"I dig the way you dress. Sitting across from you is always an aesthetic pleasure."
How did he react?
His face opened up: "Oh! Thank you. I don't think I have heard that before..."
How did I feel?
Tommaso is not a stranger. I see him three times a week. Together we learn all about ser and estar. Our teacher Maria Jesus introduces words to us that are untranslatable, such as my new favorite one: Cariño (This notion sums up all the good things there are; Affection, love, darling, cute, pretty, warmth- and countless others.). Spanish is fun. Or at least--Interesting. And always good looking, with Tommaso in class. Because this man knows how to dress. He wears black for the most part, plus a wide blue coat and a beige backpack. His clothes are unique, yes, but more importantly they suit him perfectly: His shirt looks like a custom uniform and when he storms out after class his coat beats its wings. I always think of Lucius Malfoy disapparating. There is a difference between Tommaso and Malfoy though. While Malfoy devotes his life to the dark side, Tommaso likes to hide his smile behind a bit of grumpiness and cynicism- but anyone can sense he is actually a warm-hearted person. When he does smile his eyes sparkle. His laughter carries people away. With his calm and steady voice he contributes to an open yet focused learning atmosphere.
To be honest this compliment did not happen today. But: I just thought of it and decided to write about Tommaso. Partially because I like him. And because I realized that astonished reactions are among my favorite ones. Tommaso was totally surprised and for once I did not get a snappy joke but an open eyed "Thank you! I have not heard that one before." from him. Plus I was surprised myself: The man is attractive and looks like he takes a second to consider what he buys for clothing. How could he not have heard that one before? My by the way: compliment dropped between two group tasks turned into two way surprise. We had a real encounter. I don't experience these a lot at my new school - for now- mostly because the university is massive, and I am still getting used to everything.
That day, when I returned to my seat I heard him say to his neighbor: "What a positive vibe...!", still honestly touched.
Thanks a lot for that moment, Tommaso, it made my day. See you back in class! Looking forward.