Interview: Jordan “B” Peterson

Jordan B Peterson’s overnight ascent from sexless provincial college professor to international cultural icon has taken the world by storm. His new book, Wash Your Penis, deals with a modicum of manly issues – ranging from lawn tennis to anal sex, and everything in between. The Cheese Grater caught up with Peterson on a relaxed Sunday afternoon at his Toronto home.

He is at once friendly and stern, greeting me at his front door with a risqué slap on the behind. ‘That’s for not tidying your room,’ he chuckles, before winking uncontrollably and thrusting a filet mignon into my palms, clammy with anticipation.

‘Please, take a seat,’ he bids me as we enter his living room, ‘and make yourself at home. I’m going to slip into something more comfortable.’ The famed self-help author darts into an adjacent room, leaving me in a daze of lust and confusion.

A few minutes pass, and I raise my eyes to see Peterson, leg cocked against the door post. A light breeze reveals a muscly pair of thighs, thick-set beneath a silken kimono. He ruffles my hair as he passes by me, before lowering himself to perch delicately on the edge of the settee.

‘So, Professor Peterson,’ I ask, my voice trembling in anticipation, ‘what is it about your message that so many find appealing?’

‘Well, I think the belly of the beast is that I’ve been able to harness the deep, lustful anxieties of the disaffected youth,’ he tells me. ‘It’s an unremarkable situation. You meet a girl for the first time, and you’re nervous. After a few drinks, you take off your pants and show her your penis, but then she takes of her pants and shows you her penis as well. That’s chaos embodied. You don’t know where you are. You’re confused – disoriented. And, well, that’s the belly of the beast.’

I reach for my pen and notepad, hoping to distill these nuggets of wisdom into simple speech, but he stops me before I’m able to establish a firm grasp. ‘Shh, shh, shh,’ he whispers, running his fingers along my hand, before placing it ever so delicately down on the settee. ‘Relax,’ he tells me. ‘You’re in safe hands, and that’s the belly of the beast.’

This article appeared in CG Issue 64.