There is a scarcity of male figures in Ireland and the UK, while the continental carvings are more likely to involve male figures.
Continental figures also are represented in more contortionist postures.
More than 700 of our readers, between ages 50 and 89, told us what activities they want in retirement communities.
Our survey respondents and data research pointed us to two ideas for single seniors.
The name "The Idol" also was applied to a now lost figure in Lusk, Ireland and was recorded as being in use around 1783.
Much of the disagreement among scholars about these figures focuses on determining exactly what they are meant to represent, and no theory explains all the figures.
Other grotesques, such as gargoyles and hunky punks, were frequently part of church decorations all over Europe.
While there was a decent amount of overlap (everybody likes exercise, swimming and walking), a few activities stood out as unique for each sex.
After55.com’s survey offers other possibilities closer to home for single seniors who live in a senior-housing or retirement community.
We asked respondents to look over 25 potential senior-living activities to pick which ones interest them the most.
They often are positioned over doors or windows, presumably to protect these openings.
Scholars disagree about the origins of the figures.