Hi Duana,
My daughter's name is Adelaide Vance which I love. We had Adelaide picked out as a girl's name for years (Addie for short) and Vance is a middle name in my family given to first born girls. Now I'm pregnant with a boy (due in June) and my partner and I are stumped. Our girl's pick was Matilda June but we've never been able to settle on a boy's name.
We really like Otto but our close friends have just named their boy that so it would feel weird to do that now. We also like Otis, August/Angus (Gus for short), Henry, Hugo, Louie and Arthur. I'm leaning more towards Otis but I also love a nickname and I don't think Oaty sounds right. His middle name will most likely be Clive (another family name). I like old fashioned names but generally dislike names that can also be a surname.
Nothing feels "right" but I suspect nothing will feel like the one to us, like our daughter's name which we had settled on for years.

 We would love your advice. 



Let’s launch right into the ‘therapy’ part of the conversation:

You will in fact find another name that you love the way you loved Adelaide Vance before you ever met her. Maybe it’ll happen in this column, maybe in two weeks when you’re standing at the grocery store with too much time to think about the products and considering the product origins, but it’s going to happen. It’s gonna come to you in a dream or like a lightning bolt from heaven or from a guest DJ on drive-home radio, but it will, and you must believe this. 
Part of what’s gonna help this is that I’m going to try to break you out of your comfort zone a tiny bit. That is, Adelaide and Matilda are both a bit vintage and a bit decorative but still funky – and your boy names all lend themselves to that as well. My mental image, as invoked by your name choices, is of Southern kids running around the Steel Magnolias neighbourhood on their bikes unfettered: Otis and August and Louie and Arthur and Henry could all be in that world fairly easily… but I want to see if we can break you out of your patterns by challenging your idea of what constitutes one of ‘your’ names…

…although I’m really amused by the idea of a kid called Oaty. Like, a lot, and I can already see the Beverly Cleary book based on this person (yes, I know I’m just thinking about Otis Spofford).

So Matilda made me think of Marshall - it might be a little too down-home for your tastes but it somehow has some of the same spirit. Then, in an effort to get bigger, I thought about Moriarty. I know it’s got a lot of Sherlock baggage for some people, but it’s also got a great upbeat tone and has a familiar-but-unusual vibe, much like Adelaide. Or maybe you’d like Magnus, or even something (along your Otto/Otis continuum) like Orson? 

If I’m in the wrong continuum here, then what if we shift over one style ‘vertical’ and think about something like Ambrose? Or Benedict? They’re more formal but still have that genteel-Southern feeling. What about something like Alistair, or Frederick? They’re not so far from August (or Augustus, I suppose) but we step a little further from those wide leafy streets – still, maybe they feel right to you? 

How about Wilfred, or Gilbert, or Leonard? How about Leopold, or even something like Eugene? I know you’re squinting sceptically at this letter, but think about it for a minute. Adelaide Vance and Eugene Clive… there’s a real and distinct style here (and if Clive wasn’t already your middle name choice, I’d be encouraging it as a first name). 
Not it? Maybe Rufus or Oscar or Linus – or maybe something like Ezra (I have yet to meet one in real life) or Jonah, even? 
The key isn’t whether one of the names listed here is the one you want; the key is whether they’re starting to open you up to possibilities, or whether they’re making you realize that actually, your little boy was an ‘Oaty’ all along. Either is okay – as long as you feel passionate about it, and believe that you can! 

Let us know!