The Post-Birthday World : Whether Irina McGovern does or does not lean in to a specific pair of lips will determine whether she stays with her long-term partner or runs off with a hard-living snooker player. We follow Irina's life through two parallel universes: Lawrence, another American, an intellectual who works for a prestigious London think tank, is Irina's partner of nearly ten years; Ramsey is the ex-husband of a former friend, a once-a-year acquaintance. Where Lawrence is supportive and devoted - and emotionally withdrawn - Ramsey is fiery, spontaneous and volatile. The contrasts between the two men have ramifications for Irina's other relationships, for her career as an illustrator, and most importantly, for the texture of her daily life. Is all love about trade-off? And if all partnerships are inherently flawed, how are we supposed to know which one to choose?