Hi Duana,
Long time reader of Lainey’s website ( as well as Show Your Work) So excited to finally have a reason to write in!
One of my coworkers is having her second baby (a boy due in October) and she is stuck on a name.
They have a girl named Zoe and would like a unique not generic but also not crazy name for their new kid. Wow what a sentence to write.
Last name starts with A and has 4 syllables. They already have middle name, We just need your wisdom to narrow down a first name.
They like Archer (grandparents are not fans), don’t like Aiden ( friends kid is named this and too popular) Ashe is out (could turn into ass), no to Archie (too Royal 😊), No to Axel (too far out of their comfort zone)
Sorry to give you a list of NO names but hope this gives you a jump off on what would or wouldn't work for them. 
Appreciate you taking the time to read this and can't wait to hear what you suggest.



So your letter doesn't explicitly say so, but given the names listed and suggested, plus the title of your email, 'Capital A Problem', I'm guessing they want an A first name for alliteration with their surname. Which is great, especially in contrast with Zoe. In addition to the symmetry of being at the other end of the alphabet, Zoe punches above her weight class, in style and in impact relative to the number of letters, so something to match or balance it will be fun. 

Reading the rejected choices, my first thought was that Arden would fit the bill. It's not one we hear very often - and I think it's one of the alleged gender-neutral names that really is. I wouldn't make a guess on who Arden was without more information, and I'd be delighted at the prospect. Auden is similar but strikes me as simultaneously more austere and more run of the mill, given the number of Aidens and Austins around, but I always love the way it looks. But I'd recommend they go for August if they're attracted to that sound - the ending sets it apart and it still gets to feel soft and lyrical like some of their initially considered choices.

Funny though about names in a vacuum vs. In Real Life. One of my go-tos is often Arlo, and I do love it in a vacuum, but something about it with Zoe makes them both feel a bit inconsequential-- like one of those off-brand clothing labels where you doubt that "Deb & Dev" or whomever, are actually real people. Like they're almost too similar in a way that feels... cutesy?

I have always loved Angus and don't think it gets enough play, and there's a lot of "mouth chew" in it to play off Zoe, and going along with the "hard ending" theme, I really like Abbott in this situation- same surname feeling as Archer and Axel, but much less associated baggage or impressions. Zoe & Abbott? Come on!

There are actually dozens of A names that could be getting more play right now. Arthur isn't right for your friends, I can tell, but Alfie or Adrian both nod to their styles, as does something like Alonzo -- yeah it's not "typical", but its easy to say and to read, and has sounds I think they'd like...

Ansel? Andre? (I don't know what happened to Andre's image, because every turtleneck-wearing suave dude in the 70s was Andre and that name has just disappeared- did they all go undercover as Andy, or something?) 

Alphonse? Asa? It's not for everyone but I bet Zoe's brother could carry it - or Ambrose? I suspect Anatole is not for them either, but I'm putting it out there because I know for sure it's right for somebody, and I can't wait to hear it again. Relatedly, I mostly stayed away from longer names because of their lengthy surname, but I've noticed the massive increase in the choice of 'Mateo' recently, and have to say that I think people should not sleep on the currently underused "Amadeo" - it has all kinds of style and punch in just six letters, and I don't know how anyone couldn't love it. 

J, you're uniquely positioned to advise them, by virtue of your initial sitting right in the middle of the alphabet- can't wait to find out what they choose!