The thing is – and this is patently obvious to around 49 per cent of the population – women cannot be and will never be funny. Why on earth would we be, with all these reproductive hormones pulsing around our systems and paralysing the parts of our brains that would otherwise allow us to deliver a stream of hilarious off-the-cuff gags that would have all you boys LOL-ing, ROFL-ing and other curious acronyms that denote the splitting of sides?
Now I know what you're going to say. There are one or two women out there who are, yes, a tiny bit funny, such as Deborah Ross, whose column this usually is and whose reflections on Boden mothers, troublesome teeth and Pippa Middleton's arse I have seen prompting muffled snorts on the early-morning commuter train. And if that's not enough to blow my thesis, there is Bridesmaids, the new Hollywood comedy that, though written by women and with a mostly female cast, has pulled off the feat of making male critics' mouths twitch ever so slightly at the corners, and prompted a landslide of reviews which praise the ladies for being so very clever, and just manage to stop themselves from shrieking "FLUKE!".
But let's look at the evidence. If women were truly funny we would surely appreciate the brilliance and originality of our spouses' jokes about our ineptitude with cars, maps, lawnmowers and screwdrivers, and our intrinsic handiness with washing machines, cookers and needle and thread. If we were truly funny, then, set loose on a stage with a mike, we wouldn't start discussing childbirth, periods, trips to the gynaecologist and other subjects that are definitely Not Funny and really shouldn't be talked about lest the poor boys start to feel just a little bit sick. If we were truly funny, what would that do to men, whose sense of self-worth often depends on their ability to make the opposite sex laugh? Without that crucial GSOH, what else do the poor things have?
If anything, it's our responsibility as women NOT to be funny. if we all concentrated too much on good punch lines rather than, say, painting our toenails, removing unsightly body hair, squeezing out children, packing school lunchboxes and holding down jobs, then men wouldn't come near us – let's face it, they'd be terrified – and the human race would very likely die out. And where would we be then?