Why I’m Taking His Last Name, Which Has Nothing To Do With The Shoplifting Charge That Comes Up When You Google Me

I’m a progressive person and an outspoken feminist, but some choices I make are very personal. Recently, I made a deeply personal choice to take my fiancé’s last name when we get married, because I feel an inextricable, lifelong bond to him – and not because of that really embarrassing shoplifting charge that comes up first when you Google me. It definitely has nothing to do with that.


You see, marriage is about two people entering a union to become one. It’s a beautiful symbol of the life we spend together and the life we will soon create together as one flesh. And no, we could not hyphenate because the seven major news stories will still come up on the first search page for some reason. I’m still legally forbidden from entering a Sephora.


Not only does taking his last name make things a little easier when we have kids, but to be honest, it’s a little romantic knowing that in just a few months I’ll be Mrs. Brawnson – and finally free from a silly mistake that has lost me several job opportunities and is why my family has mostly stopped speaking to me. This has nothing to do with that at all.



Ryan isn’t just my best friend; his love fills a deep need inside me (that I used to fill by stealing small lipsticks and eyeliners) that reminds me of my parents, who have been happily by each other’s side for 45 years. I always wanted to have a love like that – one that transcends all boundaries, and deeply buries the local news story that includes embarrassing details about punching a security guard and running toward the exit of the Chestnut Hill Mall before being taken down by several police officers.


In the end, I love my future husband and want to honor a beautiful tradition – one that gives me a new last name, and definitely not because it will finally erase my shameful past. Isn’t that what marriage is all about?