The narrator describes Tom as "a sturdy straw-haired man of thirty, arrogant eyes and a powerful body — a cruel body, gruff and aggressive. His description is very physical, which is apt for his character.
Tom was a former football player for Yale, and his aggressiveness caused him to break his mistress' nose. He is often seen as hypocritical, and despite his insistence that cheating is wrong, he continues to have a mistress. He becomes the mouthpiece of racism and sexism in the book. He holds his peers to a high moral standard that he does not participate in, and it is clear from the narrator's description that he is not well liked.