Two Paths, Two Destinies

Rated 5.00/5 based on 2 reviews
Communism versus a spiritual way of life; authoritarian dogma versus freethinking. Gay life versus sexual abstinence. These are the main points the book deals with. The background is the history of the world and the gay movement in the latter part of the last century. More

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About Joseph Itiel

I was raised in Tel Aviv when it was still part of the British mandate of Palestine. Upon graduating from high school, Tel Aviv became the principal city of the new state of Israel and I was drafted into the new army.
After my military service, I moved to New York City. Four years later, I earned a B.A. degree from what is now The New School. After graduating, I lived, for a while, in Toronto, Canada. I was a troubled, extremely closeted, gay young man. I read a lot about India. I saved as much money as I could planning to travel to that country, stay in an ashram, study yoga and, in the best case scenario, become a brhamachari – one who abstains from sex. I did quite well for myself as a yoga student but had absolutely no vocation for celibacy.
With very little money, I had to leave India. I stayed in Ceylon (the modern Sri Lanka) for a while, then returned to Canada. A few weeks later I found myself in Mexico City, working as an “indocumentado” teacher in Mexico City. There I discovered a great abundance of sexual adventures. Many times the police (all too often ordinary men masquerading as cops) would shake me down. Mexico, governed by the Napoleonic code, had no laws against homosexuality – but bribes (‘mordidas" – bites) were always gladly accepted. It was the cost of doing business. My partners usually asked for a small amount of money because, invariably, "their father was in prison and their mother in the hospital". In Spanish-speaking countries, when one does things one ought not to do for the sake of one’s family welfare, the act itself cannot be criticized. I fell in love with Spanish and spoke it fairly fluently after a short while.
Soon I had to leave Mexico because granting me a work permit required a bribe that was way above my financial means. And so my globetrotting days started. Back to Toronto with “side trips” to Puerto Rico and Spain. A year in New York to earn an M.A degree, in social science. A year in Galilee teaching high school, a stay in Europe, and a return trip to Mexico.
Only in 1964 have I settled in San Francisco where I have resided since then. However, even here I made many trips to the Philippines and Japan. I studied Tagalog and Japanese at two universities. I recounted my globetrotting days in a book published in 2003, “Escapades of a Gay Traveler: Sexual, cultural, and spiritual encounters.”
San Francisco allowed me to become who I really was. Even in those days, in spite various actions of the authorities to enforce the anti-homosexual laws, San Francisco was a haven for gays. It was the first time of my life that that I made gay friends, joined the newly created homosexual organizations and, most importantly, rid myself of the illusion that one day I would marry and have my own family.
More or less fluent in four language (English, German, Hebrew, Spanish) it was easy for me to find jobs in education. I finally got rid of the silent-movie era, where homosexuality invariably lead to blackmail, prison, and suicide.
By complete coincidence I enrolled in a hypnosis class, The goal was to become a "lay" hypnotherapist. The medical profession is intolerant of any outsider who claims to cure any physical or mental affliction. A lay hypnotherapist needs to be careful not to practice medicine. Easier said than done. Learning how to hypnotize is an easy task for good raconteurs who believe in their ability to induce a hypnotic trance.
For ten years, I conducted self-hypnosis seminars at the College of Marin and other institutions. I also had a private hypnotherapy practice. I soon came to two conclusions: First, that I was a better teacher than a practitioner of hypnotherapy. Second, that hypnosis was an excellent motivational tool (e.g., "jog five miles every morning) but often did not work at all when the hypnotized subjects had no real desire to change their behavior.
Luckily for me, a publisher's scout spotted a course I was giving at the College of Marin titled, "Self-Hypnosis for Financial Well-Being." A major publishing house asked me to write a book about this subject. With only a small advance against future royalties, I decided to write as candidly as I could, not caring at all to please the publisher.
After my first book was published, I decided to become an author something I had tried, unsuccessfully to do for many years. A small publishing house agreed to print my first novel, "The Franz Document," provided I would write a gay guidebook to the Philippines. Later I wrote gay guidebooks to Mexico and Costa Rica for the same publisher.
I really wanted to write about my *positive* experiences with hustlers, as they were then called. My first book, "A Consumers Guide to Male Hustlers" was followed by a second book, "Sex Workers As Virtual Boyfriends." By and large,the gay community was not enchanted. They failed to realize the difference between male and female prostitution. The former have no pimps, are not trafficked, and their clients are smart enough not to use violence against younger and physically stronger partners. Most importantly, and that happens all the time, male sex workers are free to enter, leave, and reenter the "profession" as it suits them. One reads about "fallen women; " I have never heard anybody refer to a "fallen man."
I continued my writing about sex workers and my book "Escort Tales," was published in English and in a Turkish translation. I wrote that book solely from the point of view of the sex workers, without any editorial comments from me. And so my writing career continued to a semi-autobiographical book, followed by a gay novel. All these books are listed on my Webpage.


Review by: AP on May 17, 2016 :
This is a very interesting story revolving around two protagonists, Leah and Tamir (a gay man). Leah’s life is much more dramatic than Tamir’s though both have to cope with the viscidities that life inflicts upon them. The book starts in Palestine in the late 1940s (before the state of Israel came into being) and ends in San Francisco decades later.

It pique my curiosity and the book is definitely a page turner.

Great book and is a must-read item on your bookshelf!
(reviewed 44 days after purchase)
Review by: Nomi Shir on March 26, 2016 :
This is an excellent well-written book. Through its main characters it gives an excellent picture of the period it describes with its various movements and conflicts. A book you can't put down.
(reviewed 5 months after purchase)
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