One of the first things college students give up when moving to campus is a large measure of their privacy. Standard dormitory doubles, triples, and even suites leave very little space to each resident. Most students adapt over the course of a few weeks; you and your new roommates quickly learn how to leave each other with enough space.

Eventually, though, no matter how many precautions you take, the unthinkable will happen. Your roommate will step out of bed one morning, and your eyes will just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It will happen almost in slow motion. He will throw up the blanket, toss one leg out of the bed, and inadvertently expose you to what we call, in strictly medical terms, his Floppy Nads.

Freeze frame. You've just entered what could be called an emergency situation. If you aren't careful, you will never be able to recover from the flaccid burn this image has made on the back of your retinas. Keep your head (so to speak), take a deep breath, and follow these simple steps for a quick recovery.

Don't panic.

Your first instinct is going to be to leap out of bed, run to your window, and jump to your death. This is a bad choice of action. For one thing, if you don't have a window, you will run directly into the wall. For another, it will draw attention to the fact that you did, in fact, see your roommate's penis. By the same vein (no pun intended), any kind of noise you make is going to cause your roommate to look at you, instead of doing what you want him to do, which is remove his gonads from your field of vision. STAY CALM. Try to go back to sleep; in some cases it is possible to convince yourself that this was all just a horrible, horrible dream.

Avoid mentioning it, ever.

Confrontation may seem like a good idea—a proper way of “clearing the air.” Wrong. As awkward as the situation is for you, it will be far more awkward if you tell your roommate that you accidentally bought a full-frontal ticket to Danglytown. Imagine the next time you eat breakfast together…. You're sitting there, in silence. He's thinking, “Is he thinking about my penis?” You're thinking, “Does he think I'm thinking about his penis?” You bite into a plump breakfast sausage. The tension is palpable. Eventually, you drop out of school and get a job slinging novelty license plate frames in Reno. Yeah, telling him was a real smart move. Do yourself a pre-emptive favor and never bring it up, ever.

Don't act like you're “cool with it.”

This may seem like a contradiction to the “don't panic” rule, but there is a difference between acting like seeing your roommate's penis is the end of the world, and acting like it is the coolest thing in the world. Don't make any jokes about it when his girlfriend is around (i.e. “So baby, do you want to see what it's like to be with a man who doesn't have an incredibly misshapen junkbag?”). Don't offer to pick him up a pack of “snug fit” condoms, the kind you “know he must have to use.” Don't CafePress a pin that says, “Ask me about my roommate's penis.” You know, just use common sense.

Stop comparing it to yours.

Don't give me that look of contempt, dude. I know it's the first thing you did. You whipped out the mental ruler faster than a schoolhouse teacher. Of course there's going to be a few comparisons, a few questions: Is it bigger than mine? Is it better looking than mine? Why doesn't it have that big thing on it like mine? You have to know that you will never be happy with the answers to these questions. It's best to clear it out of your head early and come to terms with the fact that, yeah, you saw your roommate's penis, but with any luck you can erase the (metaphorical) scars that it left.

Take steps to ensure that you're unlikely to ever see it again.

Remember, prevention is the best medicine. Consider going to sleep with duct tape over your eyes. Suggest to your roommate that he start wearing a chastity belt, “For shits and giggles.” If all else fails, terminate your housing contract and move off campus. Look for an apartment that you can share with a bevy of attractive CO-EDs, or, at worst, a friendly eunuch. A little harsh? Maybe. More expensive than freshman housing? Probably. But can you really put a price on the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the only penis you have to worry about seeing is your own?