A few weeks ago I got my business waxed for the first time. I have an extremely low pain tolerance and I’m scared of most things, especially things that are going to get all up in and around my vagina (I’m looking at you, pap smear contraptions). I also hate paying for things that aren’t snacks. Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of having hot wax on my lady bits — and paying for it — but I was going to suck it up. Spring break in Cancun was approaching, and I figured that if I was going to look chunky in a bathing suit, I should at least not be hairy. I had also randomly found myself a boyfriend, who I suspected would appreciate some grooming.

While I had always shaved a bit down there so things didn’t get crazy — I’m Italian and Jewish, the hairiest combination — I never felt too concerned about keeping it neat for the fellows. I’ve always felt that, as a woman who has to menstruate, bare children, earn less money and have a higher body fat percentage than men, I shouldn’t need to devote enormous amounts of energy and money into making myself hairless. I resented that women were expected to spend hours and hours and hours of their lives ridding themselves of hair on their armpits, eyebrows, legs, genitalia and the like. For this reason, it was never a priority for my vagina to look pre-pubescent or sculpted like a hedge in Versailles’ garden. I always figured that if a guy was lucky enough to be interacting with my vagina, he could handle whatever hair arrangement I so chose.

I’m certainly in the minority. When I talk to my girlfriends, hair is a nonissue — all of it needs to go. I have one friend who refuses to hook up with a boy if her business is too hairy, unless she’s wasted or “it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.” Most girls feel similarly. I even know girls who use not shaving as a mechanism of hook-up prevention. One friend tells me, “It’s different if you have a boyfriend because you’re past the we-need-to-impress-each-other stage. But for a random hookup, there is definitely a threshold of hairiness that would put a halt to things.”

The real question for women seems to be whether to wax, which is exorbitantly expensive and painful, but lasts for a while and minimizes bumps, or to shave, which is cheaper and less painful, but often leads to red bumps and ingrown hairs. Most women I’ve encountered either wax or shave it all off, and have done so for years. This seems to be what the menfolk prefer, as well. One guy tells me that he likes lady parts to be trim, or even better, bare, but anything will do as long as he “doesn’t need a machete down there.”

Shockingly enough, girls also have preferences when it comes to their partner’s grooming situation. One girl friend tells me, flat out, “Man hair is gross; I don’t even like chest hair,” and another recounts having dry heaved in seventh grade when she saw her crush in a speedo and he had thick lower back hair. But most ladies are pretty tolerant and only ask for some sort of manscaping, whether that be a bit of trimming or peripheral shaving in the junk region. Especially if the man is expecting oral pleasure. No girl wants pubes in the mouth, especially if she already has to deal with a whole penis in there.

But there is a limit to grooming. Shapes and/or bedazzles on one’s business, I would argue, is overkill. And “say no to buttscaping,” one friend tells me, after her boyfriend insisted that she shave his ass. It grew back stubbly.