While we’re certainly used to hearing abject speculation about high-profile women going under the knife, it is much rarer for the nation’s gossip columnists to work themselves into a frenzy over a man’s altered appearance. However, recent photos of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have sparked just such a dialog. The government official has been in the news a lot of in recent weeks, largely due to the threat of military conflict in Syria, and media outlets including the Boston Herald have had quite a lot to say about his appearance.

Rumors are swirling that the former presidential hopeful has undergone Botox injection, dermal fillers and other facial procedures. Though Kerry has soundly denied these reports, that hasn’t stopped the speculation.This week, New York Magazine came at this story with an interesting angle, suggesting a number of tried-and-true excuses that the President Obama’s right-hand man could employ.

“Tabloids have spent decades speculating about [female celebs like] Demi Moore’s surgical rap sheet […] But, lucky for Kerry, that means these women have developed many strategies for handling such touchy accusations,” the tongue-in-cheek piece states.

Among these deflections, female A-listers have cited puberty, Photoshop, make-up and pre-existing medical conditions to explain away the various alterations to their face and figure.

Of course, it’s only a matter of time before such excuses become unnecessary, considering that plastic surgery is becoming more mainstream by the minute. If you’re considering a cosmetic enhancement, it falls to you to share as much or as little about your procedure with friends and family. In the hands of board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Lett, you can improve your appearance and boost your self-confidence in an appealing and natural-looking way.