Powerhouse Mechanic and Steam Pump (1920) by Lewis Wickes Hine's Men like to fix things. Everybody knows this. Women hug, men fix. Problem is, fixes rarely are the brief, pleasant gestures that hugs are.

Fixes are much riskier than hugs, too.

If a woman gives a man an unsuccessful hug, it’s no big deal. Thanks for trying. If a man offers to solve a problem that a woman mentions in passing, however, he becomes the problem. And if he goes so far as to implement the solution unbidden … oy.

Unfortunately, men have no way – no way at all of knowing if a woman is asking for a hug or a hand. “The sink is broken” always sounds to us like “Please fix the broken sink.” It never sounds like, “Please hold me while I tell you how sad the broken sink makes me feel, but don’t make me even sadder by actually fixing it.”