Alley vs. Valley

Pair, Y Combinator’s ‘Perfect Sexting App,’ Sure Doesn’t Sound Very Sexy

More like the monogamy-enforcing opposite.
photo 1 Pair, Y Combinators Perfect Sexting App, Sure Doesnt Sound Very Sexy

Happily app-y after.

By the tweets of it, everyone, their mom, and Jennifer 8. Lee showed up for Y Combinator’s biggest Demo Day evah last night to watch the parade of hoodies try to convince folks they have the next Airbnb. To make sure no one got bored, the thoughtful editors of the Daily Muse even put together a BINGO card of expected phrases (that could also work well as a Mad Libs): “We make it easy to disrupt the future of ________. Please ignore the label-less Y axis on our chart of ______. So if you’re _______ come talk to us. “

But one company that seems to have emerged from the fray is Pair, an app built for two that lets couples send each other messages, pictures, and thumbkisses, which is when both users press their thumb to the screen at the same time, making the phones vibrate. It sounds like a mobile version of OurSpot, the social network (population: 2), we told you about in January, minus the good vibrations, of course.

Pair already has 50,000 users and funding from Michael Arrington’s CrunchFund, Ron Conway’s SV angel, and Path’s Dave Morin, who knows a little something about exclusive social networks–and privacy concerns. “He told Pair that Facebook has built cities, Path is building houses, and Pair is building bedrooms,” reports Business Insider, making us wonder if Mr. Morin didn’t over-indulge a little on the world-changing Kool-Aid.

In their write-up, Business Insider notes that Pair may not be any better than sending private texts or videos, but then goes on to say, “It almost sounds like the perfect sexting app.” Really? Because to us it sounds like the monogamy-enforcing opposite.

Rather than drunkenly sexting a bunch of random back-burner hookups to see who is up for a booty call, Pair, which only lets you be in an app-relationship (appship?) with one person at a time, keeps everything all safe and sweet and super-committed. Where’s the danger of making sure you’re sexting the right number? Or the thrill of seeing something seXXXty pop-up on your home screen while at dinner with friends? Nevermind the fact that a “thumbkiss” has to be the most de-sexualized vibration we’ve ever heard of.

This sounds like an adorable solution for long-distance, long-term couplesĀ  . . . who are somehow averse to their phone’s regular functionality. But, goddam, maybe San Francisco really is too nice!
Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com