Nick goes to visit Tom and Daisy with memories of Tom from when they were classmates in college. He remembers Tom's physical stature - "one of the most powerful ends that ever played football at New Haven" - and that his family was tremendously wealthy. However, they had not been close friends, and Nick does not feel that he had known his cousin's husband well as he arrived at the Buchanan mansion.
Upon arrival and being greeted by Tom, Nick was not impressed in a positive manner by the ways in which he had changed during the years they had been separated. Nick describes "a rather hard mouth...two shining arrogant eyes...a cruel body." Aside from physical characteristics, Nick finds the styling of Tom's riding attire somewhat "effeminate" but unable to disguise "the appearance of always leaning aggrssively forward."
When Tom starts talking, Nick finds more disagreeable characteristics. Tom's speech conveys "a touch of paternal contempt" toward others, and he makes no attempt to hide the condescending attitude with which he regards others.