in Perl, everything is a string until used in a numeric context
I don't think that is true.
In your example you put quotation-marks around the value, so little surprise that you end up with a string...
my $a = "1";
my $b = 2;
SV = PV(0x98c9700) at 0x98ea3f8
REFCNT = 1
FLAGS = (PADMY,POK,pPOK)
PV = 0x98e6368 "1"\0
CUR = 1
LEN = 4
SV = IV(0x98ea474) at 0x98ea478
REFCNT = 1
FLAGS = (PADMY,IOK,pIOK)
IV = 2
As you can see $a is a string "PV", while $b is an int "IV", even thought it was never used in an numeric context.
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