Men do look for certain traits and characteristics in a woman. These run the gamut from physical to emotional to mental to moral. Just as no two women are alike, so will no two men be alike. Some men may put more emphasis on the physical aspects, while for others that may be fairly low on their list of priorities.
A woman doesn't have to be drop dead gorgeous to catch a man's attention, but no man is going to look twice at a woman who does not care about her personal appearance enough to maintain a clean, neat appearance. At the same time, he is not likely to look twice at a woman who makes it apparent that she cares only about her looks and nothing else. A man wants a woman who can strike a balance when it comes to her appearance.
A man wants a woman who has her own life filled with things that are important to her but still with room for someone else. No person, man or woman, should depend on another person to provide them with a life but should be willing to share what they already have with someone else. He also wants a confident woman with integrity.
Men want an intelligent woman who can hold her own in an adult conversation. A woman with nothing to say is not interesting nor intriguing to a man.
Contrary to what you may have been told, a man wants a woman who will let the man make the first move in starting the relationship and in determining when or if sex will occur. This does not mean she is relinquishing control or is letting the man dominate the relationship; rather it is showing that she is willing to let things move along at a comfortable speed for both of them. A man wants a woman who is comfortable with her sexuality but at the same time retains a measure of reserve. This is especially true when the relationship is just starting out. Light flirting and nonsexual touching is fine but more public displays of affection and intimacy should wait until the relationship has progressed further.
Men want women who share some similar interests with them, who are kind and who remind them of the good things that men see in their mothers.