It's a tale as old as time: Boy meets girl, boy and girl realize that they are “twin flames,” boy and girl commit to drinking blood from each other's body.
Megan Fox's Instagram announcement that she is to marry to rapper turned pop-punk singer Machine Gun Kelly had all the usual markers of an engagement post: a kneeling figure, an open ring box, a caption about “having walked through hell together.”
“I said yes,” she wrote. And then she added one more thing: “…and then we drank each other's blood.”
Sure! Fine! Okay! You can see how the Fox-Kelly blood-drinking thought process went, sort of. Aren't we all told that we should bleed for love? Storybook heroes are always announcing things like “My heart beats for you” or referring to “the blood that runs through these veins.” “Blood” is used as a shorthand for “family member.” And Fox and Kelly came of age in an era when the most popular romantic narrative was about a vampire and the woman whose blood he wanted to devour.
But is drinking blood safe? Could this become a mainstream engagement ritual, like scavenger hunts or having a photographer hide in the bushes? I reached out to doctors to ask: Is it okay to drink human blood? Can you do it to sanctify your undying connection to another person's immortal soul? Can you do it but just, like, a bit?
“It is absolutely not safe to drink other people’s blood,” Shikha Jain, M.D., a hematologist and oncologist at the University of Illinois Cancer Center in Chicago, tells Glamour.
“As a board-certified internal medicine physician, I would highly recommend against anyone consuming human blood,” says Brooke Williams, D.O., an osteopath and cofounder of the nonprofit Color of Medicine.
Tessa Commers, M.D., a Seattle-based pediatrician who answers teen health questions for her 1.5 million followers on TikTok, adds, “As far as drinking someone’s blood, it’s overall not advised.”
If you ever want to feel intense shame, try calling doctors during the pandemic and demanding that they weigh in on Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly’s drinking blood. (Nevertheless, they were all extremely kind and helpful.) “There are a variety of reasons for why it’s not safe to drink other people’s blood,” says Dr. Jain. “Number one, you don’t know if the other person has a blood-borne pathogen or an infection in their blood. So drinking someone else’s blood that hasn’t been screened for those types of infections could potentially put you at risk for contracting one of those infections.”
But imagine this: I am a world-famous musician with a gun-based name and a lot of time on my hands. I pay for blood screening. Now may I throw back some of my lover's sweet, sweet O-negative? No! The doctors agree in chorus. “Blood is rich in iron and overconsumption of iron can lead to a condition called hemochromatosis, a.k.a. iron overload,” Dr. Williams says. “Very large amounts can causes toxicity leading to cardiac complications, diabetes, and even liver disease.”
People may think, Dr. Jain says, that drinking blood is an easy, direct way to increase blood supply. “I want to make the point that when we do blood transfusions, we typically use an IV, so it goes directly into your vein,” she explains. “When you drink blood, the blood is processed through your body the same way food or beverage would be, and most of it would be broken down. So you wouldn’t be getting the benefits of a blood transfusion by drinking blood.”
Plus, Commers notes, drinking blood can irritate your stomach, causing vomiting. Did Megan and MGK spend their engagement night throwing up blood? If they did, rest assured that we will one day see an upsetting music video about it.
Celebrities are entertainers. Like crazed party clowns or a competitive child dancer, they sometimes do not differentiate between actions that are mesmerizing and actions that you can't look away from, because you may later be called to give eyewitness testimony on them in court. Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly didn't invent using blood as a gambit—Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie famously wore each other’s dried blood in lockets throughout their courtship. “Blood-based marketing has been a quiet niche in recent years,” AdWeek reported over the summer, citing campaigns by Lil Nas X and Tony Hawk.
“If you have the desire to get rid of any of your blood, as opposed to giving it to someone to drink, I would recommend giving it to somebody whose life you may be able to save, by donating that blood,” saysDr. Jain. “We are having a huge blood supply issue in hospitals across the country right now.”
Having safe amounts of blood removed from your body by a professional and shared with someone in need? Now, that is hard-core romantic.
Jenny Singer is a staff writer for Glamour. You can follow her on Twitter.
Originally Appeared on Glamour