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(This is all the fault of a conversation with allonymist and yoctohedron.)

C: You are a paranoid schizophrenic who spends most of your time confused about which type you should be, convinced that blatantly false things are true because your extreme efficiency leaves no room for sensible error checking. Moreover your terseness encourages people to interact with you badly, providing incomplete and ambiguous instructions for which you nevertheless come up with a legal interpretation, even though most of the time it is completely nonsensical. People come to you because you promise them simplicity, not realising that below the surface you're a rat's nest of issues. In the end you are always abandoned for someone like C++ or Python.

Python: Python cares deeply about you and does its best to make your life easier. Python is willing to try new things to make you happy -- "Sure, I can do generators, if that's what you want" -- and really doesn't mind if you're seeing other languages on the side. It insists upon arranging the cupboard into strict rows, but you stop noticing after a while, and eventually you come to prefer your shelves organized this way. Your friends think this is weird until they start dating Python too.

Ruby: Your older sister is the most popular cheerleader in school, but she's kind of a slut. You think that maybe if you add more features, the boys will like you just as much.

PHP: You've seen what works for Ruby and you think it will work for you too, but you haven't figured out that lipstick doesn't go on your cheeks and you shouldn't brush your hair with a mascara wand.

C++: C++ has seen people in love, and thinks it has everything figured out. C++ thinks it loves you, but it errs on the side of being controlling when it thinks it's being concerned and caring.

Ada: You are far more flexible than C++, and know how to be strict and forgiving at the same time. However, your tendency to wear the bondage and discipline gear all the time, as opposed to when your lover asks you to bring it out, frightens people off. You need to learn to stop calling people "worm" and "slave" in front of their mothers.

Java: You try to be loving, but you were raised by a commune of 60 nervous women who have told you that everything you do is loving, even when it isn't. Your unhelpful behaviors have never been corrected and everything you do is subtly wrong and destructive.

JSP: You are Java's younger sister, working in a strip club to pay for your women's studies degree.

Perl: You're incredibly enthusiastic and you have five different ways of doing anything that anyone could possibly want to do. As a result, you tend to overwhelm people and you leave a bad impression on people who could otherwise benefit from knowing you. You promise people answers to all their questions, but you're not ready for a real relationship. You like to guess what people want, but tend to jump to conclusions. When other people would say "what, really?", you've already gotten out a ball-peen hammer and a tub of beeswax. Because of this, people find themselves speaking to you using a range of expressions and vocabulary even more limited than what they'd use for someone who didn't speak the language at all.

Smalltalk: Smalltalk won't meet you outside Smalltalk's apartment. Smalltalk says that if you really loved it, you wouldn't leave.

OCaml: You know yourself to be fast, smart, and extremely reliable. However, you look kind of funny and nobody really wants to talk to you. You spend most of your time sitting in a public library glaring at people, occasionally yelling "NOBODY HERE APPRECIATES MY GENIUS!" and getting kicked out.

Prolog: You are a deaf and blind synthaesthete, who experiences the world entirely through smells, each of which triggers expansive flurries of poetry and music in your mind. Certain problems are trivial for you, but nobody will ever understand the answers you give them, because your numbering system involves colors that cannot be perceived by humans. Prolog can sometimes have a good time with people, but it's hard for a person to stay with someone who only wants them for their ochre vibrato.

Lisp: Lisp cares about you, but really loves itself more than it will ever love you. Lisp thinks that it's the world's greatest lover, and it is a lot of fun, but it's completely blind to its own inadequacies. Watch out: it flies into a rage if it finds you've been seeing C on the side. Lisp swears up and down that it can be anything and anyone you want, and in a lot of ways it's right, but in the end, it's still Lisp.

Logo: Lisp's adorable 7-year-old niece who likes to play with her toy turtle. On casual conversation, she proves to be disturbingly worldly and well-informed. You resolve not to let your kids play around Lisp's house. Thinking about using Logo in any serious way makes you feel a bit dirty.

Visual Basic: You're a fifteen-year-old girl with her very own computer in her room, pinging random strangers on AIM and claiming to be a 23-year-old girl who wants to cyber with them. However, your efforts fail at convincing people, mostly because you aren't very imaginative and most of the things you're promising them are ideas you ripped off from other sources and changed slightly, leaving them less believable.

ASP.NET: As above, except you're a fifteen-year-old boy.

Objective C: You grew up in a cold and loveless home. Everything you know about love, you learned by listening to Smalltalk and Lisp's sex parties in the apartment next door. Now you have met a sweet young thing named Darwin, and you are eager to please.

