than navigate these untamed territories, he simply retreated [from the bush] altogether. And then there was the Trailblazer, who took hairy matters into his own hands, marching his hook up into the shower, and shaving his latest girl himself.

Though the male population might catch less flak for overgrowth than the ladies, both sexes, polled (unscientifically) by the author, answer a resounding YES to the question “Is trimmage necessary?”

Trimming can of course take your hair to a variety of different pube lengths. Enter your personal style. You are, after all, the one who has to deal with your secret garden on a daily basis. Before you begin to question your personal taste, one word of warning: always be careful to avoid that short prickly length — you don’t want to leave scratch marks. Unless, of course, you’re into that.

Once the trimming process is complete, things get a bit more gender-specific. The gentlemen’s book of pube styles is pretty limited—boys either mow the whole lawn, or just manscape, weeding here and there where and when necessary. A man can also shave the hair in and around his buttocks and anus, on his penis shaft and his balls (with extreme caution!). Shaving the manstache not only makes fellatio a significantly more pleasant experience for the one putting the job in blow job, but also, boys, IT MAKES YOUR LITTLE GUY LOOK BIGGER. Forget the upside-down old lady and say hello to your new favorite optical illusion.

For those of you men (apparently boys) who may have winced at the idea of Shaving Private Ryan, I’ve asked around for some pointers on how to approach this delicate task.

Shaving the shaft: Easier when erect! Who knew shaving could be so fun?

Ball-baring: Before you shave, trim the hair on your cojones as short as possible. Start from the bottom of your balls in between your legs, shave upwards, and please, proceed with caution. Scrotum-slicing does not end well.

In my “extensive” research, the girls (and one guy) I questioned all agreed that as long as it’s not a hairy mess, they don’t mind pubic hair. But, no one likes a hairy schlong. I mean no one wants a taste of fuzz when licking the man-pop, or for that matter when eating out. Which brings me to my next topic.

Lady parts: When asked how he likes his ladies’ pubic hair, one male interviewee immediately retorted “Less is more.” Every boy that I asked, as well as two lesbians surveyed, agreed: the choicest vaginas are clean under there. Under where you might ask? We’re talking anus to clitoris region. The whole sweep. Most of those polled don’t particularly care if the “mons pubis,” or flesh immediately below the lower abdomen, has hair as long as it’s neat, trimmed and well-maintained. One respondent, the brave-enough-to-appear-in-print, Robert Goldman ’11, said, “A maintained Brazilian or landing strip shows that she wants to show you [her vagina] and gives a vag character.” With that logic (character=vaginal pride), your favorite red head should be stomping the yard with her screaming fire crotch.

Girls not only have many style choices, but also many maintenance options. Shaving is easiest, cheapest and most common, but can cause a lot of irritation, razor burn and ingrown hairs. Waxing is more expensive, but produces less irritation. The biggest drawback of waxing is the “in-between” period. While you wait for your hair to grow long enough for another wax, you might have to suffer some pretty awkward in-between lengths. Laser hair removal, the newest innovation in the field of epilation, is the only long-term treatment, but it is both expensive and irreversible. What if you zap everything off and then marry a man who loves a hirsute vagina? You’re screwed. Or, I suppose, you can buy yourself a merkin. (Yes, they make vagina wigs.)

As for shapes and sizes, the list is infinite. The basic lineup includes the landing strip, the patch, the bush, or the baldie. A landing strip is essentially a vertical line of hair, and a patch is anywhere from a tuft to a goatee. Both still generally need to be trimmed significantly. One friend recounted a story of hooking up with a girl with a perfectly shaped landing strip that was not trimmed at all. The hairs were very long, and he was not a fan. A bush is a triangular configuration, more natural but still in need of maintenance. And lastly, the baldie, is pretty self-explanatory. No hair. Anywhere.

But in the immortal words of Mr. Rob Goldman, a little hair “gives a vag character,” so why not give your pubes some panache? Shave your pubes into the shape of your lover’s first initial! Or better yet, it’s almost Valentine’s day … hearts anyone?

I hope this guided tour of the hairy underworld has inspired you all to go home and experiment. And please remember, even if your secret gardens remain a secret (for now), you deserve better than an overgrown mess.

CORRECTION | Friday, Feb. 5: Due to a technical error, an incorrect version of this article was posted online and printed in some editions of the News.