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Gay Couple Recreates Their Old Photos From The '80s and '90s—And TikTok Is Swooning Hard

Richie Cohen and Duane Tragis met in college in 1981, and the rest is history.

Richie and Duane in 2023; Richie and Duane in 1997

A gay married couple melted the hearts of social media users by sharing their enduring love through the decades in a series of sweet TikTok videos.

Richie Cohen, 59, and Duane Tragis, 60 were 18 and 19 respectively when they first met in college. They have been inseparable ever since.

To capture how much their love for each other stood the test of time, the romantic pair made video clips recreating old photos of them together.

Their videos went viral, like this clip that racked up over 22 million views and counting on TikTok.

People were here for the romantic trip down memory lane.



Another video had them sporting an entirely different look in 1989 but admitting how some fashion preferences haven't changed.

The caption read:

"We still wear bikinis and denim cutoffs but didn’t have any with us!"

The praise for their playful videos continued.





When Queerty asked how they first met, Richie responded:

“We met at Rutgers College in New Brunswick, NJ in October 1981 after silently flirting for two months across opposite ends of a crowded art history lecture hall."
“We were 18 and 19 years old. Little by little, during those two months, Duane moved his seat closer and closer until finally one day, he sat right next to me."
"And the first thing I said to him was, ‘I love you!’ I didn’t mean to blurt that out, but I meant it. I’d had two months to think about it.”

Duane added:

“When you’ve had a crush on someone for two months and the first words you hear from them are “I love you,” that is a huge ego boost for a Leo."
"But I loved him, too.”

You can tell, especially in this clip paired with a photo of them from 1987.


Where did the years go? #couplegoals #gaycouplegoals

It seems their hair has also changed over the years.





Richie said he and Duane knew they were the one for each other.

They proceeded with plans to commit to each other by taking matters into their own hands.

“We were each other’s first boyfriend, lost our virginity together, and got married after a couple months."
"We naively went to apply for a marriage license but they laughed at us, convinced it was a fraternity prank."
"We were angered and determined, not discouraged, so we decided to just get married on our own with smiley face rings from a gumball machine.”

Where did the years go? #couplegoals #gaycouplegoals

Prior to moving to New York, the couple was known as the "Photo Booth Boys," named for their passion for taking pictures inside old photo booths.

Many of these cute photos were featured in a carousel of photos in a post on Instagram.

The caption read:

"We took our first photo booth picture together in the men’s room at Grand Central Station in 1981. It was a vintage machine from the 1950s."
"From then, we were hooked and spent the next few decades documenting our lives in strips whenever we could."
"The Wall Street Journal even did a front page feature on our collection last year."

Richie and Duane have been living in Manhattan since 1985 and were part of their duo comedy sketch team since 1987.

Their time on stage together was considered "groundbreaking" at a time when there was no other LGBTQ representation in comedy and there was virtually no support from other comics.

Nowadays, after having a presence on social media well before other influencers started their own trendy gimmicks, Richie and Duane have received an overwhelming number of compliments online.

But not all of them have been positive.

Duane broke down the kinds of responses they've had through their years of being on social media.

“Yes, two kinds. Firstly, all the hate comments. I mean, we have been on social media for decades, so that’s nothing new."
"Everyone gets them. But it’s weird how so many are suddenly coming out of the woodwork to tell us how disgusting they think we are for being two gay men kissing."
"Not that it affects us at all.

Their penchant for ignoring haters shows.

Duane shared the many obstacles and notable crises they faced over the years.

“Look, we survived the AIDS crisis in NYC, seeing our close friends and neighbors die young."
"We joined ACT UP and fought back against the indifference of President Reagan and Mayor Koch."
"We dealt with the homophobic entertainment industry, including managers who suggested we promote ourselves as brothers or buddies instead of a married couple."
"So, a few hundred vomit emojis in TikTok and Instagram comments aren’t going to affect us, other than to increase our engagement!”

He mentioned another type of comment they never saw coming.

“The other surprising type of comments are the ones expressing how they rarely, if ever, have seen an older gay couple."
“We never thought of ourselves as unicorns and we know other couples who have been together a long time."
"So, it’s kind of weird to find out how invisible we are in the media. It’s not something we ever thought or cared about. We had no idea!”