Dylan: Sombody sat Lisp down and told it it was too clingy. Now it's bipolar.

Twisted: Twisted Python not only loves you, it loves everyone, in 10ms intervals, on demand. But once you learn to take turns, you don't notice the difference.

E: E is very clear about its hard limits, and there are a lot of them. It tells you up front what you're not allowed to do, and sometimes you end up forgetting what you can do without pissing it off.

lex/yacc: lex and yacc are those twins you have a one-night stand with every couple of years. In the intervening period, you forget all about the neat tricks they can do, and every time you meet up you end up learning them all over again. But they're really rather one-sided, and schizophrenic in the same way C is, so in the end it's good that they're not after you for a long-term relationship.

Haskell: Haskell is pretty, but always uses an elaborate range of prophylactic techniques. By the time you're all in place, the person you're with no longer resembles Haskell. If you've had other lovers, Haskell doesn't like many of the things that you may have come to enjoy doing with them. Haskell will pretend never to have heard of these things, and call you a pervert.

SML/NJ: You cannot take anything away from a relationship with SML/NJ that you did not bring with you. If you leave anything at SML/NJ's apartment when you break up, SML/NJ will leave it on your doorstep without ringing the bell.

Assembler: Assembler has no limits -- none whatsoever -- but you have to make it do what you want. It will not make a move to help you; assembler just lies there.

FORTRAN: FORTRAN isn't a real relationship. Telling people you're happy with FORTRAN is like telling people you'll be happy taking care of your cats for the rest of your life and don't really need another person.


( 134 comments — Leave a comment )
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Apr. 7th, 2008 03:53 am (UTC)
Nice one :)

And for the record, I've grown used to having my cupboards arranged in that particular way and have no desire to go back to doing it any other way :)
Apr. 8th, 2008 04:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you. (;

msn nickleri
msn nickleri
Feb. 17th, 2011 03:39 pm (UTC)
Scala: as the cast off bastard child of a drunk night affair between Java and ML, she's criticized by both families. Most people date her after dumping Java and some, looking for a Haskell they're not embarrassed to present to their parents, but she has a complex dual personality, and unlike Haskell, she's eager and don't care much about purity...
Feb. 17th, 2011 04:26 pm (UTC)
Tcl: this is the girl.
Feb. 17th, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
Oh, my. I was laughing so hard I had to stop reading this to catch my breath.
Feb. 17th, 2011 11:20 pm (UTC)
Erlang: After years of texting and IM you find out that you actually live on different continents and share nothing whatsoever.
Feb. 18th, 2011 03:56 am (UTC)
COBOL: The 60 year old woman down the street that would buy you and your friend beer in high school, you heard she was cool in her day, but no way would would try something that old not matter how much beer you drank.

FORTRAN: Same thing but a man.
Feb. 18th, 2011 12:18 pm (UTC)
What a pointless, silly, self-indulgent load of rubbish.
Feb. 18th, 2011 03:04 pm (UTC)
Inconsistent grammatical person
This was very cute and witty. I do wish you had made the descriptions consistent, though; some of them are in second-person (e.g., "You are a paranoid schizophrenic..."), and some of them are in third-person (e.g., "Assembler has no limits ...").
Feb. 18th, 2011 04:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Inconsistent grammatical person
The inconsistency stems from the fact that three different people contributed to this piece. See this short comment thread.
Feb. 18th, 2011 08:40 pm (UTC)
yay, made me giggle a bunch, and did a good job of capturing the feel of a bunch of those languages. :)
Mar. 3rd, 2011 09:08 pm (UTC)
Wonderful essay including truth and humor. I wondered what you would write about Self.

- David Ungarglobulars
Mar. 30th, 2011 08:54 pm (UTC)
Algol68, PL/I and Machine language
Algol68: The bastard child of Algol60. Speaks with an absolutely clean syntax and is very powerful, but relationships are somewhat unsatisfying because of an unfortunate ability to handle objects well. Almost impossible to get to know because the introduction letter was written in an otherwise unknown language.

PL/I: The purported child of Fortran and Cobol, but Algol60 was more likely the father. PL/I will do anything with your gifts, even if the result has no significance. If you are very careful, you may have a decent relationship.

Machine Language: Appears to exist in so many different variations, but they are really all the same. Machine language is the motivating force for all of the other lovers. The first impression is a very mechanical personality, but when dressed for any occasion; the opera, a rave, a toga party, or a wedding, machine language is perfectly adapted and at home.

All the authors - thanks for a wonderful thread - Bill Frantz
Aug. 10th, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC)
I totally want some yoctahedral dice now.
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