To ask the hard question is simple.
You know, W.H. (can I call you Wystan Hugh?), that's indecorous at best and embarrassing at worst, and not just because of the age factor.
Or maybe it's easy to ask the hard question, but significantly more difficult to answer the hard question.
Yes, yes, private conversations sometimes skirt the issue of the hard question, but it comes down to blunt reality in the long run.
And that naked fact is incontrovertible: it either is or it isn't [existentially, that is].
(For once, The Laughorist is not declaiming about punctuation, but if we had to characterize the topic grammatically, it would fall under the word defined as "a short sudden emotional utterance" -- or attempts at such.)