Real Email Subject: Question about your name and ties for babies

We thought we had a name for Marshmallow.

Otis Christopher Oates.

Yes. That’d be Otis Oates.

I’m sure the hesitation you feel in your gut about this name is the same as the hesitation I felt in mine when it was first brought up. I mean, even I have a line, right? Right?

Well, I did a Facebook search for Otis since I’ve never actually met an Otis in person so I didn’t know what kind of person is named Otis. I have, however, since heard of a dog and a bullfrog named Otis.

That alone should probably tell me something.

Anyways, in my Facebook search, I came across Otis James. A handcrafting bow-tie guy in Nashville.

I don’t really do “signs”, but I think that’s a sign.

So I emailed him…

Hi Otis,

I just want to warn you that this may be the weirdest, most random email you’ve ever received.

My husband and I are expecting our first child in April. We just found out we’re having a boy. Our last name is Oates. My husband would like to name him Otis. Otis Oates.

Personally, I’m in love with the idea. I think the name is great and quirky and if he turns out anything like his dad it will totally fit him.

But I’m still scared because Otis isn’t exactly common. And pairing it with Oates? I’d hate for people to say things like “What were poor Otis’ parents thinking???” I’m a marriage counselor and I’m fully aware of all the ways parents screw kids up and I’d hate to get started on a bad foot.

So I started searching Facebook for people named Otis. To see if anyone named their kids Otis anymore. And to see if they came out relatively normal. Most Otises are large black men. Which is great. I mean, if I end up giving birth to a large black baby I may be in trouble, but that’s a different problem all together. Anyways, your Facebook profile stuck out and you seemed like a really cool guy with a neat business going on. Not only that, we’re in Nashville, too. It felt like God was providing me with the confidence to name our baby Otis.

I just have a few questions…

Is your name really Otis? Because I’d hate to get so excited about finding a quirky Otis and then find out it’s just part of cool East Nashville branding or something.

If you grew up with the name Otis, was it hard as a kid? Did people make fun of you since it isn’t common? (My name is Marie and my husband is Mark… we’re about as vanilla as it gets in the name department)

Do you feel like a name like Otis helped you live a life on your own terms? I mean, it’s not many guys that have the guts to try to make a living handcrafting ties.

Is there a cool story behind your name, like how you got it?

Do you make ties for babies? I was looking through your stuff and it’s great. It’d be neat for our little Otis to have a tie made by big (?) Otis.

If you do decide to take time out of your day to answer this (I really hope you do!) could I use your answers on my blog ( I think it would be neat to document the exhaustive research we did in trying to make sure we don’t screw the little guy up.

Thanks and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Marie McKinney-Oates

I’ve been waiting for an answer since Thanksgiving.


Anyways, I’ll share the rest of our “evidence we should/should not name him Otis” stories later. Until then, I wait patiently for Big Otis to answer…

10 thoughts on “Real Email Subject: Question about your name and ties for babies

  1. Secret Agent "CT" says:

    lol! That’s a trip! šŸ™‚ I actually like Otis because it’s different. Plus Otis Oates is fun to say. It makes me smile…

  2. Haha, please write a book šŸ™‚ I actually met Otis James at StudioWed a few months ago. He was really nice and pretty cool. I think your baby will have the confidence to carry any name and make it cool. As long as it’s not Grud.

  3. Heather Rowland says:

    I love you Marie. YOu make me smile with every blog post.

  4. Tiffany Kessler says:


  5. Oh my, Marie. Otis Oates.

    Well, dear, sometimes confidence comes with the name. So he might not be BORN with loads of style, swagger and confidence, but he will certainly learn confidence with such a totally hipster name.

    I giggled the whole way through this post.

    PS: One of my bff’s has a large gray cat named Otis, and he is the most awesome cat I have ever hung out with.

  6. Shelly says:

    I had an aunt named Otis and my grandfather caller her Oats.

  7. Sam Davidson says:

    You’re one of the funniest people on the Internet. If I ever bump into this guy, I will force him to write you back.

  8. […] next sign was Otis James. You can read more about that here. After I blogged about Otis James Julie Kroenig did a story on him after hearing about Otis the Tie […]

  9. […] January I shared the REAL email I sent to Otis James to find out if naming our kid Otis was a good idea. […]

  10. […] realize that it’s the SECOND time that I’ve launched a hipster’s career. Remember Otis James? Yeah he was in GQ and is making bowties for the Real Justin […]

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