We begin our exploration of comfort with three snapshots. The first comes from the second meeting in a series of six focus group discussions with gay men in Lancaster. Paul, acting as facilitator, used the ‘kissing test’ to begin a group discussion of the spatial dimension of actions which had been identified in other focus group discussions as ‘dangerous’. He posed the following question: ‘So what can and can't you do and where? What about kissing another man?’ Phil replied in the following terms:

I suppose I'd be comfortable kissing another man at my home or in their house or … possibly in a gay pub. I wouldn't feel comfortable at all kissing someone in the street or anything like that, because you would always have in the back of your mind, ‘Are there any scallies coming to beat your head in?’ And you're sort of encouraging [violence].

L (Lancaster), gmfg (gay male focus group), 2) 1