Antic Hay takes place in London, and depicts the aimless or self-absorbed cultural elite in the sad and turbulent times following the end of World War I. The story follows one Theodore Gumbril in his invention of Gumbril's Patent Small-Clothes, trousers which contain a pneumatic cushion in the seat. Gumbril's quest for love occasionally makes him resort to utilizing "The Complete Man" which is a disguise he concocts around a false full beard. He relates to a diverse cast of characters in bohemian, artistic and intellectual circles. Everybody is lost but at the same time looking for happiness while everything is going out of control in a ridiculous and comic way.