I’ve picked up a fair number of languages over the years, like anyone in the industry. The latest has been Python (and, for anybody that wants a quick introduction to Python, it is really hard to beat Dive Into Python), and, of course, I am always completely enamored with the latest new language that I learn, thinking that I want to use it exclusively forever.
Kind of like my relationships, actually.
But totally different, because relationships are substantial investments of time, a commitment to the future, and… oh, I guess there are a lot of similarities. So, without further ado, how each language maps to girlfriends:
Assembler. She’s petite and a speed demon, but eventually it drives you crazy that you have to explain everything out into excruciating detail. You notice that your friends are already in the car going to the movie while you’re still telling her how to put on her shoes.
APL. Enormously smart and intelligent but wants you to speak to her in Greek — backwards. No one really understands her except for old-time IBMers.
BASIC. For a while, this was often the first love for a guy, but most grew tired of her limitations and moved on. Showing her age, now, although recently she got a face job and has lured some guys back into a dialog with her.
Forth. Old. Doesn’t care much about how much money you have, so she’s good to play with if you don’t have many resources. But: talking to her is cryptic, and seems backwards, and she’s slow at doing anything that you ask her about.
C. Elegant, but showing her age. For some reason, you often can’t talk to her with words of more than 8 letters. She is kind of picky about clothes: if you don’t check yourself for lint, she may lock you out.
C++. C’s younger, classier sister. Hot around town and lots of guys have fallen in love with her, but unfortunately she’s high maintainance: for example, you have to take out her garbage, and asking her to do something as simple as making copies can land you in hot water. Guys without a lot of dating experience sometimes find themselves locked out due to their unfamiliarity with her demanding ways.
Java. Cousin of C++. Also hot around town, and many talk about marrying her, but when you go out with her you realize that she’s quite a bit slower than her cousin… and that maybe she was overhyped. She is very friendly, though, and very good at talking with other people, so she’s good to know.
Perl. Mercurial and temperamental. You like the fact that it is very quick to talk with her, but you find that you don’t understand her six months later. Oddly, she is much easier to get along with when she is being strict. She has a friend, Cee Pan, who can often get her to understand things very quickly, so you end up dating her just because her friend is so cool.
Python. Some guys are put off by her attitudes about spaces, but once you get past that, you realize that she’s clean and elegant and easy to communicate with, and it makes you want to like her more and more.
Smalltalk. Interesting and sweet, but she comes with a whole set of baggage, and you have to take the whole kit & caboodle when you go out with her. Every time. Sometimes you go over to her place just to flirt with her — you find that it clarifies your mind wonderfully so you can communicate better with other girls.
Lisp. Old — so old! — but still attractive enough to entice men that have certain refined tastes. Having a good car with cd-r is essential, and she likes lamb (da!). Been around town, can do anything that any of the other girls can do, although she doesn’t always play well with others. Speaks parenthetically all the time, but you get used to it.
Prolog. Hot for a while. Kind of strange in that she doesn’t like you to tell her what needs to be done; she just wants you to lay out the rules and let her figure it out. She’s good in particular situations but not in others, meaning that you’d take her to a book reading but not for a night on the town, so you realize that a long term relationship with her is impossible.
I’ll be updating this as I go, probably…
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