As stated in a similar entry for girls, personality is of course the trump card. Still, I'll start with physical characteristics since that is where relationships generally start.I suppose there are several aspects of appearance, most of which really spring from personality if you think about it. The way a girl carries herself says a lot. Is she confident, is she a good person, is she active, is she trying to better herself? I look for a girl who is comfortable with the person she is, yet always trying to improve. I also like a girl that stands out by having her own unique ambitions.Another aspect of appearance results from a girls habits and activities. I imagine that most men find body types attractive that correspond with their own.The final general aspect of appearance that I will mention is femininity. Before anyone start pointing fingers and claiming sexism, let me state that I'm just being sincere and honest, and I'm sure that many women will agree that the inverse is true about men. A feminine girl seems to encompass all the good things that men are not. Properly worn make up is beautiful, skirts can catch more attention than you may realize, and a natural feminine hairstyle can be very sexy. Also, allow me to state now I find immodesty to be very unpleasant. It seems to say that a girl has no self respect or is an easy prize (everyone want to marry up. The key is getting both people to think that they won =). Also, there is a difference between feminine and "girly." I'm not generally interested in girls who are all about hair, nails, make up, etc. These things should be a beautiful accent and not a purpose in life. It's hard to connect intellectually with someone who focuses on things that will always be distant.Personality... that's hard to say since everyone is different and looking for different things. My view is that you should be yourself, but always be your best self and improving.
As far as looks go, typically my preference is for girls that are smaller and shorter than me, but that's not a hard fast rule. They take care of, and respect their body, clean, not smelly, etc. However a good personality always makes any girl far more attractive than anything else she can do.As far as personality goes, I'm looking for someone who's personality meshes well with mine, that we get along almost effortlessly most of the time. A girl who can carry and have intelligent conversation with me for endless hours is very attractive. Having your own goals in life for what you want to do long-term is also very attractive. Sure there's a whole lot of more little things I could go on listing, but those are all bonuses if present, not deal-breakers either way.
You know what's important but often overlooked? Maturity. If a girl can't be independent or face a problem with a cool head and work out differences, then the relationship is headed for disaster. You need to be a little thick skinned in a relationship.
You are completely right. Another thing that is also often overlooked is that while it's often expected of a guy to make a girl feel special, well it's important for girls to make guys feel special and important too.