Okay, full disclosure: Before I start this article, I must confess that when news broke of Machine Gun Kelly and Megan Fox’s engagement (the couple are supposed to have “drank each other’s blood” to celebrate), I received Many text messages from friends pointing out the… unique qualities of the Fox engagement ring and saying “I’d love to.”
A pear-cut emerald (Fox’s birthstone) set next to a pear-cut diamond (Kelly’s), the art deco-style jewels are allegedly set in two magnetic bands of thorns that Kelly said in an Instagram post that they had the intention of “joining the halves of the same soul to form the dark heart that is our love”.
Far from lyricism, what this means is that Fox’s ring is embedded with sharp, prickly spikes that, if she tried to remove it, would hurt her, because, according to the singer’s comments to the magazine fashion“the love is pain”.
“The concept is that the ring can separate to form two rings,” he said. “When it’s attached, it’s held in place by a magnet. So do you see how it fits? And then form a dark heart. And do you see this here? The bands are actually spines. So if he tries to take it off, it hurts.”
At first glance, as my friends knew I would, I admit it: I fainted. Why? Well, like any self-respecting, vampire-loving adult goth, the poetic intensity of such a gesture, the Angelina Jolie-Billy Bob Thornton-esque drama (the pair are famous for using vials of each other’s blood as necklaces); certainly can look Romantic.
It’s weird, it’s taboo, it’s passionate, and it’s alluring, in its sheer weird intensity, to those similarly pining for the kind of love story found between Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston’s characters in (my personal favorite). ) Only Lovers Left Alive; or in the platonic blood bond between Brad Pitt and Kirsten Dunst in Interview with the vampire; or even Twilight, for the youngest fans of the macabre.
Some of us are attracted by the darkness, the intensity of a gesture that reflects the actions of Romeo and Juliet; the dizzying “I would die for you” romance that not even death can quell; that feeling of being so deeply in love with someone that you want to consume them and be consumed, as the poet Pablo Neruda expresses so beautifully in his “Sonnet of Love XI”: “I want to eat your skin like an intact almond”; like i wrote here. And yet…
There is a big “however” that even I, someone drawn to the terrifyingly strange, I do not can reconcile, and it is the cloudy nature of a relationship based on pain. It worries me that anyone who claims to love another might actively want to hurt him if he tries to “walk away”; especially when it focuses on the institution of marriage, which itself is based on the concept of possession.
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Machine Gun Kelly is a man who gives a woman a diamond ring as a symbol (yes, of love), but also to show the world that she “belongs” to him. That is what engagement rings represent; It’s central to his story. The tradition of women wearing them in heterosexual relationships is believed to have originated from a Roman custom where wives wore rings attached to small keys to indicate their husbands’ property; According to the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), Roman women wore rings of ivory, flint, bone, copper, and iron to represent a business contract, or to affirm “love and obedience.” I am surprised and saddened by how little progress we have made since then.
It also inspires images of domestic abuse: of jealous husbands threatening to hurt their wives if they misbehave; of authoritarian and toxic men who closely monitor “their” women; the kind of men who coercively control their wives and girlfriends by telling them they will “die” if they leave them; the insidious threat of “if I can’t have you, nobody can”.
Kelly gives Fox a ring that could cause her physical pain and keeps her attached to him, it’s out of her control. It strikes me as a not-so-subtle display of toxic masculinity, and it just doesn’t make me feel comfortable. In fact, I find them to be important red flags. I find myself wondering: is Kelly’s gesture really romantic, or is it really just abusive?