Other studies suggest that parents' influence on what characteristics men find attractive goes even beyond age. Another study from the University of St. Andrews looked at a phenomenon known as imprinting, well known to exist in the animal world and, until recently, largely unexplored in humans.
The study looked at how likely men (and women) are to be attracted to certain hair and eye color in their chosen partners, and they found that for men, the best indicator of preferences was the hair and eye color of their mothers. When nearly 700 volunteer participants (including 394 men) were asked about the hair and eye color of themselves, their parents, and their partners, they found that overwhelmingly, men were attracted to the same coloring that their mothers had. The same correlation didn't appear when comparing their father's hair and eye color, and while researchers aren't entirely sure what's going on here, they did suggest that it's possible that the early connection between mother and son formed a sort of subconscious bond that suggests safety, familiarity, and comfort linked to the eye and hair color they knew first.
Another study, this one done by the University of Tokyo, found that men showed significant preference for women who shared something else with their mother: height. When they looked at volunteers who reported their own heights, along with their parents' and their partners' heights, they found that men were much more likely to be attracted to a woman of similar height to their mother.