I don't hate Perl and I'm competent with it, but if I wanted to deal with that level of bookkeeping, I'd probably just write C and be done with it.
Whoa there, dude. Hinting at a comparison of Perl's references to C's pointers is like comparing untying your shoelace to untying the Gordian knot. In fact, comparing something so simple (with a sometimes annoying syntax) with something so confusing that many programmers never master it is so ridiculous that I know that couldn't possibly be what you meant. So what did you mean?