I think what men don't understand is that women are less visual than men. How a man is and meets her needs makes him more handsome than six-pack abs and a chiseled face worthy of GQ.
But that's NOT to say that a man can go all "to hell" with his physical appearance just because he's charming. Good grooming and a personal style is important.
One thing I notice in Europe is how men take their grooming seriously. Unless they're homeless, men don't leave the house in dirty clothes, a t-shirt hanging out, jeans hanging down, butt crack showing, etc. Coming home is always a culture shock, realizing how American men (and many women) have become slobs.
This isn't superficial, it's just that women look at someone and gather information: Hmmm, slob? He doesn't care much about himself, will probably be needy, maybe he lives in his parents' basement, he probably forgot to brush his teeth, etc.
Women still like manners too.
Even if we may drool and blush at the GQ guy on the street, it doesn't mean that's what we'll find sexy for more than 1/2 hour!